Imatges de pÓgina
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and all the lusts of the flesh and the eye. That is the root and ground of all ideas of re-incarnation. Like Plato's gross ghosts, who hang about tombs and charnel-houses, and can rise no higher, they hang about the sensual luxuries and bodily comforts of this condition of existence, and desire earnestly, if they must leave them, to get back again into them as quickly as possible. "The wish is father to the thought." As to M. Pezzani's notions of God's injustice without re-incarnation, if souls were re-incarnated a score of times, injustice between man and man, riches and poverty, oppression and wrong, all the enigmas of social inequality would remain just then as now. The compensation lies in the future, as pointed out in the case of Dives and Lazarus; and if re-incarnation availed, the souls of the criminals who were swept away by Noah's flood, would not have remained all those ages cooped up in Hades for the coming of Christ to preach to them. They would have been incarnated over and over, and if re-incarnation could cure them, would have been long ago cured and sent forward. That fact is itself demonstrative of the folly of the notion of re-incarnation.

One of the best consequences of this discussion is, that it has brought the Lyons Spirite journal, La Verité, to disavow the doctrine of men originating in lower animals totally and energetically. M. Edoux, a man equally learned and amiable, says (La Verité, August 13th, 1865) Moses says, (Genesis i., 26 and 27) God created man in the image of himself; not in that of a beast; and that he repeats this three times as if he foresaw the unhappy efforts of men in later times to cast darkness on this point where the light shines so luminously. "But," adds M. Edoux, "if you think animals are your brothers, be at least consistent, and don't cut their throats, in order to eat them-that is absolute cannibalism!" Rather, he continues, than have insects, newts, toads and monkeys for his ancestors, he would say, "Let Spiritism go and hang itself." And this he puts into capitals.

It is consoling to see that the large body of the Spiritists of the South of France remain uncontaminated by the animal doctrines of L'Avenir. That it is only the little coterie of that journal, the Messrs. Xavier, Pezzani, D'Ambel, &c., who amuse themselves with such fancies.

There is another fact of the very highest importance connected with the Spiritists of the South of France. In La Verité has appeared a very able series of articles, twelve in number, under the title of L'EGLISE NOUVELLE. In these articles it has been asserted that inasmuch as the Roman Catholic Church has violated all the grand commands of Christ to his church-the love of your neighbour, the freedom of worship and conscience;

inasmuch as in violation of these commands, it has endeavoured to crush freedom of opinion, to put into chains the human mind; to suppress the Gospels; has persecuted and tortured and spilled the blood of the saints, and has not in the present enlightened times renounced its past errors and crimes, but has continued to endeavour to ride on the back of humanity and chain up all intellectual and spiritual progress, it declares that it has ceased to be a church of Christ-that no persecuting church can be a church of Christ. The Spiritists, therefore, propose to form themselves into a new church, which shall not be called the Spiritist Church, Spiritism being only a movement in the divine education of humanity, a phase of revelation in the general church of Christ. They will not call the new church the Catholic, because that name has been for ever desecrated by Popery, but the Universal Church, open to all sincere followers of the Saviour of Mankind. We shall see how this great design will be carried out. Meantime, it is a noble idea, and must be regarded with ominous apprehension by the Catholics of France. It bids fair to carry away with it the great mass of the population of Middle and Southern France, withdrawing it from the rule of the Catholic hierarchy, and rising up, a colossal institution, before it.

In noticing these movements in the Spiritist camp in France, we should be doing a great injustice if we did not refer to the zealous, eloquent, and unremitting exertions of M. Pièrart in the Revue Spiritualiste, to expose and resist the errors of the Spirites to which we have alluded. M. Pièrart, and that section of the spiritual body which thinks with him, deserve especially well of the English Spiritualists for the stanch manner in which, at all costs, he and they have maintained what we believe to be the genuine principles of the Gospel. The doctrine of Re-incarnation, of man's origin in the lowest grade of animal existence; a doctrine utterly opposed to that of the Bible, which says that God created man originally as man, and every kind of beast as beast, reptile and insect, M. Pièrart has persistently, through eight volumes of the Revue Spiritualiste, resisted and denounced as at once false, unfounded on any evidence, and most pernicious to the character of Spiritualism. Such, he tells us, in the last number of this review, has been his reward for his advocacy of the truths in which we believe and sympathise, that he has been compelled to retire from Paris to the woods of Villiers-sur-Marne. Even the Davenports, whom he was the first to introduce to the notice of the French public, and for whom he paved the way by continual notices of their séances and manifestations in America and England, whilst sending tickets of admission to their séances in or near Paris to almost every editor of a journal, have not only omitted to send one to the editor of the Revue Spiritualiste,

but have not even called on him. This is what ought not to have been, and is a cause of just censure on those young men. Notwithstanding, M. Pièrart most generously has devoted the whole of his last number of the review to the proceedings and defence of the Davenports against all their enemies and calumniators of the Press, especially against M. Edmond About. He takes the ground that, having been unworthily treated by the American brothers, he is not likely to flatter them, but he treats them as justly as if they had treated him justly. This is noble conduct, and most unlike what we commonly see in members of the Press in this country, who are ever ready to avenge bitterly any slight or personal ill-treatment. Besides this very praiseworthy proceeding, M. Pièrart has for some time been writing a series of important articles in his review, such as the "Marvellous Practices of the Eastern Nations," "Studies on the Familiar Genius of Socrates," on the "Miraculous, or Divinely Permanent," and on the "Rock of Golgotha," demonstrating the truth of the origin of Christianity. We shall take an opportunity to make our readers acquainted with these valuable articles. But in the meantime, we cannot but remark, that a journal like the Revue Spiritualiste, which is the almost only organ in France for the defence of purely Christian Spiritualism, and the bold and able opponent of the heresies of Re-incarnation, and of the monstrous and degrading theory of the origin of man in the region of reptile life, deserves the patronage of English Spiritualism. Such a journal ought not to be suffered to languish in neglect, whilst the heretical journals are supported by a very numerous public. The organ which maintains principles dear to every English Spiritualist, should enjoy the benefit of English sympathy. Its cause is our cause, and the purchase of a large number of this review in England would at once extend our knowledge of what is doing on the Continent, and invigorate the true Spiritualism in France, which cannot suffer without re-acting on the same vital question here.

