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Chapter 10

A Dangerous Delusion

SPIRITISM is one of the most dangerous delusions that has ever been introduced to the human family. In fact, the writer knows of no delusion more dangerous than Spiritism. As already shown, the Book of God contains many warnings and denunciations against it, and the results of its acceptance have abundantly proved that every one of those inspired warnings was needed. It was specifically pointed out to the Israelites when they entered Canaan, that the inhabitants of that land were dispossessed and evicted because of their practice of the very things that Spiritism practises today. Said Jehovah:

"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee." Deut. 18: 9-12.

What the Bible denominates "a consulter with familiar spirits," we now call a spirit medium, a psychic. A necromancer is one who pretends to hold converse with the dead. Wizards and witches are those who have dealings with evil spirits -- sorcerers. An enchanter is also one who pretends to use some supernatural or secret powers to work a spell upon another. All those things the ancient Palestinians did, and all those things are done today -- most of them in the ordinary practice of Spiritism. In short, that is what Spiritism is.

To such an extent had those inhabitants of Canaan carried Spiritism, and so dishonoring to God had their practices become, that their eviction, and in' some cases their extinction, was commanded. Because of the execution of that judgment, infidels have railed against God in indignation for many decades. And yet God had waited with infinite patience through centuries for those wicked peoples to depart from their debasing and God-dishonoring practices. In fact, He held Israel back because "the iniquity of the Amorites" was " not yet full." Gen. 15:16. When they had filled up the cup of their iniquity, God finished with them. In Leviticus 18: 25 He says:

"The land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants."

The practice of Spiritism, as previously shown, was one of the things that defiled the land. God bore with it till there was no remedy or hope, and faithfully warned those whom He gave possession in place of the defilers of His land, that they must not follow the evil ways of the evicted inhabitants. Today Spiritism is filling the earth, not a portion only; and the work which God did in ridding the land of Palestine of Spiritism and its fruits He is preparing now to do for the whole world. God has borne long and patiently with earth's inhabitants; but the majority of them have spurned His warnings and despised and even persecuted those whom He used in making those warnings known.

Against the possibility of swift and certain judgment for these things the multitude scoff, and against its justice infidelity will vehemently contend; but God has declared His purpose, and scoffings and railings will not avail. The apostle Peter has left this inspired warning:

"Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which' are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" 2 Peter 3: 2-12.

God destroyed the inhabitants of the earth once for their wickedness; the cities of the plain of Sodom perished in fire for the iniquity of their ways; He drove out or destroyed the inhabitants of Palestine, and put another people in their place for the same reason; but now, in the end of His controversy with sin, He tells earth's inhabitants that he will bring an all-consuming and universal judgment upon the world. And the reason for this destruction is the same reason that led Him to punish the world, or cities, or peoples, in the past. Their cities or nations were defiled; but today, as before the flood, the whole world is undergoing defilement; and one of the defiling agencies leading to that catastrophic climax is the very same thing that caused Jehovah to drive out the Palestinians before the armies of Israel -- Spiritism.

That seductive delusion, which would drive God out of His universe, dispense with Jesus Christ as the Saviour of men, and make a race of gods out of a race of sinful, selfish, dying human beings, is establishing its soul-withering propaganda in all the nations of earth. We are not surprised at that; for Inspiration nearly two thousand years ago warned the world that thus it would be in the last days. Says the revelator:

"I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon [Satan], and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he [" they." R. V.] gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Rev. 16: 13-16.

The prophet saw those unclean spirits -- the same spirits that God warned His people against in the days of Israel, the same spirits that had caused the heathen peoples of Canaan to defile the land -- going out into all parts of the earth to work with all manner of lying wonders and all deceivableness of unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2: 9, 10), for the purpose of nullifying the gospel work and stamping out all true religion. Says the revelator in another place:

"Rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Rev. 12: 12.

Spiritism, which is one of the most pronounced workings of Satan in these days, is the most dangerous delusion with which humanity now has to deal. It is not a new delusion. Satan has propagated it through all the generations of the past; but he has given it a dress in our day that captivates the minds of millions, even the minds of great scientists, and these he uses to make his snare of ruin the more inviting. To those who are captivated by Spiritism and surrendered to it, the gospel of Jesus Christ, which alone can save men, seems a superfluity and has no charms. Then when probation closes, when the curtain falls on the last act in the blood-red tragedy of sin, such captivated souls, having spurned the only way to eternal life, find themselves in that company that must go down into eternal death. It is Satan's purpose to carry down with him into everlasting ruin as many of earth's inhabitants as he can sweep into his net; and Spiritism has proved his most effective means to that end.

But men do not reach such a dangerous climax at one bound. Prof. Frederic W. H. Myers tells us, in speaking of telepathy:

"If we have once got a man's thought operating apart from his body, . . . there is no obvious halting place on his side till we come to 'possession' by a departed spirit, and there is no obvious halting place on my side till we come to 'traveling clairvoyance,' with a corresponding visibility of my own phantasm to other persons in the scenes which I spiritually visit."--" Human Personality," Vol. I, p. 250, ed. 1920.

