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Title: Experimental Investigation of the Spirit Manifestations
Author: Robert Hare
Release Date: December 28, 2020 [eBook #64160]
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Tim Lindell, Les Galloway and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)

Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations in hyphenation have been standardised but all other spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

There is no anchor for footnote 5 on page 35 (containing paras 122,123 and 124), so the anchor has been placed at the end of para 122.

Vail has been corrected to veil throughout.

The cover was prepared by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.






Influence of Scripture on the Morals of Christians.




Verba animi proferre, vitam impendere vero.

Denounce dark Error and bright Truth proclaim, Though ghastly Death oppose, with threat’ning aim.


Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1855, by

in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.


Plate I


Engraving and description of the apparatus, which, being contrived for the purpose of determining whether the manifestations attributed to spirits could be made without mortal aid, by deciding the question affirmatively, led to the author’s conversion.

(a) PLATE I. Fig. 1, is an engraving from a photograph of the apparatus above alluded to. The disk A is represented as supported upon a rod of iron forming the axis on which it turns. To the outer end of this rod, the index B is affixed, so as to be stationary in a vertical position; the upper termination situated just in front of the letters. These are placed around the margin of the disk. The cord C encircles the pulley situated about the centre of the disk, like a hub to a carriage wheel. The ends of the cord are severally tied to weights, which, when the table is tilted, react against each other through the pulley; one being so large as to be immovable, the other so small as to be lifted. Of course a hook in the floor may be substituted for the larger weight.


(b) The relative position of the medium, and that of the screen intercepting her view of the disk, are too conspicuous to require particularization.

Fig. 2, represents Pease’s disk, or dial apparatus, associated with a vibrating lever and stand contrived by myself. The whole, thus modified, has been named the Spiritoscope.

(c) The apparatus thus designated consists of a box F, which is a miniature representation of a low, square, four sided house, with a single sloping roof, but without any floor closing it at the bottom.

(d) On the outside of the part serving as the roof, the alphabetic dial is depicted. On the inner surface of the roof board, the spring, pulley, and strings are attached, by which the index is made to revolve, so as to point out any letter.

(e) G represents the vibrating lever upon which the medium’s hands are placed. When test conditions are not requisite, her hands should be situated so as that merely one-half may be on each side of the fulcrum wire, on which the lever turns. When test conditions are requisite, the hands should be altogether on the portion of the board which is between the exterior end of the board and the fulcrum. When thus placed, it is utterly impossible to move the lever so as to cause it to select letters, or to control the selection, by any spirit who may be employing them to make a communication.[1]

(f) Not only are the letters of the alphabet printed equidistant, in due order, on the margin of the disk or dial-face; there are likewise words, the digits, and notes of music.

(g) The words are as follows: YesDoubtfulNoDon’t knowI think soA mistakeI’ll spell it overA messageDoneI’ll come againGood-byeI must leave. These words are printed on equidistant radial lines, nearly dividing the area between them. The digits are printed on radial lines intermediate between those on which the words appear.

Five concentric circular lines, dividing the margin into as many smaller portions, as in music paper, serve for the inditing of musical notes; respecting which the directions are given by Pease upon a printed slip of paper pasted inside.

(h) The index in this instrument is secured upon the outer end of a pivot supporting a pulley of about ¾ of an inch in diameter. The spring consists of a coil of brass wire, of which one end is fastened into the inside of the roof-board (c) of which the outside forms the surface for the letters, &c., while the other end of the wire is prolonged beyond the coil to about 2½ inches, and, by means of a loop, has a string of catgut tied to it securely. This string is fastened to a perforation in the pivot. Another piece of the same kind of string is fastened to the circumference of the pulley. The pivot being turned so as to wind upon it the string proceeding from the spring, and thus constraining it so as to make it capable of effectual recoil from the pulley, the latter may, with a little care, be made, as the spring recoils, to wind about it another string duly attached to its circumference. The strings being thus wound, (one to the right, the other to the left,) when the string attached to the pulley is pulled from the outside of the box, it is unwound therefrom, and meanwhile winds that attached to the spring upon the pivot. The reaction of the spring, when left to itself, reverses this process, producing the opposite revolution in the pulley. The index attached to the pivot of course turns in one direction or the other, as the pivot is actuated by the drawing out or retraction of the string which proceeds from it. This, at the outer end, is tied to a ring, which prevents it from receding into the box.

(i) It is surprising with what readiness a spirit, even when unused to the apparatus, will, by moving the lever, actuate the index, causing it to point to the letters, words, or figures distributed on the face of the disk, as above mentioned.

(j) The apparatus of Pease above described, agreeably to the design of the maker, operates by means of a string extending from the brass ring, in which the pulley string terminates externally, to a weight situated upon the floor, so as to be taut when at rest. When this arrangement is made, tilting of the table, by raising the end at which the box is situated, causes the weight to pull the string, and of course to induce the revolution of the pulley, its pivot, and corresponding index. The restoration of the table to its usual position reverses the motion. Hence by these means the index may be moved either way, as requisite for the selection of the letters required for communicating.

(k) The other figure in the same plate represents Pease’s disk apparatus, so arranged, as to be affixed to any table of moderate dimensions. The fulcrum on which the lever vibrates is so made as to be affixed to one of the table’s edges by clamps, while the disk, situated in a vertical plane, is supported by a bar which has a clamp to secure it to the table, while to the disk it is fastened by being introduced into square staples, made to receive it securely, in a mode resembling that by which a square bolt is secured. Under the vibrating lever, a hollow wire is fastened by staples, so as to receive a solid wire, which can be made to slide farther in or out, and thus adjust itself to the distance.]


Plate II


Description of the instrument by which spirits were enabled to move a table under the influence of mediumship, yet in no wise under the control of the medium employed, even clairvoyance being nullified.

(i) The table is about six feet in length, and sixteen inches in width, so contrived as to separate into three parts for conveniency of carriage.

(j) The pair of legs under the right side are upon castors. Those on the left side upon an axle, passing through perforations suitably made for its reception. The axle consists of a rod of about ½ of an inch in thickness. The axle serves for two wheels of about six inches diameter, of which one is grooved. A disk, already described as appertaining to apparatus in a preceding page, is secured upon a pivot affixed to a strip of wood, which is made to slide between two other strips attached to the frame of the table just under the top board. By these means, the band embraces both the hub of the disk and the wheel; when this turns in consequence of the shoving of the table horizontally along the floor, the disk turns with the wheel, and as much faster as the circumference of the groove in the hub, is less than that of the groove in the wheel.

(k) The index is in this apparatus situated precisely as in that described in Plate I.; and any mortal having due hold of the table, may, by shoving it one way or the other, bring any letter under the index, so as to spell out any desired word. But no person, sitting as the medium is in the engraving represented to sit, with the plate on two balls, can actuate the disk so as to spell out words as above mentioned. Utterly incapacitated from moving the table, it were manifestly impossible to actuate the disk, or to interfere with the movements otherwise imparted.

(l) In the employment of the apparatus (Plate I.) it has been suggested that through clairvoyance the medium might see the letters, despite of the screen, or might learn them from the mind of the observer; but in this case the medium sees the letters without the aid of clairvoyancy; but this power does not account for the regulation of the manifestations; since, even seeing the letters, they cannot control the movements so as to give to the intuitive power thus exercised any efficacy.

(m) On the surface of the table, on the right, may be seen a board upon castors. This was contrived as a substitute for the plate on balls. The castors, of course, perform the same office as the balls in allowing a solid material communication between the hands of the medium and the table, without giving the power to induce or control the movement. Evidently, though by any horizontal impulse the medium might cause the castors to turn and the board to move in consequence, the force necessary to effect this must fall short of that requisite to move the table.

(n) In point of fact, the board, when under the plate, balls, and hands of the medium, was often moved rapidly to and fro, without moving the table. To move this under such conditions without moving the board or tray, required a distinct spiritual process, of much greater difficulty, and which some spirits were either unwilling or unable to employ successfully.

See “Mediumship” in this work. See also 164, 166.

Plate III


(o) On the opposite page is a representation of an experiment, in which the medium was prevented from having any other communication with the apparatus, actuated under his mediumship, excepting through water. Yet under these circumstances the spring balance indicated the exertion of a force equal to 18 pounds.

(p) A board is supported on a rod so as to make it serve as a fulcrum, as in a see-saw, excepting that the fulcrum is at the distance of only a foot from one end, while it is three feet from the other. This end is supported by a spring-balance which indicates pounds and ounces by a rotary index.

(q) Upon the board, at about six inches from the fulcrum, there is a hole into which the knob of an inverted glass vase, nine inches in diameter, is inserted.

(r) Upon two iron rods proceeding vertically from a board resting on the floor, so as to have one on each side of the vase, a cage of wire, such as is used to defend food from flies, of about five inches diameter, is upheld [inverted] by the rod within the vase concentrically, so as to leave between it and the sides of the vase an interstice of an inch nearly, and an interval of an inch and a half between it and the bottom of the vase.

(s) The vase being filled with water until within an inch of the brim, the medium’s hands were introduced into the cage and thus secured from touching the vase.

(t) These arrangements being made, the spirits were invoked to show their power, when repeatedly the spring-balance indicated an augmentation of weight equal to three pounds. The relative distances of the vase and balance from the fulcrum being as 6 to 36, the force exerted must have been 3 × 6 = 18 pounds; yet the medium did not appear to be subjected to any reaction, and declared that he experienced none.

(u) It was on stating this result to the Association for the Advancement of Science, that I met with much the same reception as the King of Ava gave to the Dutch ambassador, who alleged water to be at times solidified in his country, by cold, so as to be walked upon.

(v) The belief in spiritual agency was treated as a mental disease, with which I, of course, had been infected; those who made this charge being perfectly unconscious that their education has associated morbid incredulity with bigoted and fanatical credence.


Plate IV


(x) The apparatus of which the opposite cuts afford a representation are spiritoscopes, under modifications to which I resorted subsequently to the contrivance in which Pease’s dial is employed. For Pease’s “dial,” disks are substituted, resembling those originally employed by me, as represented in Plates I. and II. These last mentioned, however, were made to revolve under the index; while in Pease’s apparatus the index revolves, the disk remaining at rest. The advantage of having the disk to revolve is, that the letter is always to be looked for, within the same space; whereas in operating with the other the eye has to follow the index through all its rapid movements.

(y) The convenience and economy of casting the disks of iron was deemed a sufficient motive for resorting to the rotation of the index; as when made of that metal the disk becomes too heavy to be rotated with ease, first one way and then another.

(z) In Fig. 1 the vibrating lever is resorted to, and the process is precisely the same as that already described, in which Pease’s dial is associated with the same mechanism.

(aa) The words on the dial faces in Figures 1 and 2 are somewhat abbreviated.[2]

(bb) The rod R slides in staples, so as to be made to extend farther or nearer from the fulcrum. The legs on which the disk is supported, which are a part of the casing, terminate below in a socket which fits upon a plug screwed into the base-board; upon this plug it may be fastened by the set screw (s). By sliding the rod (r) inward, the disk may be turned half round upon the plug, so as to place the lettered surface out of the sight of the medium, whose power to influence the communications is thus nullified. This is one mode of attaining test conditions; in other words, those conditions which make it impossible that the communications received should be due to any mortal, (151 to 166,) unless, as gratuitously and erroneously, as I believe, alleged, the medium by clairvoyancy sees the letters.

(cc) By another method test conditions are obtained which are not exposed to this evil.

(dd) The method to which I allude has been explained in the description of Plate I. in reference to the spiritoscope formed with the aid of a Pease’s disk, paragraph (e). The process is the same in the employment of Fig. 1 Plate IV. under consideration. It may be better understood in this case, as the illustration of the lever board L is more conspicuous. In the ordinary mode of operating without test conditions, the hand of the medium is so situated as to have nearly half of it beyond the fulcrum, marked by the line F L. When test conditions are imposed, the tips of the fingers only reach to that line, without going beyond it. Situated as last mentioned, the medium to whom they appertain cannot move the rod R, because it is already against the lower edge of the disk, which prevents it from moving upwards. In the opposite direction the medium can create no pressure, since her efforts could only tend to lift her hand, per se, from the disk. It is important that the reader should pay attention to this exposition, as the conditions thus made evident are often appealed to as one proof, among others, that my information and credentials are from the immortal worthies of the spirit world.

(ee) Fig. 2 is analogous in its mode of operating, to the apparatus represented in Plate II. It is in the substitution of a small board for a table that the principal difference consists.[3] The board requires only to be large enough to allow the hands to rest upon it in front of the disk. The index is actuated by a horizontal motion to and fro, which, as in the apparatus, Plate II., causes the rotation of a supporting wheel, which by means of a band communicates rotation to a pulley supported behind the disk on the pivot to which the index is secured in front. The sliding pulley P being fastened at a due distance from the disk (o), is used to keep the band tight.

(ff) This instrument is preferred by the spirits, and is easier for a feeble medium to employ effectually. I cannot as yet avail myself of Fig. 1; through Fig. 2 I have had some interesting tests.

(gg) This form, then, is best for incipient mediumship.

(hh) Fig. 2 may be employed under test conditions, by so situating it as that the dial shall be on the side opposite to that where the medium sits; under these circumstances she cannot see the index or the letters, and consequently cannot control the spelling of spirits, so as to give results from her own mind instead of theirs. This mode of testing does not preclude the subterfuge, so often resorted to, of clairvoyant power, enabling the medium to see through the cast-iron, or read the letters in the minds of the bystanders. This power I have never witnessed; yet it is absurdly attributed to media who, as well as all their friends, are ignorant of the existence of any such power.

(ii) Another mode of testing is that illustrated in Plate II., where a plate upon two balls supports the hands of the medium, and forms the only means of conducting communication between the medium and apparatus. It may be easily conceived that instead of the hands being placed upon the board, the plate and balls being interposed, the hands of the medium may be supported over the board of Fig. 2. as they are represented to be supported over the table in Fig. 1, Plate II.

See 167, 169, 172, 177, 196.

(kk) Fig. 3, Plate IV., is a representation of an association of serrated strips of iron in a wooden frame, which sliding on the lever board of Fig. 1, so as to have the saws just above the back of the hand of the medium, is found to increase the efficacy of the mediumship. It is only of importance to use it when test conditions are requisite, as explained already, Fig. 1, (hh). The rationale, so far as it can be suggested, will be stated under the head of mediumship. It will be perceived that the size of the frame is not in due proportion to the lever board, being upon a larger scale. But this renders it more conspicuous, and the reader can easily conceive its size to be such as to allow the grooves in the wooden sides of the frame to receive the edges of the lever board L, and thus to be secured firmly thereupon.




Preface.—Letter from J. F. Lanning, Esq.—Spiritual communication, through the mediumship of Mr. Lanning, to the author—Author’s Reply—Communication from an assembly of eminent spirits, sanctioning, under test conditions, the credentials transmitted through Mr. Lanning—Postscript by the author—Supplemental Preface 3
Introduction.—The evidence of the existence of a Deity, by the author—Theological Axioms 17
Intuitive Evidence of the Existence of Spirits.—Narrative of the author’s experimental investigation of Spiritualism—Letter in reply to an inquiry respecting the Influence of Electricity in Table-Turning—Of Manifestations founded on Movements without contact, or such contact as cannot be sufficient to cause the result—Hymn chanted, and reply 35
Corroborative Evidence of the Existence of Spirits.—Evidence afforded by the Rev. Allen Putnam, of Roxbury, Mass.—Evidence of Dr. Bell, of Somerville, near Boston—His errors, arising from ignorance of facts, (110, 283, 864.) 55
Foreign Corroborative Evidence of the Existence of Spirits.—Manifestations which occurred in France in 1851—Letter from T. R. P. Ventura—Letter of Dr. Coze—Letter of M. F. De Saulcy—Spiritualism in Paris—Spiritual Manifestations in France and Germany—Spiritualism in Great Britain—Letter of Robert Owen, Esq. 66
Communications from the Spirit World.—Remarks introductory to my spirit father’s communication—My father’s communication—Communication from a spirit son of the author—Additional communications from spirits who died while infants—Communication from a very young spirit child to its parents 85
Of Spiritual Birth.—Narratives given by spirits of their translation to the spirit world—Narrative of his spiritual birth, by W. W., a most benevolent spirit—The spirit Maria’s narrative—My sister’s account of her translation to the spirit world—My brother’s account of his spiritual birth, &c. 101
Convocation of Spirits.—Sixty-four queries addressed to a convocation of worthies from the spirit world; also their replies to the same, (through the mediumship of Mrs. Gourlay,) confirmed under conditions which no mortal could pervert 113
Exposition of the Information received from the Spirit World 119
Apology for my Conversion.—Reasons for my change of opinion, and belief in the existence and agency of spirits—On the whereabout of heaven—Correspondence with Mr. Holcomb, of Southwick, Massachusetts 125
Moral Influence of Spiritualism 136
The Heaven and Hell of Spiritualism contrasted with the Heaven and Hell of Scripture 141
Instinctive Impression as to Heaven being overhead.—Discordance as to the whereabout of the scriptural heaven 149
“The True Doctrine.”—The Rev. H. Harbaugh’s opinion respecting heaven 151
Of Mediumship 159
Of Counter-Mediumship.—On the influence of the ill-treatment of media on spiritual manifestations—The author’s discovery of his powers as a medium 166
On Psychological Explanations of Spiritual Manifestations 168
Alphabetic Converse with Spirits.—Modern process for alphabetic converse with spirits as new as that of electric telegraph 173
Influence of Mundane Wealth in the World to come.—According to the spiritual code, riches elevate or degrade according to the morality displayed in their acquisition and employment 176
Mrs. Gourlay’s Narrative of her Conversion to Spiritualism 179
Practical Benefit of Spiritualism.—Illustration of the practical benefit of Spiritualism, in the happiness imparted by the conversion of an unbeliever to a belief in immortality—Letter from a spirit daughter—Correspondence with a spirit brother 192
Marriage on Earth and in Heaven.—The hymeneal tie in the spirit world grows out of the necessity of the connubial union in the mundane sphere—“Free Love” imputation refuted 204
Influence of Scripture on the Morals of Christians.—The morality of Christendom being irreconcilable with the New Testament, cannot be its legitimate offspring—Inspiration can have no higher authority than the human testimony on which its existence is arrogated—Injurious influence of unreasonable restriction—No one would believe that a capable farmer would make such a mistake as to sow garlic instead of wheat; yet God, while represented as having intended to sow Protestantism, is considered as having caused throughout Christendom a crop of Catholicism, in the Roman or Grecian form, for more than a thousand years: those weeds still occupying more than half of the whole soil—Letter of William Pitt, afterward Earl of Chatham—Offer of guidance by a mundane spirit—Improper use of the epithet Infidel—On Atonement—On the massacre at Sinope—Opinions of God held by Sir Isaac Newton—On God and his attributes, by Seneca—On the better employment of the first day of the week—Additional remarks respecting the observance of the Sabbath, so called—If creatures be not so created as to love their neighbours as themselves, precepts can no more alter them in this respect than change the colour of their hair or the number of cubits in their stature—Attacks upon the authenticity of Scripture cannot endanger the prevalent morality, which, while superior to that of the Old Testament, indicates a recklessness of the precepts of Christ, excepting so far as faith is upheld as a counterpoise for sin—The doctrine of a peculiar belief being necessary to salvation, and a counterpoise for sin, a source of discord originally confined to Judea, expanded with Christianity and Islamism: verifying Christ’s allegation, that he came “as a sword, not as a messenger of peace”—Superior morality and far less questionable certainty of the communications from the spirit world—Quotation from Mosheim—Quotation from Gibbon—For more than a thousand years, the Grecian or Roman Catholic clergy were the solo depositaries of the word of God, so called, and regulators of religious morals; yet, according to Bishop Hopkins, during that time, the clergy were for the most part pre-eminent in vice, as compared with the rest of the community; whence it is inferred that, like Pope Boniface, the wicked clergy in general were unbelievers in the truth of the gospel—If the morals of the modern clergy are better, it is neither from the barbarous example furnished them in the Old Testament, nor the ultra precepts of the gospel; being too much enlightened to be governed by either—Summary made by Bishop Hopkins—Any religion, like that of Moses, which does not make immortality a primary consideration, must be chiefly confined to worldly objects, and, of course, unworthy of consideration. People profess Christianity more from a desire to do right, than they do right in consequence of their professions—A calumny against human nature to represent men as wilfully ignorant of the true religion—To appreciate the Jewish representation of the Deity, a reader should first form an idea of this planet and its inhabitants,7 comparatively with the hundred millions of solar systems, and the inconceivable extent of the space which encompasses them, and which falls within the domain of one common Deity—Our actions dependent, under God, on organization, education, and the extent to which we are tempted extraneously—On probation—World least moral when the Christian church had most sway—Honour and mercantile credit more trusted than religion. Virtue due more to the heart than to sectarianism. Bigotry acts like an evil spirit—Progress of literature and science in Arabia, under the Mohammedan pontiffs, called caliphs 206
Additional Corroborative Evidence of the Existence of Spirits.—The opinions of MM. de Mirville and Gasparin on Table Turning and Mediums, (considered in relation to theology and physics,) examined by the Abbot Almignana, doctor of the common law, theologian, &c.—Mechanical movements without contact, by Mr. Isaac Rehn, President of the Harmonial Society, Philadelphia—Communication from J. M. Kennedy, Esq.—Communication from Wm. West, Esq.—Koons’s Establishment—Communications from Joseph Hazard, Esq.—A visit to the Spiritualists of Ohio—Letter from John Gage—The home of the mediums, and the haunts of the spirits—What they did, said, and wrote—The house of the Spiritualists—Presence of electricity—The room where the spirits manifest their power—The furniture and occupants—The manifestations commence—The spirits play on drums, harps, French horns, accordeons, and tamborines—The manifestations continue, and the head spirit writes a communication—The spirit’s letter—Concluding remarks—An evening at Koons’s spirit room, by Charles Partridge, Esq., New York—Experience of the Hon. N. P. Tallmadge—Letter from Mr. D. H. Hume—Spiritualism in London—Lord Brougham with the spirits—Evidence afforded by the Rev. J. B. Ferguson—An exposition of views respecting the principal facts, causes, and peculiarities involved in spiritual manifestations; together with interesting phenomenal statements and communications, by Adin Ballou—Testimony of the Hon. J. W. Edmonds—Testimony of Henry Lloyd Garrison.—Testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Newton—Testimony of members of the New York circle—Testimony of the Rev. D. F. Goddard, Boston—Manifestations at Stratford, Connecticut, in the house of the Rev. Eliakim Phelps, D.D.—Remarkable exhibitions of power—Singular occurrences—Image-making—Destruction of furniture—Incendiary spirits—The spirits identified—Unhappy spirits, from the remembrance of wrong done in this world—Wrong doing revealed—Directions given for restoring ill-gotten gains—Discontinuance of the manifestations—Idea of the existence of a spiritual sun, and a vital spiritual oxygen, found to exist, independently, in the mind of a much-esteemed author 273
Of Matter, Mind, and Spirit.—Of matter—Strictures on a speculation by Farraday respecting the nature of matter—On Whewell’s demonstration that all matter is heavy—Additional remarks on the speculation of Farraday and Exley, above noticed—Of mundane, ethereal, and ponderable matter, in their chemical relations—Suggestions of Massotti, respecting the nature of matter—On electro-polarity as the cause of electrical phenomena—Of mind, as existing independently, and as distinguished from matter—Of spirit independently, or as distinguished from mind and matter—Of the soul, as distinguished from mind and matter—On the odic, or odylic force 363
Religious Errors of Mr. Mahan.—Proposition of Mr. Mahan—Of the origin of the Books of Moses no higher evidence exists, according to the testimony of the Bible itself, than that of an obscure priest and a fanatical king—Scriptural account of the finding of the Books of Moses by Hilkiah, the high-priest—Account of the finding of the Books of Moses, by Josephus—If the Pentateuch had been previously known to the Jews, it is incredible that it could have become obsolete and forgotten prior to the alleged discovery of it in the temple in the reign of Josiah—Great importance attached to a belief in immortality by Cyrus the Great,8 King of Persia, as contrasted with the recklessness of Moses respecting the same belief—The worship of a book, idolatry—Evidence of Josephus and Gibbon vs. Mr. Mahan—The worshippers of the golden calf more righteous than their assassins—Just denunciation of the religious imposture and usurpation of Moses, by noble-minded Israelites—Remarkable observance of the golden rule by Moses, in his last advice to the Israelites—Straining at spiritual gnats while swallowing scriptural camels—The evidence which is insufficient to establish the iniquity of a sinner cannot be sufficient to establish the divine authority of a book—Word of God, so called, or the golden rule inverted by God’s alleged commands—Pagan fearlessness of death—Observations of Mr. Huc, a Christian priest, that it is their religion which makes Christians more fearful of death than the Chinese—Mr. Huc’s observations—Conclusion of strictures on Mr. Mahan’s religious errors 396
Conclusion.—The Pentateuch inconsistently represented as the basis of a belief in human immortality—Injustice of representing disbelievers in the Bible as not having as good ground for belief in immortality as those who rest their belief on a work which, by its silence, tends to discountenance the hope of a future life—Those who uphold the Bible against Spiritualism, the real antagonists of the only satisfactory evidence ever given to man of a future habitation in the spirit world 423