In closing this article, we cannot but regret that at this early epoch of the history of Spiritualism, there should be such serious causes for dissent betwixt different bodies of its votaries. In all questions which vitally affect humanity differences of opinion are certain to arise, but it is the duty of every friend of truth to protest against palpable deviations from principles attested by historic fact. Mr. Mitchell in his article in the Avenir, accuses the Spiritual Magazine of endeavouring to contract the ground of spiritual belief as much as possible, and to avoid the philosophical side of the question. These are words of which the meaning requires to be clearly settled before a verdict is taken upon them. The English Spiritualist takes his stand on Chris

tianity as the only religion which is based on a thoroughly authenticated history, authenticated both by its earliest adherents, and by its direct opponents the Jews in their cotemporary account of Jesus and John the Baptist in the Toldoth Jeschu. Taking their stand, therefore, on this authenticated religion, they place its revelations paramount to the communications of all or any lower spirits than those of our Saviour and his Apostles. To this test they rigorously bring every communicating spirit, and no pretences of "philosophy" will cause them to swerve from this test. Every Spiritualist knows that spirits will tell us all kinds of things-to the Jew, Judaism; to the Mohammedan, Islamism; to the Mormon, Mormonism; to the Pezzanis and Xaviers the wild speculations which they dignify with the name of philosophy. But if these gentlemen and others had adopted the sound and reasonable rule of the British Spiritualists, and "tried the spirits " by the touchstone of Christianity, the world would have already been spared much worthless seed which is clearly sown by the Evil One, to damage and scandalize the progress of spiritual truth. There is no spiritual philosophy which can bear any comparison with the divine philosophy of Christ: and the truest friends of a sound Spiritualism are those who stand by it, and reject all the vain babblings of "philosophy falsely so called."

What are the fruits which this serpent doctrine of Re-incarnation have already begun to produce in the South of France? There the extraordinary medium, Hilaire, having run away with his neighbour's wife, it is stated that the unhappy husband appealed to their great leader, Kardec, to use his influence to bring back the fugitive wife, with the money which she and her paramour had carried off. But the answer is stated to have been from Kardec that he could do no such thing, as the husband was, no doubt, thus punished for a similar crime in some former state of existence !!!

M. Pièrart, in his able article on the Rock of Golgotha, comments with just indignation on a doctrine pregnant with such fruits:-"Two currents of a deplorable nature at the present time draw the Spirites to the side of that ultramontane Catholicism which has petrified and perverted Christianity, and which stupefies souls devoted to it. On the one hand, a blind Materialism, on the other an erroneous spiritualistic bias, originating a false route, carrying its victims two thousand years backwards, and resuscitating the desolating principles which sterilized and threw into atrophy the ancient societies. In a word, it changes, corrupts and distorts the true Christian principles. In the South of France a people has only re-awoke to a religious life in order to embrace a principle of death. There a tribunal has lately heard the doctrine enunciated, that it is

necessary to tolerate theft and adultery, because these crimes can only happen as the punishment of like sins in a former existence. There we see poor workmen of that Gallic race so full of mind, of activity and enterprise, laid asleep in the enervating doctrines of fatalism and predestination. In the places where Pothinus, Irenæus, and Blandinus maintained so courageously the vivifying principles which overthrew Paganism and its iniquities, we see the deceitful doctrines of Brahminism reviving and propagating themselves. The artizan of Lyons, bending incessantly at his severe labour which enslaves and enfeebles him, beholds as the climax of his sufferings, the path of the last hope of progress, of every possible alleviation of his wretched destiny, closing before him. The earth, divided into punishers and the punished, must for ever remain for him a hell of expiation. He comes to regard himself as the chastised of God he knows not why! That great spiritual movement which has arisen in the middle of this century, he beholds for him retrograding, and wheeling backwards from the light of Christianity to the religious darkness of antiquity. What an aberration

"Away, then, with these doctrines destructive of progress, negative of the spirit of life which ought to reign in humanity! Away! and it is high time; for seduction and blind error are arising and spreading themselves on all sides like a leprosy, which it will soon be too late to attempt to cure. They go on originating fanatic impulses, made obstinate by the force of ignorance and the absence of a critical spirit. And no one calls attention to the danger! and we ourselves stand nearly alone and unable to vanquish the hydra. But we shall at least have done our part. Our warnings have been heard from time to time, and if they remain without response, we shall at least enjoy the consciousness of having performed a great duty."-Revue Spiritualiste, Tom VIII., 6th Livraison.

Regretting the wide departures in France and in America from the Christian standard, we still, however, have faith that Spiritualism will be purified from its errors, and made more and more capable of accomplishing its great mission, the routing of the Materialism and Sensualism of the present age. If we are compelled to speak the stern words of truth in the ears of those deluded by Spirites, who mislead and dissever and scandalize, we yet desire to do it in a spirit of love and charity. "To err is human," but to speak the words of warning to the erring in friendship is yet the duty of every true son of truth. Hostility to false principles is not necessary hostility to those who hold them. People may be as sincere in their errors as others in their truths. We are bound to reject the errors, but we can still hold

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