WHAT THE SPIRITS TEACH
IT has been shown in the preceding chapters that the unseen
"controls" (the beings who control the mediums) in
Spiritualism, are not the spirits of the dead, but are fallen angels or
spirits of devils. This fact will be confirmed by a brief glance at some
of their teachings; for we are to remember that if they speak not
according to the law and the testimony there is no light in them. It
matters not that what they teach may be supported by signs and wonders
beyond the comprehension of the human mind. That is no guarantee of
truth; for such phenomena are to be wrought, as will soon be shown, to
prove a lie. The Lord anciently put his people on their guard in this
respect. Deut. 13: 1-3, 5: "If there arise among you a prophet, or
a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or
the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go
after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou
shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of
dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
"And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to
death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, .
. . out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk
Thus the fact that one who professed to be a prophet could perform a
sign or wonder, showing his connection with some unseen power, was not
enough to shield him from condemnation and punishment, if what he
undertook to prove by that sign or wonder was contrary to the truth, and
tended to lead away from God. The teaching of any system is an important
part of the fruit it bears; and by: that, according to our Lord's own
rule, we are to judge it, and not by any power or mighty works connected
with it, however wonderful they may be.
"'Tis not the broad phylactery
Nor stubborn fasts, nor stated prayers
That make us saints. We judge the tree
By what it bears."
-- Alice Carey.
It is therefore pertinent to look sufficiently at the teachings of
the spirits to ascertain their character. . Here we shall find some most
damaging testimony; for --
1. They Deny God.-- It is no pleasure to transcribe the
utterances of practical atheism; yet enough should be given to show what
they teach on the great fundamental principles of Christianity. At a sťance,
reported in the Banner of Light, July 11, 1868, the following
questions were addressed to the spirits, and the accompanying answers
"Ques.-- It is said in the Bible that man is made in
the image of God. Please tell us what that image is, "Ans.--
He is made in the image of everything that ever was, that is, or that
ever shall be. He holds within his caliber everything that exists,
that ever has existed, or that ever will exist. Now, God is included
in this. If he exists at all, he exists everywhere (and we have taken
in everything), every place, every name, every condition. I believe
that the human stands above all things else, and holds within its
embrace all the past, present, and future. In this sense he is created
and exists in the image of God.
Q. --What is God essentially?
"A.-- Everything. Essentially you are God, and I am God
-- the flowers, the grass, the pebbles, the stars, the moon, the sun,
everything is God."
The Devil, through the serpent in the garden, taught Adam and Eve
that the soul is immortal, and has transfused the same idea very
successfully through paganism, Romanism, and Protestantism; but he also
said, "Ye shall be as gods;" and now, it seems, he is trying
to make the world swallow his other leg of his falsehood; but by putting
it forth under the form of the old pagan pantheism, that everything is
God, and God is everything, he betrays the lie he uttered in Eden; for
in that case, Adam and Eve were no more gods after they ate than they
Another sťance, reported in the Banner about twenty years
later than the one quoted above, April 28, 1888; an inquirer addressed
to the "spirits" a question about God, and received answer, a
portion of which is presented below: --
"Ques.-- Some Spiritualists, I learn, believe in a God;
otherwise they would not pray to him -- taking for granted that there
is such a being. Please enlighten us.
"Ans.-- We have yet to come in contact with a thorough
Spiritualist, one who understands something of spiritual life and the
revelations made by returning spirits, who directly believes in a
personal God. True, many Spiritualists and many returning spirits
offer their invocations to the 'Great Supreme Spirit of all life and
intelligence,' not because they expect to change the order of law, or
to come into direct communication with, or nearness to, a Great
Supreme Being, clothed in the image of man, but because they desire to
enter an atmosphere of harmony, to uplift their own souls to a plane
of thought which will bring spiritual inspiration to their minds. We
make a distinction between that Great Supreme Overruling Force which
we may call the Superior Spirit of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Love, and
the personal Deity, clothed in the image of man, gigantic in stature,
jealous and revengeful by nature, which has been set up and worshiped
as the Christian Jehovah. We know of no Spiritualist--let us repeat
it--who believes in such a personal God; but we can believe and accept
the idea, though it may pass beyond almost our finite comprehension,
that there is a grand universal Spirit permeating all forms of
existence; that this great source of light, of activity and vitality
vibrates with intelligence, and that it is superior to all organic
forms, however grand they may prove to be."
The same views have been taught all along by the "spirits"
of Spiritualism, as could be shown by extracts dating as far back as
1858, only ten years after the "Rochester Knockings." And
though Spiritualism is now assuming more of the sedate speech of
organized Christianity, the spirits do not modify their teaching in
respect to God. In "Automatic, or Spirit, Writing," p. 148
(1896), are given many messages from the spirits through the mediumsbip
of Mrs. S. A. Underwood, wife of the editor of the Philosophical
Journal, Chicago. The " spirits" set forth their teaching
in answer to questions by the medium, some of which have reference to
God, though his name is not used. Thus on page 148, this conversation is
"Ques.-- You often in these communications speak of the
binding laws of spiritual life--that because of them you cannot give
us such and such information, etc. Now who makes those laws, and
whence came they, and how are they taught?
"Ans.-- Thou say'st 'who'-- therefore we cannot answer.
Go back to the first question and ask one at a time.
"Q.--Well, who makes the laws?
"A.-- Spirits are not bondaged by persons.
"Q.-- Then how do you come to know those laws?
"A.-- Pharos will now answer. Spiritual laws are
spiritually perceived, as soon as the physical perceptions are got rid
"Q.-- Could you explain to us those laws?
"A.-- Courses of teaching from our side are as
necessary for you to understand even the rudimentary laws of Being, as
courses in your colleges; and guessed-at spirit knowledge from your
bounded view must always fail in accurate wording."
It will be perceived that the answers to these questions are, from
the beginning, evasive; but the real idea entertained clearly shines
through the thin veil drawn over to conceal it. The questions pertain to
the source, or authorship, of the "laws of spiritual life;"
and this would generally be understood to be God. But on a technicality
the spirits refuse to answer. The question is made plainer, and the
answer is that "spirits are not bondaged by persons;"
that is to say that spirits have nothing to do with personalities, and
that no personal being has anything to do with those laws. There is
therefore no God who formulates and promulgates them. No wonder the
question followed, how they came to know these laws; and it was a very
convenient answer that we will know when we get there and have lost all
physical perceptions. A desire for some explanation of those laws is met
with the not very satisfactory information that they (the spirits) would
have to give those in our sphere a course of teaching, like a college
course, before we could understand even the rudimentary laws of Being.
The only thing clear in all this is that there is no God; at least no
personal God such as the Bible reveals. To the "grand whole,"
whatever that may be, they give the name of the "All of
Being." In answer to a question concerning
"personalities," they are called "atoms emanating from
the same source -- parts of the great All of Being, partaking of the
general characteristics of the grand whole." -- Page 14.9.
Reader, how does all this compare in your own mind with the God of
the Bible, the Creator of all things, the loving Father of us all, who
has for his creatures more tender regard and pity than a father can feel
for his own children, whose very name and nature is Love, and who has
purposed infinite good for all men, and will carry it out unless they,
as free moral agents, by their own sin, prevent his doing for them what
he desires to do? The Bible is not responsible for the aspersions cast
upon God by a false theology, which misrepresent his character and give
occasion for the charges of vindictiveness and vengeance and awful
tyranny, so freely made by fallen angels and wicked men. They do not
belong to him who is the source of all goodness and mercy; and we would
labor to bring those who have perverted views of God back to a right
conception of the great Friend of sinners, as he has revealed himself in
his holy word.
2. They Deny Jesus Christ.-- Christ is revealed as the divine
Son of the Father; and to deny that he was or is any more than any other
man is surely to deny him; and the scripture says that "whosoever
denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father." 1 John 2: 23. The
following is what the "spirits" began to teach in the earliest
stages of Spiritualism concerning Christ: --
"What is the meaning of the word Christ?--'T is not, as
generally supposed, the Son of the Creator of all things. Any just and
perfect being is Christ. The crucifixion of Christ is nothing more
than the crucifixion of the spirit, which all have to contend with
before becoming perfect and righteous. The miraculous conception of
Christ is merely a fabulous tale." -- Spiritual Telegraph, No.