Letter to the Episcopal Clergy.—Letter from Dr. Hare to the clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church, offering to lay before them the new evidence of immortality. (Submitted to the late convention, Philadelphia, May 15, 1855.) 427
A Letter from Dr. Hare.—Addressed to the Association for the Advancement of Science, at their meeting, August 18, 1855—Preliminary remarks 430
Farraday’s Speculation.—Speculation touching electric conduction and the nature of matter. By Farraday 432
Motives for Republishing my Memoir on Electrical Theory 437
Electrical Theory.—Objections to the theories severally of Franklin, Dufay, and Ampere, with an effort to explain electrical phenomena by statical or undulatory polarization—Supposed grounds for a theory—Proofs of the existence of an enormous quantity of imponderable matter in metals—Electrical phenomena attributed to stationary or undulatory polarization—On the perfect similitude between the polarity communicated to iron filings by a magnetized steel bar and a galvanized wire—Process by which the ethereo-ponderable atoms within a galvanic circuit are polarized by the chemical reaction—Difference between electro-ethereal and ethereo-ponderable polarization—Competency of a wire to convey a galvanic discharge is as its sectional area, while statical discharges of frictional electricity, preferring the surface, are promoted by its extension. Yet in proportion as such discharges are heavy, the ability of a wire to convey them and its magnetic energy become more dependent on its sectional area, and less upon extent of surface—Difference between frictional electricity and galvanic does not depend on the one being superior as to quantity, the other as to intensity; but on the different degrees in which the ethereo-ponderable atoms of the bodies affected are deranged from their natural state of neutralized polarity—Of ethereo-ponderable deflagration—Summary. 439


Robt Hare M D.
Engraved at J. M. Butlers establishment, 84 Chestnut St. Philada.



As prefatory to this volume, it may be expedient here to introduce the credentials which I have lately received from the spirit world. With the medium of their communication, Mr. Lanning, of this city, No. 124 Arch St., I have had but little intercourse, knowing him, however, by report, as a good man and a zealous spiritualist. The communication which I owe to his mediumship, was utterly unexpected by me, never having, in any way, hinted to him, directly or indirectly, that it would be desirable to receive such an indication of confidence and approbation.

The first and only knowledge which I had of this, to me, stirring appeal, is comprised in the following letter from Lanning. The difference between the style of his own language, though very good for its purpose, and that which he ascribes to the spirits, must corroborate his allegation that this address did not originate in his brain.

On submitting the address to my spirit father, he sanctioned the idea of its proceeding from spirits.

Philadelphia, June 7, 1855.

Dear Sir: I send you the following communication, and think it to be an emanation from the spirit life. I feel not a little reluctance in so doing, for it is seldom I can get any thing for others. How it may suit your mind, I do not know, nor do I wish to impose it upon you for any thing worthy your consideration. I would hesitate much to instruct one so much my senior, and whose name I esteem, were it not that I love a cause so near your heart; and I feel that my mind is only the channel through which I have every evidence, the unseen in the spirit life, at times give their thoughts to mortals. I have no idea from what spirit it came, but know it did not originate in my own brain.

Very truly, yours, J. F. Lanning.

To Dr. Robert Hare, Philadelphia:

Prof. Robert Hare—Venerable and much-esteemed friend, it is an unwonted pleasure with us to number you as a leading mind in the ranks of this new and better gospel which is being given to the dwellers of earth. We see the many and perplexing difficulties which, to you, apparently hinder your progress in this path to light and love, and we sympathize with you in all your efforts to unfold your mind and to render it useful and happy.


Could you see the great glory which is to be the issue of your labours in the new unfoldings of spiritual science, you would not despair of your mission, nor weary in your devotion to it. Let us ask you, If there is any earthly fame or consideration that could induce you to turn back again to the familiar paths in which a life of patient labour has been spent? If there is any earthly joy or brilliant attainment which you have ever enjoyed, worthy to be compared with the little you have realized since you commenced your investigations in this the most important pursuit of your life? Ask yourself how much happiness you have found in the contemplation of that fact which has been demonstrated, not only to your wishes, but to your senses, that the thinking mind never dies; that the grave, which is but the wardrobe of the cast-off garment of the spirit, has no power over the soul; that it lives on, lives ever, and must throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity continue to unfold its powers. Ask yourself, what is earth, what is fame, what is the endearment to your present life, when contrasted or compared with the assurance which you now have, that there is no death, no loss of your individuality, no severing of the ties of friendship and love which shall not be renewed again in that fairer land, the home of the angels, whither you and all you love on earth are tending? Ponder then, our venerable friend, and ask your thirsting soul, if this knowledge is not worth more than the cost of diamonds to you? We, who have laid aside the crumbling casket which contained the priceless jewel that is never tarnished, know full well the value of this gem of knowledge which now sparkles on your vision just opened.

There are many things which we would like to say to you, but the conditions and circumstances which control our operations render it impossible for us to present to your mind the light which it so much seeks. To answer the demands of your spirit is now impossible to us. Time and the unfoldings of your mind can only solve the questions you would propound. You are well aware that the growth of your present knowledge is but the effect of earnest inquiry, of patient toil, and deep study, and experiment after experiment in your searchings for truth. Such was the only way you reached the position which you now occupy in the science so dear to you. It came in no other way, it could come in no other. The child is subjected to the necessity of first learning the alphabet before it is prepared to spell, and must understand the meaning of words before it can comprehend the sentence it reads. So in this investigation. That which is apparently of little meaning must first be learned, the alphabet must be mastered, hard words pronounced, and all must be understood before there is a fittedness for progression. The wisest on earth, aye, the wisest in spirit life, are learners, students: none but God is perfectly wise; and it is no humiliation to any mind that it contains not all of wisdom. Let us say to you that if patient in your investigations, you shall in due time obtain that which you so earnestly seek. Could we work miracles, (a thing impossible,) they would astound rather than enlighten your mind. Could we withdraw the veil which separates the vision from the things you desire to see in our spheres of life, you have no data by which you could make plain to yourself or to the eyes of your fellow-man the sights you would behold.

Go on in your searchings, our good friend: the end is not yet with you. Brilliant minds with brilliant thoughts are burning to give utterance to earth through you. You are a selected instrument of our own choosing, and we are watching and guiding in the path and to the goal you seek. You may not only “speak trumpet-tongued to the scientific world,” but in thunder-tones to those savans who think they are the masters of the keys of knowledge.


Author’s Reply to the preceding Address.

Philadelphia, June 15, 1855.

To my spirit friends, to whom I owe the preceding address:

It is quite unnecessary for my angel friends to urge upon my heart, or upon my reason the nothingness of this world, in comparison with that of which a description has lately been given to me.

So highly do I estimate the prospect thus awakened, that it seems almost too good, too desirable to be realized. There are so many painful ideas awakened in my mind respecting the lot of humanity, by the events of past and present times, that it is difficult to conceive that, at the short distance of little more than the eightieth part of the diameter of our globe, there should be such a contrast. But to heighten my appreciation of the inestimable value of such an heirship is utterly uncalled for. If there be any drawback, it is the misery which pervades this mundane sphere. The sympathy which, on the one hand, ties you to this world, must, on the other, cause a participation in the sufferings which pervade all animated nature. While I am aware that sympathy, as above suggested, would prevent me from flying from a perception or contemplation of the wretchedness in question, it seems as if the heaven of Spiritualism were, in this phase, in some degree open to the objection to the heaven of Scripture, founded on its too great proximity to hell. Is not the spiritual heaven too near this sphere, and too much associated with it by its sympathy, not to suffer indirectly a portion of its miseries?

If there were any thing I should deem to be requisite to render existence in the spirit world happier, it would be the power of removing the miseries of this lower world, and especially those arising from Error—the most prolific source of evil. According to Addison’s allegory, Death admitted the pretensions of Intemperance to be superior in destructiveness, to those of any of the numerous diseases which competed for the honour of the premiership in his cabinet; but might not Error have successfully competed with Intemperance?—Error, the main cause of intemperance, of intolerant bigotry, and of war, which destroys both by the sword and by sickness which it induces?

It is difficult for us to conceive that good, affectionate spirits are not unhappy at witnessing the distress which they cannot relieve. The prisoners at Sing Sing are said to undergo mental torture by the silence imposed upon them. Yet this is imposed upon spirits, when often a word would prevent fatal events.

Nevertheless, Spiritualism, so far as it prevails, will make all better: in the first place, by removing error and sectarian discord, and, in the next place, by making nature the object of our study, and, indirectly, of our worship, as the work of the Being who created all.

You need not any more strive to stimulate my estimation of the high office which you bestow on me as promulgator of the knowledge given me of the spheres, than to excite my appreciation of that knowledge. I would not relinquish my position for any temporal sovereignty. My love of truth, my desire for human happiness, would be sufficient for my pay in causing truth to triumph, as that, of course, would be a heaven to me in contemplating the misery obviated and the happiness induced.

Doubtless, not to be fairly appreciated would be painful; while merited applause would be a high gratification; but, were that my primary motive, I should not deserve applause. All that I would desire would be, to have that share of honour to which I might be entitled in common with other colabourers in the cause of truth: to exist in the spheres on the same plane with the illustrious Washington and his coadjutors, and associated with my beloved relatives and friends, having access to14 the wise and good men of all ages and nations! That were a heaven indeed! To be worthy of and enjoy such a heaven, is the only selfish ambition with which I am actuated, so far as I know myself.

Your truly devoted servant and friend, Robert Hare.

Having suggested to my spirit father that it would be expedient that some names should be attached to the credentials with which the preceding address from the spirits seemed to endow me by appointment, he induced several spirits of eminence to accompany him to Mrs. Gourlay’s this morning, (August 4, 1855.) This gave me an opportunity to read Lanning’s letter, the address which I received through him as above represented, and my reply. In return I received the subjoined communication.

Communication from an assembly of eminent spirits, sanctioning the credentials transmitted through the mediumship of Mr. Lanning.

August 4, 1855.

Respected Friend: We cheerfully accompany your father to sanction the communication given through our medium, Mr. Lanning, to yourself. My friend, we have sought media in various localities through whom to accredit you as our minister to earth’s inhabitants, but owing to unfavourable conditions, we have, in most instances, failed. We perceive with pleasure that your heart is fully imbued with the importance of your holy mission. It needs no fulsome flattery from us to incite you to action. A principle of right and truth pervades all your movements in this spiritual campaign. We truly style it a campaign, since you are battling fearlessly against Error, that hydra-headed monster who has slain his millions and tens of millions. We have looked forward to the publication of facts involved through your experimental investigations with interest. The communication above referred to was given by one who stood high in the estimation of the people of our great republic; but, for personal reasons, he wishes to withhold his name.

Be it known to all who may read these credentials, that we sanction them, and authorize our names to be affixed thereunto.

Postscript by the author.

It is a well-known saying that there is “but one step between the sublime and the ridiculous.” This idea was never verified more fully than in the position I find myself now occupying, accordingly as those by whom that position is viewed may consider the manifestations which have given rise to it in the light wherein they are now viewed by me, or as they were two years ago viewed by myself, and are now seen by the great majority of my estimable contemporaries.


I sincerely believe that I have communicated with the spirits of my parents, sister, brother, and dearest friends, and likewise with the spirits of the illustrious Washington and other worthies of the spirit world; that I am by them commissioned, under their auspices, to teach truth and to expose error. This admitted, I may be reasonably inspired with the sentiment authorized in the preceding credentials, that I hold my office to be greatly preferable to that of any mundane appointment, and for the reasons above given in those credentials. But how vast is the difference between this estimate and that which must ascribe these impressions to hallucination! my position being that of a dupe or fanatic. Yet there can be no man of real integrity and good sense, unimpaired by educational bigotry, who will not respect sincere devotion to the cause of piety, truth, and human welfare, here and hereafter, however displayed. Hence, although the foregoing prefatory pages should have no other influence, they may operate to show my own deep conviction of the righteousness of my course, founded, as I believe it to have been, on the most precise, laborious, experimental inquiry, and built up under the guidance of my sainted father, as well as under the auspices of Washington and other worthy immortals.

Those who shall give a careful perusal to the following work will find that there has been some “method in my madness;” and that, if I am a victim to an intellectual epidemic, my mental constitution did not yield at once to the miasma. But let not the reader too readily “lay the flattering unction to his soul” that ’tis my hallucination that is to be impugned, not his ignorance of facts and his educational errors.

The sanction of the spirits, as above given, was obtained under test conditions; so that it was utterly out of the power of any mortal to pervert the result from being a pure emanation from the spirits whose names are above given.

It ought to be understood that the sanction given by the spirits whose names are attached to the preceding certificate, was obtained under test conditions, as explained in paragraph bb., dd., in the description of Plate iv. Moreover, I placed my hand on the instrument illustrated by Fig. 2 in same plate, so as to question the spirits directly as to the reliability of the affirmation, previously given to me, and the fidelity of the medium generally. In both cases the index moved so as to give an affirmative reply.



The most precise and laborious experiments which I have made in my investigation of Spiritualism, have been assailed by the most disparaging suggestions, as respects my capacity to avoid being the dupe of any medium employed. Had my conclusions been of the opposite kind, how much fulsome exaggeration had there been, founded on my experience as an investigator of science for more than half a century! And now, in a case when my own direct evidence is adduced, the most ridiculous surmises as to my probable oversight or indiscretion are suggested, as the means of escape from the only fair conclusion.

Having despatched a spirit friend from Cape Island, at one o’clock on the third of July, to request Mrs. Gourlay, in Philadelphia, to send her husband to the bank to make an inquiry, and to report the result to me at half-past 3 o’clock, the report was made to me as desired. The subject was not mentioned until after my return to Philadelphia, when, being at the residence of Mrs. Gourlay, I inquired of her, whether she had received any message from me during my absence? In reply, it was stated that while a communication from her spirit mother was being made to her brother, who was present, my spirit messenger interrupted it to request her to send her husband to the bank to make the desired inquiry: that, in consequence, the application was made at the bank. The note-clerk recollected the application to him, but appeared to have considered it as too irregular to merit much attention. Hence the impression received by the applicants, and communicated to me, was not correct. But as it did not accord with that existing in my memory, it could not have been learned from MY mind.

Wishing to make this transaction a test, I was particularly careful to manage so that I might honourably insist upon it as a test; and, until I learned the fact from Mrs. Gourlay and from the note-clerk that the inquiry was made, it did not amount to a test manifestation. But, if I had been ever so indiscreet, would it not be absurd to imagine a conspiracy between any person at Cape Island with Dr. and Mrs. Gourlay, her brother, and the note-clerk at the bank, to deceive me on my return by concurrent falsehoods?

I submit these facts to the public, as proving that there must have been an invisible, intelligent being with whom I communicated at Cape Island, who, bearing my message to this city, communicated it to Mrs. Gourlay, so as to induce the application at the bank. Otherwise, what imaginable cause could have produced the result, especially within the time occupied—of two and a half hours?

The existence of spirit agency being thus demonstrated, I am justified in solemnly calling on my contemporaries to give credence to the important information which I have received from spirits, respecting the destiny of the human soul after death. They may be assured that every other object of consideration sinks into insignificance in comparison with this information and the bearing it must have upon morals, religion and politics, whenever it can be known and be believed by society in general, as it is by me.