This scientist sees clearly the issue involved in that first step toward Spiritism, which men term telepathy. He states the issue clearly. The practice of telepathy leads on into "possession" by a "departed spirit." Those dishuman intelligences who represent themselves as "departed spirits" are demons and nothing else. The ones whom they claim to represent are quietly sleeping in their dusty beds, awaiting "the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God" to wake them from their long sleep. If, then, demon possession is the goal toward which the first step in Spiritism leads, how important it is that we avoid that first step!

Mesmerism (or hypnotism) and telepathy are both branches of Spiritism. The dangers involved in the practice of hypnotism are only too well known, and those who are adepts in telepathy have demonstrated their ability to bring about hypnosis by the exercise of their telepathic powers. In the experiment which follows, the subject, a woman, was completely brought under the control of the experimenter, though at a considerable distance from his home, and brought to him through the exercise of telepathic hypnosis:

"The subject of these experiments . . . was Prof. Pierre Janet's well-known subject, Madam B. The first experiments were carried out with her at Havre, by Professor Janet and Dr. Gibert, a leading physician there. . . .

"In the evening (22d) we all dined at M. Gibert's, and in the evening M. Gibert made another attempt to put her to sleep at a distance from his house in the Rue Séry,-- she being at the PavilIon, Rue de la Ferme,-- and to bring her to his house by an effort of will. At 8: 55 he retired to his study, and MM. Ochorowicz, Marillier, Janet, and A. T. Myers went to the PavilIon, and waited outside in the street, out of sight of the house.

"At 9:22 Dr. Myers observed Madam B. coming halfway out of the garden gate, and again retreating. Those who saw her more closely observed that she was plainly in the somnambulic state, and was wandering about and muttering. At 9: 25 she came out (with eyes persistently closed, so far as could be seen), walked quickly past MM. Janet and Marillier without noticing them, and made for M. Gibert's house, though not by the usual or shortest route. . . . She avoided lamp-posts, vehicles, etc., but crossed and recrossed the street repeatedly. No one went in front of her or spoke to her. After eight or ten minutes she grew much more uncertain in gait, and paused as though she would fall. Dr. Myers noted the moment in the Rue Faure; it was 9:35. At about 9:40 she grew bolder, and at 9:45 reached the street in front of M. Gibert's house. There she met him, but did not notice him, and walked into his house, where she rushed hurriedly from room to room on the ground floor. M. Gibert had to take her hand before she recognized him. She then grew calm.

"M. Gibert said that from 8:55 to 9:20 he thought intently about her; from 9:20 to 9:35 he thought more feebly; at 9:35 he gave the experiment up, and began to play billiards; but in a few minutes began to will her again. It appeared that his visit to the billiard room had coincided with her hesitation and stumbling in the street."-- Id., pp. 525-527.

The person who submits to such experiments as this deliberately places himself in mental subjection to the will of another. That other is practising one of the branches of Spiritism, and the goal at which that practice aims is "possession" by some spirit representing himself to be the spirit of one who is dead. Such "possession" leads the "possessed" one a captive at the chariot wheels of Satan. God holds each individual accountable to Himself direct, and he who surrenders his soul to the dictation and direction of another, sins against his own soul, and puts another person in the place of his God. It is an insult to our Creator thus to play fast and loose with our duty and responsibility to Him. There is no more dangerous course for a human being to adopt.

The question arises in many minds, What really happens when a person becomes a spirit medium? That question is answered in the following quotation:

"Let us suppose we are 'spirits,' whatever that means, in a future existence, wherever that may be, and try to imagine what we would do.

"In the first place, we assume that we would want to communicate, if possible, with those we left behind on earth.

"But how should we communicate? . . . Speaking necessitates material organs of speech; writing involves a bodily hand to grasp a pencil. The spirit is immaterial; has no body; needs none to communicate in its own world.

"Immediately comes the answer: The spirit may temporarily use some living person's body! Exactly: and that is just what it seems to do. Really, when you think about it, is not that the natural and simple thing for a disembodied spirit to do? Myers says he considers the main objection usually raised to mediumistic communications really a confirmatory point. He says [National Review for 1898, p. 232]: 'I should have expected knowledge of a future world to come, if at all, through some use made by disembodied spirits of living organisms.' --"Are the Dead Alive?" by Fremont Rider, pp. 261, 262.

This is "spirit possession," and "spirit possession is in reality "demon possession," the very condition from which Jesus released certain persons when He was here. It can thus be seen how different was the attitude of Jesus toward such a course from the attitude of those who in this day invite such "possession." Jesus said, "Come out of him, and enter no more into him." Mark 9: 25. But Spiritists invite the very demons whom Jesus cast out of men and women, to come to them and enter into them and take possession. They are reversing His work, and surrendering their souls to ruin. And all this is involved when one sets out upon the path of Spiritism. Those who have done so, and then sought for freedom from satanic control, have found their path a thorny and difficult one.