How fully does this declaration that any good man is Christ open the
way for the fulfilment of the Saviour's prophecy that in the last days
many false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive
many. See Matt. 24: 24. A prospectus of the Truth Seeker
contained these words: "It shall be the organ through which the
christs of the last dispensation will choose to speak."
A little later, July 19, 1862, there was published in the Banner
of Light a lecture on Spiritualism by Mrs. C. L. V. Hatch, in which
she spoke of Christ as follows: --
"Of Jesus of Nazareth, personally, we have but little to say.
Certain it is, we find sufficient that is divine in his life and
teachings, without professing to believe in the fables of theologians
respecting his birth and parentage. We are content to take the simple
record as it stands, and to regard him as the son of Joseph and Mary,
endowed with such purity and harmony of character as fitted him to be
the Apostle and Revelator of the highest wisdom ever taught to man. It
is the fundamental article in the creed of modern Christianity, that
Jesus was divine in his nature, and of miraculous origin and nativity.
Now, no human being of ordinary intelligence, unwarped by educational
bias, would ever profess to believe in such a monstrous figment, which
only shows the blindness of superstitious prejudice."
Here is something twenty-four years later. A sťance reported in the Banner
of Light, Oct. 9, 1886, gives the following questions and answer: --
"Ques.-- Do 'spirits' generally believe in the divinity
of Jesus Christ; that he was the Son of God; that he was crucified,
dead, and buried, and rose again the third day for the saving of all
who should believe in him?
"Ans.-- No; spirits generally -- advanced spirits,
those who are intelligent, having studied deeply into the principles
of life -- do not accept the theory of the divinity of Jesus Christ;
they do not believe that he was crucified for mankind, in the accepted
understanding of that term."
Some years ago a class was formed in New York City for the purpose of
investigating what is called the spiritual philosophy. Before that
class, Dr. Weisse said: --
"Friend Orton seems to make rather light of the communications
from spirits concerning Christ. It seems, nevertheless, that all the
testimony received from advanced spirits only shows that Christ was a
medium and reformer in Judea; that he now is an advanced spirit in the
sixth sphere; but that he never claimed to be God, and does not at
present. I have had two communications to that effect. I have also
read some that Dr. Hare had. If I am wrong in my views of the Bible, I
should like to know it, for the spirits and mediums do not
The peculiar insult here purposely offered to the Saviour will be
appreciated when it is noted that at about the same time the spirits
located Thomas Paine, the well-known skeptic, in the seventh sphere, one
sphere above that of Christ. He must therefore have progressed very
rapidly, seeing he so quickly surpassed Christ, who had over 1700 years
the start of him.
Before the same class Dr. Hare is reported to have spoken as follows,
which we give without assuming any responsibility for the spiritual
grammar therein exhibited: --
"He said that he had been thus protected from deception by the
spirits of Washington and Franklin, and that they had brought Jesus
Christ to him, with whom he had also communicated. He had first
repelled him as an impostor; but became convinced afterward that it
was really him. He related that he had learned from that high and holy
spirit, that he was not the character that Christendom had represented
him to be, and not responsible for the errors connected with his name,
but that he was, while on earth, a medium of high and extraordinary
powers, and that it was solely through his mediumistic capabilities
that he attained so great knowledge, and was enabled to practice such
When Christ was upon earth, it was envy, jealousy, and malice that
moved the Pharisees against him (Matt 27: 18); and it seems that he is
followed by the same feelings in the spirit world. This is natural; for
he who fired the hearts of the Pharisees with their malignant spirit, is
the same one, as we have seen, who is working through the powers of
darkness in the unseen world to-day. Any way to degrade Christ in the
minds of men to a level with, or below, the mediums of our time, and
make it appear that they can do as great wonders as he, seems to be the
object in view.
There is plainly manifest an irrepressible desire on the part of
spirits and mediums to show Christ to be inferior to the leaders of
other great religions of the world, as Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster,
etc. Thus, at a sťance held in 1864 (Banner of Light, June 4),
the spirits were questioned as follows: --
"Ques.-- Have you ever seen Confucius or Zoroaster?
"Ans.-- Yes, many times.
Q.-- In the order of degree, which stands the higher in
moral excellence --Jesus Christ, Confucius, or Zoroaster?
"A.-- Confucius stands in morality higher than the
other two. . . . Jesus himself claims to have been inspired to a large
extent, by this same Confucius. And if we are to place reliance upon
the records concerning each individual, we shall find that Jesus spoke
the truth when he tolls us that he was inspired by Confucius."
Indeed! Where are the records referred to? Where and when did Jesus
"speak" the words attributed to him? And where does he tell us
,that he was inspired by Confucius? So we are to believe, are we, that
the gospel of Jesus Christ, is only a rehash of what was originally
wrought out in the brain of Confucius, and not words fresh from the
fountain of light given him by his Father in heaven, to speak, as he
claimed them to be? Yet he was a high and holy medium. We wonder
what standard of holiness and perfection the spirits can have.
But still later, in 1896, we find the spirits putting forth the same
teaching in reference to Jesus Christ. In "Automatic, or Spirit
Writing," pp. 148, 149, we have this: --
"Ques.-- Do you accept Jesus as the model of spiritual
"Ans.-- Shall you give us a better example?
"Q. --Well, we are willing to accept him as one of
many, but not as chief.
"A.--Change the name. Call him by other names-- Buddha,
Krishna, or Mohammed, the spirit is one -- is ever and ever the same.
Spirit is one, not many, however often the name is changed.
"Q.-- Were not Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed distinct
"A.-- No more than all atoms emanating from the same
source -- parts of the great All of Being, partaking of the general
characteristics of the grand whole--but yielding to environments,
showed marked individualism, such as the force of the times in which
they appeared would create in their characters.
"Q.-- Are these leaders of religious thought not
distinct individualities now?
"A.-- No, not on spiritual planes, which do not
recognize any now."
Thus they persist in denying that Jesus holds any pre-eminent
position as a religious teacher. He may as well be called Buddha,
Krishna, or Mohammed as Jesus. They are all the same spirit, all atoms
of the great "All of Being," all as much alike as three drops
of water from the same ocean, and what is more bewildering still, they
have now all lost their individuality in the spirit world. How, then,
can it be told that Christ is in the sixth sphere, and Paine in the
seventh? Such teachers, though they may claim to be good spirits, are
branded as antichrist by both John and Jude. John says: "Who is a
liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that
denieth the Father and the Son." 1 John 2: 22. Again, "Every
spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not
of God." 1 John 4: 3. According to the spirits, Jesus Christ has no
more come in the flesh than have Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Zoroaster,
or any other religious teacher. They all simply yielded to their
environments, and showed marked individualism while on this earth, and
have now become absorbed in the "great whole" in the spirit
world. Thus, as Jude says (verse 4), they deny "the only Lord God,
and our Lord Jesus Christ."
So much for their denial of Christ in his person. They also deny him
in his offices; for to deny and ridicule what he came to do, is one of
the most effectual ways of denying him. The great work of Christ was the
shedding of his blood to atone for the sins of the world; and the
spirits are particularly bitter in denouncing that idea. If such
sentiments were uttered only by open and professed scoffers, it would
not do so much harm; but it is not unusual to find those bearing the
title of "Reverend" descanting on these themes in a manner to
show themselves antichrist, according to the definition of that term by
John. And even this need not surprise us; for the sure word of prophecy
has foretold that some who have once held the true faith will depart
therefrom to give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1
Tim. 4: 1.
One R. P. Wilson, to whose name is attached the ministerial title, in
his lectures on "Spiritual Science," said: --
"Although as a believer in true spiritual philosophy, we
cannot receive the orthodox views of salvation, yet we recognize the
birth of a Saviour and Redeemer into the universal hearts of humanity,
wherein truly the deity is incarnate, dwelling in the interior
of man's spirit. We believe that each soul of man is born with his or
her Saviour within them; for as man is an embodiment of the universe
in epitome, he contains in his central nature an incarnation of deity.
The germ of immortal unfoldings resides within the spirit of it, which
needs only appropriate conditions to call forth the expanding and
elevating powers of the soul."
In "Spiritual Science Demonstrated," p. 229, Dr. Hare said:
"Since my spirit sister's translation to the spheres, she has
risen from the fifth to the sixth sphere. It has been alleged by her
that her ascent was retarded by her belief in the atonement."