As introductory to this work, I shall make a few brief remarks on the following topics:—

Objects of religion.—Diversity of opinion as to the means by which they have been attainable.—Every sect, excepting one, would vote against any one.—Consequent sentiments of the Author as embodied in verse.—Reasons for his believing in the existence of a Deity.—American priesthood eminently honest and pious.—If people who have obtained a belief in immortality by one route are better and happier therefor, why object that others, by another route, should attain the same ends.—The table, no less than our firesides, an object of interest.—Inconsistency of those who make their Deity pass through all the stages of human existence, from the embryo to maturity, in objecting to the transient employment of tables.—Use of the tables soon laid aside in the manifestations to which the Author has resorted.—Inconsistency of accusing Spiritualists of undue incredulity as to scriptural miracles, and of the opposite defect as respects spiritual manifestations.—Of certain savans who strain at spiritual gnats, yet swallow scriptural camels.—Miracles of Scripture, if they ever occurred, can never be repeated; but the manifestations of Spiritualism will be repeated with an improved and a multifarious efficiency.—Religion and positive or inductive science having, under the guidance of devotion and atheism, been made to travel in opposite directions, are by Spiritualism so associated as to travel together in the same direction.—The atheist Comte would dissolve the union between theology and science.—According to Comte, where true science begins, the domain of theology terminates, being only a creature of the imagination.—According to Spiritualism, it is the domain of ignorance that is lessened, while theology, founded on knowledge, grows with its growth, and strengthens with its strength.—An effort to refute the idea of Comte, that the phenomena of the sidereal creation can be explained by gravitation; which, left to itself, would consolidate all the matter in the universe into an inert lump.—Suggestions respecting the devil.—Arguments founded on ignorance.

1. On all sides I presume that it will be admitted that the great objects of religion are as follows:—

2. To furnish the best evidence of the existence of a Supreme Deity, and of his attributes.


3. To convey a correct idea of our duty toward that Deity and our fellow creatures.

4. To impart that knowledge of a state of existence beyond the grave which will be happier as we are more virtuous in this life, and more miserable as we are more vicious; this knowledge affording the best consolation amid temporal sufferings of the righteous, and the strongest restraint upon the vicious indulgence of passion in the unrighteous.

5. Finally, by these means, to promote morality and the happiness of man in this world, and prepare him for a blissful position in the world to come.

6. It must result, from these premises, that whichever is most competent for the attainment of these all-important ends, will be the best religion.

7. The above-mentioned postulates being generally admitted, various recorded traditions, pretended to have been derived from one or more deities, have been advanced as best calculated to meet the requisitions in question. Each of the religious doctrines thus advanced is tenaciously defended by its appropriate priesthood. If the opinions of the majority of these advocates of their respective revelations be taken as respects any creed excepting their own, it will be denounced as originating in error or fraud. The opinion being taken successively upon any one, by all but those to whom it appertains, each would be condemned.

8. It was under these impressions that the following verses were written, more than forty years ago. They have recently been published in a pamphlet on the better employment of the first day of the week.

They serve to show that my skepticism arose from my love of truth, instead of that aversion from it, ascribed to skeptics by many well-meaning bigots.

9. Oh, Truth! if man thy way could find,
Not doomed to stray with error blind,
How much more kind his fate!
But wayward still, he seeks his bane,
Nor can of foul delusion gain
A knowledge till too late.
By sad experience slowly shown,
Thy way at times though plainly known,
Too late repays his care;
While in thy garb dark Error leads,
With best intent, to evil deeds
The bigot to ensnare.
Is there a theme more highly fraught
With matter for our serious thought
Than this reflection sad,
That millions err in different ways,
Yet all their own impressions praise,
Deeming all others bad?
To man it seems no standard’s given,
No scale of Truth hangs down from Heaven
Opinion to assay;
Yet called upon to act and think,
How are we then to shun the brink
O’er which so many stray?

10. How far I was a believer in God may be estimated from the following opinions, which have appeared in the pamphlet wherein the foregoing verses were published:

On the Evidence of the Existence of a Deity.

11. The existence of the universe is not more evident than that of the reasoning power by which it is controlled. The evidence of profound and ingenious contrivance is more manifested the more we inquire. Yet the universe, and the reason by which it has been contrived and is regulated, are not one. Neither is the reason the universe, nor is the universe the reason. This governing reason, therefore, wherever, or however it may exist, is the main attribute of the Deity, whom we can only know and estimate by his works. And surely they are sufficiently sublime, beautiful, magnificent, and extensive to give the idea of a being who may be considered as infinite in comparison with man. Yet as the existence of evil displays either a deficiency of power, or a deficiency of goodness, I adopt the idea of a deficiency of power in preference.

12. “If,” as Newton rationally infers, “God has no organs,” the person of man cannot be made after God’s image, since the human image is mostly made up by the human organs. Man has feet to walk, arms to work with, eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, a nose for smelling. It were absurd to attribute such organs to God.

13. It follows that while we have as much evidence of a Deity as we have of our own, we are utterly incapable of forming any idea of his form, mode of existence, or his wondrous power. We are as sure of the immensity and ubiquity of his power as of the existence of the universe, with which he must at least be coextensive and in separatelyassociated. That his power must have always existed, we are also certain; since if nothing had ever prevailed, there never could have been any thing: out of nothing, nothing can come.

14. The universe, no less than the Deity, must be eternal, since if at any time, however remote, the Deity existed without a universe, there must have been an infinite antecedent period during which the divine power must have been nullified for want of objects for its exercise. A Deity so situated would be as a king without a kingdom to govern.


15. I am under the impression that mind is at least as essential to the creation as matter. It seems to me inconceivable that the various elementary atoms of the chemist could come into existence, with their adaptation to produce the multiplicity of efficient combinations which they are capable of forming, without having been modified by one mind. The existence of adaptation, I think, proves the existence of mind. But even were these atoms to possess inherently the adaptation which they manifest, of what possible utility could be the variegated consequences thereof, were there no minds to perceive, appreciate, or enjoy them. The beauty of colour, the music of sound, the elegance of curves or angles, could have no existence were there no perception of them; since those attributes are in a great measure attached to objects by mind. Independently of mind, music is mere aerial vibration, colour mere superficial texture, or intestinal arrangement producing undulatory waves variously polarized, which are the proximate causes, which would be sterile, were there no mind to be actuated by them through appropriate organs.

16. Could the universe exist without mind, would not its existence be nugatory?

17. The following allegations seem to me no less true than the axioms of Euclid:

18. No evil can endure which any being has both the power and desire to remove.

19. Any result must ensue which any being has both power and desire to accomplish.

20. No rational being will strive by trial to ascertain that which he knows as well before as after trial.

21. If God be both omnipotent and omniscient, he can, of course, make his creatures exactly to suit his will and fancy, and foresee how they will fulfil the end for which they are created. Wherefore then subject them to probation to discover traits which by the premises he must thoroughly foreknow.

22. Is it not more consistent with divine goodness to infer that we are placed in this life for progressive improvement, and that there is no evil which can be avoided consistently with his enormous, though not unlimited, power?

23. Such an inference coincides with the communications recently received, from the spirits of departed friends, which it is the object of this publication to promulgate.

24. Unfortunately, human opinion is very much influenced by passion and prejudice. Hence in questions respecting property, we often find honest men differing as to what is just. So when any creed is associated with the hope of enjoying by its tenure a better, if not exclusive, pretension to eternal happiness and the favour of God, the sectarian by whom it may be held becomes honestly tenacious of its despotic supremacy over all others.


25. I have no doubt that a large portion of our American priesthood are sincere in the advocacy of the tenets respectively held by them. Among them I have known some of the best of men, and I have generally found them more tolerant of skepticism than the majority of their followers. It has not, however, been unfrequently urged by clergymen as a ground of adherence to Christianity, that without it, there is no authentic evidence of a future state of existence. I have seen an argument from an able and respectable Christian writer, urging that there is no refuge for the mass of mankind to be found in pure deism, unaccompanied by any specific evidence of a future state.

26. Under these circumstances should Spiritualism afford such a refuge to those who are utterly dissatisfied with the evidence of the truth of scriptural revelation, it will certainly be a blessing to them; and those who have heretofore found this essential comfort in one way, ought not to object should their neighbours find it in another way.

27. An effort has been made to throw ridicule on spiritual manifestations, on account of phenomena being effected by means of tables and other movable furniture; but it should be recollected that, when movements were to be effected, resort to movable bodies was inevitable; and as generally the proximity of media, if not the contact, was necessary to facilitate the movements, there was no body so accessible as tables. But these violent mechanical manifestations were always merely to draw attention; just as a person will knock, or even kick, violently at a front door, until some one looks out of a window to communicate with him. The more violent manifestations ceased both at Hydesville, at Rochester, and at Stratford in Connecticut, as soon as the alphabetic mode of communicating was employed. I never have had any to take place during my intercourse with my spirit-friends, unless as tests for unbelievers, when intellectual communications could not be made. It is more than fifteen months since I have resorted to instruments which have nothing in common with tables. Of these instruments, engravings and descriptions will be found in this work.

28. But is it not a great error to consider our tables as less sacred than our firesides? Could any appeal more thoroughly vibrate to the heart of civilized man than that of any invasion of his rights which should render his fireside liable to intrusion? Hence, in the Latin motto, “Pro aris et focis,” the inviolability of the fireside is placed side by side with freedom of conscience. But, with the passing away of winter, the interest in the fireside declines: ’tis changeable as the temperature of air. It loses all its force in the tropics; but, throughout Christendom, the table still draws about it the inmates of every human dwelling, at all seasons, and in every kind of weather. Even when not excited by hunger, we value the social meeting which takes place around it.

29. At tables, moreover, conferences are held, contracts and deeds22 signed, and decrees, statute-laws, and ordinances are written. Treaties, also, are made at tables, on which not the fate of individuals merely, but of nations, depends.

30. Is the renown of the “knights of the round table” tarnished by their being only known in connection with the word in question? Is any director or trustee ashamed of being, with his colleagues, designated as a “board?”—a humble synonym for table.

31. It was at a table the Declaration of Independence was signed; and in Trumbull’s picture of its presentation to Congress a table is made to occupy a conspicuous position. Our tables should be at least as much objects of our regard as the vicinity of our fireplace.

32. The sarcasms founded on the use of the table in spiritual manifestations proceed, inconsistently, from those persons who would bring their deity through all the stages of human life.

33. The human body of Christ must have gone through all the stages from the embryo to maturity. It was worshipped in a manger, and lived thirty years in obscurity and inaction. Why all this delay, when the angel, armed with the power of God, might have addressed Herod, the Roman emperor, and every other potentate on earth in a single year? The Almighty softening their hearts, as he hardened that of Pharaoh, the conversion of mankind had been the inevitable consequence.

34. Alluding to his second advent, Christ used these words:—“They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” Mark xiii. 26. Wherefore did not his first coming take place in this conspicuous, glorious, and unquestionable manner?

35. It is often inquired, Wherefore were not these efforts to communicate with mankind at an earlier period of the world’s duration? but it may be demanded in return, Wherefore did not Christ come until the earth had been peopled, even according to Scripture, about four thousand years?

36. Why was not the use of the compass, of gunpowder, printing, the steam-engine, steamboat, railway, telegraph, daguerreotyping, electrotyping, contrived earlier in this terrestrial sphere? Let orthodoxy take the beam out of its own eye first.

37. Had Christ taught these arts, they would not only have had a more general influence during the era of their accomplishment, but have left a durable and irrefragable proof of a towering mental superiority. As they would have gone into use, there could have been no question as to their accomplishment; so that every intelligent being might have become intuitively cognizant of their wonderful results.

38. The invention of gunpowder, the telegraph, and the mariner’s compass might have been the means of preventing the inroads of the Goths and Vandals, and, subsequently, the success of the Mohammedans; since the Arabians would hardly have availed themselves of23 these inventions at the time the Mohammedan conquests were commenced.

39. How important would have been the art of printing to the promulgation of a correct knowledge of the revelation which was the alleged object of Christ’s mission!

40. Of those who believe in revelation, it may be inquired, Why the Hebrews were preferred, as the receivers of divine inspiration, to the more civilized Greeks, Romans, Hindoos, or Chinese? If revelation was requisite to one nation, was it not equally necessary to all?

41. Wherefore, after Christ had undergone crucifixion in order to make people Christians, should Mohammed have been allowed to massacre or enslave them for being Christians?

42. There is even now great difficulty in effecting those intercommunications with spirits in this country of universal legal tolerance. I say legal, since there is, as Owen alleged, “too much Christian despotism of another kind.”

43. Almost every editor is, more or less, a censor to the press, and a peon of popularity. The tendency is not to repress, but to gratify, and, of course, promote existing bigotry. This bigotry and its Siamese brother, intolerance, have, in all countries and ages, been exercising a mischievous, though often a well-intended, vigilance, over any innovation of a nature to emancipate the human mind from educational error; and, whenever supported by temporal power, has resorted to persecution—even to the use of the sword, of the rack, or the fagot; and, in this country of boasted freedom and much-vaunted liberty of the press, shows its baleful power by defamation, or alleging disqualification for employment, wherever its influence can be exerted.

44. A conspicuous printer in this city refused to print an edition of my recent pamphlet, as he would allow nothing to go through his press which was against the Bible. This shows how far fanaticism will go, even at this advanced era of science and in this country of vaunted intellectual freedom.

45. Two hundred years ago, Spiritualism would have been as much persecuted as witchcraft.

46. In reprobation of unbelief in the scriptural proofs of immortality, it has been usual for self-complacent believers to urge that the “wish was father to the thought;” that a sincere desire to perceive the truth could not exist without conviction; but the opposite must have been the prevailing weakness among unbelievers in Scripture who have become spiritualists, if they are now over-credulous in admitting the evidence on which Spiritualism is founded.

47. I declare solemnly, that I always was intensely anxious to know the truth; that although, theoretically, I doubted the possibility of changing the course of things by prayer, yet I did often lift my thoughts up to24 God, imploring that some light might be given to me. Of course, as soon as the facts admitted of no other explanation than that my father, sister, brother, and other spirit friends, had been engaged in efforts to convince me of their existence, and of that of the spirit world, the most intense desire arose to verify the facts tending to settle the all-important question, whether man is immortal.

48. If the evidence of the truth of revelation were as adequate as represented by its votaries, my conscientious inability to believe in it would indicate an undue constitutional skepticism; whence I required more proof than the great mass of Christians, in order to produce credence. Yet, now having found the evidence of immortality in the case of Spiritualism satisfactory, it cannot be urged that my hesitation respecting the evidence of revelation arose from any unwillingness to believe in a future state, or unreasonableness as to the evidence requisite to justify belief. Manifestly, it would be inconsistent to accuse me of disbelieving in the one case from undue, hard-hearted incredulity, and yet, in the other, yielding from the opposite characteristics.

49. Fundamentally, my reasons for not believing in revelation have been, that it violates certain axioms above stated, (18,) which have been as clear to my mind as those collated by Euclid.

50. It may be shown that the existing system fails to give any evidence which can be subjected to the intuition of each generation successively. It rests on the alleged intuition of human beings who existed ages ago, and of whom we know nothing but what they say of themselves through history or recorded tradition. It reposes entirely on the testimony of propagandists, who were interested to give it importance, or on partial human narrators or compilers. It has been erected on a species of hearsay evidence, inadmissible in courts of justice. This species of testimony in the case of Spiritualism is contemptuously set aside. No one will believe in manifestations unless intuitively observed. Wherefore this faith in ancient witnesses, this skepticism of those of our own times, even when they are known to be truthful?

51. On my stating to a distinguished savan a fact which has been essentially verified since in more than a hundred instances, his reply was—I would believe you as soon as any man in the world, yet I cannot believe what you mention. He suggested the idea of its being an epidemic, with which I was of course infected; nevertheless, that savan, as a professing Christian, admitted facts vastly more incredible, depending on the alleged intuition of witnesses who lived two thousand years ago, nearly. This, doubtless, was the consequence of educational bigotry, which would have caused a belief in the miracles of any other religion in which he should have been brought up.

52. Such persons strain at the gnats of Spiritualism, yet swallow the camels of Scripture.


53. In like manner an Eastern sovereign treated a Dutch ambassador as deranged, because he alleged that bodies of water, in his country, were capable of solidification, so as to support people on the surface.

54. But if this skepticism is shown with respect to observers of our day, how can it be expected that it should not be displayed toward observers of antiquity?

55. Spiritualism will in this respect have a great advantage, as it will always be supported by the intuition of its actual votaries. It will not rest on bygone miracles, never to be repeated, if they ever occurred, but will rest upon an intercourse with the spirit world which will grow and improve with time.

56. One of the pre-eminent blessings resulting from this new philosophy will be its bringing religion within the scope of positive science. This word positive is employed by the learned atheist Comte to designate science founded on observation and experiment. It will give the quietus to the cold, cheerless view of our being’s end and aim presented in his work.

57. Professor Nichol endeavoured, in the following way, to comfort his Christian auditors against the apparent incompatibility of the phenomena of the sidereal creation with the language of Scripture: Having drawn two lines from the same point, making a right angle, the learned lecturer said, Suppose A sets out and pursues one of these routes, B pursues the other, and both arrive at certain truths; although these results should not seem to have any thing to do with each other; yet, said he, if they be truths, they must come together eventually; they cannot always travel away from each other. But if any person find that, agreeably to all his experience, the results thus attained, tend to greater and greater remoteness and inconsistency, there would be little comfort found in the idea of a possible ultimate approximation.

58. It is upon this actual fundamental discordancy between scriptural impressions, and the truths ascertained by experimental and intuitive investigation, that Comte builds his inference that theology is to be entirely abandoned. But very different is the position of Spiritualism relative to positive science. It starts from the same basis of intuition and induction from facts. It does not controvert any of the results of positive science within the ponderable material creation, to which the results contemplated by Comte belong. It superadds new facts respecting the spirit world, which had so entirely escaped the researches of materialists, that they entertain the highest incredulity merely upon negative grounds,—merely because the facts in question have not taken place within the experience of those who have investigated the laws of ponderable matter and one or two imponderable principles associated therewith.

59. Such was the ground of my incredulity; which, however, vanished before intuitive demonstration.


60. It is admitted by Comte that we know nothing of the sources or causes of nature’s laws; that their origination is so perfectly inscrutable, as to make it idle to take up time in any scrutiny for that purpose. He treats the resort to the Deity as the cause, as a mere abstraction tending to comfort the human mind before it has become acquainted with true science, and doomed to be laid aside with the advance of positive science.

61. Of course his doctrine makes him avowedly a thorough ignoramus as to the causes of laws, or the means by which they were established, and can have no other basis but the negative argument above stated, in objecting to the facts ascertained in relation to the spiritual creation. Hence when the spirits allege that by their volition they can neutralize gravity, or vis inertiæ,[4] there is nothing in positive science to confute this. The inability of material beings to neutralize gravitation by their powers is no proof that spiritual beings cannot effect this change.

62. Thus while allowing the atheist his material dominion, Spiritualism will erect within and above the same space a dominion of an importance as much greater as eternity is to the average duration of human life, and as the boundless regions of the fixed stars are to the habitable area of this globe.

63. But although Comte be a man of great learning, his fundamental opinions appear to be faulty, and his distribution of the operations of the mind imaginary.

64. In treating of gravitation as the primary law, does he not commit a blunder? Is not vis inertiæ above indispensable to gravitation, since it may be conceived to exist without gravitation, while gravitation cannot exist without vis inertiæ?

65. The power of a body A to draw B toward it can never exceed that which is necessary to put it into motion, which must be directly as its vis inertiæ; and where the one is null, the other must be null.

66. I cannot imagine how any philosopher so learned as Comte should not perceive the reduction of the phenomena of the universe to “different aspects” of the one faculty of gravitation to be utterly impossible. In27 the first place, it has been shown that gravitation could not be the basis of vis inertiæ, without which it cannot exist; and in the next place, gravitation has always, at any given point of time, its possible influence limited to the power of making a body move toward an appropriate centre of gravity, and afterward remain forever at rest, unless affected by some extraneous cause.

67. It is alleged also that the phenomena of the universe are explained by gravitation. I here quote his own words:

68. “Our business is—seeing how vain is any research into what are called causes, whether first or final—to pursue an accurate discovery of these laws, with a view to reducing them to the smallest possible number.

69. How is it possible, I demand, to reduce the orbitual motion of a planet to fewer causes than vis inertiæ, motion, and gravitation? Vis inertiæ and motion are necessary to momentum; and momentum thus arising, acting in a tangential direction to that of gravitation, is indispensable to form, with the force of gravity, the resultant which constitutes the orbitual curve.

70. Yet from subsequent language in the same paragraph, the idea is suggested of reducing planetary motions to one cause, gravitation! This will be perceived from his language, subjoined as follows:

71. “The best illustration of this is in the case of the doctrine of gravitation. We say that the general phenomena of the universe are explained by it, because it connects, under one head, the whole immense variety of astronomical facts, exhibiting the constant tendency of atoms toward each other in direct proportion to their masses, and in inverse proportion to the squares of their distance.

72. How can the revolution of a single planet about the sun be explained without the centrifugal or tangential force due to momentum? Were not gravitation resisted by the projectile velocity constituted by motion and vis inertiæ, would not all the planets fall into their suns, respectively?

73. Are there not three essential elements in such orbitual movements,—vis inertiæ, motion, and gravitation? Are not these as necessary to an orbit as three sides are to a triangle? and is it not as great an error to suppose that such movements can continue by the agency of one of them, as to make one right line serve to enclose a superficies?

