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Chapter 11

Spiritism Identifies Itself

SPIRITISM, as one of the manifestations of the workings of the prince of ruin, has unwittingly identified itself in numerous ways. The Bible, which is the Word of God, has given us some of the characteristics by which we may know Spiritism as one of the modes of operation in the campaign of the fallen angels. We find one of those characteristics in the following scripture:

"When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits [spirit mediums], and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? [or, "on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead?" R. V.] " Isa. 8:19.

Some of the people at a certain time would be seeking to the dead by means of Spiritism, or necromancy, to learn about the living; and God says that when they are doing that, it is time men should be seeking Him. The warning is particularly emphatic, because when such manifestations are strikingly prevalent in the world, the Lord Himself is doing His closing work for man prior to the culmination of the controversy with sin and the coming of the Redeemer. This fact is plainly set forth in verses 15, 16, and 17 of the chapter from which the last scripture was taken. Let us consider them:

"Many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples. And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him."

It is a time of great danger -- a time when eternal destinies are being decided -- that is brought to view in that scripture. It is a time when God's law needs to have its seal, the whole Sabbath-observance command, restored to it; a time when "the testimony ," God's whole Book of truth, which has been broken and mutilated in the hands of the "higher critics," needs to be bound up; it is a time when some will be waiting for their Lord and looking for His return; and a time when some will be urging others, in their perplexity and distress and anxiety, to seek to the dead for knowledge and direction. That is the culminating deception, and we are warned against it in these words:

"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.

He knows that at the coming of Christ his activities must cease. Therefore he pours distresses and deceptions upon the world in overwhelming torrents, and Spiritism is the veritable ne plus ultra of his evil ingenuity.

Now as to the identity of the thing against which the Lord's prophet warns us. That delusive demonstration of satanic activity would be characterized by communications from those who represent themselves to be the spirits of the dead through those that have "familiar spirits" (spirit mediums), and "wizards that peep, and that mutter." Do spirit mediums in their communications "peep" (or "chirp," R. V.) and "mutter"?

In the book "Raymond," on page 192, Sir Oliver Lodge reports communications received through Mrs. Leonard, and a spirit called Feda takes possession of the medium to get a message through from the spirit of the dead boy Raymond to his father, Sir Oliver. The opening paragraph of this report reads:

"Feda soon arrived, said good evening, jerked about on the chair, and squeaked or chuckled, after her manner when indicating pleasure. Then, without preliminaries, she spoke."

The medium, under possession of this familiar spirit, "squeaked or chuckled."

Again in the report of the same sťance, Sir Oliver records:

"Here Feda [that is, the medium controlled by the spirit Feda] gave an amused chuckle with a jump and a squeak."-- "Raymond," p. 201.

"(Feda here gave a jerk, and a 'good-by.') Love to her what 'longs to you, and to Lionel. Feda knows what your name is, 'Soliver,' yes. (Another squeak.)"-- Id., p. 204.

This is not very illuminating, not very elevating, and we wonder that a great scientist does not turn away from it in disgust. One thing it does, however, it identifies Spiritism as the movement against which the prophet of God warns the world.

Another work, previously quoted from, furnishes us with evidence of the same character. It is given to prove Spiritism true, but it proves it to be something against which God considers it very important to warn us. The report in question has reference to the experience of the medium, Dr. T. d'Aute Hooper, who was at the time under the control of, or "possessed" by, a spirit known as the "Indian Fakir." It was announced that the fakir (through the medium, of course) would perform fire worship, but that the medium would be safeguarded. The report reads:

"The interpreter retired and the fakir controlled. There was a lot of waving of hands [on the part of the medium], shouting, twisting and turning, incantations and squealing. Then he [the medium] left the circle and squatted in front of a good fire. He said a 'prayer' with a lot of rapid talk; in fact, he never ceased to chatter the whole time."-- "The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism," p. 65.

