Imatges de pÓgina
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are transfigurations also realised which it is not well for us to inquire into. We perceive there so many strange changeful operations of spiritual life that we could not comprehend them; we cannot leap beyond our shadows; we can take no step in advance of our knowledge; the instruments, the modes, the occupations, the growth of instruction, the means of progress, are all so vastly in advance of our experiences that we can but hope and trust, and faithfully work up to them. But every revelation brings us the same assurance of eternal wisdom and eternal goodness-the fitness of all things, the adaptation of all means to ends. The deeper we search into the volume of spiritual life, the more we consider the power of discerning spirits, and the gifts and the revelation which this power has brought to us, the more surely do we realise that it is well with us, and that we are safe-very safe-in the hands of the Infinite Óne. How supreme is that goodness that cares for the darkest criminal! For, oh! the discerning of spirits in the land of darkness, as well as of light, brings hope with it. There is movement even there-there is life there-there is struggle there-there is effort there. The fire of passion is burning out, the darkness of crime is expending itself on itself. The creator of his own ill is realising the work he has done, and the thing he has made of himself. In the transfiguration of death one of the grandest and most glorious attributes of the soul is self-knowledge the perception of the true causes; and, therefore, in the case of the dark and evil spirits the undeveloped and the criminal, the passions which he has indulged, and the habits with which he has bound himself, and the chains with which he has manacled his soul down to the earth-all this brings so much teaching with it, brings such bitter remorse, such an agonising realisation of Milton's piteous cry of the fallen angel, “Me miserable!" Yet, with all this, there is such a perpetual strife for happiness-happiness is such a goal for the soul, the longing to be blessed, the effort to live and ascend is so inevitable, even to the darkest mind, even to the most miserable prisoner of crime, that the turning point must come at last, and the gift of the discerning of spirits has never been bestowed upon the seer in vain: for, whilst he beholds the darkness visible, the cloud of thick night that clusters round the soul, outworked from its own miserable heart, he perceives how surely that misery and that very wretchedness is becoming the tutor to the soul to stretch out its hands in the appeal, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"

I may not dwell further upon this point. The gift of discerning spirits is so full of instruction; it is so rife with teaching; first concerning the glorious faculties of the human soul-it brings to us such assurance that there are properties of

soul yet unwrought, that there is a grand mine of science yet to be worked, and yet to be systematised and developed, in this new day of mental dawn and illumination, that I pause upon it with delight, and point to it, not as a mere marvel, not as an evidence of phenomenal power, but as an evidence of what we shall be, what we may be, and what an era we have entered upon when we can recognize these powers no longer as miracle, or magic, or hallucination, or folly, but as actualities which we must deal with, which we must cultivate and which we must investigate. Thus much, therefore, for the knowledge which it brings to us of ourselves-for the revelation which it gives us of the presence of a spiritual world about us-of the ministry of angels, of the marvellous love of the Infinite, who has related us not only to the spirits of the departed, but by the aid of the inspiration that is brought to them of broader vistas, the inspiration by which they drink in the light of arch-angelic worlds, has connected us with grand and glorious spheres of which now we only dream: but they are all there. We cannot aspire too high, we cannot hope too much, we cannot dream too brightly of the glorious path of light on which we enter when first we realize the true nature and attribute of soul, when once we realize what a grand and glorious thing life is, through the discerning of spirits.

THE OLD KITCHEN IN THE ROYAL PALACE AT CINTRA.Mrs. Suillivan, the daughter of Wordsworth, in her Journal of a Few Months Residence in Portugal, speaking of the strange old kitchen of the Royal Palace at Cintra, says: "One of our party tried the effect of a flute in this kitchen. It was strange and delightful. The softness, the power, the growing swell of notes meant to be soft and subdued, and the reverberation, louder and yet sweeter than the notes themselves, was almost awful, for it gave the delicate flute the character of an organ played by a wizard. The player, however, was soon obliged to leave off; it shook his nerves so that he could hardly stand. When he was afterwards rallied on his faintness, he declared that the reverberation thrilled him intolerably, and that the flute itself had got a sudden life in it, so that after a few minutes he seemed himself to be rather the thing played upon than the player." (Vol. II., p. 55.)

SPIRITUALISM IN BENGAL.

The Bengalee, (a Native Journal published every Saturday in Calcutta) in its issue of September 22nd of the present year, has a leading article under the above title, which we give without comment as its story is one which needs no explanation from us, and is only a further corroboration of a world-wide truth.