74. Between two philosophers, both equally learned with Comte, one may be, like him, an atheist, the other, like Newton, a believer in God; and yet, as respects the whole range of positive science, would there be any clashing? They would attribute every thing to the same laws, whether these should be ascribed to a deity or not. The origin of the laws recognised by both would, by one, be ascribed to an inscrutable God; by the other, to inscrutability without a God.

75. Because the movements of the heavenly bodies are ascribed to the28 three elements above mentioned,—an unknown source of projectile force, vis inertiæ, by which that force is perpetuated, and gravitation, by which it is modified into elliptical, orbitual revolution, operating as laws governing planetary movement,—it does not make the astronomer who adopts this conception less of a theologian; it only makes him a more enlightened theologian. We ascribe less to the special interference of the Creator in proportion as our knowledge enables us to perceive results attained by general laws. This, Comte conceives, causes theists to be less theological, and to lessen what he seems to view as the domain which theology is allowed to have. But is it not more correct to assume that it is only the domain of ignorance which grows less, while that of theology becomes simpler and more correct, but not less extensive? It is not that less is ascribed to God, but that the aggregate is more intelligently ascribed as the laws through which his agency is recognised are fewer.

76. Newton assumed inertia, gravitation, and motion as the foundation of his philosophy; but attributed these fundamental properties, or states of matter, to the will of that governing mind of which he held the existence to be as evident as that of the matter governed. Comte does not consider that there is any positive proof of the existence of such a ruling mind, and does not, therefore, find it necessary to admit the existence of a Deity. Thus, the states or properties above mentioned are, with Newton, proximate, with Comte, ultimate, causes. Hence, when we arrive at the foundation of the Newtonian doctrine, we cannot go deeper without admitting the existence of a God. Without this admission, we involve ourselves in the irremediable darkness of atheism.

77. In this respect, I have always been a follower of Newton. Evidently, both the governing reason and the creation which it rules must have existed from eternity; since, if nothing ever existed exclusively, it must have forever endured, and there never could have been any thing. So, if there ever had been no mind, there never could have been any mind.

78. The human mind, says Comte, by its nature employs, in its progress, three methods of philosophizing,—the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive, differing essentially from each other, and even radically opposed. Hence, he assumes the successive existence of three modes of contemplating the aggregate phenomena of the universe, any one of which excludes the others. The first, “is the point of departure of the human understanding; the third, its ultimate, fixed, definite state; the second, merely a state of transition from the first to the third.”

79. It seems to be assumed that the intellectual progress of the human mind must necessarily be through these three stages. Moreover, it is suggested that each individual, in reviewing the progression of his mind from childhood to mature age, will perceive that he was a theologian in his childhood, a metaphysician in his youth, and a natural philosopher in29 his manhood. If this did not come from a distinguished philosopher, I should pronounce it ridiculous. If allowed to be so egotistical, I must say that I am not aware that I went through these stages in the different periods of my life.

80. Studying metaphysical works as a part of my education, I took great interest in the theory of moral sentiments, and published essays on topics of that nature in the “Portfolio;” but previously, I wrote my “Memoir on the Blowpipe.” In 1810, my “Brief View of the Policy and Resources of the United States” was published, in which it was first truly advanced that credit is money.

81. Subsequently, more than a hundred publications were made by me, for the most part on chemistry and electricity, yet always intermingled with political, moral, and financial essays.

82. I am now, more than ever, a theologian; and my first publications touching that subject date after the attainment of threescore and ten.

83. But theology and religion were subjects always near to my heart; and were accompanied by the pain arising from the discordancy of my opinions with those entertained by much-loved relatives and friends.

84. I do not understand how any man of common sense can conceive that theological, metaphysical, or experimental science can be the separate object of contemplation; or that the share that either may occupy at any age, to the exclusion of the others, will not depend on exterior contingencies.

85. I became a believer in God solely from my intuitive perception of the existence of a governing reason. Of course, all things were to be ascribed to that reason ultimately, but proximately to the very laws which this author considers as the object or basis of positive science.

86. He holds that our inquiries should be bounded by the inscrutability of the well-ascertained physical properties and laws of matter. Coinciding, practically, with Comte until lately, I held that inquiry should be bounded by the inscrutability of the Divine Lawgiver, to whom these laws owed existence. But Spiritualism has opened an avenue to inquiry beyond the boundary thus practically admitted no less by myself than by Comte. Other inscrutable laws and phenomena have to be recognised within a region for the existence of which Comte, in denying spiritual agency, allows no room.

87. Though, practically, this field of inquiry was shut out from me as well as from Comte, theoretically, it was not excluded by my philosophy. Although in ascribing the universe to mind, the unity of its design and harmony of its phenomena led to the inference that it must be due to one supreme mind, there was still room for the coexistence of any number of degrees of subordinate mental agency, between that supreme mind and man.

88. Beside those antagonists to Spiritualism, who would set aside the evidence of persons living at the present time and who are known to be30 truthful, by the evidence of others who lived some thousand years since, spiritualists are assailed by such as admit their facts, but explain them differently. Thus the Roman Catholic Church has admitted the manifestations to indicate an invisible physical and rational power which cannot be attributed to human agency. But instead of ascribing them to spirits, good or bad, of mortals who have passed the portal of death, they consider them the work of Old Nick.

89. If this personage ever did influence the acts of any sect, manifestly it must have been in those instances in which alleged religious error has been made the ground for persecution, from the time of the extirpation and spoliation of the Midianites, Canaanites, and others, down to that of the extirpation of the Albigenses, the auto da fé, inquisition, massacre of St. Bartholomew, fires of Smithfield, roasting of Servetus, and the persecution of the Quakers and witches.

90. So far as the devil is only an imaginary embodiment of the evil passions of men, as conceived by many enlightened Christians, no doubt those and many other analagous acts were due to the devil; but when the benevolent language of the spirits respecting sinners is contrasted with the cruel doctrine of the church in question, as well as by others, it can hardly be conceived that this language comes from Satan, and that of the churches from the “benevolent” Jesus Christ.

91. The following verses, which have already appeared in my letter to the Episcopal clergy, express the sentiments of the spirits—every soul having the privilege of reforming, and rising proportionally to the improvement thus obtained:

92. However late, as holy angels teach,
Souls now in Hades, bliss in Heaven may reach.
All whose conduct has been mainly right,
With lightning speed may gain that blissful height;
While those who selfish, sensual ends pursue,
For ages may their vicious conduct rue,
Doom’d in some low and loathsome plane to dwell,
Made through remorse and shame the sinner’s hell;
Yet through contrition and a change of mind,
The means of rising may each sinner find.
The higher spirits their assistance give,
Teaching the contrite how for heaven to live.

93. Let these lines be contrasted with those which are given in the work on Heaven of the Rev. Dr. Harbaugh—a most excellent orthodox clergyman of the German Reformed Church—which are as follows:

94. “But the wicked? alas! for him at that awful moment! Oh! my soul, come not thou into the secret of his sorrows.

“How shocking must thy summons be, O death!
To him.—
In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Raves round the walls of her clay tenement;
Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help;
But shrieks in vain! How wishfully she looks
On all she’s leaving, now no longer hers!
A little longer; yet a little longer;
Oh! might she stay to wash away her stains;
And fit her for her passage! Mournful sight!
Her very eyes weep blood, and every groan
She heaves is big with horror. But the foe,
Like a stanch murderer, steady to his purpose,
Pursues her close, through every lane of life,
Nor misses once the track; but presses on,
Till forced at last to the tremendous verge,
At once she sinks to everlasting ruin.”

95. But I conceive that the existence of a devil is irreconcilable with all goodness and omnipotency; and that, were a devil created by God, the Creator would be answerable for all the acts of the being so created. Evidently, the devil could be nothing else but what omnipotence should make him, and could do nothing but what prescience would foresee. The acts of the devil would therefore be indirectly those of his maker.

96. I would inquire of those who rely on the Bible as the source of their opinions, how it happens that Moses makes no allusion to Satan as an agent in the events of which he is the narrator?

97. Though Milton represents that malevolent being as taking the form of the serpent, Moses, far from sanctioning that idea, makes not only the individual snake, but the whole genus forever amenable for the part performed.

98. In his description of hell, Josephus represents an archangel as the janitor, which is quite inconsistent with Satan’s being the jailor. Is it conceivable that an archangel should be doorkeeper to the devil?

99. Moreover, in stating the reasons why the doom of the rich man (broiling to eternity) was irremediable, no allusion is made to the satanic despot whose inexorable malevolence would have had to be counteracted.

100. It would seem to be an axiom, that whenever any event does not take place, it must be because there is no being who has at once the power and the wish to cause it to happen; and when any event does ensue, there can exist no being having at once the power and wish to prevent it from happening. Moreover, consistently, no agent can exist whose destruction is desired by another being, who, having the right, is competent by mere volition to destroy that agent.

101. It follows, that if there actually does exist any being, such as is designated by the words Devil, Satan, Beelzebub, to treat him as the creature of God, would be inconsistent either with the attribute of all goodness or of omnipotence.

102. Can any act be more devilish than that of creating a devil? Would it not be blasphemous to ascribe to a beneficent Deity a measure so trul32y diabolical? It has been said that the devil is a necessary agent in God’s providence. How necessary, if God be omnipotent?

103. Does not the necessity of employing a bad agent involve inability to create a good agent?

104. The evils which exist in the creation may, to a great extent, be explained by an inevitable limitation of power. Thus, probably, there could be no virtue were there no vice; no pleasure, were there no pain. Ecstasy might become painful by unlimited endurance.

105. Without appetites and passions, an animal would be reduced to the state of a vegetable, which lives without perception.

106. The language held by certain sectarians on such subjects, seems to me often contradictory of the idea they strive to enforce. Thus they represent that our sorrows and our pangs are intended for our amendment, or designed to prevent some greater evil here or hereafter; but what can justify a painful remedy, if there be power to adopt one which, while equally efficacious, would be painless?

107. God is, on one side, represented as the cause of all the circumstances under which we exist; yet, on the other, is under the necessity of afflicting us in order to remove or to remedy them! If possessing both ability and disposition to reform us without causing us to suffer, could suffering be inflicted consistently with all goodness?

108. Of a most excellent Roman Catholic I inquired whether it was not held by their church that a belief in their tenets was necessary to salvation? The reply was in the affirmative. And yet, said I, of all who do believe, only those can be saved who do their Master’s will,—who add good works to an orthodox creed? The reply was again affirmative. Of all mankind, then, there is but a very small number, comparatively, who are not, according to the creed in question, to go to hell? Again I received an affirmative reply. I would then (I rejoined) when I die, rather go into an eternal sleep, than awake in heaven to find so many of my fellow-creatures in endless misery, the mere knowledge of which would make heaven itself a hell to a good-hearted angel.

109. Another species of objection to the existence of spirits is, that although movements of bodies are admitted to take place without any perceptible or conceivable mortal agency, the existence of spirits as the cause is to be disbelieved, because the observers have not been successful in getting replies such as they think would have been given were spirits the source.

110. Thus a very distinguished physician, Dr. Bell, has alleged that nothing has in his investigations been communicated which was not previously in the mind of one or more mortals present. This is one of the instances in which the assailant of Spiritualism founds his argument in his error. It is an argument which has no other basis than inaccurate information, because I am enabled to disprove the truth of the conclusion on which the inference is founded.


111. Nevertheless, I am not surprised that an inference should have been made, which holds good as respects certain spirits or media, though not others. If a pack of cards be so cut that the card exposed cannot be seen by any mortal present, it may be found that although certain spirits cannot describe the card, unless seen by some person present, yet other spirits can describe the card under these circumstances. Among my guardian spirits, there are two who have repeatedly described the card exposed fortuitously by cutting a pack, as in the process for determining trumps in a game of whist.

112. Since reading Dr. Bell’s remarks, cards, taken indiscriminately from a pack, and laid down behind the medium and myself, the denomination unseen by any mortal, have been named correctly by one of the spirits alluded to, although, about the same time, another eminent spirit could not name cards when similarly employed.

113. Agreeably to my experience in a multitude of cases, spirits have reported themselves who were wholly unexpected, and when others were expected. When I was expecting my sister in Boston, my brother reported himself. Lately, when expecting her, Cadwalader was spelt out, being the name of an old friend, who forthwith gave me a test, proving his identity. As this spirit had never visited my disk before, I had not the smallest expectation of his coming.

114. My spirit brother referred to a confidential conversation had with my brother Powel, in which the former was alluded to, when nothing was farther from my mind than that he had been present as an invisible listener.

115. I will now mention a fact of recent occurrence, which completely refutes Dr. Bell’s inference: Being at Cape May, one of my guardian spirits was with me frequently.

116. On the 3d instant, at one o’clock A. M., I requested the faithful being in question to go to my friend Mrs. Gourlay, No. 178 North Tenth street, Philadelphia, and request her to induce Dr. Gourlay to go to the Philadelphia Bank to ascertain at what time a note would be due, and that I would sit at the instrument at half-past three o’clock to receive the answer. Accordingly, at that time, my spirit friend manifested herself, and gave me the result of the inquiry.

117. On my return to the city, I learned from Mrs. Gourlay that my angelic messenger had interrupted a communication, which was taking place through the spiritoscope, in order to communicate my message, and, in consequence, her husband and brother went to the bank, and made the inquiry, of which the result was that communicated to me at half-past three o’clock by my spirit friend.

118. This differed from the impression which I had from memory, and was not, of course, obtained from my mind. And it is evident that the medium could not have known of my message until she was made to receive it.


119. But independently of the inability to communicate ideas, not pre-existing in the minds of mortals present, which has been so erroneously inferred to exist by Dr. Bell, let this eminent physician suggest any conceivable explanation of the phenomena attested by him, excepting that founded on the agency of spirits.

120. And, independently of any other proof, the fact that one of my guardian spirits bore a message from me at Cape May to Mrs. Gourlay at Philadelphia, so as to induce her to do what was requested, is evidently, of itself, inexplicable under any other view than that of a spirit having officiated.

121. To conclude, I hope that while Spiritualism will give a quietus to atheism, it will be found, agreeably to the facts and reasoning presented in this book, better sustained by evidence, and to answer the great objects of religion, as above stated, vastly better than any other religious doctrine.


Is not the affirmative of any of these queries, as evidently true as any of the axioms of Euclid?

Did not that thought from heaven proceed,
According God’s mercy to every creed,
Which however pagan, howe’er untrue,
Is meant to give our Creator his due?
May not devotion to God be shown,
Whether through Christ or Mohammed known?
Whether men die in holy war,
Or kneel to be crushed by Juggernaut’s car?
Mankind would God in error leave,
Yet penally for that error aggrieve.
Did God a special creed require,
Each soul would he not with that creed inspire?
Can a glaring evil endure
Despite of the power and will to cure?
Must not any event arrive
For which both will and power strive?
Will not any result obtain
Which power unites with will to gain?
If God can creatures make to suit his will,
Foresee, if they can, his design fulfil;
Wherefore to trial, those creatures expose,
Traits to discover, which he thus foreknows?

M. B. Gourlay




122. The first fruit of my attention to the phenomena of table turning, was the following letter. I trust I shall not be considered as self-complacent, when I allege it to be an exemplification of wise ignorance, which is about equivalent to folly. The wisest man who speaks in ignorance, speaks foolishly to the ears of those who perceive his ignorance. The great mass of men of science appear in this light to spiritualists when they argue against Spiritualism. Men who are only nominally Know Nothings have proved a formidable party in politics; unfortunately, Spiritualism has, in its most active opponents, real Know Nothings, who will not admit any fact of a spiritual origin, unless such as they have been educated to believe. In that case, many have powers of intellectual deglutition rivalling those of the anaconda in the physical way.[5]

Letter in reply to an Inquiry respecting the influence of Electricity in Table Turning.

Philadelphia, July 27, 1853.

123. “Dear Sir: I am of opinion that it is utterly impossible for six or eight, or any number of persons, seated around a table, to produce an electric current. Moreover, I am confident that if by any adequate means an electrical current were created, however forcible, it could not be productive of table turning. A dry wooden table is almost a non-conductor, but if forming a link necessary to complete a circuit between the sky and earth, it might possibly be shattered by a stroke of lightning; but if the power of all the galvanic apparatus ever made was to be collected in one current, there would be no power to move or otherwise affect such a table.

124. “Frictional electricity, such as produced by electric machines, must first be accumulated and then discharged, in order to produce any striking effect. It is in transitu that its power is seen and felt.


125. “Insulated conductors, whether inanimate, or in the form of animals, may be electrified by the most powerful means, without being injured or seriously incommoded. Before a spark of lightning passes, every object on the terrestrial surface, for a great distance around, is subjected to a portion of the requisite previous accumulation. Yet it is only those objects which are made the medium of discharge that are sensibly affected.

126. “Powerful galvanic accumulation can only be produced by those appropriate arrangements which concentrate upon a comparatively small filament of particles their peculiar polarizing power; but nothing seems to me more inconsistent with experience than to suppose a table moved by any possible form or mode of galvanic reaction. It was ascertained by Gaziot that one of the most powerful galvanic batteries ever made could not give a spark before contact to a conductor presented to it, at the smallest distance which could be made by a delicate micrometer. If there is any law which is pre-eminent for its invariability, it is, that inanimate matter cannot, per se, change its state as respects motion or rest. Were this law liable to any variation, we should be proportionably liable to perish; since in that case the revolutions and rotations of our planet and its satellite might undergo perturbations by which the ocean might inundate the land, or the too great proximity or remoteness of the sun cause us to be scorched or frozen. If the globe did not carry the Pacific more steadily than the most competent person could carry a basin of water, we should be drowned by the overflow of the land. I recommend to your attention, and that of others interested in this hallucination, Faraday’s observations and experiments, recently published in some of our respectable newspapers. I entirely concur in the conclusions of that distinguished experimental expounder of Nature’s riddles.

Robert Hare.

127. This publication drew forth the following remonstrance in the subjoined letter, which does great credit to the correctness of the author’s observation and sagacity. It contributed, together with a personal invitation from Dr. Comstock to attend a circle, to induce the investigation upon which I entered immediately afterward.

Southwick, Mass., Nov. 17, 1853.

128. “Dear Sir: I had the pleasure of a slight acquaintance with you, something less than twenty years ago, when I exhibited telescopes in Philadelphia. You will, I trust, excuse the liberty I take in writing to you now. I have seen your letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer upon table moving. I never believed it was caused by electricity or galvanism, but is it not as likely to be these, as muscular force? You agree with Professor Faraday that the table is moved by the hands that are on it. Now I know, as certainly as I can know any thing, that this is not true in general, if it is in any instance. There is as much evidence that tables some37times move without any person near them, as that they sometimes move with hands on them. I cannot in this case doubt the evidence of my senses. I have seen tables move, and heard tunes beat on them, when no person was within several feet of them. This fact is proof positive that the force or power is not muscular.

129. “If any further evidence was necessary to set aside Professor Faraday’s explanation, it is found in abundance in the great variety of other facts taking place through the country, such as musical instruments being played upon without any hands touching them, and a great variety of other heavy articles being moved without any visible cause. If tables never moved except when hands were on them, the case would be different; but as they do move, both with and without hands, it is plain that the true cause remains yet to be discovered.

130. “I wish, sir, that you had leisure and opportunity to witness some other phases of this matter, which seem not yet to have fallen under your notice, and I think you would be satisfied that there is less ‘hallucination’ and ‘self-deception’ about it, than you have imagined. The intelligence connected with these movements has not been accounted for.

131. “If these things can be accounted for on scientific principles, would it not be a great acquisition to science, to discover what those principles are? If, however, science cannot discover them, the public are deeply interested in knowing the fact. It is certainly of great importance that these strange things that are taking place everywhere should be explained. It is affecting the churches seriously; whether for good or for evil is uncertain until the truth is known. No cause has yet been assigned that does not imply a greater absurdity than even to believe, as many do, that it is caused by spirits either good or bad, or both.

132. “I have examined this matter for the last three years with as much carefulness as possible, and am not satisfied. If the force is not muscular, as it is certain that it is not, I wish science to try again.

“Yours, respectfully, Amasa Holcombe.”

133. It will be perceived that the letter alluded to by Mr. Holcombe, written in reply to some inquiries respecting my opinion of the cause of table turning, was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, in July, 1853. This letter will show that I was at that time utterly incredulous of any cause of the phenomena excepting unconscious muscular action on the part of the persons with whom the phenomena were associated. The inferences of Faraday, tending to the same conclusion, I thoroughly sanctioned.