Sir Oliver Lodge, in a sitting with the medium Mrs. Kennedy, on Oct. 10, 1915, records this:

"Please listen carefully now. I want to speak to you about Norman. There is a special meaning to that because we always called my brother Alec Norman, the (muddle . . . ).

"K. K. [the medium] said that she couldn't get the rest clearly." -- "Raymond," p. 147.

Here was muttering again. When God has a message to give to man, there is no muddling, no "squealing," no "chirping." The mouthpiece of God does not have to record that though he had something to which he wished us to listen carefully, he must break off in the midst of his message because he "couldn't get the rest clearly." The pitiable drivel that "comes through" in spiritistic sťances makes one wonder whether those in attendance can have any respect whatever for their own intelligence, or any appreciation of the value of the time (worse than wasted) which such unprofitable gatherings consume.

Sir Oliver Lodge gives us another glance at the self-accusing characteristics of Spiritism. The sitting this time is with the medium Mrs. Clegg, March 3, 1916. He describes how the medium went off into the trance, and then continues:

"For some time, however, nothing further happened, except contortions, struggling to get speech [probably peepings, chirpings, and mutterings], rubbings of the back as if in some pain or discomfort there, and a certain amount of gasping for breath. . . . Presently the utterance was distinguished as, 'Help me, where's the doctor?' After a time, with K. K.'s [Mrs. Kennedy's] help, the control seemed to get a little clearer, and the words, 'So glad, father; love to mother; so glad,' frequently repeated in an indistinct and muffled tone of voice, were heard. . . .

"The medium, however, went through a good deal of pantomime, embracing me, stroking my arm, patting my knees, and sometimes stroking my head, sometimes also throwing her arms round me and giving the impression of being overjoyed, but unable to speak plainly.

"Then other dumb show was begun. . . .

"After a time, utterance being so difficult, I gave the medium a pad and pencil, and asked for writing. The writing was large and sprawly, single words: 'Captain' among them."-- Id., pp. 238, 239.

Not very satisfactory, these communications with intelligences representing themselves to be spirits of the dead -- not much like the clear, incisive communications that have come to us from the living God.

Spiritism has thus inadvertently admitted its own identity as that agency against which God has warned His people. It paints its own picture before us with the brush of its own mutterings and splutterings and chirpings and squeakings.' Do we need further identification? It is ready to hand.

God warned His people anciently against necromancy -- communication with the dead by calling up the dead to inquire of them. One clerical Spiritist, Rev. H. H. B. Yerburgh, rector of Breedon, England, has been publishing a series of apologies for Spiritism in the Church Family Newspaper, a Church of England publication, extracts from which are published and commented on in the Harbinger of Light for October, 1921. Speaking of necromancy, the rector says:

" Necromancy is calling up the dead. In former days it had certain horrid rites connected with the dead body. In the practice of Spiritualists the dead are not called up; they appear ready and eager to get through, to make themselves known, and crowd in. They do this quite independently of the sťance room."

This is one of the most striking examples of "a distinction without a difference" that one is likely ever to see. In ancient days necromancy was communication with the dead, the living taking the initiative by having witches and wizards ''bring up" or "call up" the spirit of the departed individual. Now those who wish to hold communication with the dead go to a modern witch or wizard (spirit medium), and they find the supposed spirit of the departed friend or relative already there and waiting to get into communication with them. What is the difference? Two parties are getting into communication: one is a living person; the other is supposed to be the spirit of a dead person. They two get into communication through the same agency, a medium (witch or wizard). They talk to each other, even as the living and the supposed dead did in the days of Saul and the "woman of Endor." All this is admitted. The only difference is that more from "the other side" are seeking to "get through," and do not have to be called up, but are already up and waiting for communication. It is necromancy just the same -- just as much opposed to the commands and purpose of God, and just as ruinous to the souls that permit themselves to be ensnared in its deceptive meshes.

Yet this evil thing, forbidden of God, is Spiritism's substitute for what is known among Christians as the "communion of saints." Says the editor of the Harbinger:

"We have often stated in these columns that it is to the Church of England we look to take the lead in indorsing the fundamental claims of Spiritualism, and in proclaiming, in particular, that a much more literal interpretation must be given to the doctrine of communion of saints than has hitherto been allowed"-- Harbinger of Light, October, 1921.