A "spirit" calling himself Deacon John Norton, as reported
in the Banner of Light, said: --
"I used to believe in the atonement; I honestly believed that
Christ died to save the world, and that by and through his death all
must be saved if saved at all. Now I see that this is folly -- it
cannot be so. The light through Christ, the Holy One, shone in
darkness; the darkness could not comprehend it; and thus it crucified
the body, and Christ died a martyr. He was not called in that way,
that by the shedding of his blood, the vast multitude coming after him
should find salvation. Everything in nature proves this false. They
tell me here that Christ was the most perfect man of his time. I am
told here also that he is worthy to be worshiped, because of his
goodness; and where man finds goodness he may worship. God's face is
seen in the violet, and man may well worship this tiny flower."
In the pantheism of Spiritualism, every object in nature, the tiny
flower, the pebbles, the trees, the birds and bees, are worthy to be
worshiped as much as Christ. In one breath the spirits extol him as a
most perfect man, pre-eminent in goodness and worthy to be worshiped,
and in the next, place him in a position which would make him the
greatest fraud and impostor that ever lived. Such inconsistencies show
that Christ is a miracle which evil men and evil angels know not how to
As they deny Christ, they must, logically, deny the doctrine of his
second coming. This doctrine is made of especial importance and
prominence in the New Testament. The nature of that coming, its manner,
and the circumstances attending it are so fully described, that no one
who adopts the Bible view can possibly be deceived by false christs. But
the church and the world have been turned away from the true doctrine of
the second advent, and the way is thus prepared for the great deceptions
of the last days. Spiritualism is one of these, and claims that it is
itself that second coming. Joel Tiffany, a former celebrated teacher of
Spiritualism, has said: --
"I must look for the coming of my Lord in my own affection. He
must come in the clouds of my spiritual heavens, or he cannot come for
any benefit to me."
And through Mrs. Conant, a famous medium of the early days of
Spiritualism, the controlling spirit said: --
"This second coming of Christ means simply the second coming
of truths that are not themselves new, that have always existed. . . .
He said, 'When I come again, I shall not be known to you.'
Spiritualism is that second coming of Christ."--Banner of
Light, Nov. 18, 1865.
But the Bible description of this event is, the revelation of the
Lord himself in the clouds of heaven in the glory of the Father, the
reverberating shout of triumph, the voice of the archangel, the trump of
God, the flash of his presence like that of the lightning, the wailing
of the tribes of the earth, as they thus behold him, while unprepared to
meet him, and the resurrection of the righteous dead. And where and when
have these inseparable accompaniments of that event been seen? They do
not occur when a person is converted from sin, nor do they occur in time
dying chamber, nor have they occurred in Spiritualism; and until they do
take place, the second coming of Christ is not accomplished.
Many seek to dispose of such testimony as this, by making it all
figurative, or meeting it with a bold denial, as in the case of the
resurrection of the body. And the way has been too well prepared for
this condition of things, by much of the teaching of popular orthodoxy,
which turns the early records of the Bible into childish allegory,
perverts the true doctrine of the coming and kingdom of Christ, and
denies the resurrection of the dead, by destroying its necessity through
the immortality of the soul. On the vital point of the resurrection, Dr.
Clarke makes this noteworthy remark: --
"One remark I cannot help making,-- The doctrine of the
resurrection appears to have been thought of much more consequence
among the primitive Christians than it is now! How is this?--
The apostles were continually insisting on it, and exciting the
followers of God to diligence, obedience, and cheerfulness through it.
And their successors in the present day seldom mention it! So the
apostles preached, and so the primitive Christians believed; so we
preach and so our hearers believe. There is not a doctrine in the
gospel on which more stress is laid; and there is not a doctrine in
the present system of preaching which is treated with more
neglect."-- On 1 Corinthians 15 (original edition).
In view of the way the Bible has been treated by its professed
friends, it is no wonder that infidelity prevails, and Spiritualism
3. They Deny the Bible.-- The denial of God and Christ, as set
forth above is, of course, a denial of the Bible; and not much need
therefore be added on this point. We quote only a few representative
utterances. Doctor Hare ("Spiritual Science Demonstrated," p.
"The Old Testament does not impart a knowledge of immortality,
without which religion were worthless. The notions derived from the
gospels are vague, disgusting, inaccurate, and difficult to
As to the Old Testament, it would seem doubtful whether Mr. Hare ever
read far enough to find (1) Job exclaiming: "For I know that my
Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the
earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh
shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold
and not another; though my reins be consumed within me" (or, as the
margin reads: "My reins within me are consumed with earnest desire
[for that day];" or (2) David: "I shall be satisfied, when I
awake, with thy likeness;" or (3) Isaiah: "Thy dead men shall
live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye
that dwell in the dust;" or (4) Ezekiel: "Behold, O my people,
I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your
graves;" or (5) Daniel: "Many of them that sleep in the dust
of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame
and everlasting contempt;" and (6) Hosea: "I will ransom them
from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death." Job
19: 25-27; Ps. 17: 15; Isa. 26: 19; Eze. 37: 12; Dan. 12: 2; Hosea 13:
14. And as for the New Testament, it is no doubt "disgusting"
to many Spiritualists to read that "the fearful, and unbelieving,
and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and
idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which
burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death;" and
that without the city "are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers,
and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a
lie." Rev. 21:8; 22:15.
Communications from spirits are offered in place of the Bible as a
better source of instruction, the Bible being denounced, as above
quoted, as "vague, inaccurate, and difficult to believe." A
brief comparison of the two will furnish pertinent evidence on this
point. Take, on the Bible side, for example, a portion of the record of
creation (Gen. 1: 1-5): --
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And
the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face
of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the
light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And
the evening and the morning were the first day."
The facts stated in this record, the profoundest minds can never
comprehend; the language in which they are expressed, a little child can
understand. The statements are plain and simple, a perfect model of
perspicuous narrative. Place by the side of this an account of the same
event as given us from the "spheres." The spirits have
undertaken to produce a new Bible, beginning, like the old, with the
creation; and this is the way it starts out, through the medinmship of
"Rev." T. L. Harris:--
"1. In the beginning God, the Life in God, the Lord in God,
the Holy Procedure, inhabited the dome, which, burning in magnificence
primeval, and revolving in prismatic and undulatory spiral, appeared,
and was the pavilion of the Spirit: In glory inexhaustible and
inconceivable, in movement spherical, unfolded in harmonious procedure
"2. And God said, Let good be manifest! and good unfolded and
moral-mental germs, ovariums of heavens, descended from the Procedure.
And the dome of disclosive magnificence was heaven, and the expanded
glory beneath was the germ of creation. And the divine Procedure
inbreathed upon the disclosure, and the disclosure became the
We will inflict no more of this "undulatory spiral"
nonsense on the reader. He now has both records before him, and can
judge for himself which is the more worthy of his regard. There have
been Spiritualists who, writing in their normal state, and not yet fully
divorced from the influence of their former education, have acknowledged
the authenticity of the Bible, and the doctrines of Jesus as recorded in
the gospels. But these, it is claimed, are to be understood according to
a spiritual meaning which underlies the letter; and this spiritual
meaning generally turns out to be contrary to the letter, which is a
virtual denial of the record itself. But the quotations here given (only
a specimen of the multitudes that might be presented) are given on the
authority of the "spirits," whose teachings are what we wish
THEY DENY ALL DISTINCTION BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG
There is implanted in the hearts of men by nature, a sense of right
and a sense of wrong. Even those who know not God, nor Christ, nor the
gospel, possess this power of discrimination. This is what Paul, in Rom.
2: 15 calls "the work of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile
accusing or else excusing one another." That this distinction
should now be denied by a class in a civilized community, professing to
be advanced thinkers and teachers, among whom are found the learned, the
refined, and the professedly pious, shows that we have fallen upon
strange times. To be sure, many of them talk fluently of the beauty and
perfection of divine laws; but in the sense in which they would have
them understood, they rob them of all characteristics of law. The first
great essential of law is authority; but this they take away from it;
the next is penalty for its violation; but this they deny, and thus
degrade the law to a mere piece of advice. The "Healing of the
Nations," an authoritative work among Spiritualists, pp. 163, 164,
"Thus thy body needs no laws, having been in its creation
supplied with all that could be necessary for its government. Thy
spirit is above all laws, and above all essences which flow therein.