134. As no allusion to spirits as the cause had been made by this Herculean investigator in the letter which drew forth mine, they were not38 contemplated in my view of the subject. Had I ever heard spiritual agency assigned as a cause, so great was my disbelief of any such agency, that it would have made no impression on my memory.

135. Though present on several occasions when table turning was the subject of discussion, it was not, within my hearing, attributed to spiritual agency. In common with almost all educated persons of the nineteenth century, I had been brought up deaf to any testimony which claimed assistance from supernatural causes, such as ghosts, magic, or witchcraft.

136. Subsequently to my publication corroborating the inferences of Faraday, having, in obedience to solicitations already cited, consented to visit circles in which spiritual manifestations were alleged to be made, I was conducted to a private house at which meetings for spiritual inquiry were occasionally held.

137. Seated at a table with half a dozen persons, a hymn was sung with religious zeal and solemnity. Soon afterward tappings were distinctly heard as if made beneath and against the table, which, from the perfect stillness of every one of the party, could not be attributed to any one among them. Apparently, the sounds were such as could only be made with some hard instrument, or with the ends of fingers aided by the nails.

138. I learned that simple queries were answered by means of these manifestations; one tap being considered as equivalent to a negative; two, to doubtful; and three, to an affirmative. With the greatest apparent sincerity, questions were put and answers taken and recorded, as if all concerned considered them as coming from a rational though invisible agent.

139. Subsequently, two media sat down at a small table, (drawer removed,) which, upon careful examination, I found to present to my inspection nothing but the surface of a bare board, on the under side as well as upon the upper. Yet the taps were heard as before, seemingly against the table. Even assuming the people by whom I was surrounded, to be capable of deception, and the feat to be due to jugglery, it was still inexplicable. But manifestly I was in a company of worthy people, who were themselves under a deception if these sounds did not proceed from spiritual agency.

140. On a subsequent occasion, at the same house, I heard similar tapping on a partition between two parlours. I opened the door between the parlours, and passed to that adjoining the one in which I had been sitting. Nothing could be seen which could account for the sounds.

141. The medium to whose presence these manifestations were due, then held a flute against the panel of the door, and invited me to listen. On putting my ear near to the flute, tapping was quite audible. On the ensuing evening, I carried with me a sealed glass tube, a hollow tube of the same material, and a brass rod. These being successively held against39 the door panel, similarly to the holding of the flute, the rapping was again heard.[6]

142. I have much reason to confide in the disinterestedness of the medium through whose assistance these facts were observed. She would not allow me even to make a present to her child; and her sitting for me was deemed prejudicial to her comfort and health, so that by the advice of her physician it was finally discontinued. Her parents believed the manifestations obtained through her influence to be caused by spirits.

143. Sitting at another mansion, in company with an able lawyer, (an unbeliever in Spiritualism,) as well as an accomplished female medium and two other persons, sounds were heard like those above mentioned. The lawyer alluded to, though from his profession accustomed to distrust and to scrutinize evidence, admitted that he found it utterly impossible to account for these sounds by any visible agency.

144. In order to make my narrative of the evidence upon the subject of rapping continuous, I would state that during the evening of my first visit to the circle of spiritualists, as above mentioned, while grasping with my utmost energy a table at which I was seated, two female media, by merely placing their hands upon the surface of the table on the opposite side, caused it to move to and fro, in despite of my utmost exertions.

145. Visiting another circle under the influence of another medium, I found that tilting a table was substituted for the sounds as a means of manifestation. As one rap signifies no, two, doubtful, and three, affirmative, so is it with the motions, or tippings, as they are usually called.

146. Passing the fingers over the letters upon an alphabetic pasteboard, like those to assist children in learning their letters, when it comes over the required letter, its selection is indicated either by a tapping or tilting. By this process, when the medium’s eyes were directed to the ceiling, as independently observed by the legal friend above mentioned, as well as myself, the following communication was given:

147. “Light is dawning on the mind of your friend; soon he will speak trumpet-tongued to the scientific world, and add a new link to that chain of evidence on which our hope of man’s salvation is founded.

148. The lawyer declared that he was utterly unable to conceive how, by the human means apparently employed, such sentences could be elaborated. Legerdemain on the part of the person who took down the manifestation was the only way to get rid of this evidence without resorting to the agency of some invisible intelligent being, who, by operating upon the tables, at once exercised physical force and mental power.


149. But assigning the result to legerdemain was altogether opposed to my knowledge of his character. This gentleman, and the circle to which he belonged, spent about three hours, twice or thrice a week, in getting communications through the alphabet, by the process to which the lines above mentioned were due. This would not have taken place, had they not had implicit confidence, that the information thus obtained proceeded from spirits.

150. Subsequently, I contrived an apparatus which, if spirits were actually concerned in the phenomena, would enable them to manifest their physical and intellectual power independently of control by any medium. (See Engraving and description, Plate I.)

151. Upon a pasteboard disk, more than a foot in diameter, the letters cut out from an alphabet card were nailed around the circumference, as much as possible deranged from the usual alphabetic order. About the centre a small pulley was secured of two and a half inches diameter, fitting on an axletree, which passed through the legs of the table, about six inches from the top. Two weights were provided—one of about eight pounds, the other about two pounds. These were attached one to each end of a cord wound about the pulley, and placed upon the floor immediately under it. Upon the table a screen of sheet zinc was fastened, behind which the medium was to be seated, so that she could not see the letters on the disk. A stationary vertical wire, attached to the axle, served for an index.

152. On tilting the table, the cord would be unwound from the pulley on the side of the larger weight, being wound up simultaneously to an equivalent extent on the side of the small weight, causing the pulley and disk to rotate about the axle. Restoring the table to its normal position, the smaller weight being allowed to act unresisted upon the cord and pulley, the rotation would be reversed. Of course, any person actuating the table and seeing the letters, could cause the disk so to rotate as to bring any letter under the index; but should the letters be concealed from the operator, no letter required could be brought under the index at will.

153. Hence it was so contrived that neither the medium seated at the table behind the screen, nor any other person so seated, could, by tilting the table, bring any letter of the alphabet under the index, nor spell out any word requested.

154. These arrangements being made, an accomplished lady, capable of serving in the required capacity, was so kind as to assist me by taking her seat behind the screen, while I took my seat in front of the disk.

155. I then said, “If there be any spirit present, please to indicate the affirmative by causing the letter Y to come under the index.” Forthwith this letter was brought under the index.

156. “Will the spirit do us the favour to give the initials of his name?” The letters R H were successively brought under the index. “My honoured father?” said I. The letter Y was again brought under the index.


157. “Will my father do me the favour to bring the letters under the index successively in alphabetical order?” Immediately the disk began to revolve so as to produce the desired result. After it had proceeded as far as the middle of the alphabet, I requested that “the name of Washington should be spelt out by the same process.” This feat was accordingly performed, as well as others of a like nature.

158. The company consisted of but few persons besides the medium, who now urged that I could no longer refuse to come over to their belief. Under these circumstances the following communication was made by the revolving of the disk: “Oh, my son, listen to reason!

159. I urged that the experiment was of immense importance, if considered as proving a spirit to be present, and to have actuated the apparatus; affording thus precise experimental proof of the immortality of the soul: that a matter of such moment should not be considered as conclusively decided until every possible additional means of verification should be employed.

160. This led my companions to accuse me of extreme incredulity. The medium said she “should not deem it worth while to sit for me again,” and one of the gentlemen sat himself down by the fireside, declaring me “to be insusceptible of conviction, and that he would now give me up.”

161. Nevertheless, the medium, relenting, gave me another sitting at her own dwelling a few days afterward; when I had improved the apparatus by employing two stationary weights by which the cord actuating the pulley, as in the drill-bow process, was made to pull it round by a horizontal motion of the table supported on castors, instead of the tilting motion.

162. The results confirmed those previously received, my father reporting himself again. He said that my mother and sister were with him, but not my brother. I inquired “if they were happy.” The disk revolved so as to bring the letter Y under the index, signifying the affirmation.

163. On the following week, I took my apparatus to the house of a spiritualist, where a circle was to meet. The apparatus being duly arranged, a lady whom I had never before noticed, and by whom my apparatus was seen for the first time, sat down at my table behind the screen. The spirit of an uncle who had left this life was invoked by this medium. Her invocation being successful, the spirit spelt his name out in full; other names were spelt out at request.

164. Although the requisite letters were ultimately found, there was evidently some difficulty, as if there was some groping for them with an imperfect light. This has been explained since by my father’s spirit. He alleges that preferably the eyes of the medium would be employed, but that, although with difficulty, he used mine as a substitute.

165. But although, with a view to convince the skeptical, spirits will42 occasionally give manifestations when the vision or muscular control of the medium is nullified, it is more difficult for them to operate in this way; moreover, it is more difficult for some spirits than for others.

166. Those spirits by whom I obtained my test manifestations were interested in my success. Others have refused to aid me in like manner. One who has assisted me with much zeal, has communicated that he would work my apparatus when arranged for a test; but, that as it caused much more exertion, and, of course, retardation, he advised that the test arrangement should not be interposed when it could be avoided.

167.[7]The table, at this stage of my inquiry, was not more than thirty inches in length. I had improved the construction in the following way:

168. Two of the legs were furnished with castors, through holes duly bored. Through perforations in the other two legs a rod was introduced, serving as an axle to two wheels of about five inches diameter. One of these wheels was grooved, so as to carry a band which extended around the pulley of the disk. Hence, pushing the table nine inches horizontally by the necessary rotation of the supporting wheels, caused the disk to make a complete revolution. It was while the table was of the size above mentioned, that I first saw the violent action to which they might be subjected without any corresponding or commensurate visible cause. The hand of the medium being laid on the table at about half-way between the centre and the nearest edge, it moved as if it were animated, jumping like a restive horse.

169. Having my apparatus thus prepared, a medium sat at my table, the screen intercepting her view of the disk. No manifestation took place through the disk, though other indications of the presence of spirits were given. Hence, inducing the medium to sit at an ordinary table, I inquired if any change could be made which would enable them to communicate through my apparatus? The reply through the alphabetic card was, “Let the medium see the letters.” At first it struck me that this would make the experiment abortive, as it would remove the condition by which alone independency of interference by the medium was secured. However, it soon occurred that by means of a metallic plate, made quite true, and some brass balls, like billiard balls, with which I was provided, I could neutralize the power of the medium to move the table, so that she could not influence the selection of the letters, though permitted to see them.

170. Accordingly, as soon almost as the medium placed her hands on the plate resting on the ball, and without any other communication with the table, the disk began to revolve in such a way as to bring the letters under the index in due alphabetic order. Afterward various names were43 spelled, and communications were made. At subsequent sittings, the grandfather and brother of the medium manifested their presence successively by spelling their names on the disk. My father, by means of this apparatus, gave me the name of an uncle who was killed by the Arabs nearly seventy years ago. In order that, without any possibility of contact with the legs, the medium might sit at the table, the length was subsequently extended to six feet, being so made as to separate into three parts, for convenience in carrying from one place to another. It is under this modification that it is represented in Plate 2 accompanied by a description, with the medium sitting as when employed in obtaining some of the manifestations herein mentioned. On the left may be seen the wheels and axle. The front wheel may be distinguished, with its groove securing the band which embraces it, together with the pulley on the disk.

171. The disk represented in this figure differs from the one represented above, (employed in my first investigations,) in having the alphabet in the usual order. But they are so made as that one can be made to replace the other, when requisite.

172. On one side of the long table, Plate 2, a board or tray on castors is represented. This was used sometimes as a support for the hands of the medium, by its being interposed between them and the table. On one occasion, where the hands of the medium were supported by the plate and ball upon this tray, it was moved briskly to and fro upon the table, the hands of the medium and the ball and plate accompanying the motion.

173. On various subsequent occasions I have had this experiment of putting the hands of the medium on a plate and balls repeated, and with the same result. The interposition of the plate and balls makes it much more difficult for spirits to move a table than when the hands are directly applied. In the latter case, the spirits actuate the hands primarily, and the table or apparatus secondarily; but when the hands are incapacitated from influencing the motion, the spirit has to assail the inanimate matter directly, assisted only by an emanation from the medium. In this attack upon ponderable matter, the spirits of the second sphere are the most capable; but even with their assistance, the condition of the medium must be very favourable to render success possible.

174. I next resorted to an apparatus like the plaything called a see-saw, excepting that the fulcrum, instead of being under the middle of the board, was situated at one-fourth of the whole length from one end. There was one foot on one side of the fulcrum, and three feet on the other. The disk and its axle was transferred from the table, Plate I, near to the longer end of this seesaw-like apparatus. The cord attached to two weights was employed as above described, so that as the disk was made to rise or fall with the vibration of the board by the action of the cord, a revolution took place, bringing the letters successively under the index, as already explained to have resulted from the movements of the table.


175. The disk being situated edgewise to the medium, the letters could not be seen. Under these circumstances, the hands of the medium were placed upon the surface of the smaller portion of the board outside of the fulcrum. The disk revolved to and fro, so as to bring the letters under the index in due alphabetic order. Moreover, while this process was under way, to render the result more unquestionable, I interposed a screen between the disk, and the eyes of the medium, without causing any arrestation of the process.[8]

176. Afterward upon the table supported on wheels or castors, and moving the disk by a band, I used a tray on castors to support the hand of the medium.

177. When the hands of the medium, or those of any other operator, were placed upon this tray, it was impossible to move the table by means of it, because much less force would make it move on its castors than would move the table. Sometimes the tray would be moved backward and forward with rapidity, the table remaining quite still. Yet, on urging that the table should be moved, this desideratum would be conceded, and the tray would become stationary, relatively, to the table. On one occasion, when an intelligent spirit was manifesting, I interposed a brass ball (Plate I.) and plate between the tray and the hands of the medium, and then requested that the tray might be moved. My request was obeyed; the tray moved repeatedly about a foot to and fro, accompanied by the hand of the medium, the ball remaining at rest, relatively, to the tray.

178. Having my apparatus at the residence of the lady by whom it had been actuated in the third trial above mentioned, (172) this lady sitting at the table as a medium, my sister reported herself. As a test question, I inquired “What was the name of a partner in business, of my father, who, when he had left the city with the Americans during the Revolutionary war, came out with the British, and took care of the joint property?” The disk revolved successively to letters correctly indicating the name to be Warren. I then inquired the name of the partner of my English grandfather, who died in London more than seventy years ago. The true name was given by the same process.


179. The medium and all present were strangers to my family, and I had never heard either name mentioned, except by my father. Even my younger brother did not remember that of my father’s partner.

180. Subsequently, in the presence of a medium utterly unacquainted with my family, to whom I was first introduced in December, 1853, and who had only within two years previously removed to our city from Maine, I inquired of my father the name of an English cousin who had married an admiral. The name was spelled out. In like manner the maiden name of an English brother’s wife was given—an unusual name, Clargess.

181. The principle of my apparatus for spiritual manifestations has been employed on a smaller scale by Mr. Isaac T. Pease, of Thompsonville, Connecticut, substituting the reaction of a spring for that of a weight, and making the index revolve instead of the disk. (Plate I.)

182. By the modification which I made for the employment of this smaller instrument communication was greatly facilitated. I had subsequently a copious interchange of ideas with my father, brother, and sister, and other friendly spirits. (See engraving and description, Plate I, Fig. 2.)

183. At the house of a spiritualist who had been holding circles for more than a year, I had confirmatory evidence of the intelligence by which spirit rapping is regulated. I was allowed to subject the table employed to a strict scrutiny, removing the drawer to obtain a more thorough inspection. This table was nevertheless repeatedly agitated with an energy which could not be ascribed to the hands placed quietly upon its surface by a circle of persons perfectly quiescent. Often at this circle, and at others during the chanting of hymns, have I seen a table thus situated keeping time by its vibratory movements with a sympathetic tremour.

184. The spirit friend of a medium present, who called herself Amanda Ford, used on request to make a sound like that of the hammering by blacksmiths, designated as “ten-pounds-ten.” This sound would be shifted to that of sawing or sweeping. Doubtless, these manifestations might be imitated by certain ventriloquists; but I had not the smallest reason to suspect ventriloquism, and Amanda gave me the following unquestionable proofs of her spiritual existence:

185. Taking up the alphabetic card, and holding it up near my face, in a feeble light, with the back toward the medium, so as not to be inspected by any one else, I asked Amanda, as I should pass my fingers over the letters, to indicate those necessary for spelling out her name, by the usual manifestation. The name was in this way correctly spelt out.

186. In the next place, at the same time and under the same circumstances, I asked her then to spell the name of Washington. Passing my fingers over the letters of the alphabet, not regularly but zigzag, and stopping a short time at the letters adjoining the right ones, that much-revered name was correctly spelt out, with one single error, the omission of the G.

187. Suspicion that the rapping or tapping could arise from any me46chanism concealed in the table, was precluded when they were made under my own tables, fitted up with my own hands.

Of manifestations founded on table movements without contact, or such contact, as cannot be sufficient to cause the result.

188. It was at the same mansion, where the above-mentioned manifestations were observed, that I first saw a table continue in motion when every person had withdrawn to about the distance of a foot; so that no one touched it; and while thus agitated on our host saying, “Move the table toward Dr. Hare,” it moved toward me and back again. At the same premises, when between the hands of each of two media and a small table a plate upon a brass ball was interposed, without any other communication with it, the table was violently overset, so as to have its legs uppermost. Yet while thus upside down, it continued to vibrate, a single finger of a medium girl, about twelve years of age, being the sole means of human contact therewith. This I ascertained, with the greatest care, by kneeling on the floor and causing the finger of the medium, by the tip of which alone her touch was effected, to be situated between me and the light of a lamp.

189. In the observations above stated, respecting the movements of the table when untouched, I was aided by the presence of my friend Joseph Hazard, Esq., of Narragansett, Rhode Island, who occupied a seat opposite to mine on the other side of the table; so that while he saw all clear on one side, I saw all clear on the other. In my narrative I have adverted to two recent instances in which severally, in the presence only of the medium and myself, the table moved, as I could judge, about eight inches, being at the same time untouched by either of us.

190. Next in importance to the movements of tables which take place without any contact, are those in which the table rises under the hands of the medium laid gently upon it. On one occasion I saw a large circular table, supported by three massive claws on castors, overset several times by the influence of three ladies, who were media. In order to have this experiment performed with as much precision as circumstances would permit, I seated myself on one side of the table, so as to be equidistant from two of the three claws by which it was supported. The intermediate medium, was directly opposite the third claw, while the others stood one on each side of her. My relative position was such, that as they were standing upright before me, I could look at their persons partially below as well as above the table. These arrangements having been made, the three media laid their hands on the table a little beyond the margin, so that they could not apply their thumbs below the edge and thus assist the table to raise. Under these circumstances I was enabled to watch the media above as well as below the table, by casting my eyes upward and downward alternately, they being all on their feet, and standing upright.47 It was under these conditions, that the table, in three successive trials, came over toward me and went back to its normal position.

191. It did not slam down quickly, when on arriving at such a position, as to make it impossible for the ladies to resist its farther descent; but descended gently, rising slowly in recovering its usual upright position.

192. I called one morning at the dwelling of a medium to whom allusion has been made more than once in my narrative. I sat down at a table with the medium, her father, and a gentleman who accompanied me. I inquired if any of my spirit friends were present; the table tilted negatively. “Will the spirit give its initials through the alphabetic card?” In reply the letters M C were indicated. My companion, whose attention had been withdrawn, on hearing the result, said: “They are the initials of my daughter’s name;” exclaiming, “Maria, are you here?

193. The table tilted in the affirmative, vivaciously, as if the daughter’s heart were in the movement.

194. Maria proving to be a sprightly spirit, a lively conversation ensued. I inquired if she could not work my apparatus; she answered through the card, “It is impossible for a spirit to work your apparatus; I am very sorry.” I replied that evidently it was not impossible, since it had been actuated by spirits successfully several times. “You mean to say,” I added, “that it is difficult.” To this she replied affirmatively by three tilts of the table.

195. As through the influence of the medium, who sat at the table with us, communications had been received through my apparatus several times, the alphabet arranged from a state of disarrangement, and names spelt out by the revolution of the disk, it cannot be imagined that the medium could have influenced the alphabetical communications in this instance, since the medium, even if prone to deception, would have perceived it ridiculous to allege it impossible to work an apparatus which had on several occasions under her influence, proved the opposite to be true, in the presence of her father as well as myself.

196. It has been already mentioned in the narrative (164.) that my spirit father, and spirit friend W. W., had alleged that they worked my apparatus with great difficulty when under test conditions, from their great desire to make me a convert to Spiritualism. It was, therefore, quite consistent that a spirit, who had no such powerful motive, should have preferred to find an apology for not actuating my apparatus, rather than to have studied, or sought for the means of surmounting the obstacles.