Who are these "saints" that are communicating from the other side? Every leading Spiritist of experience knows that only a portion of those who speak as the spirits of the dead appear in the slightest degree "saintly." I have already quoted the warnings of some Spiritists against believing all that "comes through," and against inexperienced persons' taking up the practice of communicating with the dead. Surely we ought not to be afraid to communicate with saints. It is a most inexcusable travesty on the real things of the gospel to claim that this modern necromancy is what Christians understand as the "communion of saints."

The Lord, through the apostle Paul, has given a warning to all Christendom that is perfectly applicable in this case:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" 2 Cor. 6: 14.

Spiritism is of the darkness. The most, and the most striking, of its manifestations are produced in the darkness. And the inspired testimony of the apostle John declares that men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:19. Jesus Christ was and is the light of the world. His gospel is the perpetuation of that light. Neither He nor it can have fellowship with that which works in darkness and finds darkness necessary to its success. His followers can be termed such only when they follow Him. Moreover, Spiritism is unbelief. It denies the atonement; denies salvation through Christ; denies the divine sonship of Jesus Christ; denies every claim that He made for Himself to Deity. Spiritism, as already shown, tempts individuals -- and leads individuals -- to suicide. Leading Spiritists have often admitted that the spirits are sometimes conscienceless liars. It is impossible, therefore, that the practice of modern necromancy should be in any degree whatsoever entitled to the appellation, "the communion of saints." By representing itself to be what it is not, Spiritism identifies itself as one of the works of darkness.

God has warned mankind against adding to or taking from the words of the Sacred Volume. Rev. 22:18, 19. Whoever does that, despite God's warning, identifies himself as one who is disobedient to God -- in rebellion against Him. How does Spiritism stand related to the integrity and the inviolability -of the Book? In the introduction to Book 1, page xxxv, of "The Life Beyond the Veil," we find this paragraph:

"And is it [Spiritism] subversive of old beliefs? A thousand times No. It broadens them, it defines them, it beautifies them, it fills in the empty voids which have bewildered us, but save to narrow pedants of the exact word who have lost touch with the spirit, it is infinitely reassuring and illuminating.

"Narrow pedants of the exact word" are those who do not feel at liberty to add to or take from what God has given through His inspired penmen. Spiritism, in that declaration from "beyond the veil," labels with the unkind epithet, "narrow pedants," those who reverence and hold to the Bible. Therefore Spiritism deprecates adherence to the exact Word. It would add to the Bible and would take from it, and thus shows itself an enemy of that Word, denounced by that Word, and resting under the curse of the divine Author of that Word. One leading Spiritist declares of the Bible that "it is absolutely worthless in the teaching of spirituality as recognized by Spiritualism;" that "Spiritualism should recognize it as a slough in which man's spirituality has been mired and swamped for these thousands of years; "that the Bible "has brought about the very conditions that we as Spiritualists are so determinedly fighting against;" and then, in the most shameless cruelty of wickedness, accuses the Bible of being the fount and origin of crime. (See C. F. Evans, in the Progressive Thinker, Jan. 22, 1921.)

The Bible has been given us as a lamp to light our path out of sin and into righteousness; out of a wicked world and into the eternal home of happiness and peace; out from under Satan's dominance and thralldom and back into the freedom of our Father's home of love. To accuse that Word of being what Spiritism says it is, is the acme of blasphemous falsehood, the bitterest refinement of unjust accusation.

But such accusations as this tell us in language most plain and emphatic what Spiritism is and who is its author.

Even Spiritists themselves admit that Spiritism as we know it is only a modernization of practices which were common among ancient heathen peoples. God has strictly enjoined upon mankind that there must be no worshiping of any being or thing but God Himself. But the ancients worshiped many things, among which was fire. The Parsees were, and are still, fire worshipers, as were some of the nations that surrounded Israel. It was evidently some species of fire worship in which the ancient Canaanites indulged when they made their children to pass through the fire to Moloch. Certain islanders practise a species of fire worship when, after incantations, they walk barefoot over glowing hot stones.