God created thy spirit from within his own, and surely the Creator of
law is above it; the Creator of essences must be above all essence
created. Amid if thou hast what may be or might be termed laws, they
are always subservient to thy spirit. Good men need no laws, and laws
will do bad or ignorant men no good. If a man be above law, he should
never be governed by it. If he be below, what good can dead, dry words
"True knowledge removeth all laws from power by placing the
spirit of man above it."
A correspondent of the Telegraph said of this work, "The
Healing of the Nations:
"According to its teaching, no place is found in the universe
for divine wrath and vengeance. All are alike and forever the object
of God's love, pity, and tender care -- the difference between the two
extremes of human character on earth, being as a mere atom when
compared with perfect wisdom."
This is a favorite comparison with them,-- that the difference
between God and the best of men is so much greater than the extremes of
character among men,-- the most upright and the most wicked, -- that the
latter is a mere atom, and not accounted of in God's sight. That there
is an infinite difference between God and the best of men, is all true;
for God is infinite in all his attributes, and man is very imperfect at
the best. But to argue from this that God is inferior to man, so that he
cannot discern difference in character here, even as man can plainly
discern it, seems but mad-house reasoning. What would we think of the
man who had the same regard for the thief as for the honest man, for the
murderer as for the philanthropist? To ignore such distinctions as even
men are able to discern would destroy the stability of all human
governments; what then would be the effect on the divine government? God
has given his law -- holy, just, and good -- to men, and commanded
obedience. He has attached the penalty to disobedience: "The soul
that sinneth, it shall die," "The wages of sin is death."
Eze. 18: 20; Rom. 6: 23. And in the judgment, the distinction God makes
in character will be plainly declared; for he will set the righteous on
his right hand, but the wicked on the left. Matt. 25: 32, 33.
This view of the failure of law, and the absence of all human
accountability, naturally leads to a bold denial of sin and the
existence of crime. The "Healing of the Nations," p. 169,
says: "Unto God there is no error; all is comparatively good."
The same work says that God views error as "undeveloped good."
A. J. Davis ("Nature of Divine Revelation," p. 521) says:
"Sin, indeed, in the common acceptation of that term, does not
A discourse from J. S. Loveland, once a minister, reported in the Banner
of Light, contained this paragraph: --
"With God there is no crime; with man there is. Crime does not
displease God, but it does man. God is in the darkest crime, as in the
highest possible holiness. He is equally pleased in either case. Both
harmonize equally with his attributes--they are only different sides
of the same Deity."
In "Automatic Writing" (1896), p. 139, a question was asked
concerning evil, meaning sin and crimes among men. The spirit answered
that these were conditions of progress, and were so necessary to
elevation that they were to be welcomed, not hated. The questions and
answers are as follows: --
"Ques.-- Can you give us any information in regard to
the so-called Devil--once so firmly believed in?
"Ans.-- Devil is a word used to conjure with.
"Q.-- Well, then, as the word itself doubtless arose
from the word 'evil,' which means to us unhappiness, can you give us
an explanation of tile existence of evil
"A.-- Evil--as you who are the greatest sufferers from
it, name one of the conditions of progress--is as necessary, aye, more
so, than what you call good, to your and our elevation to higher
spheres. It is not to be hated, but welcomed. It is the winnowing of
the grain from the chaff. Children of truth, don't worry over what to
you seems evil; soon you will be of us and will understand, and be
rejoiced that what you call evil persists and works as leaven in the
great work of mind versus matter.
" Q.-- But it seems to us impossible that brutal crimes
like murder, assassinations, or great catastrophes, by which the
innocent are made to suffer at the hands of malicious and cruel
persons, should work for ultimate good?
"A.-- Percipients of the grand whole of Being can
understand but may not state to those on your plane, the underlying
good making itself asserted even through such dreadful manifestations
of human imperfections as the crimes you name.
"When asked why certain wrongs were allowed to be perpetuated,
this answer was given: --
"There is a law of psychical essence which makes necessary all
these ephemeral entanglements which to you seem so severe, and you
will yet see from your own standpoint of reason why such hardships
must be endured by questioning souls on the highway of progress.
"Q.-- But do you from your vantage ground of larger
knowledge grow careless that such injustice is done?
"A.-- We do care, but cannot remedy.
"Q.-- --Why can't you remedy?
"A.-- Because humanity is but an embryo of existence.
"Q.-- If you can perceive the trials and sorrows of
mortals, and can interfere to save them, why do you not more often do
"A.-- When undeveloped souls pay the price of
development, we stand aloof, and let the play go on. Interference will
do no good."
In view of such a confession, what becomes of the many claims put
forth by other spirits that they are ever hovering near their friends to
assist amid guard them, to help and inspire them, and keep them from
evil and danger? These say that those terrible crimes (and this would
include all crimes) are all necessary, that they are tending to develop
souls, and bring them to higher spheres, and thus are just as laudable
as good actions; so they settle back in a gleeful mood, and "let
the play go on;" let wicked men cultivate and develop and practice
their evil propensities, and the innocent suffer. Well may men pray to
be delivered from such a spirit assembly as that.
In "Healing of the Nations," p. 402, Dr. Hare says: --
That anything should, even for an instant, be contrary to his will,
is inconsistent with his foresight and omnipotency. It would be a
miracle that anything counter to his will should exist."
A lecture on the "Philosophy of Reform," given by A. J.
Davis, in New York City, bears testimony to the same effect: --
"In the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, it is affirmed that
sin is the transgression of the law. But by an examination of nature,
the true and only Bible, it will be seen that this statement is
erroneous. It gives a wrong idea of both man and law. . . . It will be
found impossible for man to transgress a law of God."
Thus they very illogically assume that if God has the will or the
power to prevent evil, it could not exist, and therefore, if there is
such a God, he is responsible, forgetting that God is long-suffering,
and bears long with vessels of wrath fitted, for destruction, before
they pass beyond the limits of his mercy and perish. But Mr. Davis says
"Reformers need to understand that war is as natural to one
stage of human development as peace is natural to another. My brother
has the spirit of revenge. Shall I call him a demon? Is not his spirit
natural to his condition War is not evil or repulsive except to a man
of peace. Who made the non-resistant? Polygamy is as natural to one
stage of development as oranges are natural to the South. Shall I grow
indignant, and because I am a monogamist, condemn my kinsman of yore?
Who made him? Who made me? We both came up under the confluence of
social and political circumstances; and we both represent our
conditions and our teachers. The doctrine of blame and praise is
natural only to an unphilosophical condition of mind. The spirit of
complaint -- of attributing 'evil' to this and that plane of society
--is natural; but is natural only to undeveloped minds. It is a
profanation sort of atheism of which I would not be guilty."
The Bible says, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good
evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness." Isa. 5
20. And it makes another declaration which finds abundant confirmation
in the sentiments quoted above: "Because sentence against an evil
work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the Sons of men is
fully set in them to do evil." Eccl. 8: 11.
Having thus attempted to destroy in the minds of men all distinction
between good and evil, all being alike in God's sight, and all equally
good, they try to make the way a little broader and easier for men to
give full rein to all the propensities and inclinations of an evil
heart, by teaching that there is no Lawgiver and Judge before whom men
must appear to give an account of their deeds, but that they are
responsible to themselves alone, and must give account only to their own
natures. Thus Hon. J. B. Hall, in a lecture reported in the Banner of
Light, Feb. 6, 1864, said: --
"I believe that man is amenable to no law not written upon his
own nature, no matter by whom given By his own nature he must be tried
-- by his own acts he must stand or fall. True, man must give an
account to God for all his deeds; but how?-- Solely by giving account
to his own nature--to himself."
At a sťance reported in the Banner of Light, May 28, 1864,
the following question was proposed, and the answer was by the
communicating spirit: --
"Ques.-- To whom or to what is the soul accountable?
"Ans.-- To no Deity outside the realm of its own being,
certainly; to no God which is a creation of fancy; to no Deity who
dwells in a far-off heaven, and sits upon a white throne; to no Jesus
of Nazareth; to no patron saint; to no personality; to no principle
outside our own individual selves."