I will give the experience of one woman who had been a spirit medium, and who, upon learning what Spiritism really is, determined to cut loose from it, and give herself entirely to God. Pastor E. S. Butz, of Cooranbong, N. S. W., knowing personally of the experience of this person in breaking away from Spiritism, interviewed her, and the following is a verbatim report of the interview:

"Question.-- Will you please tell me how this began?

"Answer.-- It began in the bush, hundreds of miles away. My children, who were all dead, came and sang most heavenly songs to me. My first experience as a fortune teller was for church benefits -- English and Methodist. The first night I cleared £25. This led me to the conclusion that I could as easily make money for myself as any one else, and hence I began to practise in Tasmania, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

"Ques.-- What were the spirits that controlled you?

"Ans.-- There were two: one, the spirit (purported) of a departed clergyman, and under the spell of this spirit my sermons were wonderful, so they tell me, my mind being vacant; the other, an evil spirit, of a departed red Indian.

"Ques.-- How were you affected on entering our meeting?

"Ans.-- The spirits clutched at my throat and made it quite sore, and tried to drag me out. Since then they have tried to drown me many times.

"Ques.-- Will you relate your experience on your journey from Cairns to Brisbane?

"Ans.-- Yes. Several times I was violently thrown out of my berth, the result being internal hemorrhage, causing me to vomit large clots of blood. I had given my heart to God, and determined that I would pray and study my Bible, and on one occasion they snatched the Bible three times out of my hands, throwing it upon the floor; but I determined to have the victory, and appealed to 'God for help.

"Ques.-- How long did these things continue?

"Ans.-- Right up to the hour of my baptism.

"Ques.-- Please give a description of the happenings.

"Ans.-- At four o'clock in the morning the spirits took me by the right arm and threw me out of bed onto the floor between the bed and the wall. [I was called into her room, and helped to lay her on the bed, and prayed for her at this time. E. S. BUTZ.]

"Ques.-- Is that what made the deep bruise on the muscle of your right arm?

"Ans.-- Yes. It is very painful, the size of a large hen's egg. I was surrounded by many demons, who clamored for my life, saying, 'She is no more use to us; let us kill her.' The darkness that enveloped me was very dense, and I asked God to help me; and as soon as I cried to Him for help, Jesus was by my side, and I was rescued from their power. My only hope I knew was in Jesus. Since my baptism the spell of the spirits over me has been broken, and I am very grateful to God for His goodness and mercy to me.

"Signed in the presence of two witnesses,

Many another has had equally terrifying experiences in trying to break away from such demon possession. Mrs. Whirland did not understand that, when she began telling fortunes for money, she was entering upon Satan's ground, that she was taking the first step toward the goal of spirit, or demon, possession. When that innocent-appearing trap was sprung, the victim found that she was dealing with forces against which, in her own strength, she was powerless to contend successfully. How true it is that in such contests "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph. 6:12. It is dangerous, therefore, even to dabble in Spiritism.

Spiritist leaders themselves are conscious of the dangers involved in the practice of Spiritism. The editor of the Spiritist journal Light, published in London, has himself thought it necessary to issue a warning in this connection, and that warning was republished in the Harbinger of Light (Spiritist), of Melbourne, Australia, in its issue of December, 1921. The article was entitled, "Exploring the Borderland; Some Needed Cautions," and was based on an extract from what is known as "The Dowding Script." The writer of this article (W. T. P.) says, among other things:

"I would hazard the guess that fully seventy per cent of what are believed to be messages from disembodied human souls now being received, are nothing of the kind. Let it be stated at once that I am expressing my own belief, based upon careful research extending over many years, but that my opinion carries no special authority with it. It is natural that the war should have enormously stimulated interest in the possibility of communicating with the wider world. Because of this very fact, I think that the warning quoted at the heading of this article is timely, and should be heeded. . . . The actual source of the ideas received is not to be fathomed easily. . . .

"There are good reasons for believing that large numbers of untrained people are 'tearing at the veils' from Borderland in the attempt to reach our world. For this reason the need for warning at this juncture is, in my opinion, far greater than is realized even by the leaders of the Spiritualistic movement.

"Forces are being unchained at the present time about which we know very little. It is dangerous to a degree for untrained people to attempt to harness or to become channels for these forces. Advanced students themselves are only dimly aware of their origin, use, potency, and characteristics. The amateur who attempts to pierce the veil taps such forces unconsciously, and has no conception of what he is doing. If I stress this point, it is because I believe that the dangers are too little understood at present."

It is very evident that the woman whose experience we have referred to tapped forces that she did not understand -- until she sought release from them. Then their uncanny, cruel, and satanic nature was revealed. Mr. W. T. P. does not trust the forces that are "tearing at the veil;" and if he, a confirmed Spiritist, cannot and dare not trust them, why should any one else?

But the question arises, How is one to become a past master in that cult without practising it? One must go into the water in order to learn to swim. If Spiritism is dangerous for "amateurs," no one can ever become a Spiritist without subjecting himself to that danger. True it is, as W. T. P. declares, "the dangers are too little understood." No one who believes that any of the messages coming from "spirits" are from the spirits of the dead, understands the forces he is dealing with. He may have been a Spiritist for a generation; but if he believes the spirits are what they represent themselves to be, he has stepped into the devil's trap and sprung it with himself inside.