In Dr. T. d'Aute Hooper's experience as a spirit medium, he was frequently taken possession of by a spirit called the "Indian Fakir," and a species of fire worship was performed.

Says Lord Lindsay, in speaking of the fire phenomena performed by D. D. Home:

"I have frequently seen Home go to the fire and take out large red-hot coals and carry them about in his hands and put them inside his shirt. Eight times I myself have held a red-hot coal in my hands without injury."-- "Man's Survival After Death," p. 217.

Sir William Crookes testifies to the fire feats of D. D. Home when under spirit control:

"At Mr. Home's request, whilst he was entranced, I went with him to the fireplace in the back drawing-room. He [the influence controlling Home] said: 'We want you to notice particularly what Dan [i. e., Home] is doing.' Accordingly I stood close to the fire, and stooped down to it when he put his hands in. . . . Mr. Home then waved the handkerchief about in the air two or three times, held it above his head, and then folded it up and laid it on his hand like a cushion. Putting the other hand into the fire, he took out a large lump of cinder, red-hot in the lower part, and placed the red part on the handkerchief. Under ordinary circumstances it would have been in a blaze. In about half a minute he took it off the handkerchief with his hand, saying, 'As the power is not strong, if we leave the coal longer, it will burn.' He then put it on his hand, and brought it to the table in the front room, where all but myself had remained seated."-- "The Proofs of the Truths of' Spiritualism," p. 66.

We need not question these statements as records of actual happenings. They doubtless were such; but they do not prove that the dead are alive. Such things do not prove that the spirits controlling the medium and causing him to perform these acts were the spirits of the dead. They claim to be; but as they have been proved falsifiers in numerous cases, which Spiritists themselves admit, it is more than probable from their own showing that they are lying when they make the claim that they are spirits of the dead; and when we bring the Word of God into the witness box, the probability resolves itself into an absolute certainty. Moreover, Spiritism, in such demonstrations, is clearly disobedient to the law of God, which forbids the worship of anything other than God Himself. In practising and encouraging fire worship, Spiritism proves itself an exponent of idolatry, a breaker of God's law, and thus a rebel against His government. Thus again does it identify itself as the enemy of God and the deceiver and destroyer of man.

Spiritists admit with the utmost unconcern the identity of the Spiritism of today with the practices of ancient days that are forbidden in the Sacred Volume. Note this paragraph:

"Dr. Lombroso refers to the witch of Endor, and quotes from various writers proving that necromancy, or what we now call Spiritualism, was common in Greece, not only as a belief among the lower classes, but held by philosophers, especially by the Platonists and Pythagoreans, 'who expressed a wonder if any one said he had never seen a daimon;' i. e., the spirit of a deceased person."-- Id., p. 73.

Concerning this, the author of the book makes the following observation in a footnote:

"Whenever devils are mentioned in the 'Gospels as 'possessing' human beings, daimon or daemon is the right term."-- Ibid.

Spiritism therefore admits, seemingly with perfect sangfroid, that the spirits with which it is getting into touch are really the devils whom Jesus cast out of the afflicted persons who were being tormented by them; that the spirits who control mediums are the devils whom Jesus commanded to "come out" of certain "possessed" ones, and enter no more into them. The admission is a sweeping one, and leaves every Christian without excuse for having anything to do with Spiritism 

Again, on the same page of the same work, appears this statement:

"The story of the witch of Endor will be recognized as identical in all the features mentioned as characteristic of a modern sťance."

So Spiritism links itself up with the witch of Endor, and so with all witchcraft practised in those days. It identifies itself as the same thing.

Let us see now how that ancient practice was, and therefore this modern practice is, regarded by the God of Israel, the God whom Christians serve:

"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.

