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SPIRITUALISM.

BY MRS. R. CORSON, ITHACA, N.Y.

A general fermentation of thought and consequent vitality, and its adaptiveness to

MONG ” the fall according to opinion, have risen to the surface, Spiritual- the spiritual and moral growth of the indiism seems to some, in spite of its millions of vidual and of society. representatives, the most repugnant. The Among the strong testimonies in its two great powers that rule the civilized favour, appears, in the October number of world, Science and Religion, unite in de- the Westminster Review, 1875, the followriding it; there is no derogatory epithet ing :they are not ready to bestow upon it, Religions are not made, they grow ; partly from a certain condemnation de their progress is not from the enlightened to parti pris, and partly from a sense of loyalty the vulgar, but from the vulgar to the ento a time-honoured piety and its stereo- lightened. They are not mere products of typed belief; and yet, despite its repeated the intellect, but manifest themselves as exposés, the obnoxious thing grows in physical forces too. The religion of the strength, spreads its doctrines in all parts future is in our midst already, working like of the globe, and gives to the world a potent yeast in the minds of the people. It new and already vast theological literature. is in our midst to-day with signs and wonSurely this fact alone ought to command ders, uprising like a swollen tide, and scornto some extent the serious attention of the ing the barriers of Nature's laws. But howobserver of the moral phenomena of the ever irresistible its effects, they are not present day.

declared on the surface. It comes, veiling It is not the least surprising that a phe- its destined splendours beneath an exterior nomenon that comes in such “a question that invites contempt. Hidden from the able shape,”—so en-dehors all propriety, all prudent, its truths are revealed to babes. orthodox opinions of what should constitute Once more the weak will confound the spirit-life, --should be so stigmatized and mighty. defamed.

Spiritualism will establish, on what proIn every great prophetic epoch of history, fesses to be ground of positive evidence, the sacred and profane, we find the Herod- fading belief in a future life-not such a principle endeavouring to crush the revolu- future as is dear to the reigning theology, tionary idea born within its realm. Lowly but a future developed from the present-a independence, defying in its simplicity the continuation, under imposed conditions, of arrogance of human wisdom, has ever been the scheme of things around us. a thorn in the flesh of the learned world, “ From the unexampled power possessed and all redemptive movements have had to by this new religious force of fusing with suffer the crucifixion that was to vitalize their other creeds, it seems likely, in the end, to cause. Spiritualism, however, in these better bring about a greater uniformity of belief days, has had all the chances of growth any than has ever yet been known.” new movement could desire. The rebuffs Dean Stanley and the Rev. Mr. Haweis it meets with occasionally are amply com- might be quoted to the same effect. On pensated for by generous acknowledgments the scientific side, meanwhile, Messrs. and signal successes; and though in many Crookes and Wallace testify to the genuinequarters it still calls forth a smile of pity or ness of spiritualistic phenomena. The former contempt, it stands, nevertheless, a recog- owes even his recent valuable discovery of nised power in the eyes of some of the the radiometer to his spiritualistic investigaablest thinkers of our time. Its future is tions. While endeavouring to secure evitherefore in its own hands; it must stand ordence of the movement of inert matter

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poised in a vacuum, in the presence of a investigator, who may not be using the right medium, he detected mechanical move- means to accomplish his object. We need ments due to the action of light, which led to employ other means than Tyndall-analysis to the production of this little instrument, to penetrate 'the veil that hides spiritual which not only demonstrates the conversion truths. The application of science to spiof light into mechanical motion,* but by the ritual things is like trying to discover the addition of electrical attachments, forms by motive power of a complicated machinery far the most perfect photometer or light mea- through the Kantian philosophy, instead of surer which has hitherto been produced. In using its legitimate instruments-hammers a recent lecture on the subject, the eminent and screw-drivers. Nor are spiritual phephysicist frankly acknowledges the source nomena likely to be determined by electric of his discovery, and is not ashamed to say batteries, or ropes and cages. at the conclusion that “all the results he These modes of investigation can at best had exhibited had been obtained in conse- only serve to establish the honesty or disquence of his examination of an anomaly honesty of a medium. The communication (Spiritualism) contrary to all ordinary ex itself, to be free from suspicion, must, after perience. Anomalies were of the utmost all, bring its own truth with it. Whatever, value to men of science ; they were gate- therefore, this unknown force, attested by ways leading to new researches, and to the such authorities as the above, may yet be establishment of reputations.”