The "Healing of the Nations," p. 74, says: --
"Man is his own saviour, his own redeemer. He is his own
judge--in his own scales weighed."
A little over twenty years after the birth of Spiritualism, Aug. 25,
1868, the Fifth National Convention of Spiritualists was held in
Corinthian hall, Rochester, N. Y., at which a formal "Declaration
of Principles" was set forth. From time seventh and eighth
paragraphs, under principle 20, we quote the following: --
"Seventh, To stimulate the mind to the largest
investigation . . . that we may be qualified to judge for ourselves
what is right and true: Eighth, To deliver from all bondage
to authority whether vested in creed, book or church,
except that of received truth."
This is the same principle of man's responsibility to no one but
himself, authoritatively adopted. What a picture have we now before us!
Destroy man's belief in, and reverence for, God and Christ, as they do;
lead him to ridicule the atonement, the only remedy for sin; make him
disbelieve the Bible; take away from his mind all distinction between
right and wrong, and assure him that he is accountable to no one but
himself; and how better could one prepare the way to turn men into
demons. All this the spirits, by their teaching, seek to do. And can any
one fail to foresee the result? Comparatively a small proportion of the
inhabitants of this country have committed themselves to these views;
consequently but little of the legitimate fruit as yet appears; but take
human nature as it is and suppose all the inhabitants of this land to
act on these principles, and then what would we have? -- A pandemonium,
a scene of anarchy, riot, bloodshed, and all depths of rottenness and
corruption -- in short, a world where no place and no human being would
That this statement is none too strong, will appear as we look a
moment at some of the results which have already developed themselves
among the friends of such views, and as their inevitable fruit. The
tendency can by no possibility be otherwise than to atheism amid all
immorality. As has been already remarked, the repulsive features were
made much more prominent in the early stages of Spiritualism than at the
present time. They are now held in the background. The literature
touching these points has been remodeled, and an air of respectability
and religion assumed. Most of the quotations therefore date some years
back, and would be charitably withheld were there any evidence of reform
either present or prospective. But where or when have these principles
ever been officially repudiated, and evidence given that the consequent
practices had been abandoned? That there are many Spiritualists of
upright and moral lives, and honorable members of society, in the best
sense of that term, we gladly believe; but is not this because they are
living above their principles; and due, not to the influence, but rather
to the non-influence of real Spiritualism upon their lives? The
quotations given are from those who have been prominent among
Spiritualists as authors and speakers. If they overdraw the picture, the
responsibility is with them. Dr. B. P. Randolph, author of a work
"Dealings with the Dead," was eight years a medium, then
renounced Spiritualism long enough to expose its character, then
returned to it again, unable to break entirely away from the spell it
has fastened upon him. He gives his opinion of it in the following
"I enter the arena as the champion of common sense, against
what in my soul I believe to be the most tremendous enemy of God,
morals, and religion, that ever found foothold on the earth -- the
most seductive, hence the most dangerous, form of sensualism that ever
cursed a nation, age, or people. I was a medium about eight years.
during which time I made three thousand speeches and traveled over
several different countries, proclaiming its new gospel. I now regret
that so much excellent breath was wasted, and that my health of mind
and body was well nigh ruined. I have only begun to regain both since
I totally abandoned it, and to-day had rather see the cholera in my
house, than be a spiritual medium.
"As a trance speaker, I became widely known; and now aver that
during the 'entire eight years of my mediumship, I firmly and sacredly
confess that I had not the control of my own mind, as I now have, one
twentieth of the time; and before man and high heaven I most solemnly
declare that I do not now believe that during the whole eight years. I
was sane for thirty-six consecutive hours, in consequence of the
trance and the susceptibility thereto.
"For seven years I held daily intercourse with what purported
to be my mother's spirit. I am now fully persuaded that it was nothing
but an evil spirit, an infernal demon, who, in that guise, gained my
soul's confidence, and led me to the very brink of ruin. We read in
Scripture of demoniac possession, as well as abnormal spiritual
action. Both facts exist, provable to-day; I am positive the former
does. A. J. Davis and his clique of Harmonialists say there are no
evil spirits. I emphatically deny the statement. Five of my friends
destroyed themselves, and I attempted it, by direct spiritual
influences. Every crime in the calendar has been committed by mortal
movers of viewless beings. Adultery, fornication, suicides,
desertions, unjust divorces, prostitution, abortion, insanity, are not
evils, I suppose. I charge all these to this scientific Spiritualism.
It has also broken up families, squandered fortunes, tempted and
destroyed the weak. It has banished peace from happy families,
separated husbands and wives, and shattered the intellect of
The following is an extract from the writings of J. F. Whitney,
editor of the New York Pathfinder. His view of the subject
accords with that of Dr. Randolph: --
"Now, after a long and constant watchfulness, seeing for
months and for years its progress and its practical workings upon its
devotees, its believers, and its mediums we are compelled to speak our
honest conviction, which is, that the manifestations coming through
the acknowledged mediums, who are designated as rapping, tipping,
writing, and entranced mediums, have a baneful influence upon
believers, and create discord and confusion; that the generality of
these teachings inculcate false ideas, approve of selfish individual
acts, and endorse theories and principles, which, when carried out,
debase and make men little better than the brute. These are among the
fruits of Modern Spiritualism, and we do not hesitate to say that we
believe if these manifestations are continued to be received, and to
be as little understood as they are, and have been since they made
their appearance at Rochester, and mortals are to be deceived by their
false, fascinating, and snakelike charming powers, which go with them,
the day will come when the world will require the appearance of
another Saviour to redeem the world from its departing from Christ's
warnings. . . . Seeing, as we have, the gradual progress it makes with
its believers, particularly its mediums, from lives of morality to
those of sensuality and immorality, gradually and cautiously
undermining the foundation of good principles, we look back with
amazement to the radical change which a few months will bring about in
individuals; for its tendency is to approve and endorse each
individual act and character, however good or bad these acts may be.
"We desire to send forth our warning voice, and if our humble
position as the head of a public journal, our known advocacy of
Spiritualism, our experience, and the conspicuous part we have played
among its believers, the honesty and the fearlessness with which we
have defended the subject, will weigh anything in our favor, we desire
that our opinions may be received, and those who are moving passively
down the rushing rapids to destruction should pause, ere it be too
late, and save themselves from the blasting influence which those
manifestations are causing."
Every one who knows anything about Spiritualism has heard of Cora
Hatch, who traveled extensively, and manifested her powers as an
extemporaneous lecturer before astonished multitudes. One of her
husbands, Dr. Hatch, renounced Spiritualism, and the following is from
the testimony he bore concerning it: --
"The most damning iniquities are everywhere perpetrated in
spiritual circles, a very small percentage of which ever comes to
public attention. I care not whether it be spiritual or mundane, the
facts exist, and should demand the attention and condemnation of an
intelligent community. . . . The abrogation of marriage, bigamy,
accompanied by robbery, theft, rape, are all chargeable upon
Spiritualism. I most solemnly affirm that I do not believe that there
has, during the last five hundred years, arisen any people who are
guilty of so great a variety of crimes and indecencies as the
Spiritualists of America.
"For a long time I was swallowed up in its whirlpool of
excitement, and comparatively paid but little attention to its evils,
believing that much good might result from the opening of the avenues
of Spiritual intercourse. But during the past eight months I have
devoted my attention to critical investigation of its moral, social,
and religious bearing, and I stand appalled before the revelations of
its awful and damning realities."
Much testimony of this nature might be given from those who have had
similar experiences and equally favorable facilities for judging of the
character of Spiritualism. We present only a few extracts more.
Dr. Wm. B. Potter of New York, in an article under the head of
"Astounding Facts," and also in a tract entitled, "
Spiritualism as It Is," gives the result of his experience and
observations. His testimony is the more valuable, since he writes not
from the standpoint of one who has renounced Spiritualism, whose
feelings may for the time be overwrought, and his language stronger than
would be used in calmer moments. When he wrote, he was still an advocate
of Spiritualism, and spoke as a friend who would, if possible, induce
Spiritualists to reform their faith and their manner of living. He says:
"Fifteen years of critical study of Spiritual literature, an
extensive acquaintance with the leading Spiritualists, and a patient,
systematic, and thorough examination of the manifestations for many
years, enable us to speak from actual knowledge, definitely and
positively, of 'Spiritualism as It Is.' Spiritual literature is full
of the most insidious and seductive doctrines, calculated to undermine
the very foundations of morality and virtue, and lead to the most
"We are told that 'we must have charity,' that it is wrong to
blame any one, that we must not expose iniquity, as it will harden the
guilty,' that 'none should be punished,' that 'man is a machine, and
not to blame for his conduct,' that 'there is no high, no low, no
good, no bad,' that 'sin is a lesser degree of righteousness,' that
'nothing we can do can injure the soul or retard its progress,' that
'those who act the worst will progress the fastest,' that 'lying is
right, slavery is right, murder is right, adultery is right,' that
'whatever is, is right.'