Spiritism says that it is the same thing as that which the woman of Endor represented and practised. It must therefore rest under the same condemnation. God called it an "abomination" then, drove it out of the land, and made its practice punishable by death. He says that because of those abominations He drove out the original possessors of Canaan. He tells us, furthermore, that He is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." What was an abomination then in His eyes is an abomination still; and the person who practises it, whether he call himself Christian or unbeliever, places himself under the frown and the curse of Almighty God. Israel could not practise that abomination and be God's chosen people and inherit the temporal Promised Land. Likewise, the Christian cannot practise that abomination, and be an accepted child of God and an inheritor of the eternal possession.

From what is called a "psychograph," a photograph of spirit writing, presented by Archdeacon Colley to the author of "The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism," I quote these statements as further proof that Spiritism identifies itself as the necromancy and demon possession of ancient times:

"It is only necessary to read history and the sacred works of ancient peoples and nations to know that what is termed modern Spiritualism is as old as the world. Sacred history teems with abundant evidence of the fact. The media were prized by the Medes and Persians. The Delphic Oracles, the Cyprian priestesses who were brought forward at certain feast days that the populace could communicate with their Ad Patres! . . . We wonder why it is that the denizens of earth will read and think contrary to the teaching in their Holy Writ. It is only necessary to read and calmly compare the phenomena of older days chronicled therein and modern happenings to prove they are one and the same, only given in different times of the world's history."-- "The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism," pp . 202, 203.

This purports to have been written by a spirit, and therefore Spiritism must admit that it speaks authoritatively. It leaves no loophole for doubting that Spiritism is identical with the witchcraft, the necromancy, the fire feats, and the heathen practices generally which were so -specifically denounced by Jehovah in the days of Israel.

The author of the psychograph would lead us to think that because those things are mentioned in Holy Writ, we are permitted and expected to practise them. But not so. They are mentioned only to condemn, to denounce, and to warn us against having aught to do with them.

The author of the psychograph then directs attention to a number of passages of Scripture, among which is 1 Samuel 28: 6. That verse reads:

"When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets."

So Saul turned to a source from which he hoped he might get an answer. Certainly, if God would not answer him, he could not expect to receive a reply from any agency under God's direction or control. He knew that he must go to an agency which was in opposition to God, an outlaw. He sought out a spirit medium; and he must himself practise deception in order to accomplish his purpose. So he disguised himself and went in the night. It was a deed of darkness and deceit, and it received the reward which was meet for such deeds.

The result of that action we find recorded in words of Holy Writ:

"So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it." I Chron. 10:13.

Saul lost his life for his sins, and one of those sins specifically mentioned was that of attending a Spiritist sťance to inquire of the dead. It is strange that the author of the psychograph in question should refer us to this scripture, which so specifically condemns the whole Spiritist movement.

Saul was not the only offender in this particular whose record has come down to us. Of Manasseh it is said:

"He made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger." 2 Kings 21: 6.

A similar statement concerning him is recorded in 2 Chronicles 33: 6. It will be interesting, therefore, to read what is said of one of Israel's kings who took an opposite course to that taken by Saul and Manasseh. This is the record of the good king Josiah:

"Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord." 2 Kings 23: 24.

The question will naturally arise as to whether Josiah offended God in putting a stop to the practice of spirit medium-ship throughout his realm. The above scripture declares that he did it in order "that he might perform the words of the law;" and the verse following reads:

"Like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might."

How different, then, is the record left us concerning the two classes of kings! The one class practised that which was an abomination in the sight of God, and was condemned by Him for doing so; the other class put away that abomination, and received heaven's approbation. And what the one practised and the other prohibited was that which today is known as Spiritism or Spiritualism. It has, beyond question, identified itself as that thing which Jehovah abominated and prohibited, the fire-worshiping necromancy of the ancients, the cult of witchcraft, the perpetuation of the falsehood first uttered by Satan in Eden, the most subtle of all the deadly deceptions invented by the prince of ruin for the destruction of our race.

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