W. T. P. is an experienced Spiritist, having carefully investigated the cult for many years, and yet he has no definite statement to make regarding Spiritism, except to warn amateurs to beware of it. He hazards a "guess" that seventy per cent of Spiritist messages are fraudulent. He does not seem to be sure that any of them are what they purport to be -- and this after many years' investigation.

The writer is very certain that none of them are what they purport to be. They purport to be messages from the spirits of the dead; and we know, from the most dependable and trustworthy source in the world, that the dead are in no position to communicate with the living, and have neither the permission nor the power to do so. Whenever the temptation comes to one to "seek to the dead" through one who has "a familiar spirit," let that temptation be met with the unshakable and ever-constant word of God: "The dead know not anything;" "their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished;" "in that very day his thoughts perish." That is a shield that will quench all the fiery darts of the satanic forces that are filling the earth today with the doctrines and the practices of Spiritism.

The perils attendant upon accepting the cult of Spiritism were well set forth recently by the Rev. A. V. Magee, son of the late Archbishop Magee, in a sermon in St. Mary's, Soho (Charing Cross Road). He said, inter alia:

"There is the peril of the fraud. All Spiritualists would agree that the spirits beyond had the power of personating various personalities. With their knowledge and low moral cunning and cruelty, they had the power of infinite fraud, for they could represent themselves to be some one else. They not only represented themselves to be superior intelligences, but to be the departed friends of those who sought the aid of spirits. When people thought they were getting messages from one of their loved ones in the Unseen, they were getting a message from an immoral personality. That was the tragedy and the cruelty of the whole thing.

"Not only insanity, but immoral influences were associated with Spiritism. He had received statements which he could implicitly trust concerning undergraduates who had originally done brilliantly in the colleges. His friend, who related the circumstance, told him of an undergraduate, whom he knew intimately, rushing one night into his room at college, and asking in great distress for brandy. He ministered it to him, and got his story. This young man and two friends had been playing with the planchette, and in the course of the process he had felt a force pressing himself against the wall. He looked afterward into a saucer on the table, and saw the reflection of a most horrible face, and fled in terror from the room. That young man, who had previously done so brilliantly, took only a third class, and fell later into dissipated habits."-- The Wellington (New Zealand) Dominion, Dec. 31, 1919.

The forces which that young man tapped succeeded in ruining his career and destroying his soul -- unless some day he shall come to himself, understand what the power is that enthralls him, and through complete surrender to God, lay hold upon the only power that can bring him deliverance. Surely the warning issued by W. T. P. is a warning which ought not to fall upon deaf ears.

Here is another case attended by most distressing results. I give the incident just as published in the Melbourne Argus, of April 10, 1922, and dated London, April 9:

"M. Coué. of Nancy. who is described as an authority on autosuggestion, is on a visit to London. where he has held a remarkable series of séances, in which apparently a number of cures have been effected. Lady Beatty, who had benefited by autosuggestion, induced M. Coué to visit the Tooting Neurological Hospital, where soldiers suffering from shell shock are under treatment. One hundred patients attended a demonstration. After half an hour a soldier suffering from bodily tremors went on the platform. M. Coué made passes, and suggested to the patient that the tremors were unreasonable. Suddenly the soldier gave a piercing shriek, contorted his face and body, and writhed on the floor. The effect of this frenzy upon the spectators was horrible. Man after man shrieked and flung himself on the floor in uncontrollable hysteria. The doctors and nursing sisters were unable to calm them. Lady Beatty ran out of the hall in distress, and M. Coué abruptly terminated the demonstration."

The restorative work of months was undone in a moment, because M. Coué had tapped forces he did not understand and could not control; and it cannot be charged against him that he was an amateur, for he was advertised as an authority on autosuggestion, and had been conducting a remarkable series of séances. M. Coué could not protect even these pitiable victims of shell shock from the merciless forces he professed to be able to bring to their help.

It is recognized that when one yields himself unreservedly to the control of a friend whom he has long known, he is placing himself in a very dangerous position. But when he yields himself to forces and personalities concerning which even experienced Spiritists are doubtful and wary, his position is all the more dangerous. It is the very acme of folly so to do. But that is exactly what one does when he yields himself to Spiritism. This is admitted in the following paragraph:

"In the light trance, which is the typical condition for communication, the medium may either speak or write the messages which come to her. In the more common examples she merely repeats messages given her by persons 'on the other side.' In its most developed form, however--that is motor automatism (as in Mrs. Piper's case)--the spirit claims to take entire control of the medium's body (in other words, to be an example of 'possession,' like the 'Watseka Wonder' already noticed). The medium then speaks, not in her own voice, but in the voice -- so far as she can do so -- of the alleged spirit; her handwriting is not her own, but changes with that of each spirit who uses her body; her gestures are not her normal ones, but may be characteristic of the discarnate spirit who claims to be present. In other words, the medium speaks and acts in every way as the spirit who claims to be in control of her body would do. 'The influence of the subject's mind,' says Dr. Hyslop, 'conscious and unconscious, is completely suppressed, and the nervous system becomes a delicate machine for the intromission of messages from without, affecting it as an automatic piece of machinery.' "-- "Are the Dead Alive?" pp. 268, 269.