"Hardly can you find a Spiritualist book, paper, lecture, or
communication that does not contain some of these pernicious
doctrines; in disguise, if not openly. Hundreds of families have been
broken up, and many affectionate wives deserted by 'affinity-seeking'
husbands. Many once devoted wives have been seduced, and left their
husbands and tender, helpless children, In follow some 'higher
attraction.' Many well-disposed but simple-minded girls have been
deluded by 'affinity' notions, and led off by 'affinity hunters,' to
be deserted in a few months, with blasted reputations, or led to deeds
still more dark and criminal, to hide their shame."
The same writer also mentions a fact which shows where the
responsibility of all this looseness of morals belongs. He says: --
"At the National Spiritual Convention at Chicago, called to
consider the question of a national organization, the only plan
approved by the committee, especially provided that no charge should
ever be entertained against any member, and that any person, without
any regard to his or her moral character, might become a member."
The fact that no plan could find approval which did not provide that
they should never be blamed nor called to account for any of their
deeds, shows on what points they felt the most anxious, and plainly
proves that they belong to the class of which Christ spoke, who loved
darkness rather than light, and who would not come to the light lest
their deeds should be reproved. John 3 : 19-21.
It is unpleasant to wade through pools of filth, and we therefore
spare the reader quotations from those Spiritualists who have not only
avowed the most revolting practices of free love, but openly advocated
the same, and endeavored to induce others to come out likewise, on the
ground that they were only honestly and publicly admitting what the
others believed and practiced in secret. For the same reason we pass by
the notorious Woodhull and Claflin, and Hull and Jamieson episodes, in
this field, which, in the illustration and language of another,
"burst upon the country like a rotten egg three thousand miles in
It may be said that these thing are in the past and the situation has
now greatly changed. For the benefit of those who thus flatter
themselves we introduce one more quotation. It is from "The Law of
Psychic Phenomena," by T. J. Hudson (A. C. McClurg & Co.,
Chicago, 1894). The language is candid and conciliatory, and the author
cannot be accused of any undue prejudice on the question of which he
speaks. On page 335, he says: --
"I do not charge Spiritualists as a class with being advocates
of the doctrines of free love. On the contrary, I am aware that, as a
class, they hold the marriage relation in sacred regard. I cannot
forget, however, that but a few years ago some of their leading
advocates and mediums proclaimed the doctrine of free love in all its
hideous deformity from every platform in the land. Nor do I fail to
remember that the better class of Spiritualists everywhere repudiated
the doctrine, and denounced its advocates and exemplars. Nevertheless
the moral virus took effect here and there all over the country, and
it is doing its deadly work in secret in many an otherwise happy home.
And I charge a large and constantly growing class of professional
mediums with being the leading propagandists of the doctrine of free
love. They infest every community in the land, and it is well
known to all men and women who are dissatisfied or unhappy in their
marriage relations, that they can always find sympathy by consulting
the average medium, and can, moreover, find justification for illicit
love by invoking the spirits of the dead through such mediums."
We have italicized that passage in the foregoing which shows that the
deadly evil is still working in secret, and that a large and constantly
growing number of professionals are aiding and abetting the iniquity.
DANGERS OF MEDIUMSHIP
A few testimonies will show that when one gives himself or herself up
to the control of the spirits, such ones take a most perilous position.
The spirits insist on their victims becoming passive, ceasing to resist,
and yielding their whole wills to them. Some of their persuasive words
are these: "Come in confidence to us;" "Let our teachings
deeply impress you;" "You must not doubt what we say;"
"Learn of us;" "Obey our directions and you will be
benefited;" "Seek to obtain knowledge of us;" "Have
faith in us;" "Fear not to obey;" "Obey us and you
will be greatly blessed;" etc., etc. Mesmerists operate in the same
way. They gain control of their subjects in the same way that the
spirits mesmerize their mediums and when under their control, the
spirits cause them to see whatever they bring before them, and hear
according to their wills, and do as they bid. And the things they
suppose they see and hear, and what they are to do, are only such things
as exist in the mind of the mesmerizing power. The subject is completely
at the mercy of the invisible agency; and to put one's self there is a
most heaven-daring and hazardous act. Mr. Hudson ("Law of Psychic
Phenomena," p. 336) says: --
"To the young whose characters are not formed, and to those
whose notions of morality are loose, the dangers of mediumship are appalling."
To further gain the confidence of mortals, the spirits claim to be
the ones who answer their prayers. lit "Automatic Writing," p.
142, we have this:--
"Ques.-- Will our friends tell us whether from their
point of view, there is any real efficacy in prayer?
"Ans. [by spirits].-- Shall not 'a soul's sincere
desire' arouse ill discarnate and free spirits effort to make that
sincere desire a reality? What good can come from aspirations on
mortal planes, save through the efforts to make those aspirations
realized on spiritual planes, by the will of freed spirits?"
Mediums are unable to resist the powers of the unseen world when once
under their control. Professor Brittan (" Telegraphic Answer to
Mahan," p. 10), concerning mediumship, says: --
"We may further add in this connection that the trance mediums
for spirit intercourse are equally irresponsible. Many of them are
totally unable to resist the powers which come to them from the
invisible and unknown realms."
Dr. Randolph ("Dealings with the Dead," p. 150) shows the
dangers of mediumship, as follows: --
"I saw that one, great cause of the moral looseness of
thousands of sensitive-nerved people on earth, resulted from the
infernal possessions and obsessions of their persons by delegations
from those realms of darkness and (to all but themselves) unmitigated
horror. A sensitive man or woman -- no matter how virtuously inclined
-- may, unless by constant prayer and watchfulness they prevent it and
keep the will active and the sphere entire, be led into the most
abominable practices and habits."
This same writer, in the same work, pp. 108, 109, says:--
"Those ill-meaning ones who live just beyond the threshold,
often obtain their ends by subtly infusing a semi-sense of volitional
power into the minds of their intended victims, so that at last they
come to believe themselves to be self-acting, when in fact they are
the merest shuttlecocks bandied about between the battledores of
knavish devils on one side, and devilish knaves upon the other, and
between the two the poor fallen wretches are nearly heart-reft and
A work by A. J. Davis called "The Diakka, and their Earthly
Victims," mentions the nature of these denizens of the spirit
world, and their wonderful location. The country (to speak after the
manner of men) which they inhabit, is so large that it would require not
less than 1,803,026 diameters of the earth to span its longitudinal
extent. This he had from a spirit he calls James Victor Wilson, a
profound mathematician! This space is occupied by spirits who have
passed from earth, who are " morally deficient" and
Page 7. The same spirit, Wilson, describes the diakka as those
"who take insane delight in playing parts, in juggling tricks, in
personating opposite characters to whom prayers and profane utterances
are of equi-value; surcharged with a passion for lyrical narrations; one
whose every attitude is instinct with the schemes of specious reasoning,
sophistry, pride, pleasure, wit, subtle convivialities; a boundless
disbeliever, one who thinks that all private life will end in the
all-consuming self-love of God."-- Page 13. On page 13 he
says further of them, that they are "never resting, never satisfied
with life, often amusing themselves with jugglery and tricky witticisms,
invariably victimizing others; secretly tormenting mediums, causing them
to exaggerate in speech, and to falsify in acts; unlocking and unbolting
the street doors of your bosom and memory; pointing your feet into wrong
paths, and far more."