197. As all the manifestations, observed on this occasion, were by the tilting or partial lifting of the table, I urged the spirit to aid me in obtaining a test that these manifestations came not from the medium, but from herself, a spirit. I immediately procured from a basket which I had previously brought to the premises, a brass ball, turned truly spherical, like a billiard ball, and a plate of zinc which had been ground quite true. I48 placed the ball on the table, the plate on the ball, and the hands of the medium on the plate. She had no other communication with the table than that which was thus established. Pressing on the ball when situated between perpendicular lines falling inside of all the legs of the table, would of course only press it downward more firmly on its feet.

198. Things being thus arranged, I solicited Maria to repeat the upward jerks which she had employed in the communication which she had been making. Her father joined his solicitation to mine, pointing out that my object was to obtain evidence, which would satisfy the scientific world that such manifestations were due to the agency of spirits.

199. After a little delay the table rose under the ball, the plate, and the hands of the medium, with greater force than had been displayed in any of the foregoing movements.

200. Subsequently, being in company with Maria’s father, at the dwelling of a spiritualist, and sitting with a medium at the table supporting an apparatus for alphabetical communications, the spirit of Maria, who seems to follow her worthy father with much filial affection, reported herself. I inquired whether she remembered our previous meeting, and what means I resorted to as a test. She replied, “You used a plate and ball to support the hands of the medium, which I knocked away.”

201. While receiving communications from my spirit sister, the table tilting toward the medium, so as to cause the cord actuating the index, by being through a string tied to a weight on the floor, alternately to be withdrawn and returned, consequently, winding off and on the pulley which turned the index, I suggested that the relative position of the medium should be reversed, so that she should be on the same side with the apparatus. By this change the table would have to rise under the hands of the medium. The proposed modification was successfully carried out.

202. I asked my sister how a spirit could work an apparatus with the medium’s hands on the upper surface of the table; the reply was, that the presence of the hands of the medium enabled the spirit to act in opposition to them.

203. Under this head comes the experiment in which a board was supported so as to turn on a fulcrum, one foot of the board being on one side of the fulcrum, and three feet on the other, the longer end suspended on a spring balance. When a medium, eleven years old, placed his hands on the short end, that end rose while the other, of course, went down; in some instances, showing an increase of downward pressure on the balance, equivalent to seven pounds.

204. This experiment was subsequently repeated at my laboratory, in the presence of John M. Kennedy, Esq. Having a basin of water on the board, the boy’s hands being merely immersed in the water, and not touching the parietes of the containing vessel; the balance was affected as in the experiment above described, although not to so great an extent.


205. In one case, Mr. Kennedy satisfied himself, that the medium did not touch the vessel, by placing his own hands below those of the medium.

206. My much-esteemed friend, Prof. Henry, having treated this result as incredible, I was induced to repeat it with the greatest precision and precaution, as represented in Plate 3. The board, as already described, being about four feet in length, is supported by a rod as a fulcrum at about one foot from one end, and, of course, three feet from the other; a glass vase, about nine inches in diameter and five inches in height, having a knob to hold it by when inverted, had this knob inserted in a hole made in the board, six inches nearly from the fulcrum. Thus, the vase rested on the board, the mouth upward. A wire-gauze cage, such as is used to keep flies from sugar, was so arranged by well-known means, as to slide up or down on two iron rods, one on each side of the trestle supporting the fulcrum. By these arrangements it was so adjusted as to descend into the vase until within an inch and a half of the bottom, while the inferiority of its dimensions prevented it from coming elsewhere within an inch of the parietes of the vase. Water was poured into the vase so as to rise into the cage till within about an inch and a half of the brim.

207. A well-known medium (Gordon) was induced to plunge his hands, clasped together, to the bottom of the cage, holding them perfectly still. As soon as these conditions were attained, the apparatus being untouched by any one excepting the medium as described, I invoked the aid of my spirit friends. A downward force was repeatedly exerted upon the end of the board appended to the balance equal to three pounds’ weight nearly.

208. It will be perceived that in this manifestation, the medium had no means of communication with the board, beside the water. It was not until he became quite still, that the invocation was made. Nevertheless, he did not appear to be subjected to any reacting force. Yet, the distance of the hook of the balance from the fulcrum on which the board turned, was six times as great as the cage in which the hands were situated. Consequently, a force of 3 × 6 = 18 pounds must have been exerted. The board would probably have been depressed much more, but that the water had been spilled by any farther inclination of the vase.

209. This experiment has since been repeated again and again, but on a smaller scale, when, not only the downward force was exercised, but the spelling of words was accomplished.

210. On one occasion, when no result ensued, it appeared to arise from the water being so cold as to chill the medium, because, on warming it up to a comfortable temperature, the desired manifestations were obtained.

211. At the same time and place, after the manifestation by means of the spring balances above described (207) had been accomplished, I requested my spirit friends to repeat that which has been above mentioned,50 as performed by putting the hands of a medium upon a plate and ball supported by a tea-table. (pari passu.)

212. Accordingly, the attending medium being placed under exactly the same circumstances and conditions, a similar violent tilting ensued.

213. Dr. Child, together with the same medium and myself, placed our finger ends all reciprocally in contact, and about a quarter of an inch above a tea-table. After an interval of about two minutes, the table rose, and was tossed from the legs on one side to those on the other forcibly.

214. During a visit to New York, I entered the apartment where one of the Misses Fox was sitting. There were more than half a dozen persons present. On my entrance, I inquired, “Does any one here recognise me, so as to know my name?” No person answered that I was known. As soon, however, as I inquired, my spirit sister announced herself, and indicated my name.

215. During a visit made to Boston last autumn, on sitting with a medium, my sister addressed me in the following way, by spelling the words out upon the disk apparatus just described:

Brother beloved, of ardent soul,
Striving to reach a heavenly goal;
Wouldst thou attain the blissful height
Where wisdom purifies the sight;
Where God reveals to humblest gaze,
The bliss and beauty of his ways
Incline thine ear to angels bright,
Who radiant from the realms of light,
For ever hover near,
To offer thee, sweet words of cheer.

216. Only the first couplet in these verses differs at all from those which were given in the impromptu, the words having been too flattering for me, to have mentioned. Soon after being at the residence of a highly-esteemed friend, who is a medium, my spirit sister, who manifests much love for this lady, reporting herself, I told her of the change which I thus desired to have made. The reply was, “I give you full liberty to alter my verses; you know I never wrote two lines of poetry while in the flesh.” Miss Ellis is no poetess, still less is Mrs. P., the medium.

217. After my lecture at the Melodeon, being at the residence of Mrs. Hayden, an accomplished medium, I requested a repetition of the experiment, of which I had given an account on that occasion, in which the view of the disk was cut off from the medium, by the interposition of a screen; and Mrs. Hayden consenting, an arrangement was made so as to satisfy the bystanders, as well as myself, that the letters on the disk could not be seen by her. Under these conditions the name of Washington was spelt out.

218. I have had this test repeated under Gordon’s mediumship, as well as that of others, several times. Afterward, Mrs. Hayden sitting aloof, on making the index move successively to each letter, those required for the51 name of Jefferson were selected in due order, by rapping at the one in demand, as it came under the index.

219. Through the influence of Mrs. Hayden, an uncommon test was afforded by my faithful spirit sister.

220. My charming, intelligent friend, Mrs. Eustis, daughter of the late Rev. Dr. W. E. Channing, though not a believer in Spiritualism, became desirous of seeing the manifestations so much relied upon by me. Having accompanied me to the residence of Mrs. Hayden, Mrs. Eustis was sitting beside her, while through her influence my sister was making a communication by means of the apparatus described. (Plate I, Fig. 2.) When the process commenced, the hand of Mrs. Hayden was resting on the lever in the usual position, but was subsequently lifted, so as to allow Mrs. Eustis, as well as myself, to see between it and the wooden surface, without creating any apparent abatement of the power of indicating the requisite letters. (Description of Plate I, par. e.)

221. While the process still proceeded under these conditions, Mrs. Eustis, having placed her hand upon the surface of the board lever, alleged that she felt it imparting motion to her hand.

222. Dr. W. F. Channing has since informed me that Mrs. Eustis’s account of these manifestations, as given to him, coincide with those given to him by me.

223. Sometime after this feat was performed through Mrs. Hayden, I inquired of my sister if she could not perform it through an excellent medium under whose influence communications were making at the time of this inquiry. It was replied that Mrs. Eustis being unconsciously to a certain extent a medium herself, the power of Mrs. Hayden was augmented by her presence.

224. But as respects the selection of letters without the assistance of the eyes of the medium, I have had many instances of this being done, although the facility of its performance is various, not only with different media and with different spirits, but likewise when the spirit and medium are the same: it varies with the state of the medium. I sat more than an hour with an accomplished medium, during an excessively hot evening, without receiving any communication; in consequence, as I supposed, of the effect of the heat upon her organism.

225. The interposition of water contained in a glass vase, upon the broad part of the lever actuating the index, so that the hands of the medium can touch nothing but the water, has an effect analogous to the lifting of the hand as above described, since the only difference in the conditions is, that in the one case there is air, in the other water, interposed.

226. It has been stated that, by the interposition of water, the power of actuating the index was paralyzed; yet merely warming the water enabled the manifestation to proceed, so as to empower the spirit to spell such names as were called for. (210.)


227. In one instance, I took a book from my pocket which the medium had never seen, and opened it at a page where the heading “Publisher’s Preface” was conspicuous, without allowing the medium to see any thing more than the back of the book. Holding the page exposed to the disk, the spirit spelt out “Publish—,” and then seemed unable to proceed. Meanwhile, the medium called to her little son to be quiet; forthwith the deficient letters, ers, were supplied, so as to finish the word “Publisher’s.”

228. The medium alleged that her mind was imbued with the idea that the word “publishing” was coming forth, and with a view to aid the spirit, lent some muscular aid to the letters necessary to complete that word; but attention to her child causing her mind to be withdrawn, the spirit immediately selected the letters above indited. On the same occasion I opened the same book, keeping the back toward the medium, opposite to an engraving of Jefferson: immediately, Jefferson was spelt out.

229. On my way to Boston, I visited Mrs. Ann Leah Brown, formerly Miss Fox. At about eight in the morning, I found her under very unfavourable circumstances: Mrs. Brown had been watching the previous night with a sick child. Nevertheless, considering me as an advocate of the cause of truth, a short sitting was given to me, during which my faithful spirit sister manifested herself by comparatively loud knockings.

230. Through this I learned that Mrs. Brown was not in condition to make it expedient to resort to her mediumship then, had not the necessity of attending to her sick child formed a sufficient impediment.

231. On my return from Boston, I called again on this interesting medium, and then saw a table, situated at the distance of more than a foot from her person, which was quiescent, make a movement to and fro of at least eight inches. Moreover, as I sat on the opposite side of an intervening table, I felt unexpectedly a slight touch against my leg as if by a human finger.

232. During this visit, Mrs. Brown created much interest by giving a brief account of the trials which herself and her sister had undergone, being on the one hand urged to give their services to the community, as the means of promoting truth, while on the other they were treated as impostors or jugglers. The impression left on my mind was extremely favourable as respects Mrs. Brown’s sincerity in her Spiritualism and in her goodness of heart.

233. In consequence of her invitation, I attended a circle at her house a few days subsequently, when I saw, in addition to all the usual manifestations, the following for the first time: Under a table around which the party was seated, a sheet of paper was deposited on the carpeted floor. A pencil was placed upon the paper; soon after, on examination, I found my name scrawled thereon.

234. Two small bells situated upon the floor beneath the table were rung, and subsequently it was found that one of them had been lifted and seated on the other.


235. My spirit sister has since informed me that my name was written upon the paper by my spirit friend William Blodget.

236. While at Boston, having read to a friend a communication from my father through a writing medium, I placed it in one of my pockets, and proceeded to the Fountain Inn. When there, I felt for it without success. Unexpectedly, I went to Salem by the cars, and returned the same evening. On undressing myself the scroll was missing, and I inferred that it had been lost between the place where it had been read and the inn above named, where I felt for it unsuccessfully. On going next morning to Mrs. Hayden’s, and my spirit father reporting himself, I inquired whether he knew what had become of the scroll. It was answered, that it had been left upon the seat in the car on my quitting it at Salem.

237. Inquiring of the conductor, who was on duty in the car where it had been left, he said that it had been found on the seat, was safe at Portland, and should be returned to me next day. This promise was realized.

238. On one occasion, sitting at the disk with Mrs. Hayden, a spirit gave his initials as C. H. Hare. Not recollecting any one of our relations of that name precisely, I inquired if he were one of them. The reply was affirmative. “Are you a son of my cousin Charles Hare, of St. Johns, New Brunswick?” “Yes,” was spelled out. This spirit then gave me the profession of his grandfather, also that of his father, and the fact of the former having been blown into the water at Toulon, and of the latter having made a miraculous escape from Verdun, where he had been confined until his knowledge of French enabled him to escape by personating in disguise an officer of the customs. Only one mistake was made in referring to my English relatives, respecting an uncle’s name. Other inquiries were correctly answered.

239. Subsequently, the brother of this spirit made us a visit in Philadelphia, and informed us that the mundane career of his brother Charles Henry, had been terminated by shipwreck some few years anterior to the visit made, as mentioned, to me.

240. No one being present beside myself, and the medium ignorant of Latin, my father spelt out upon the disk the words he had pointed out to me in Virgil more than fifty-five years ago, as expressive of the beating Entellus gave Dares, as described by Virgil—“pulsatque versatque;” also the word which so much resembles the sound of horses’ hoofs trampling on the ground, “Quadrupedante.”

241. A spirit of the name of Powel tendered his services, and undertook to spell Cato, but instead of that name, Blodget, my friend, occupied the disk, and spelt his own name, and afterward Cato. On the same occasion Blodget spelt out and designated words without the medium seeing the alphabet.

242. The employment of letters to express ideas neither existing in the mind of the medium nor in mine, cannot evidently be explained by54 any psychological subterfuge. The name Blodget being indicated by reference to the alphabet, instead of Cato, which was promised, precludes the idea that it was learned from the mind of any mortal present.

243. It must be manifest that the greatest difficulty which I had to overcome during the investigation of which the preceding pages give a history, arose from the necessity of making every observation under such circumstances as to show that I was not deceived by the media.

244. But having latterly acquired the powers of a medium in a sufficient degree to interchange ideas with my spirit friends, I am no longer under the necessity of defending media from the charge of falsehood and deception. It is now my own character only that can be in question.

245. Upon this the occurrence of the manifestation to which I am about to allude rests. (Reference to this has been made in the Introduction to this work, 115.)

246. The fact that my spirit sister undertook at one o’clock, on the 3rd of July, 1855, to convey from the Atlantic Hotel, Cape May Island, a message to Mrs. Gourlay, No. 178 North Tenth street, Philadelphia, requesting that she would induce Dr. Gourlay to go to the Philadelphia Bank to ascertain the time when a note would be due, and report to me at half-past three o’clock; that she did report at the appointed time; and that on my return to Philadelphia, Mrs. Gourlay alleged herself to have received the message, and that her husband and brother went to the bank in consequence. With the idea received by the latter, my sister’s report coincided agreeably to his statement to me. All this proves that a spirit must have officiated, as nothing else can explain the transaction.

247. The note clerk recollects the application, but does not appear to have felt himself called upon to take the trouble to get the register, which was not in his hands at the time. Hence the impression received by the applicants was not correct, but corresponded with the report made to me by my sister, which differed from the impression on my memory, and of course, was not obtained from my mind.


248. My sister having mentioned her name in the spheres, to be Queen of Flowers. I substituted this name translated into Latin in the Sicilian Mariners’ Hymn, replacing virgo by soror, the Latin for sister; seraph for mater; bonissima for piissima; carissima for purissima; and cura for ora. It then read as follows:—

248. Oh! bonissima, oh! carissima
Dulcis soror, amata
Florum regina
In cœlo cognita
Cura, Cura, pro nobis
Cura, cura, pro nobis
Seraph amata intemerata
Cura, cura, pro nobis.


249. As soon as this was chanted, the following reply was given through the spiritoscope, at which I was sitting with Mrs. Gourlay as medium:

250. “Dear Brother:—I answer your prayer by saying I do watch over you, and pray for your welfare. I am grateful for your remembrance, and shall strive to deserve it. O! brother, our cause is a common one, and we feel the same interest in its promulgation. I am daily striving to disseminate its truths, but can make little progress, having so much ignorance to contend against. I know that the truths of progression, with the help of a good and wise God, will ultimately prevail over all the land; but when that happy time comes to earth, your freed spirit will rove the endless fields of immortality with those loved friends who have gone a little while before. Then will we revel in delights which, in comparison with earth’s joys, are far more beautiful and sublime. I wish you could look with the eye of prescience, and see that glorious time, when all nations shall become as a band of brothers.”


251. The evidence of the manifestations adduced in the foregoing narrative does not rest upon myself only, since there have been persons present when they were observed, and they have in my presence been repeated essentially under various modifications, in many instances, not specially alluded to.

252. The evidence may be contemplated under various phases: First, those in which rappings or other noises have been made, which could not be traced to any mortal agency; secondly, those in which sounds were so made as to indicate letters forming grammatical, well-spelt sentences, affording proof that they were under the guidance of some rational being; thirdly, those in which the nature of the communication has been such as to prove that the being causing them must, agreeably to accompanying allegations, be some known acquaintance, friend, or relative of the inquirer.

253. Again, cases in which movements have been made of ponderable bodies, either without any human contact, or with such contact as could not be productive of the resulting motion.

254. Cases in which such movements of bodies have been of a nature to produce intellectual communications, resembling those obtained as above mentioned by sounds.

255. Although the apparatus by which these various proofs were attained, with the greatest possible precaution and precision, modified them as to the manner; essentially all the evidence which I have obtained, tending to the conclusions above mentioned, has likewise been substantially56 obtained by a great number of observers. Many who never sought any spiritual communication, and have not been induced to enroll themselves as spiritualists, will nevertheless not only affirm the existence of the sounds and movements, but also admit their inscrutability.

256. But we have now, in a matter-of-fact, business-like publication, by E. W. Capron, a record of the original manifestations at Hydesville and Rochester, in New York; where, as it is well known, they produced intense interest, excitement, and controversy; which gave rise to successive town-meetings, and the appointment of committees by these meetings for the purpose of ascertaining whether any other cause could be discovered for the manifestations, except the spiritual beings who assumed them to be their doings. Some of the persons appointed to make the investigation, were prepossessed with the belief that the phenomena were due to some juggling contrivance. One alleged that he would throw himself over the Genesee Falls, or prove the knockings due to humbuggery. Another alleged that the media, aware of his prepossession, would not for one hundred dollars have him on the committee; yet both these persons being put on the committee, the latter came out in favour of the inscrutability of the noise; while the former neither accounted for it, “nor threw himself over the falls,” as Mr. Capron pointedly alleges.

257. Subsequently, in the city of New York, the mystery was subjected to the ordeal of a public investigation by a number of distinguished citizens, whose reports confirmed those of the Rochester committees. Fennimore Cooper was among those appointed on the New York committee, and was the means himself of obtaining an unequivocal test. His sister’s death, which had resulted from being thrown from a horse, was correctly stated by her spirit in every particular, in reply to mental inquiries by him made.

258. Again at Stratford, Connecticut, at a house of a minister of the gospel, manifestations were made fully as striking as those which had occurred at Hydesville and Rochester, so as to establish in the mind of this estimable clergyman, and in those of many others acquainted with the facts, a belief in spiritual agency. (1667)

Corroborative evidence by the Rev. Allen Putnam, of Roxbury, Mass.

259. As affording support to the testimony which I have given, I deem it expedient to cite that of the Rev. Allen Putnam, formerly a Unitarian clergyman and preacher in Augusta, Maine, having been in the legislature of that State, and for some time editor of the New England Farmer. Mr. Putnam had the advantage of a theological and collegiate education at Harvard. I heard an able and erudite lecture from this worthy spiritualist, at Boston last October.

260. Mr. Putnam entered upon the investigation of the manifestations in July, 1852, nearly eighteen months before my investigation com57menced. Like me, he began as an unbeliever, and was converted by communications received from the spirits of his wife and relatives, who had left this life. In a company ignorant of the fact that he had married twice, his first wife had made herself known to him, so as to create a conviction of her identity.

261. In the next place, his ancestors communicated with Mr. Putnam, so as to satisfy his mind that they were the beings they professed to be. I do not enter into the detail of the facts which created conviction in the mind of this respectable observer; my object is to show that other minds have gone through the process which has influenced mine, in order that sceptics may not “lay the flattering unction to their souls” that ’tis my madness speaks in favour, not their prejudices that speak against, the conclusions in which investigators of sound understanding have concurred.