Concerning this same matter Prof. Frederic Myers says:

"In 'possession' the automatist's [the medium's] own personality does for the time altogether disappear, while there is a more or less complete substitution of personality. . . . These phenomena of 'possession are now the most amply attested, as well as intrinsically the most advanced, in our whole repertory. . . . It [the person's spirit] so far ceases to occupy the organism as to leave room for an invading spirit to use it in somewhat the same fashion as its owner is accustomed to use it.

"The brain being thus left temporarily and partially uncontrolled, a disembodied spirit sometimes, but not always, succeeds in occupying it, and occupies it with varying degrees of control."--" Human Personality," Vol. II, pp. 189, 190.

When one thus consents to abdicate the throne of his being, he virtually tempts the devil to come in and rule his being for him. Against such "possession" our Saviour, whom Spiritists profess to honor as a great teacher, warned His followers in these striking words:

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." Matt. 12: 43-45.

That is what one does who, having become converted from the evil of his ways and been cleansed from his sin, but refusing to take advantage of the fullness of the Christian life, leaves his soul empty as an invitation to demon possession. Jesus declared, "The last state of that man is worse than the first."

But even with this warning before them, there are some -- yea, many -- who deliberately invite, or tempt, these wicked spirits to come in and sit upon the throne of their being. Who can expect, under such conditions, to escape the unhappy end which our Saviour's words imply?

An illustration of the advantage taken of persons who thus deliberately yield their being to the control of another, is given by Rev. Prof. G. Henslow, M. A.:

"I have seen a letter sent by a lady to Mr. Stead's office when he was issuing Borderland; as far as I know it was never published, but she stated that as regarding her own musical powers they were of a quite ordinary character, but when at the piano she seemed to be obsessed by some great musician, who was intolerably exigeant [exacting], making her play marvelous pieces of music till she was practically exhausted."-- "The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism," p. 177.

She had lost the control of her own person, and was being performed upon by another, intolerably exacting. She was no longer a free moral agent; but some other personality -- and in no sense a beneficent one -- was using her as he pleased, and not as she pleased.

In the report of a lecture given by Archdeacon Colley (Spiritist) at Weymouth, England, Oct. 6, 1903, we are given a view of the physical and mental condition of one who had surrendered himself up to the work of a spirit medium. The lecturer had been outlining the process whereby spirit forms were materialized through the person of the medium, and incidentally mentioned this striking peculiarity:

"Cautiously, therefore, had they to awaken him [from his trance state], for he was rather of a nervous sort. Often when I have been sleeping in the same bedroom with him, for the near observation of casual phenomena during the night, and especially when he was naturally asleep, for conversation with the direct voices that came through the dark, I, on such occasions, would hold my hand over his mouth, and he would now and again be startled into wakefulness not unmixed with fear. For he could see the phantoms which I could not when I had quietly put out the night light -- for he would not sleep in the dark, which made him apprehensive of phenomena, physically powerful to an extraordinary degree."

Here is a full-grown man who is afraid to sleep in the dark -- the very best time for sleeping -- and must have a light to sleep by. He sees phantasms, "physically powerful to an extraordinary degree." How had he learned of their extraordinary power? Evidently he had been made aware of it in some such manner as had the lady previously referred to in this chapter. If Spiritism is good, beneficent, healing, strengthening, elevating, health-producing, truly spiritual, and life-giving, why is one at least of its most submissive exponents and practitioners afraid to sleep in the dark, annoyed by phantasms that rob him of his rest in sleep? Let Spiritists answer. Of our Lord it is said: "He giveth His beloved sleep." Ps. 127: 2. Nowhere is it declared of Him that He annoys His beloved with phantasms or frightens them with terrifying dreams. What God gives to mankind as a boon and blessing these spirits of evil seek to rob them of.

Mr. Coulson Kernahan, who has given much painstaking study to the doctrines and phenomena of Spiritism, has published a book entitled, "Black Objects," which is a very distinct and very emphatic warning against Spiritism. The title of the book was suggested by the "nondescript black objects" which issued from the cabinet at the séances of Eusapia Palladino. In all his experience Mr. Kernahan can recall no séance "where anything which threw spiritual light upon the things of eternity, or imparted teaching, or even information of worth, was said." He declares that the present aim of Spiritism is, by hint, by implication, by innuendo, and even by outward "annexation," to destroy Christianity; to "destroy belief in the atonement, and to show our Lord as a psychic, not as a Redeemer." It seems to him as "another and new world for a form of necromancy." In pointing out the dangers of Spiritism, he especially urges all to keep the foul hand of so-called experiment off the young.