What this "far more" is, we are left to conjecture. The
advertisement of this book says that it is "an explanation of much
that is false and repulsive in Spiritualism." W. F. Jamieson, in a
Spiritualist paper, called these diakka "a troop of devils,"
and quoted Judge Carter as saying: "There is one thing clear, that
these diakka, or fantastic or mixed spirits, are very numerous and
abundant, and take any and every opportunity of obtruding
Hudson Tuttle, author of "Life in Two Spheres" and other
Spiritualistic works, speaks of "a communication, through a noted
medium, to Gerald Massey from his 'dog Pip,' the said Pip 'licking the
slate and writing with a good degree of intelligence.'" He adds,
"Mr. Davis would say that 'Pip' was a 'diakka,' and to-morrow he
will communicate as George Washington. Theodore Parker, or Balaam's ass.
This diakka is flesh, fish, or fowl, as you may desire."
Some idea of how the spirits sometimes torment the mediums, as hinted
at above, may be gained from the following instance. In "Astounding
Facts from the Spirit World," pp. 253, 254, Dr. Gridley describes
the case of a medium sixty years of age, living near him in Southampton,
Mass. The sufferings inflicted upon him "in two months at the hands
of evil spirits would fill a volume of five hundred pages." Of
these sufferings, the following are specimens: --
"They forbade his eating, to the very point of starvation. He
was a perfect skeleton; they compelled him to walk day and night, with
intermissions, to be sure, as their avowed object was to torment him
as much and as long as possible. They swore by everything sacred and
profane, that they would knock his brains out, always accompanying
their threats with blows on the forehead or temples, like that of a
mallet in the hands of a powerful man, with this difference, however;
the latter would have made him unconscious, while in full
consciousness he now endured the indescribable agony of those heavy
and oft-repeated blows; they declared they would skin him alive; that
he must go to New York and be dissected by inches, all of which he
fully believed. They declared that they would bore holes into his
brain, when he instantly felt the action suited to the word, as though
a dozen augers were being turned at once into his very skull; this
done, they would fill his brain with bugs and worms to eat it out,
when their gnawing would instantly commence. . .
These spirits would pinch and pound him, twitch him up and throw
him down, yell and blaspheme, and use the most obscene language that
mortals can conceive; they would declare that they were Christ in one
breath, and devils in the next; they would tie him head to foot for a
long time together in a most excruciating posture; declare they would
wring his neck off because he doubted or refused obedience."
Who can doubt that such spirits are the angels of the evil one
himself? Dr. Gridley in the same work, p. 19, gives the experience of
another medium, for the truthfulness of which he offers the fullest
"We have seen the medium evidently possessed by Irishmen and
Dutchmen of the lowest grade--heard him repeat Joshua's drunken
prayers [Joshua was a strong but brutish man he had known in life],
exactly like the original, --imitate his drunkenness in word and deed
--try to repeat, or rather act over his most brutal deeds (from which
for decency's sake, he was instantly restrained by extraordinary
exertion and severe rebuke) -- snap and grate his teeth most
furiously, strike and swear, while his eyes flashed like the fires of
an orthodox perdition. We have heard him hiss, and seen him writhe his
body like the serpent when crawling, and dart out his tongue, and play
it exactly like that reptile. These exhibitions were intermingled with
the most wrangling and horrible convulsions."
These descriptions, it would seem, ought to be enough to strike
terror to any heart at the thought of being a medium. But there is yet
another phase of the subject that should not be passed by. These fallen
spirits who are engineering the work of Spiritualism, to maintain their
"assumed characters," and "play their parts" like
the aforesaid diakka, represent that disembodied spirits "just over
the threshold," still retain the characteristics they bore in life,
such as a disposition to sensuality and licentiousness, love of rum,
tobacco, and other vices, and that they can, by causing the medium to
plunge excessively into these things, thereby still gratify their own
propensities to indulge in them. The following sketch by Hudson Tuttle,
a very popular author among Spiritiualists, is somewhat lengthy, but the
idea could not better be presented than by giving it entire. In
"Life in Two Spheres," pp. 35-37, he says:--
"Reader, have you ever entered the respectable saloon? Have
you ever watched the stupid stare of the inebriate when the eye grew
less and less lustrous, slowly closing, the muscles relaxing, and the
victim of appetite sinking over on the floor in beastly drunkenness?
Oh, how dense the fumes of mingled tobacco and alcohol! Oh, what
misery confined in those walls! If you have witnessed such scenes,
then we need describe no further. If you have not, then you had not
better hear the tale of woe. Imagine to yourselves a barroom with all
its sots, and their number multiplied indefinitely, while
conscience-seared and bloated fiends stand behind the bar, from whence
they deal out death and damnation, and the picture is complete. One
has just arrived from earth. He is yet uninitiated in the
mysteries and miseries of those which, like hungry lions, await him.
He died while intoxicated -- was frozen while lying in the gutter, and
consequently is attracted toward this society. He possessed a good
intellect, but it was shattered beyond repair by his debauches.
"'Ye ar' a fresh one, aint ye?' coarsely queried a sot, just
then particularly communicative.
"'Why, yes, I have just died, as they call it, and 'taint so
bad a change after all; only I suppose there '11 be dry times here for
the want of something stimulant.'
"'Not so dry; lots of that all the time, and jolly times too.'
"'Drink! Can you drink, then?'
"'Yes, we just can, and feel as nice as you please. But all
can't, not unless they find one on earth just like them.
You go to earth, and mix with your chums; and when you find one
whose thoughts you can read, he's your man. Form a connection with
him, and when he gets to feeling good, you'll feel so
too--There, do you understand me? I always tell all fresh ones the
glorious news, for how they would suffer if it was n't for this
"'I'll try, no mistake.'
"'Here's a covey,' spoke an ulcerous-looking being; he's of
our stripe. Tim, did you hear what an infernal scrape I got into last
night? No, you didn't. Well, I went to our friend Fred's; he didn't
want to drink when I found him; his dimes looked so extremely large.
Well, I destroyed that feeling, and made him think he was dry.
He drank, and drank, more than I wanted him to, until I was so drunk
that I could not break my connection with him, or control his mind. He
undertook to go home, fell into the snow, and came near freezing to
death. I suffered awfully, ten times as much as when I died.' . . .
Reader, we draw the curtain over scenes like these, such as are daily
occurring in this society."
In these cases the whole evil of the indulgences of course falls upon
the mediums; and who would wish to assume personal relation with such a
world, and be forced to bear in their own bodies the evils of the
unhallowed indulgences of unseen spirits, against their will?
Other scenes represented as taking place in the spirit land, are most
grotesque and silly and would be taken as a burlesque upon Spiritualism,
were they not put forth in all gravity by the friends and advocates of
that so-called new revelation. Thus Judge Edmunds, giving an account of
what he had seen in the spirit world, mentions the case of an old woman
busy churning, who promised him, if he would call again, a drink of
buttermilk; he speaks of men fighting, of courtezans trying to continue
their lewd conduct; of a mischievous boy who split a dog's tail open,
and put a stick in it, just to witness its misery; of the owner of the
dog, who, attracted by its cries, discovered the cause, and beat the
boy, who fled, but was pursued and beaten and kicked far up the road.
See Edmund's "Spiritualism," Vol. II, pp. 135-144, 181, 182,
186, 189. Surely here are the diakka playing their pranks in all their
On the leading points of faith as held by Christians generally,
quotations have been given to show sufficiently what the spirits teach,
and the object they are trying to effect. But the reader will be
interested to learn what they teach on some other points which
incidentally appear in their communications.
Spiritualists object most strenuously to the idea of unconsciousness
in death, or to the Bible declaration, "The dead know not
anything." But the spirits themselves teach this very thing. Thus
Judge Edmunds, Vol. II, Appendix B, p. 524, quotes the confession of a
spirit that he was totally unconscious for a time, he could not tell how
long, and awoke to consciousness gradually; and that the state of
unconsciousness differs with different persons, depending on
circumstances. A. J. Davis admits that Professor Webster was eight days
and a half unconscious.--"Death and the After Life," pp.
Through Mrs. Conant, medium, in Banner of Light, June 3, 1865,
we have this information: "It is said that some spirits require a
thousand years to awake to consciousness. Is this true? -- Yes, this is
true." In "Automatic Writing," p. 93, the spirits teach
the same thing to-day. If others deny such statements, it only shows
that their testimony is contradictory and therefore unreliable.
Again, the Bible doctrine that the incorrigibly wicked must cease
from conscious existence, is denounced by Spiritualists; but on this
point the spirits confess also: --
"Ques.-- Do I understand you to say that a diakka is
one who believes in ultimate annihilation?