262. Mr. Putnam alleges: “Some uncommon movements have occurred in my presence. I have seen a table moved without any visible power applied to it.”

263. The following narrative is taken from the pamphlet published by the author in question. It is quite characteristic of the variety of character found in the spheres. This juvenile spirit owed his education entirely to his schooling in the spirit world. It will be perceived that he died while yet an infant. (Page 34, Paragraph 3.)

264. “Entering a medium’s room one morning, I saw a gentlemanly, intelligent man, apparently about thirty, sitting at the table and putting questions. Soon a tiny rap was heard, and the name Natty was spelled out. ‘Who are you?’ said the man. ‘I am your brother;’ was the answer. ‘No,’ said the man, ‘I had no such brother.’ ‘You had,’ said the rapper. ‘No,’ said the man. ‘Yes,’ said the other. ‘Well, let us see,’ added the man. ‘How old were you, Natty, when you died?’ ‘Five days,‘ was the answer. ‘How long since you died?’ ‘Thirty-five years.’ The gentleman here bit his lip in thought, and said—‘I believe there was an infant brother who died before I was born, but I thought they called him Oliver.’ ‘No,’ was the response, ‘they called him Natty, and I am he.’ ‘Natty,’ said the man, ‘how do you know that I am your brother?’ ‘By love,’ he answered. ‘By love?’ said the questioner; ‘but don’t you love others as well as relatives?’ Ans. ‘We like others, and love relatives!’ ‘What,’ it was then asked—‘what is the difference between love and like?’ The word LOVE was immediately written in large letters, two or three inches long, and like was traced under it in very small letters. ‘Natty,’ continued the man, ‘you are not my brother, but are some one else, attempting to impose upon me.’ ‘I am your brother,’ was the earnest rejoinder. ‘Then, will you tell me what sphere you are in?’ ‘The fourth,’ he said. ‘The fourth, ah? Now I’ve caught you—for as you died in infancy, you was fitted for the seventh sphere when you left the earth.’ ‘I have been there;’ was the response. ‘Have been there, and yet are now in the58 fourth! how is that? are you moving backward? coming down?’ ‘No, I am an adviser in the fourth.’ ‘Adviser! what is that? a sort of superintendent?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Oh! you are in office, then?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you get any pay? We pay well for such things here.’ ‘Yes, I get pay.’ ‘What pay?’ ‘The pleasure of seeing those under me progress.’

265. “I then said to the gentleman stranger, ‘Sir, you have found your match, if not your brother. I think I would own the relationship;’ and in continuance I remarked, that this seemed to be a very bright, cheerful spirit; when there was written—‘I am always laughing.’

266. “My next remark was—‘Natty, I should like to make your acquaintance.’ ‘Hand out your card;’ was the instant response. Finding no card in my pocket, I wrote, secretly, on a slip of paper—‘Mr. Allen Putnam, Eustis St., Roxbury’—turned the paper over, placing the writing down upon the table, kept my hand over the paper, and asked Natty to make a copy. Instantly the medium’s hand wrote—Mr. A. P., U. St. Rox. The writing on my paper had been seen by me alone, and I was looking for a copy in full, but received only abbreviations, and those of every word, Eustis being reduced to the letter U. This closed my first interview with him.

267. “Some weeks afterward, when he was forgotten, the medium’s hand wrote, ‘Mr. A. P., U. St. Rox.—I have used your card.’ ‘Natty,‘ said I, ‘as you left the earth when very young, I would like to know how you learned the English language.’ He answered, ‘My mother knew it, I think;’ and asked, ‘Will you let my mamma come?’ ‘Certainly, with pleasure.’ And the following was written:

268. “‘My friend, you must not be angry with my darling boy. It ofttimes grieves me to have him, so pure, use such wild phrases. I am your friend, as a soldier in the cause.

Elizabeth Y-—-.

269. “Very often this little bright spark comes out with something unexpected, amusing, or witty; but at all times he manifests a very marked disposition to be obliging and kind. Once, when his communication seemed to be closed, I said, ‘You are not going, Natty?’ ‘Yes—gone—don’t you see the dust fly?’ ‘Where,’ I asked, ‘do you pick up such phrases?’ ‘Hear ‘um.’

270. “On another occasion he said, ‘My friend, you must not put on a long face when you come to talk with supposed ghosts. You must not believe all they tell you to. You must not go to the end of the world and jump off, because they tell you to.’

271. “When once I said to him, ‘How do you go to work, Natty, to use a medium’s hand?’ He said, ‘Why, you see, we just passes a chain of light around the wrist, and that sets it to shaking. The next operation is to make it write, of course. Sometimes the words are allowed to pass through the brains. We now have such a power over this medium, that we can make her shake awfully.’ ‘Try my wrist, Natty,’ said a lady who59 was present. ‘Dear, beloved aunty, I’ve got a peck of love for you, but I can’t make you trace my purified thoughts on the clean paper.’”

For those who endeavour to get rid of the evidence of respectable witnesses, such as Mr. Putnam, by representing them as dupes, and the media as impostors, it may be well to quote the following passage from the same publication: (Page 44.)

272. “Within the last fourteen months I have seen twenty-two or three different mediums—all but four of them private ones—taking no pecuniary compensation; and more than half of them are our own citizens, several of whom are now present in this assembly. I have spent very many hours in their presence. Have seen them at their homes—at my own home—and in the parlours of neighbours and friends. I have met and watched them in the broadest sunlight and at evening. Every desirable opportunity has been furnished me for detecting machinery, jugglery, or imposture, and I have faithfully, but in vain, strove to find something mundane a sufficient cause for all these wonders. That trick or humbug is sometimes attempted by pretenders to uncommon susceptibilities, no one will have a wish to deny. But very many of the mediums, private ones, are as much above these things as are the very best persons among the witnesses.

273. “One medium, an active, energetic business man, of more than sixty years, has submitted himself to be used by me at any time, however suddenly called upon, whether in his counting-room or in mine,—whether called in his shirt sleeves from the woodpile, or coalbin, or dressed up and ready for company; and I have used him and watched him daily almost, and that through several successive months. Many mediums have been watched for long periods, and under quite varied circumstances; and, though the power exerted through any of them is very far from being uniform, and though the mode of manifestation is in no two alike, yet I have seen no sign of its being anywhere applied by machinery; or of its being varied by any preparation or act of the mediums themselves.

274. “They deny, one and all, young and old, educated and ignorant alike—they all deny, and that, too, in the most private and friendly circles, where all the thoughts flow out,—they all deny that they exercise their wills at all in the production of these wonders. And I cannot rate that fairness very high which, in the face of such a fact, will persist in saying that all of it is trick, imposture, humbug. More than one hundred thousand witnesses have looked on, and yet are unable to prove to any extent the cheats alleged. More than five thousand mediums in this country unitedly and persistedly declare that they use no machinery and practice no trick.”

275. This charge is utterly futile when we see persons in affluence converted by their own mediumship, as in the case of two of my most esteemed friends.


276. My conversion was effected before I attended any public medium. To the ladies by whom it was effected my requisitions could only have been onerous, had not the desire for truth to oblige me been a strong motive for the pains which they were made to take.

277. It does not seem sufficiently understood by those who object to Spiritualism, upon the ground of the inconsistency of the opinions given by spirits, that our next state of existence is one of progression, and that we go there with all our imperfections, which are removed more or less slowly.

278. “Many men, many minds,” is an old adage: it is equally true as respects the inhabitants of the spirit world, excepting that as their elevation in that world is higher, accordance in opinion is more prevalent. In the spirits of the fifth sphere, and those above that sphere, I find little diversity in important facts or doctrines.

279. Allusion is made to this diversity in some communications from Franklin, to Mr. Putnam, which are as follows:

280. “The mortals of earth expect truth from the spirit land; they think that it is perfect, and that the angels are omnipotent. Oh, how far do they wander in the darkness of their own minds! The spirit home is progressive, like unto this: the canting hypocrite passes into the heavens with the same thoughts; the simple babe too passes into this new-born life with all its childlike innocence. Each one has to mount the ladder of progression.”

281. “There are millions in the spirit world that know not of the existence of this planet, even as the children of this earth know not of the starry world above. But on beholding angels descend to this hidden planet, they follow, and in wonderment behold a new world, and that world inhabited. Then do they find whence they originated.

282. “Allusion has been made to the one-sided support given to Spiritualism on the part of those who admit many of the most important facts, yet do not ascribe them to the spirits of the departed. These opponents were alleged to be of different features; one ascribing them to Satan, the other disputing their spiritual origination, because agreeably to their imperfect information, certain traits were found to be deficient which should exist, were the intellectual communications due to the spirits of our departed fellow-creatures. The idea of these spiritual manifestations owing their existence to Satan has already been noticed, (88,) but from the communications which will be given in this work must appear still more untenable than they have, as I trust, been proved to be. As one of the most respectable of these, who deny the existence of spirits, the distinguished Dr. Bell, of Somerville, Massachusetts, has been noticed. (110.)

283. “It is conceived that Dr. Bell’s positive evidence in favour of phenomena which he has seen, gives so much more weight in favour of the existence of spirits than his arguments on negative grounds, as to what he61 happens not to have seen or learned, that I will quote here his account of the manifestations which he has described, after having observed them with great circumspection:

284. “Dr. Bell commenced (at a meeting of hospital directors) by expressing his surprise that at the meeting, last year, of so large a number of persons whose lives were spent in investigating the reciprocal influences of mind and body, scarcely a single member had given a moment’s attention to a topic directly in their path, which, whether regarded as merely an epidemic mental delusion, or as a new psychological science, was producing such momentous effects upon the world. It was now said to number over two millions of believers, had an extended literature, a talented periodical press in many forms, and had certainly taken fast hold on many minds of soberness and power. He was well aware how easily it was turned to ridicule, and that there were many who would be ready to ask, when they saw hospital directors seriously discussing the spiritual phenomena, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

285. “But if there was any class of men who had duties in this direction, it was those of our specialty. Our reports contain the record of many cases of insanity said to be produced by it. It was important, whether true or false, or mixed, that its precise depth, length, and nature should be studied out. As is well known, mystery always loses its terrific character when boldly met and opened to the light of noonday.

286. “Dr. Bell remarked, that on his return home from our meeting at Washington, he had a peculiar wish to verify his previous observations on what are technically known as the physical manifestations of this new science. He could not pretend that he could doubt his repeated personal observations, addressed to his sight, hearing, and touch, and separated, as he believed, from any possibility of error or collusive fraud. Yet the offer, by Professor Henry, of a large sum to any person who would make one of his tables move in the Smithsonian Institution, and the obvious incredulity of many of the ‘brethren,’ had induced the desire again to see some full and unequivocal experiment in table-moving.

287. “An opportunity was not long wanting. On the occasion of the visit of a well-known gentleman, long connected with the insane, and who never had seen any of these phenomena at the asylum, Dr. Bell invited him to go to a family where a medium of considerable power was visiting. The family was one of the most respectable of the vicinage, the head of it being a gentleman intrusted with millions of dollars of other people’s money, as the financial manager of a large banking institution. He and his wife had for some years been perfectly convinced of the spiritual character of these manifestations. The medium was a young lady of eighteen or twenty, of very slight figure, weighing eighty or ninety pounds, and had discovered herself to be a medium while on a visit to these distant relatives. A family, from character and position, more entirely beyond the suspicion62 of even winking at any thing like fraud or irregularity, does not exist in the world. They were so fortunate as to find the medium at home, and the circle was made of the five persons mentioned. The ordinary manifestations of raps, beating of musical tunes, and responses to mental and spoken questions, were very completely presented, as well as the movements of the table under the mere contact of fingers’ ends. Finding that things appeared very favourable to a full exhibition of what he wished to see, as evinced by the very facile movements of the table under contact, Dr. Bell proposed trying the grand experimentum crucis of the physical manifestations—the movement of the table without any human contact, direct or indirect. He was permitted to arrange things to suit himself, and began by opening the table more widely, and inserting two movable table-leaves, which increased the length from about six to perhaps nine or ten feet. This, he felt, also gave him an opportunity to see and upset all wires and mechanism concealed, or, at least, to answer positively as to their non-existence. The table was a solid structure of black walnut, with six carved legs, the whole of such a weight that when the castors were all in the right line of motion, he could just start it by the full grasp of the thumb and fingers of both hands.

288. “The persons stood on the sides of the table, three and two, and back from its edge about eighteen inches. As Dr. Bell is some six feet two inches in height, he averred that he had no difficulty in seeing between the table and the persons of all present. The hands were raised over it at about the same height, of a foot and a half.

289. “At a request, the table commenced its motion, with moderate speed, occasionally halting, and then gliding on a foot or two at once. It seemed as if its motion would have been continuous, if the hands above it had followed along pari passu. On reaching the folding-doors dividing off the two parlours, and which were open, it rose over an iron rod on which the door-trucks traversed, and which projected half or three-quarters of an inch above the level of the carpet. It then entered the other parlour, and went its whole length until it came near the pier glass at its end—a centre-table having been pushed aside by one of the party to allow its free course.

290. “At request, for they during this time spoke as if to actual beings, the motion was reversed, and it returned until it again reached the iron rod. Here it stuck. The table hove, creaked, and struggled, but all in vain; it could not surmount the obstacle. The medium was then ‘impressed by the spirits’ to write, and seizing a pencil, hastily wrote that if the fore legs were lifted over the bar, they (i. e. the spirits) thought they could push the others over. This was done, and the motion kept on. Once or twice Dr. Bell requested all to withdraw a little farther from the table, ‘to see how far the influence would extend.’ It was found that whenever a much greater distance, say two feet, was reached, the move63ment ceased, and a delay of three or four minutes occurred before it recommenced, giving the idea that, if broken off, a certain reaccumulation of force was needful to put it in motion again. The table reached the upper end of the parlour, from which it had started, but was left some four feet from the medial line of the room. Dr. Bell expressed the thanks of the company for the very complete exhibition with which they had been favoured, but remarked that the obligation would be enhanced if the ‘spirits’ would move the table about four feet at right angles, so that the chairs would come right for their late occupants. This was immediately done, and the performance was deemed so perfectly full and satisfactory that nothing more was asked at this session.

291. “Dr. Bell was understood to say that this made some five or six times in which he had seen the table move without human contact, and all under circumstances apparently as free from suspicion as this just related. He also stated that the Rev. Mr. P., a clergyman of extraordinary sagacious perceptions and mechanical skill, took this same medium to his own house, without previous thought, where she never before had been, and where his own table, in the presence of his own family alone, went through the fullest locomotion without human touch. Dr. Bell mentioned that in his last experiment, that just narrated, the entire space moved through was over fifty feet.

292. “Dr. Bell then passed to the topic of responses to mental and verbal questions, and gave several narratives of long conversations with what purported to be the spirits of persons dead for twenty-five to forty years, in which every question he could devise relating to their domestic history, and to events in it known only to them and him, had been truly answered. Some of the subjects put mentally—i. e., without speaking or writing—had half a dozen correct replies, forbidding, of course, completely, on any doctrine of chances, the contingency of accident or coincidence, as such mental questions, per se, negative the explanation of previous knowledge on the part of the medium.

293. “A brief abstract of one of these will give a general idea of their character: Dr. Bell had frequently remarked to his ‘spiritual’ friends, that if any medium could reproduce the essential particulars of a final interview which had occurred between himself and a deceased brother in 1826, he should be almost compelled to admit that it came from his spirit; because he was sure that he (Dr. Bell) never had communicated it to any living being. Hence, as it never had been known to but two persons, and was of so peculiar, well-marked a character, as not to be capable of being confounded by generalities, he should hardly be able otherwise to explain it. A few weeks afterward what purported to be the spirit of that brother narrated the essential particulars of that interview, the place where, down to the well-recollected fact that he was adjusting the stirrups of his saddle, preparatory to a distant journey, when it was held! Pretty early,64 however, in his investigations, Dr. Bell began to find that, however correct his spiritual conferees were, in most of their responses, the moment a question was put involving a response the truth of which was unknown to him, uniform failure occurred. Sometimes, where he believed at the time that his questions were truly answered, subsequent information had shown him that he had been mistaken. He had answers which he believed to be true, when the facts were decidedly otherwise.

294. “Pursuing this train of inquiry, he found the ‘spirits,’ while averring that they could see him distinctly, ‘face to face,’ never could read the signature to letters taken from an old file, and unfolded without his having seen the writing. Yet as soon as he had cast his eye upon the signature, without allowing any one else to see it, it was promptly and correctly reproduced by the alphabetical rappings. And again, when he had made a previous arrangement with his family that they should do certain things every quarter of an hour at home—he, of course, not knowing what—while he was to ask the ‘spirit’ what was done at the instant, uniform failure occurred. He proved, too, that the theory of the ‘spiritualists’ to meet such difficulties—viz., that evil or trifling spirits interfered at their end of the telegraph—was not tenable. For the responses just before and after these gross failures had been eminently and wonderfully accurate, and the ‘spirits’ not only declared that they saw with perfect clearness what was going on at his house, but denied that there had been any interruption or interference.

295. “Dr. Bell also gave examples where test questions, involving replies unknown to the interrogator, had been designedly intermixed with those which were known. The result uniformly was, that the known responses, however curious and far remote, were correctly reproduced; the unknown were a set of perfectly wild and blundering errors, the responses often being obviously formed out of the phraseology of the question, as a stuck schoolboy guesses out a reply!

296. “The result of the inquiries of Dr. Bell and his friends—for several gentlemen of eminently fitting talents pursued the investigation with him—was briefly this:—That what the questioner knows the spirits know; what the questioner does not know, the spirits are entirely ignorant of. In other words, that there are really no superhuman agencies in the matter at all—no connection with another state of existence; but that it bears certain strong analogies to some of the experiences of clairvoyance, in that mysterious science of animal magnetism, as it has been protruding and receding for the last hundred years. Dr. Bell thought there was some reason to believe that the matter reproduced may come not only from the questioner, but if in the mind of any one at the circle, that it might be evolved. He made some observations upon the evidences of spirit existence, drawn from the character of the matter communicated by the mediums in a state of impression, when, as it is believed, spirits express65 themselves through the human agent. Of course, the quality of such composition is more or less a question of taste. Much of it is elevated, indicating high intellectual and moral capacities in the mind to which it owes its origin. Much more is absurd, puerile, and disgusting, infinitely below the grade of the human productions of the same persons from whom it professedly comes. Yet the spiritual revelation has given us nothing of such extraordinary value or novelty as to stamp it, in the judgment of unprejudiced minds, as of supermundane production. Dr. Bell alluded to a treatise which had been put into his hands by an earnest spiritualist, purporting to be the work of Thomas Paine, the author of the Age of Reason, &c., which was thought would carry conviction to anybody, as it purported to be a full explanation of the formation and changes of this earth, by one who, from his situs, must know all about it. The truth was, that the work was the production of some mind, celestial or mundane, ignorant of the very first rudiments of chemical philosophy, in which the most ridiculous blunders were made on every page in matters which are as demonstrable as mathematics, and where, of course, the answer cannot be made that the revelation was too high for common readers. Nor does Dr. Bell believe, from his observations, that the waters from this fountain ever reach a higher level than their source. The most elevated specimen of the spiritual literature would no doubt be found in the communications from Swedenborg and Lord Bacon in Judge Edmond’s and Dr. Dexter’s first and second volumes. Yet, whoever reads the very elegant and powerful preliminary treatise of these gentlemen, which Dr. Bell thought would compare favourably with any writings of the kind ever published, would not be able to feel that Swedenborg and Lord Bacon, after their nearly one and more than two centuries’ residence, respectively, amid the culture and refined senses of the superior spheres, had more than equalled their unpretending amanuenses still in the ‘vale of tears.’

297. “Dr. Bell concluded by the expression of his full convictions that, while the faith in spirits must be given up as being connected with these facts, it was a topic, whether regarded as a physical novelty or even as a delusion, cutting deeply into the very religious natures of our people, which was worth our fullest examination. There were great, novel, interesting facts here. They had not been treated fairly and respectfully, as they should have been. The effect was, that the community, knowing that here were facts, if human senses could be trusted at all, went away from those who should have thrown light upon the mysteries, but who would or could not, to those who gave some explanation, even if it was one which uprooted all previous forms of religious faith. He hoped that the members of this association, who were as much required to examine this topic as any order of men, except, perhaps, the clergy, would not be afraid of looking it in the face from any apprehensions of ridicule or of degrading their dignity.”