called, it is at present an undeniable force ; All this may prove nothing in favour of and if, as Coleridge says, “there are errors Spiritualism, but it certainly goes to show which no wise man will treat with rudeness that the subject has excited sufficient interest while there is a probability that they may to engage the attention of men whose scien- be the refraction of some great truths as yet tific reputation is established and unques- below the horizon," were it not better, intioned.

stead of deriding it, to hold on to it, and, There are, no doubt, many cases in which "wait in patience for the explanation of the one or other of our senses may, for the time, rest ?” There is no telling what, in these testify only to deceive us ; but where several absurd dark séances, may not yet come to persons of recognised integrity of character, light. sound judgment, and a scientific, not mys- It is, however, chiefly the phenomenal tic, turn of mind, have so familiarized them- side of Spiritualism that shocks conservative selves with the phenomenon as to be able religious thought. It is certainly next to an to investigate it in all its bearings, and thus insult to impose upon a devout and rationplace themselves above the suspicion of al mind the absurd idea that Divine truths having “their faculties suspended by awe,” can be revealed to the human race through it seems that we are hardly justified in dis-“ prancing and gyrating tables.” But to the trusting the evidence of sense in regard to philosophic mind nothing should be absurd. it; for, as remarks a distinguished divine : The question is not whether it is dignified in "In some circumstances our senses may a spirit to use pieces of furniture to commu- , deceive us; but no faculty deceives us so nicate with his brother spirit in the flesh, but little or so seldom ; and when our senses do whether it is a fact; and if so, our precondeceive us, even that error is not to be cor ceived notions of spirituality will have to rected without the help of our senses.”+ give way to it. That “the existence of a That, despite the most minute and careful disembodied spirit must be supersensual, and investigations of the subject by scientists of that it is impossible for anything supersenmarked ability, the mystery remains still sual to produce sensible evidence,” is undeunsolved, is no reason that it is unsolvable. niable; but it does not follow therefrom This circumstance goes rather against the that a disembodied spirit cannot, by some

means to us as yet unknown, project, under I* Mr. Crookes's conclusion has been questioned certain conditions and by the power of will, by some scientists who have repeated his experi- an image, consisting, it may be, of those ments, on the ground that the motion in question very “ films of matter that evade the touch, may be due, not to light, but to radiant heat.

and are visible to the material eye, and auobjection seems to us futile, •radiant light and heat being identical in their physical basis. -ED. C. M.] dible to the human ear.” The spiritualist + "Tillotson's Works,” Sermon xxvi.

does not believe that the shadow he sees,

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or the rap he hears, is the spirit proper; he in the form of law, through Jeremiah in awful allows it to be a mask, an as yet unex- warnings, through David in holy Psalms, plained force exercised upon the air and through the Apostles in practical spiritual surrounding objects by means of electric cur- truths ; but more or less beclouded by the rents or magnetic influences. Intelligent medium and his time, leaving it to the experiments have shown that this communi- advanced spirituality of successive generacating force claims to be of spiritual agency; tions to read the text more and more comand so long as nothing has yet proved the prehensively. It is evident that, if a belief contrary, it is not altogether unreasonable which imposes upon the human race the to credit it as far as it goes.

necessity to lead a true life if it would reap Much of the absurdity attached to the happiness hereafter, could become an experiphenomena vanishes when we examine the mental conviction, it would prove an immense