"Ans.--Only yesterday one said to a lady medium, signing
himself 'Swedenborg,' this: 'Whatsoever is, has been, will be, or may
be, that I AM, and private life is but the aggregative
phantasms of thinking throblets rushing in their rising onward to the
central heart of eternal death.' "--"Diakka" p. 11.
"Q.-- Does every human being continue life on higher
"A.-- Shall not all who are abortions die?
"Q.-- Do you mean that some born on this plane may
spiritually die from lack of force to persist?
"A.-- Yes--both women and men are born into the divine
humanity who must necessarily perish, because they have not sufficient
soul strength to persist." -- "Automatic Writing,"
pp. 101, 102.
There is, it seems, a purgatory in the spirit world. In answer to a
question, a spirit replied: --
"There is a sphere in spirit life allotted to those who leave
the earthly plane in spiritual ignorance, which is not pleasing
to dwell upon, yet which is absolutely necessary to spiritual soul
growth."- Id., p. 90.
Spiritualism is claimed to settle the question of immortality; but
the spirits confess themselves ignorant of it:
"Ques.-- On your plane do you arrive at certainty in
regard to immortality?
"Ans.-- We here are as ignorant as you are as to
the ultimate of existence. immortality is still an undetermined
issue. One life at a time seems as pertinent with us as with
you."-- Id., p. 103.
The spirits' heaven, it seems, is not so desirable a place that it
prevents their being homesick.
"Ques.-- Why are you homesick?
"Ans.-- Have not found out the real reason; things are
so different from former ideas."-- Id., p. 111.
Spirits are not allowed to tell too much about their condition, as
the following question and answer show: --
"Ques.-- Can't you tell us what makes it pleasanter,--
describe so we can understand?
"Ans.-- You'll find out as I did -- 'gainst the
rules here to tell. . . . Just be patient--it's all easy enough
when you learn how. I was puzzled, but it all seems straight enough
now."-- Id., p. 115.
They teach the pre-existence of souls, and the old pagan doctrines of
the reincarnation of souls, and the final absorption of all into
Nirvana. A spirit having answered that all had been asserted in some
other forum, questions and answers followed from which we quote: --
"Q.-- Is that statement an intimation of the truth of
"A.-- Souls of all who have preceded you are centered
in you in spite of your childish protests. Ask not of those
predecessors; for they yet live in you, and you in them.
Long ago you and I went over the ground under eminent names. . . .
Were not we together when Socrates and Aspasia talked?" -- Id.,
pp. 151, 152.
Q.--Can you tell us, at least, whether spirit, as a whole or in its
individual atoms, exists eternally?
"A.--Yes; spirit as a whole is eternal--exists--did exist --
by force of Powers you cannot understand. But you as individual,
self-conscious, atomistic particles of spirit wholeness, are not
eternal, and must return to the Primal Source."--Id., p. 133.
SPIRITS CANNOT BE IDENTIFIED
Having now sufficiently examined the teaching of the spirits, a final
question arises in regard to them, whether it is possible to identify
them, and determine with any absolute certainty whether they are the
spirits of the particular individuals they claim to be, or even spirits
of the dead at all, or not. It should be distinctly borne in mind,
always, that evil angels, whose existence has been proved from the
Bible, whose nature and delight is to deceive, can walk the earth
unseen, imitate and personate any individual, and reveal their
characteristics of thought, writing, acts, form, and features, and make
so perfect a counterfeit as to defy detection. How, then, can it be told
what spirit it is, even though it shows the face and features of some
well-known friend? On this topic, as on preceding questions,
Spiritualists themselves may produce the evidence. President Mahman
("Discussion with Tiffany and Rhen," p. 13) remarks: --
"Certain experiments have been made, in order to determine
whether spirits are present. Individuals go in as inquirers, and get
definite answers-- in the first place, from departed spirits of
persons yet living; in the second place, from departed spirits
of persons who never existed here or anywhere else; in the
third place, from the departed spirits of brute beasts."
When it is considered, as already noted, that spirits do their work
through mesmeric power, it is easy to understand how the medium is made
to believe that such and such a spirit is communicating when it is not
so at all. This question of identity came up in the very early stages of
Spiritualism, and is no nearer settled, on their own confession, now
than then. A Mr. Hobart, in 1856, who claimed to be the first
Spiritualist in Michigan, made the following admission: --
"The spirit sometimes assumes the name of an individual
belonging to the same church, to induce them to hear. This is
necessary with some who are so bigoted they would not believe unless a
name was assumed which they respected."
An article in the Spiritual Telegraph, of July 11, 1857,
begins as follows: --
"The question is continually being asked, especially by
novitiates in spiritual investigations, How shall we know that the
spirits who communicate with us are really the ones whom they purport
to be? . . . In giving the results of our own experience and
observation upon this subject, we would premise that spirits
unquestionably can, and often do, personate other spirits, and that,
too, often with such perfection as, for the time being, to defy every
effort to detect the deception. . . . If direct tests are demanded at
all, we would recommend that they be asked for the purpose of proving
that the manifesting influence is that of a spirit, rather than
to prove what particular spirit is the agent of its
This is an entire begging of the whole matter in question; for it is
not denied that it is a spirit; we want to know what particular
spirit it is; but for that we must not ask; for it cannot be
ascertained. The same article states that other and lower spirits often
crowd in and take the place of the spirit communicating, without the
knowledge of the medium. We might also quote "Spiritualism as It
Is," p. 14, that "not one per cent, of the manifestations have
had a higher origin than the first and second spheres, which are filled
with low, ignorant, deceptive, mischievous, selfish, egotistical
spirits;" and "Dealings with the Dead," p. 225, that
"the fact is, good spirits do not appear one tenth as often as
Jan. 7, 1888, the following appeared in the Bamner of Light:
"Ques.-- What is the cause of our receiving
inconsistent and untruthful communications? Does the blame, if any
there is, rest with us or the controlling intelligence?
"Ans.-- There are spirits who delight in imposing upon
mortals; they realize their power outside of material things, and that
those who seek knowledge from them cannot see nor get hold of them;
therefore to an extent they exercise a certain power over those
mortals who approach; and if the mortals are themselves tricky by
nature, insincere, ready to take advantage of others, whether it be at
the time of sitting or in their daily life, rest assured they may be
imposed upon by spirits from the other side who occupy a like plane of
existence with themselves."
Mediums themselves will not trust the spirits, according to
statements made as late as 1896. Mrs. S. A. Underwood, medium, in
"Automatic Writing," p. 55, says: --
"With all my experience in it, I would not to-day venture upon
any change, business venture, friend ship, or line of conduct, advised
from this source, unless my own common material sense endorsed it.
Indeed, I would not take as fact any of its even reasonable advice
without question, because it is not reliable as a guide in earthly
Spirit communication, then, certainly does not amount to much as a
heavenly instructor, a celestial guide to enlighten the ignorance of
men. Whatever we know ourselves, we may rely upon; all else is
uncertain. Again, on p. 56, she says: --
"Then the assumption of great names by apparently common-place
minds is a very strange thing. I was horrified and annoyed when this
occurred under my own hand, because that is one of the things which
disgusted me with spiritual messages before this writing came to me,
as I had occasionally glanced over such messages. When I protested
against such assumption, I was told that 'Elaine and Guinevere' were
not real beings, but types. So somewhere in our sphere are spirits who
embody cleverness in creations of their own fancy, and adopt names
suited to that fancy."
Thus the spirits themselves confess that the names they often assume
are not those of real beings, but typical and fanciful. Nothing more, it
would seem, is necessary to complete the condemnation of Spiritualism,
so far as its own nature is concerned. When in addition to all else, it
appears that the spirits cannot be identified; that the whole underlying
claim that the spirits are the spirits of the dead, must itself be
assumed; and that, too, in the face of the numberless known falsehoods
and deceptions that are constantly issuing from the unseen realm,--
there is nothing left for it to stand upon.
 The revision of Dr.
Clarke's Commentary by Dr. Curry, proves the truthfulness of what the
doctor here says, for this important passage is entirely eliminated, and
its place filled with statements which Dr. Clarke did not make, and
sentiments which he did not believe. It is no less than a crime to treat
a dead man's work in this manner.
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