Mr. Frederick C. Spurr, who has had some experience in dealing with spirit mediums, sounds this note of warning:

"Some are likely to lose their sanity unless they are very careful. A well-known doctor told me the other day that quite a number of men and women -- more women than men -- of his acquaintance are betraying signs of cerebral excitement due to 'spiritual' investigations. Two mediums known to me are certainly degenerates as a result of their dabbling with the occult. The extraordinary appearance of their eyes suggests incipient madness. . . . The mediums have given us little enough, thus far, to satisfy our curiosity. They have given us much to awaken suspicion."-- Southern Cross (Melbourne, Australia), July 18, 1919.

The writer has noticed the same striking peculiarity in one at least who practised as a spirit medium.

While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is advising women generally to try their powers of automatic writing and thus begin to dabble in the dangerous delusion of Spiritism, others have uttered urgent warnings against it. The late Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace strongly deprecated such attempts by amateurs. In private conversation he used to tell of a man who, having practised automatic writing, became absolutely incapable of writing the simplest note without his hand's being used by other agencies. He was not able to hinder this by his own will, and in order to effect a cure, he was obliged to abstain for years from using a pencil at all. Sir W. F. Barrett, in a very grave passage, discourages "young persons and those who have little to interest their time and thoughts," from "making any experiments in this perplexing region." Dr. Wallace had "a strong belief in the existence and activity of malignant low-grade spirits who seek to gain control over men." While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has never known "a blasphemous, an unkind, or an obscene message" to be transmitted' from the other side, Sir W. F. Barrett has been less fortunate in his experience. This great authority writes:

"It not infrequently happens, as some friends of mine found, that after some interesting and veridical messages and answers to questions had been given, mischievous and deceptive communications took place, interspersed with profane and occasionally obscene language. The sitters threw up the whole matter in disgust."-- Southern Cross, July 10, 1919.

It may be well to give here, in her own words, the experience of a young woman who, well on her way to becoming a spirit medium, prayed for light concerning the mysterious communications she was receiving, and had revealed to her, through the spirits themselves, their true identity. The lady is well known to the editor of the African Sentinel, and her experience was published in the issue of that magazine for September, 1921. She is now an earnest Christian and a member of an evangelical church. What she passed through as a result of dabbling in Spiritism should serve as a warning to any one who is now leaning toward Spiritism or is even tempted to accept its teachings. Would it be too much to hop e that those already ensnared in its cruel meshes might take this warning seriously? Some will not, we know; but for those who do there is still hope. The lady does not wish her name disclosed; but we can vouch for the authenticity of the report she has given of her experience. This is the account:

"Early in the year 1906, while we were living in San Francisco, Calif., my husband was stricken with rheumatism. He was still in bed when the great earthquake came in April. We had one child, a daughter, then only four years old.

"Just a few days before the quake, I wanted to find out if my husband would get well, and I went for a private sitting to a Dr. Howland, a noted medium, known as the singing evangelist. I do not know what he said about him, but I remember as if it were yesterday that he said to me, 'You will have your eyes and ears opened.' I asked him what he meant, and he said that I would find out about the first of July. I thought so little of this then that when I went home I told the folks about it, and we laughed about it, thinking it a great joke.

"At that time I was acquainted with some of the phenomena of Spiritualism, but did not take it seriously. We used to sit about a table and talk to the spirits, who would tip the table for us, and knock. In that way we would amuse ourselves, and thought we were having a good time.

"Then the great quake came, followed by the fire. I found myself without a home, with a sick husband to care for, and a four-year-old child. As soon as we could, we went across the Bay to Fruitvale, where we found temporary quarters in a refugee camp. While there, I met a little French woman, who seemed to think that I could tell fortunes, and she begged me to tell hers. She was a total stranger to me, so far as her past was concerned, but by some mysterious influence I was led to tell her that her father had killed himself, and how he did it. I described the man correctly, and told her that he was standing right by her. She was frightened, and asked if he was in the tent. She said that all I had told her was absolutely true.

"Not long after this we left the camp, and took a large house' that was given over to refugees of the fire. My husband was still on crutches, but able to get about. One morning, he and the baby were downstairs. I was doing the little work of cleaning up the room, when suddenly an unseen power that I could not resist pushed me over to the table. Something said to me, 'Get paper and pencil.' This I did, and sat down at the table. Immediately my hand began to move, and I received a long message, purporting to be from my father. The handwriting was just like his. I called my husband upstairs to read it, and he shared my astonishment. Then I remembered what Dr. Howland had said about getting my eyes opened about the first of July. This was early in that month.

"From that day on, it seemed that I possessed some wonderful power. I would hear knocks, and frequently at night was disturbed by something pulling at my pillow and blowing out the lights.

"I was in the habit of keeping the light burning all night. One night I left the lamp burning on a chair near the bed. In the morning I found it out, but thought that the wind must have extinguished it. That forenoon a lady friend of mine came and asked me for a sitting. I took a pencil in my hand, and this is what it wrote on a piece of paper:

"'Anna, you must not go to sleep with the lamp burning. If you must have a light, take a candle and put it in a can. There was another big quake last night, and I came and put out your lamp.'