"The very interesting and lucid articles on this subject which, for some time past, have been in course of publication in the Shomeprokash have exerted a tremendous influence over the youthful native mind. The Bengalee above a certain limit of age is sardonic and sarcastic generally. He reserves his faith in novelties with a persistence which would be laudable if only he could assign an itelligible reason for his incredulity. The thing is impossible' is however the lingual bulwark behind which half the intelligent and working minds of the country post themselves when a new dogma in ethics, religion, or other speculative science presents itself at the door clamouring for admission and a hearty welcome. Spiritualism is not exactly a novelty in India. The belief in ghosts and in the influence of ghosts on the transactions of this world is a fundamental part of our religion. That the spirit haunts its worldly abode is an axiomatic article of our faith and the offering of libations in Gya is popularly esteemed to be the sure means of relieving it from the chain which binds it to the earth even after death. The funeral ceremonies of the Hindoos are nothing else than acts performed avowedly for the pacification of the spirits of deceased progenitors. Yet so low had we been accustomed to estimate every part of our religious institutions owing to the exaggerations and forgeries which conspicuously overlie them, that it had become actually necessary to wait for the progress and success of American Spiritualism before any action could be undertaken by us for the revival of our ancient faith and learning on the subject. At the present moment, the seniors of the community with the exception of a few zealous enthusiasts in all kinds of holy work, have not deemed it worth their while to test the truth of the existence of spirit-worlds, such as those beautifully traced in the flowery and inspired language of medium's developed in the circles organised in America. It was reserved for our youth-boys still in their teens who are prosecuting their studies in English schools, and who have enthusiasm and curiosity and trust-to experimentalise on a subject brimful of gushing interest to living men.

"A spiritual circle in Putuldanga, in Calcutta, consisting of the elements we have described, and a spiritual circle in Jessore scarcely more eminently qualified, have been daily and dutifully

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at work. The sublimest patience was their characteristic, the most devout and pious souls the offerings which they brought to the spirits they endeavoured to invoke. At last after tedious watching and smothering despair, after disappointments which would have driven grown-up men routingly from their ground, they have succeeded in obtaining manifestations which would be incredible were not the witnesses to the awful scenes well known for the purity of their character, their abhorrence of deceit as gathered from their every day school-boy life by intelligent tutors their acuteness of mind and strength of observation. Two mediums were simultaneously affected, one by the spirit of Raja Ram Mohun Roy, another by that of Hurris Chunder Mookerjea. The manifestations were preceded by convulsive fits in the boys affected, who subsequently declared that suddenly a cold tremor seemed to attack them, their nerves shook with galvanic violence, their veins swelled, a strange fear seized them and they became insensible. Whilst in this state the unaffected members of the circle hastily put pencil and paper into their hands, and the two mediums respectively traced thereon the names of Ram Mohun Roy and Hurris Chunder Mookerjea. They subsequently got up, and approaching each other whilst still in a state of absolute insensibility, the person possessed by the spirit of Ram Mohun Roy warmly shook hands with the other, exclaiming 'I am very glad to see you, Hurris.' The latter spoke rather despondingly of his present condition. There is every hope of further success when the two mediums are more fully developed.

"In the Jessore Circle a little girl of 12 years, who had never studied English, wrote out sheets of paper in that language whilst under the influence of the spirit. These are well authenticated facts, which lead us irresistibly to the Poet's puzzled solution There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.""

A YOUNG ZOUAVE, A CURATIVE MEDIUM-La Presse Illustré, of the 6th of August, says, quoting the Journal de l'Aisne, "The only talk in this part of the country, is of the miracles performed at the camp of Châlons by a young Spiritualist Zouave. Numbers of invalids direct their course towards Châlons, and a thing incredible, a great number return cured. Within these few days a paralytic patient went in a carriage, and after having seen the young Spiritualist, found himself radically cured, and returned joyfully on foot. Explain these prodigies who can all we can is that they are decided, and thoroughly attested by a great number of intelligent persons, and worthy of credit."

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A NEW INVENTION WANTED.

By WILLIAM HOWITT.

OUR age prides itself beyond all former ones, on the triumph of its scientific discoveries and manufacturing progress. As an able writer in the La Verité of Lyons says:-"In our epoch, progress marches with giant strides, both in industry and in physical science;-steam, railways, the electric telegraph, photography; aerostation, which now secms approaching a new development; spectral analysis, which discovers to us the physical constitutions of most distant stars; cosmical astronomy, which every day improves itself, and opens to our astonished gaze the material portion of the heavens; so many instruments, whether for manufacturing or agricultural operations,—these are the precious conquests, which we have no desire to depreciate: but have not these very things caused us to lose the view of the spiritual world and of our future destinies? Intoxicated by his genius, and by his anticipation of transforming prodigiously this terrestrial world in its physical conditions, is man to forget God and his soul? Is he to have no respect for anything but luxury, material good, and for gold, as the result of his labours and the means of his happiness here below, in the satisfaction of all his covetous and even least legitimate desires? Faith and the science of the invisible are menaced with annihilation, and as they contain the real evidences of the real life, it is necessary that our present sojourn should find itself shaken by some supernatural event or dispensation."

That is precisely the need of this age. We have invented all sorts of clever things. We can travel by vapour, and hope to travel on air. We can talk across the globe in a few seconds, and have engaged the sun as our portrait and landscape painter. All our shops display the marvellous results of our science and our tradings. We embellish our houses and our persons in splendours and tissues unknown to our proudest and wealthiest ancestors. What would have maintained a country squire a hundred years ago, will not now pay for the dresses of a citizen's wife. Jewels hang on our ladies thick as dew-drops on a May thorn. We roll in wealth and live in luxury, beyond not only any former age of our country, but in a manner to which the royalty of Solomon or the table of Lucullus were strangers. Babylon has fallen! And not only Babylon, but Athens, Rome, the great empires of ancient Asia, have all fallen from the effects of luxury and its corruptions; but we are ten times more wealthy, more luxurious, more prodigal in costume and splendour of abode, and we laugh at the idea of our ever falling.

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