which they are based. The spi- | moral lever in the world. ritualist believes that “the visible and invi- Webelieve theinspired apostle who declared sible" worlds are as intimately related as that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, the spirits and bodies of men. The latter is neither have entered into the heart of man, conceived to be the animating soul of the the things that God hath prepared for them former, from whose vital centre emanate all that love Him. But God hath revealed the mysterious forces displayed in the out them unto us by His Spirit,” and the able ward creation. By the law of their relation, expounder* of this text, who says " that if their elements commingle, and by the force God's existence be not thrilling in every of mutual attraction their respective inhabi- fibre of our heart, if the immortal be not tants associate together. All men, and indeed already in us as the proof of the Resurrecall gradations of form and life in the natural tion, the law of Duty be not stamped upon world, are influenced by super-terrestrial our soul as an Eternal Truth, unquestioncauses, and hence all life, as revealed in able, a thing that must be obeyed, quite organic forms, depends on a perpetual influx separately from all considerations of punishof vital principles from sources invisible, ment or impunity, science will never reveal spiritual, and divine.* The student of the these.” No; science will not, but love will. Swedenborgian doctrine will find that the Early Christianity held in reserve for its tenets of Spiritualism are, in the main, the Thomases, signs and wonders; and if in same as those of the Swedish seer. Spirit those primitive days the man of weak spiritualists believe in one God, Divine Love and ual apprehension was helped by these outWisdom, omniscient, self-existent, the Primal ward means, why may not the modern Cause from which all things proceed accord- sceptic ? Science has demonstrated away ing to Divine order. They generally regard from under his feet all ground for a hope in Christ as a natural, spiritual, and divine immortality, and leaves him foundering in man, and the Saviour of all those who a sea of probabilities, unmanageable proallowed themselves to be guided by His blems, and despairing negations. The teachings and His example. They do not Christ-principle is swallowed up in a deluge believe that the sinful soul is susceptible of of scientific claims and literary religion. a sudden conversion, and experiences a Before this apotheosis of annihilation, which radical change through death. It is what the vanity of science glories in, what refuge is it is, what its earth-life has made it, strong there against moral lawlessness ? Whom or feeble in good—evil being in their eyes will the materialist ever persuade that it is but a negation—and they believe that it is noble to work unselfishly for one's race? the degree of the soul's assimilation with What human soul can take an interest in a the divine spirit that will determine its race that has no future ? and what is that heavenly bliss. In regard to the Bible, race good for? they conceive it to be so far the word of Mr. Goldwin Smith, in his article on God as the Spirit that giveth life can com- “ The Immortality of the Soul,”+ whilst municate through the imperfect medium of admitting that the clergy are cornered by human language; that the divine'influx reaches the men of science, says that "apart from us through imperfect channels; through Moses

*Frederick Robertson. * “Rational Spiritualism,” by S. B. Brittan. 1 + Canadian Monthly, May, 1876, p. 408,

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Revelation there is enough to make a man | that frank laugh that goes up at our expense reflect seriously before he finally determines i from spiritualistic quarters : to act on the belief that there is no hereafter." We ask what is it, if it is not the

"As though they held the corn and left us only

chaff, very thing the spiritualistic theory rests on,

From garners crammed and closed, and we indeed that profound wisdom as revealed in the are clever, simple confidence of the little girl of Words- If we get grain as good by thrashing straw forworth's “We are Seven,” which puts to naught all the accumulated logic of the But to conclude. The signs of the times present day.

But whilst this intuition are of too portentous a significance to allow the is strong in some, it is weak in others who least to be passed by unobserved. Spiritualcrave a more objective evidence. Grant ism, with all its gipsy appearance, may for that this objective evidence is encumbered once read us a true prophecy. Its philosophy with rubbish : many a pearl has been picked and curious phenomena point indubitably to out from a rubbish heap. The miner in the ultimate absorption of science in religion search of gold must handle much sand and -in a physical religion, full of realities, such mud before he finds the coveted metal. as Swedenborg has so scientifically set forth The spiritualist puts up with much that in his spiritual states, and which, recognisis worthless to obtain the least indication of ing the spirituality of matter, the impossibithe reality of the Beyond. The husks he is lity of spirit divorced from matter, will, accused of feeding on are to him, in them through the (as yet) mysteries of electriselves, an indication of the generous grain ; city and magnetism, reveal in the end, to the and, even were they empty, being hungry riper mind of the future man, the hidden he considers it wiser to partake of what he bonds that unite the apparently perishable can get, than to fast at the risk of total to the obviously imperishable. starvation.

But surely there must be something in Browning's “Fifine at the Fair."

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Then the day cares have folded their restless hands,
As tho' even they could wanly smile,
Whilst we put away from us all our pain,-
Tho' it may wake with the night again,-
And the heart is at peace for a little while.

MAPLE LEAF..

Montreal.

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