"I laughed, for I did not believe the message . Suddenly a hand seemed to grip my arm, as though in terrible anger, and I cried out with the pain of it. The spirit wrote again, 'Get up, and look at the lamp. And next time, do not laugh.' Then we all looked closely at the lamp, and to our astonishment saw that the wick was turned down as far as it could be.

"At first I seemed frozen with horror. And then the thought came to me that it must be that some of our departed friends were watching in a loving and tender way; for at that time I believed that at death one went immediately either to heaven or hell.

"My occult powers were developing rapidly, and at the suggestion of a friend I went to Oakland and consulted a Mr. Earl, a noted medium, whom I had seen do some wonderful things, and asked his counsel about my qualifying for independent slate writing. When I told him my experience, he looked at me in astonishment, and said, 'You have accomplished in a few weeks what many have been able to accomplish only in months or even years of patient sitting in a dark room day after day for an hour at a time.' He told me to come back, and for $20 offered to 'develop' me. This seemed promising, but where could I get $20? My friend generously offered to lend it to me. I thanked her, and told her I would let her know when I might be ready to go.

"It was then, while considering whether or not to go back to this medium, that I remembered my early training. I had been brought up a strict Methodist. I began earnestly to pray. I asked God that if this power was good, to help me to use it to His glory, but if not, to show me clearly that it was evil.

"One morning I was alone, sitting at the table, waiting for a message, when a very peculiar feeling came over me. I could hardly get my breath. I felt cold and clammy, and thought that I might be dying. Suddenly I realized that I was being thrown into a trance. I was horribly afraid, and struggled with all the strength I had against the influence, sometimes mentioning the name of the Lord. When it seemed that I was just about gone, my little girl came in the door, and rushed up to me crying, 'Mother! Mother!' That seemed to bring me to. I cannot describe this feeling; only those who have passed through similar experiences know what it is like.

"After a few weeks, I decided that I would not go to Mr. Earl to be developed, for I thought I could do it myself. I am no artist, but while under the influence of the spirits, I could draw almost anything, mostly flowers. In addition to my writing powers, I became able to answer sealed questions. Every morning I would go into a room, pull down the blinds, and sit and wait, trying to develop independent slate writing. And yet I was praying all the time, too. It meant much to me, for I knew that as a medium I could make an easy living, even though my husband might not get well.

"One day I was sitting at the table, pencil in hand, when it began to draw instead of write. When the picture was finished, it looked like nothing I had ever seen. I looked at it for some time before I spoke, then I asked what it was. My hand moved again, and this is in substance what it wrote:

"'This represents the devil. I am not one of your departed friends, as you have thought. You are praying for light. If you stick to this, you will become a wonderful medium, one of the world's best. If you give it up and stick to the Bible and serve God, you will have misery untold. You will get along nicely for a time, then you will begin to go down, until everything you have is taken from you. Then if you still persist, your little girl will be taken from you. But if you will give up prayer and your Bible, you may become a noted medium, and will have wonderful power and great wealth.'

"You cannot appreciate my feelings as I sat there that morning facing these ominous words, the spirit still holding my wrist in a viselike grip, as though awaiting my decision. I do not know how long I sat thus, without speaking a word. Then I laughed as I thought, 'How foolish! How could that be the devil? Why should he thus reveal himself?' The spirit gave my arm such an awful twist that I soon stopped laughing, and this is what I was led to write:

I have told you the truth. Now is the time for you to decide. You must choose either to worship God, or to become a medium. And you had better not laugh. You will see in time that what I have said is true.'

"I was horrified, as it began to dawn on me what I had been doing. I realized then that I must make up my mind right there, one way or the other. As I hesitated, I saw on the one hand only hardship and an awful struggle, not knowing what was in store for me. But I could not thus boldly deny my God, and I said, 'If I must choose, I will choose God; He will take care of me.'

"When my husband came in, I showed him the drawing and what was written. He looked rather curious, and asked me what reply I had made. He was glad when I told him, but said that he did not believe a word of it anyway. I continued to pray earnestly for light and guidance.

"About two weeks after this a new family moved in next door. I became very friendly with the lady, and her son used to come over frequently and visit my husband. I soon found out that they were Spiritualists. She was a woman of culture and education, and there was something about her that was very congenial. The son had hypnotic powers, and told me that he was trying to hypnotize me. I told him that I would not let him, but he said he would get me off my guard some day. Those were fearful, trying days. I had seen the evils of Spiritualism by this time, and was diligently studying the Bible for all the light I could get. This son would try to get my mind confused regarding the Bible.

"One evening, after I had put my little one to bed, my husband was reading the newspaper and I the Bible, when suddenly the Bible, slipped from my hands. I became cold, and could not speak above a whisper. My husband saw me and put down his paper and asked me what was the matter. I put 'my hand over my heart, pointing to the bed, and whispered that I wanted him to read to me from the Bible. He did what he could, but he saw I was going fast, so he went for the doctor. It was late at night when the doctor came, and then I could answer his questions only by shaking my head. He gave me a sleeping powder and left.

