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own embodied spirit's power of communication with the invisible world around us, and its various occult forces. Clairvoyance, clairaudience, prophecy, trance, vision, psychometry, and magnetic healing; how grand and wonderful appears the soul, invested even in its earthly prison house, with all these gleams of powers so full of glorious promise of what we shall be, when the prison gates of matter open wide and set the spirit free! Oh! fair young girls, whose forms of supremest loveliness are nature's crowning gems, forget not, when the great Creator's bounteous hand adorned your blooming spring with the radiance of summer flowers, that He shrined within that casket of tinted beauty, a soul whose glory shall survive the decay of all earthly things, and live in weal or woe, as your generation stamps it with beauty or stains it with sinful ugliness, when springs shall no more return, nor summers melt in the vast and changeless evermore.
Lift up your eyes from the beautiful dust of to-day, which to-morrow shall be foul in death's corruption, to the ever-living soul which you, not destiny, must adorn with immortal beauty. Remember you are spirits, and that the hours of your earthly life are only granted you to shape and form those spirits for eternity. Young men, who love to expand the muscles of mind, and wrestle in mental gladiatorial combats for the triumphant crowns of science, what are all these to the eternal conquests to be won in fields of illimitable science in the realms of immortality? Press on through earth as a means, but only to attain to the nobler, higher colleges of the never-dying life, and use mortal aims as instruments to gild your souls with the splendour that never fades, but which yourselves must win here or hereafter, ere you are fit to pass as graduates in the halls of eternal science. To understand that we are spirits, and that we live for immortality, to know and insure its issues; is not this, to Spiritualists, the noblest
though last bright page which God has revealed to us? Is not to read and comprehend this page the true mission of modern Spiritualism? All else is but the phenomenal basis of the science which gives us the assurance that spirit lives. This is one great aim and purpose of modern Spiritualism, to know what the spirit is, and what it must do—how best to live, so that it may most surely array itself in the pure white robes of an immortality which is purged of all mortal sin and earthly grossness.”
The teachings of Mrs. Hardinge agree in substance with those of all the more developed mediums, and I would ask whether it is probable that these teachings have been evolved from the conflicting dogmas of a set of impostors? Neither does it seem a more probable solution, that they have been produced "unconsciously” from the minds of self-deluded men and weak women, since it is palpable to every reader that these doctrines are essentially different in every detail, from those taught and believed by any school of modern philosophers or any sect of modern Christians.
This is well shown by their opposing statements as to the condition of mankind after death. In the accounts of a future state given by, or through the best mediums, and in the visions of deceased persons by clairvoyants, spirits are uniformly represented in the form of human beings, and their occupations as analogous to those of earth. But in most religious descriptions, or pictures of heaven, they are represented as winged beings, as resting on, or surrounded by clouds, and their occupations to be playing on golden harps, or perpetual singing, prayer and adoration before the throne of God. How is it, if these visions and communications are but the remodelling of pre-existing, or preconceived ideas by a diseased imagination, that the popular notions are never reproduced? How is it that
whether the medium be man, woman, or child, whether ignorant or educated, whether English, German, or American, there should be one and the same consistent representation of these preterhuman beings, at variance with popular notions of them, but such as strikingly to accord with the modern scientific doctrine of "continuity”? I submit that this little fact is of itself a strong corroborative argument, that there is some objective truth in these communications.
All popular religions, all received notions of a future state of existence, alike ignore one important side of human nature, and one which has a large share in the happiness of our present existence. Laughter, and the ideas that produce it, are never contemplated as continuing to exist in the spirit world. Every form of jovial merriment, of sparkling wit, and of that humour which is often akin to pathos, and many of the higher feelings of our nature, are alike banished from the Christian's Heaven. Yet if these and all the allied feelings vanish from our natures, when
“shuffle off this mortal coil,” how shall we know ourselves, how retain our identity ? A poet, writing on the death of Artemus Ward in the Spectator, well asks:
“ Is he gone to the land of no laugliter,
This man who made mirth for us all?
From the sounds that delight and appal?
No more pleasure the exquisite ears,
As the eyes have with tears ?” Now it is noteworthy that the communications which the spiritualist believes to be verily the words of our departed friends, give us full assurance that their individual characters remain unchanged; that mirth, and wit, and laughter, and every other human emotion and source of human pleasure,
are still retained by them; and that even those small incidents of the domestic circle, which had become a source of innocent mirth when they were with us in the body, are still capable of exciting pleasurable feelings. And this has been held by some to be an objection to the reality of these communications instead of being, as it really is, a striking confirmation of them. Continuity, has been pre-eminently the law of our mental development, and it rests with those who would abruptly sever this continuity to prove their
They have never even attempted to show that it accords with the facts or with the analogies of nature.
Equally at variance with each other are the popular and the spiritualistic doctrines as regards the Deity. Our modern religious teachers maintain that they know a great deal about God. They define minutely and critically his various attributes; they enter into his motives, his feelings, and his opinions; they explain exactly what he has done, and why he has done it; and they declare that after death we shall be with him, and shall see and know him. In the teaching of the "spirits” there is not a word of all this. They tell us that they commune with higher intelligences than themselves, but of God they really know no more than we do. They say that above these higher intelligences are others higher and higher in apparently endless gradation, but as far as they know, no absolute knowledge of the Deity himself is claimed by any of them. Is it possible, if these “spiritual” communications are but the workings of the minds of weak, superstitious, or deluded human beings, that they should so completely contradict one of the strongest and most cherished beliefs of the superstitious and the religious, and should agree with that highest philosophy (of which most mediums have certainly never heard), which maintains, that we can know nothing of the almighty, the eternal, the infinite, the absolute Being, who must necessarily be not only unknown and unknowable, but even unthinkable by finite intelligences.
It is often asked, “What has Spiritualism done—what new facts, or what useful information have the supposed spirits ever given to man ?” The true answer to this demand probably is, that it is no part of their mission to give knowledge to man which his faculties enable him to acquire for himself, and the very effort to acquire which is part of his education and preparation for the spiritual life. Direct information on matters of fact is however occasionally given, as the records of Spiritualism abundantly show; for example the recent discovery of an inexhaustible supply of pure water in the great city of Chicago (the want of which rendered it notoriously unhealthy) obtained from an artesian well sunk under the guidance of a medium, after it had been pronounced impracticable by men of science. These and all similar facts are however invariably disbelieved without inquiry. I prefer therefore to rest the claims of Spiritualism on its moral uses. I would point to the thousands it has convinced of the reality of another world, to the many it has led to devote their lives to works of philanthropy, to the eloquence and the poetry it has given us, and to the grand doctrine of an ever progressive future state which it teaches. Those who will examine its literature will acknowledge these facts. Those who will not examine for themselves either the literature or the phenomena of Spiritualism, should at least refrain from passing judgment on a matter of which they are confessedly and wilfully ignorant.
The subject, of which I have here endeavoured to sketch the outlines in a few pages which may perhaps be read when larger volumes would lie unopened, is far too wide and too important for this mode of treatment to do any justice to it. I have been obliged entirely to leave out all