"The next morning I went to see the doctor, and he said that I seemed in perfect condition, and he could not tell what was the matter. That evening the young man from next door came over and said to my husband, 'It's too bad that you did not let your wife go last night, she was going into a trance. We should have heard some wonderful things.' Then I realized that he had kept his word, and had taken me off my guard.

"As soon as I could I moved away from the influence of this family, and I have never seen them since. Soon my mind cleared up, and I felt natural again. I felt to praise the Lord for deliverance from what I now saw to be from the great enemy of souls.

"Two or three years after this, I was relating my experience to a Christian lady. She was inclined to doubt, and begged me to sit at the table with her and see if I could get some writing. I was reluctant at first, but at length consented, and took the pencil. I had to wait quite a little time, but finally my hand began to move. I told my friend to ask a question to herself. This she did, and it was answered correctly. Then the spirit wrote and said, 'You have been warned. You had better have nothing to do with this.'

"I had a similar experience some time later in Napa, when a Mrs. Burton persuaded me to give a demonstration of writing. I was again warned in a similar way.

"In conclusion, I will say that I have gone through hell itself. You cannot imagine the horrible things that I have gone through, much of which I must keep to myself. All I know is that every word that I have put down is true. If some do not believe it, I cannot help it. But as God, whom I must one day meet, is my judge, I have written down everything faithfully."-- African Sentinal, September, 1921.

Dr. Bernard Bosanquet, formerly professor of moral philosophy in the University of St. Andrews, makes this positive declaration in reference to Spiritism:

"The present 'psychical renewal' seems to me a dangerous and wholly irreligious craze."-- Quoted in the World's News, Sept. 25, 1920.

And General Booth, of the Salvation Army, says:

The present psychic revival is bad and dangerous."--Ibid.

In the work entitled, "China's Millions," Miss Harrison, of Sisiang, Shensi, China, warns those who are dabbling in Spiritist practices that missionary experience in China justifies a darker interpretation of these phenomena than is commonly prevalent. She states in that work that if Christians who know the power of the cross would go and challenge the mediums, or rather the power speaking through the mediums, commanding them in the name of the Lord to declare themselves, they would confess, though much against their will, that they are demons. Then she gives a typical case from her own experience, which recalls the accounts of Dr. Nevious, which made so profound an impression upon the late Prof. William James. She says:

"We have recently been helping a young woman, who for many years has been tormented by demons, to fight through to freedom. When it began speaking through her, attempting to deceive us into thinking it was the young woman herself speaking, we demanded of it an answer to the question, 'Who are you?' It tried evasion; but held to it, replied, 'I am, I am,' several times, and then changed to, 'We are, we are,' and finally, 'We are demons.' Asked, 'How many?' we got the answer, 'Five.'"

Many of the cases of spirit, or demon, possession spoken of in the Bible have their duplicates in our day, especially in China and Korea. It is a cause of no little wonderment that with such examples before us, there are still so many in civilized lands who will play with this satanic device for soul ruin. Many, no doubt, do not understand that in practising mesmerism (hypnotism), or submitting to it when practised by another, they are really dabbling in Spiritism, but such is the case. Says the Rev. A. Mahan:

"Mesmeric subjects, and those who have become clairvoyants through mesmeric influence, have, to a very great extent, become mediums, and of all other persons, most readily become such. This is a fact which no one will deny.

"Mesmerizing and pathetizing are among the common means proclaimed by Spiritualists of developing mediums. . . . To enter the mesmeric state, on the one hand, and to become mediums, on the other, one and the same condition is requisite in both instances, namely, a state of mental passivity."-- " Modern Mysteries," pp. 107, 108.

That is the crux of the matter. God will not permit Satan to take possession of any soul that is determined to serve God and be His and His only. This state of mental passivity is a deliberate invitation to the wandering hosts of fallen angels to take possession of the abdicated throne of the individual, and reign there. And such reigning sets the feet of the one who accepts it always on the broad highway to eternal ruin. The prince of ruin and the Prince of the Restoration meet at the sanctuary door of every soul, and every individual must decide for himself which of these shall enter his holy of holies to dwell there as God. If the deceiver is welcomed, then the One who is the way, the truth, and the life must turn in sorrow away, and that life which means so much to him who possesses it, is blighted in its morning and withers when the night of sin's doom shuts down.

But to him who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ to rule in the sanctuary of his soul, the eternal years are granted, in life undimmed by thought of death, in joy unsullied by hint of parting, in health untouched by the blight and mildew of disease, in happiness that is never dulled by the thought of another's sorrow,-- a life, in short, where tears shall never fall, where hatred or envy or distrust or evil-surmising will find no soil and no fruitage, and the happiness of that fair land's inhabitants will increase in the glad thought that the joy of others is equal to their own.

There have been shown in this chapter some of the dangers that lurk in the pathway of those who, believing that the dead still live, permit themselves to dabble in any degree in any of the branches or practices of Spiritism. The dangers have not been overdrawn. They are very real, and he who disregards them does so at a cost in eternal consequences which it is impossible to compute.

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