298. After giving much evidence, showing that physical movements take place without contact, and that communications were made to him which could not have ensued without controlling reason, Dr. Bell finds that in certain instances which have come to his knowledge spirits could not communicate information nor ideas which did not exist in his mind or that of some mortals present. Yet it appears that during a manifestation which my learned friend witnessed, a request to lift the legs of the table was given which did not occur to any mortal present.

299. I have already given a brief reply to these objections of Dr. Bell. Under this head I will only add my regret that my letter to the Episcopal clergy, with a sketch of the information derived from my spirit friends, had not fallen under Dr. Bell’s notice before his conclusions were published. It will be seen that the information thus alluded to is irreconcilable with Dr. Bell’s inferences. I shall, however, postpone this discussion until facts have been more fully presented to the reader. (866)


Some quotations from a work on Spiritual Philosophy, addressed to the Academy of Sciences at Paris, by James C. De Mirville.—Third Edition.

Manifestations which occurred in France, in 1851.

300. There is a great resemblance between the manifestations which have been described by Capron and others as having taken place at the mansion of the Rev. Dr. Phelps, at Stratford, Connecticut, and those which occurred in the Presbytery of Cideville in France, so as to be verified before a court. The facts in this last-mentioned case were verified by the testimony taken during a trial which grew out of the circumstances. Some of the witnesses were persons distinguished by their high character and position in society. None had any interested motives for stating them; but, on the contrary, had to meet the odium which falls upon all who tell truths conflicting with the prejudices of the community within which they reside. Rochefoucault correctly urged that it is more politic, to tell a probable lie than an improbable truth.

301. This impression I have seen to operate in making people backward to admit their belief in spiritual communication.

302. It is remarkable that in the case at Cideville, signals as the means of intellectual communication were employed, independently of their employment made between two and three years before in New York. Of course, those who resorted to this expedient, might have heard previously of the effort in the same way which had been successful in this country67 The signs employed, however, differed. At Rochester one rap was taken for no, two for doubtful, three for yes. At Cideville one rap was received for yes, and two for no. At the former place, the alphabet was directly referred to; at the latter, reference was made by figures indicating the place of the selected letter in the alphabetic card.

303. Of this character is the admission of the Roman Church of the spiritual origin of the manifestations; ascribed, however, to diabolic agency. To this allusion has been already made; but I subjoin some letters and expositions, translated from a French work lately published on Mesmerism, Clairvoyance, and Spiritual Manifestations.

304. The following letters, taken from the work in question, will require no farther introduction.

305. If the Roman clergy thus advance the inference that the manifestations and intellectual communications come from spiritual agency, it will be easy for Spiritualism to show that it is vastly more devoid of diabolic malevolence and inhumanity than the institutions sanctioned by that priesthood.

Letter from T. R. P. Ventura.

306. “My Dear Sir: When you came two years ago to consult me as to the merit and propriety of your labours, I hesitated so much the less to encourage their publication, that having myself entertained the same ideas for a long time, I had been several times on the point of proclaiming them from the sacred chair. I do not fear then to affirm ‘that the publication of this important and serious work would be of incontestable usefulness, and tend strongly to enlighten opinion on a mass of curious facts, and thus prepare for the solution of high and important questions; for, I add, it is necessary that all the phases of the subject should be first presented by the laity, in order that the church may thus be enabled to form their judgment with full knowledge of the case.’

307. “I do not say enough, my dear sir, in pronouncing your work useful; I might have called it indispensable, had I foreseen the approaching invasion of that scourge which you so happily designate as a spiritual epidemic: a scourge whose sudden and universal propagation, in my opinion, notwithstanding its appearance of puerility, will constitute ONE OF THE GREATEST EVENTS OF OUR AGE. But how has it been both received and entertained?

308. “Commencing with your savans, it is impossible not to be alarmed by the obstinate incredulity which does not allow them to see what at the present time can be confirmed by anybody. Oculos habent et non vident.[9]

309. “Those individuals alarm me still more, who having given their attention, and of course seen, shake their heads as a sign of indifference68 and pity, as if the phenomenon exhibited was of a low character and beneath their notice. When they have descended to the foundation, they treat it with contempt.

310. “Then, finally, and very differently indeed, I feel myself frozen with terror by certain dispensers of truth, who, in their blindness, trifle without scruple with their most relentless enemies; so far have they forgotten their most serious teachings.

311. “I do not profess to be a prophet, sir, and do not know what the mercy or justice of God is preparing for us; but, like you, I tremble for the present, and hope for the future; for marvellous lessons are already presented to us in these passing phenomena.

312. “In fact, the justification of the church and of the faith are emanating from them: the definite condemnation of a fallen rationalism; and consequently, the approaching glorification of all the past in the true church, and even of that Middle Age, so calumniated, so ridiculed, and gratuitously endowed with so much darkness. The political events of these latter times have to justify that Middle Age, as respects good sense in the affairs of government; and behold these facts of a nature entirely foreign, coming to avenge its accusation of superstitious credulity. This reparation was necessary, and after all our own age has nothing to fear from it, for certainly it will not render injustice of any kind to the objective and useful progress of modern civilization.

313. “As for yourself, sir, you will enjoy the honour of having brought, by your luminous discussions, a large stone for the construction of this majestic edifice, and I rejoice in the encouragement I have given you. I need not enlarge on this subject, FOR SUCCESS HAS SPOKEN, and think I am sufficiently acquainted with you to know that you did not anticipate one so brilliant. You have known how to engage the attention of the learned, and people generally, by making your work attractive while it is instructive—a quality sufficiently rare to claim my congratulations. I will only add another word: had this work been confined to the notice of those phenomena whose advent we deplore, it would probably share their fate; but what will secure its perpetuity is your discussion of medical science which you put in apposition with your subject, and which will not long be able to resist the severe stricture of your logic. Therefore, be assured, it will be the learned, and especially physicians, that you will first convert to your doctrine. Philosophers will only surrender after them; but so far there is no doubt that you will have given rise to most serious reflections in all of them.

314. “I will not speak to you at present of two or three observations which I have made in reading your book, which we will discuss in private, and which only relate to some inaccuracy of doctrine, foreign, besides, to the principal subject of your work.

315. “Finally, my dear sir, I do not doubt that the God of truth will69 bless your labours. Continue them, for the subject is vast, and especially do not suffer yourself to be discouraged by the reasoning of light minds, ‘that in divulging all these things you favour their promulgation, when they had better be suppressed, &c. &c.’ A gross error! They might as well accuse the doctors of causing the cholera. And, beside, it is worthy of remark that all the cases of insanity lately developed in the midst of these exhibitions are due to thoughtless enthusiasm succeeding to an absolute state of doubt and disbelief. It could not well be otherwise; the prodigy which was doubted yesterday, and to-day is firmly established, will to-morrow be transformed into God. Truth alone is able to prevent and remedy such disastrous mishaps.

Receive, my dear sir, the assurance, &c.,
Le P. Ventura De Raulica,
Former General of the Monks, Examiner of the Bishops and of the Roman clergy.”

Letter of Dr. Coze.

316. “Sir:—You do me the honour to ask my opinion of the book on the Spirits which you have just published. That opinion I have already expressed to our mutual friend, the good worthy doctor Paulin; and true it is, this book has made a strong impression on my mind, for I had arrived at similar conclusions from the examination of some magnetic phenomena and the moving of tables. I find in your book a chain of very remarkable facts—presented, too, with talent and clearness very unusual in this sort of writing. I see, beside, that science is brought back to the path which cannot mislead us to that of the sacred writings; there, as I think, are to be found the true philosophy and the true light.

317. “I do not fancy that my opinion can have any weight with the learned world. If, however, you think proper to make this public, I consent with all my heart in behalf of a truth which you so well defend, and THE SUCCESS OF WHICH APPEARS TO ME INFALLIBLE.

I have the honour to be, &c.,
R. Coze,
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Strasbourg.”

Letter of M. F. De Saulcy.

318. “Sir:—You desire me to report to you my opinion in writing which I have formed as to the strange phenomena, to say the least of them, which have been conventionally called table turning and table talking. I am not the man to recoil from what I regard as a truth, whatever sarcasm may be reserved for such profession of faith, and therefore proceed to satisfy your inquiry.

319. “It is about eight or ten months since when the public of Paris was agitated by the late arrival of the fact from America and Germany; a fact which pure physics was not able to explain a priori. I did as many always70 do, and have no doubt done for a long time—received this account with the most determined incredulity, and, I confess, with ridicule. I considered its adepts as charlatans or as simpletons, and refused for a long time to bestow on it the least attention. I became tired of the war, however, and after hearing many affirm, to whom I could not apply these epithets, the reality of these facts, I determined to try for myself.

320. “My son and a friend were my two companions: we had the patience for forty-five minutes, seated at the table, to form what is called the chain, and were not a little surprised, I assure you, to see at the end of that time the table on which we were operating, and which was merely the parlour dinner-table, begin to move, and after some hesitation to contract a rotary movement, which, accelerating, soon became very rapid. We endeavoured by pressing to make it strike against the bar and arrest its motion, but could not succeed.

321. “After repeating the experiment two or three times, I sought to find some cause in physics for the movement, and battled the whole theory of Electro-Dynamics with the aid of an electroscope, compass, iron-filings, iron, &c. As I could not detect the least trace of electricity, I thought then of impulses due to the volition of the operators, and of which a sort of integration might cause the motion of the table. On that I stopped, and for several weeks did not give the smallest attention to a phenomenon which did not seem to merit any further notice.

322. “Finally was commenced the faculty of talking, and I assure you my incredulity was considerably greater than when its moving power was announced. I was sparing, however, in my epithets, for I soon found myself an investigator. I watched the rogues, as I suspected, for two hours, but left the room a full believer of its reality, without any further examination, confirmed too by all subsequent experiments. (1.)

323. “What could be said indeed of the fact witnessed together, that a crayon, which was fastened to the leg of a table, wrote legible words, while we were pressing it down with our hands?

324. “It was then, sir, that your book fell into my hands. I have read it with the most lively interest; have admired your erudition, and the courage necessary at our epoch to treat such a subject.

325. “I believe in the existence of facts which often volition is unable to produce, and over which I declare that volition sometimes appears to have a manifest influence. I believe in the intervention of intelligence DIFFERENT FROM OUR OWN, and which puts in action means almost ridiculous.

326. “I believe that the Christian religion should not encourage the practice of these experiments. I believe there is danger in allowing them to become a habit, and at least we may lose the little reason which has been granted man by the Giver of all things. I believe, finally, that it is the duty of an honest man to dissuade others from occupying themselves71 with it, in preaching, by example, and not allowing it in the least to occupy himself.

327. “This is the end I have reached after some months’ experience; and, ask permission to close this letter, already too long, by repeating a very wise saying of a man of high intelligence: ‘Either these phenomena are, or are not real; if not, it is disgraceful to lose time with them; if they are, it is dangerous to invoke them and to make them a pastime.’

Please accept, &c.,
F. De Saulcy,
Member of the Institute.”

Spiritualism in Paris.

[See New York Reformer, September, 1853.]

“We find the following article in the London Illustrated News of July 23; it is an extract from the News’ Paris correspondence:—

328. “‘An immense sensation was caused here, a few days since, by a revelation given on the authority of some of the most respected and influential members of the clergy, headed by the Archbishop of Paris, on the subject of table movements. The archbishop, being questioned as to his opinion of the legitimacy, in a religious point of view, of attempting to communicate with spirits through the medium of the tables, alleged that he had not sufficiently studied the question to reply definitively; that he imagined that the effects produced were wholly of the nature of physical science, and in that case harmless; but that, in order to form a judgment, he would attend a meeting composed of certain members of the clergy, at a place appointed to make the usual experiments.

329. “‘The table being put in motion, one of the party demanded it in reply, by a certain number of raps, if there were a spirit present. The response was in the affirmative; and in answer to a second question, the spirit represented herself, by raps indicating certain letters of the alphabet, to be that of Sœur Francoise, deceased a week previously at the convent of -—-, Paris. The Abbe B-—- stated that he had confessed the Sœur Francoise, who had, in fact, died at the time and place named. General consternation, as may be supposed, ensued when the Abbe L-—-, rising, commanded the spirit in the name of the Saviour to appear.

330. “‘The report declares that the spirit hereupon actually became visible, and replied to a variety of questions put to it, but of what import we are not informed. On the above details we do not pretend to give either explanation or opinion.

331. “‘Such is the story as related by the members of the Seance, two of whom were so affected by the events related as to be some days seriously indisposed, one of them even confined to bed.

332. “‘Various narratives mention that, through the medium of the tables, communications are held with spirits of all nations. The spirits, happily, being excellent linguists, find no difficulty in expressing the72mselves in any language chosen by the questioner, and reveal the secrets of the prison-house with a frankness, not to say indiscretion, that would shock the more reserved ghost in Hamlet, in no way confirming his statement of the horrors of their temporary abode. Many of them describe in glowing terms the beauties and delights of their celestial abodes.’”


The following contribution, under the preceding head, is translated by my much esteemed friend, Dr. Geib, from the work of De Mirville, whence the articles under the designation of Foreign Coroborative Evidence have been obtained through the same able translator:

333. “Toward the end of the year 1852 the epidemic had been imported into the North of Scotland by some American mediums; thence it got to London, where, according to the latest accounts, it must have reached, by the present time, a pretty extensive development. Seeing its progress in this way, we were led to say, If it ever reaches Germany, that whole country will be on fire.

334. “The religious gazette of Augsburg of June 18, 1853, contained an article from which we make some extracts:

335. “‘Again the world is presented with various marvellous appearances, which, coming from elevated sources, force themselves on public notice, and which, in every case, throw a very marked shadow on our own epoch of civilization. It may be appropriate to communicate some of those found in the Gazette Générale; and leaving reflection to the reader, we will give some of the most striking.

336. “‘The Morgan Blatt (Morning Sheet) announces among its novelties from Palatinat Rhénan, the phenomenon of a young girl not yet pubescent, who, they say, is able at will to command a rapping spectre, (Klopferle.) The spectre raps as often as the little girl orders him, being obedient in the extreme. What is remarkable is, that the spectres of the Old World, as well as the New, have a strong family likeness, being as much alike as two drops of water. And the Tribune of New York, printed in the German language, has lately contained various communications on this subject. But whence come these rapping spectres, and why make their appearance all at once?’

337. “The Gazette of Augsbourg then refers to several other facts of the same nature, which, at all times, have caused much embarrassment to the German authorities, either in giving rise to lengthy inquests, or in causing the condemnation of persons proved afterward to be entirely innocent; but as for those of the present time, it fully understands, proclaims, and demonstrates them to be of the American Affiliation.


338. “The Journal du Magnetisme of the 10th of March, 1853, had already furnished us with the reported account given in the course of last January to the tribunal of London, by the rapping spirit of the house of Sanger; the same phenomena, the same stupefaction, the same impossibility to discover the jugglers. However, the subject appeared to rest at this point in Germany, when, in the month of April, the first phenomenon of table moving reached Bremen, and then the Augsbourg Gazette insisted on its true origin.

339. “‘For eight days previous,’ it said, ‘our good town has been in an agitation difficult to describe; it is completely absorbed by a miracle which was not thought of before the arrival of the steamer from New York—the Washington. The new phenomenon is imported from America.’

340. “Now a certain Doctor André was the first to describe this first exhibition of table turning; therefore they called it his discovery. What a discovery!

341. “‘Having formed a chain,’ he says, ‘of seven or eight persons, the right little finger of each touching the left one of his neighbour, the table they surround will commence turning, and continue as long as the chain remains unbroken, and stop when an individual leaves it.’

342. “A general burst of pleasantry and incredulity first accompanied the revelation of the doctor. But soon experiment begins, and laughter gives place to a sort of dejection. Certain savans, professors of the University of Heidelberg, MM. Mittermouer and Zoepfl, M. Molh, brother of the member of the Institute, Eschenmajer, Ennemoser, and Kerner, attest the same facts; and Doctor Lœwe of Vienna undertakes to give the theory of it: ‘This theory consists, according to him, in the opposite polarity of the right and left sides of the human body; hence, having formed a chain of human beings, the contrary poles of which, viz. the right and left, touch each other, and this chain, exerting upon any body whatever a prolonged action, conveys to it an electric current, and converts it into a magnet, and thus polarization is established in that body; and in virtue of its tendency to magnetic orientation, the south pole of the table impressing it with a movement to the north, the latter commences a continued rotation, and turns on its axis as long as the indispensable conditions are continued.’

343. “Unfortunately, the spirits are very soon seen to dispense with these indispensable conditions. Thus, then, at Bremen, Vienna, and Berlin, there was not a table at rest on its legs, and still the French press observed a uniform inexplicable silence!

344. “We ask, however, what would have been said, had we foretold what began to appear unavoidable, that in less than a month, table and hat turning would reach Paris. The announcement was scarcely known when it appears that such a thing has always existed; that it is a law of nature; and that tables never had any other destiny!


345. “Again we inquire of all serious minds, What is the faculty by which we predict, among other coming events, the turning of tables, which, nevertheless, do not turn till after the arrival of a vessel and a medium? However, silence becoming impossible, the French press has thought proper to speak. On the 4th of May, the Journal of the Empire, Le Pays, happened to inform us that ‘from the Baltic to the banks of the Danube, all Germany was in a fever.’ It became then plainer and plainer that we were going to be infected, and from that time we hastened to prepare our batteries.

346. “It was high time, for about the end of April, the grand mysterious army had this time decidedly crossed the Rhine, and in all the large cities of France—Strasbourg, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Toulouse, &c.—the turning epidemic broke out like a discharge of musketry; and better to impress the mind, it only at first attacked stands, tables, hats, seats, &c., for all these participated in the demonstration.

347. “At Paris especially, in repeating the experiments, they were made a pastime for a soirée. Children were introduced into the circles, without considering whether correlative evil might not be coupled with these mysterious amusements.

348. “It is true they would not allow the smallest Leyden jar to come near them; but what troubles might have resulted from the action of an electricity that could raise tables of eighteen dishes like a feather?

349. “It is true, too, that M. Rouilly, maître de pension at Orleans, undertook to give an answer. In the Moniteur due Loiret, he informs us that ‘at his house, even in the middle of the process, a large young man of twenty-six was seized with a violent trembling in all his limbs, and that his left forearm began suddenly to oscillate in a frightful manner, making as many as a thousand movements in a minute; being able, he said, to utter only broken syllables; staggered like an intoxicated man; it was necessary to carry him to bed, and the next day he still felt some nervous trembling.’ M. Rouilly ended in saying ‘that he felt it his duty to report this fact for the benefit of those who may enter into these experiments without knowing their possible serious inconveniences.’ Little attention was paid to this, so much had fashion asserted empire, so much was this pleasure worth its cost.

350. “However, knowing long since all the particulars, we are disposed to ask ourselves, What is going to result from all this? what will the savans say? Will they allow themselves to be carried away by electric appearances? will their philosophy allow them to seek independently of the fluids, which may be imagined to operate, the real agent of such a variety of effects? No; they well know, however, that in the sciences—medicine, for example—every investigation that stops short of phenomena, is of very secondary value; we may be satisfied, for want of better, but still we do not feel ourselves in possession of the truth; we still seek it. Why in75 this case should we do otherwise? These suppositions were just, but we say without hesitation our fantastic experimenters committed from the first an unpardonable fault, philosophically speaking; that is, not to have taken the least notice of those facts from America which were beginning to sound in their ears from all sides. When we are visited by the plague, yellow fever, or cholera, the first care of the faculty is to have it studied in Egypt, Spain, and Poland. These scourges are investigated even at the place of their birth; we notice their origin, development, and termination. Well! in doing the same in this case, these gentlemen would have seen as clear as day that the Augsbourg Gazette was right in telling them that this animal magnetizing was received direct from America. But what shall we do? we take no pleasure in looking at what we do not want to see.

351. “However, this affiliation once well established, well understood, by thoroughly studying the American prodigies, we should very soon have reached the assurance that there, at least, the spirits had exhibited themselves in open day; and there, as they were first concealed in tables or behind partitions, we could have seen immediately what might be reserved for us for the future.

352. “But rest assured our French science will not yield; the snare is too gross; French science has no rival in physics and electricity; it only sees in this a waggish electricity, and will never consent to be persuaded that it has slept a hundred years at the side of such truths, or rather at the side of such enormities in physics.

353. “And then iniquity is exhibited to herself at all times. Sir, then what becomes of the indispensable conditions of Dr. André? that is to say: ‘All the effects ceasing on the least interruption of the chain.’

354. “This morning, in a journal of Lorraine, there is a notice of a circle formed in a first story, round a massive table; as long as the circle continued nothing was done; but getting tired they all leave for the street, and a few moments afterward the rebellious table begins to waltz, as if to bid defiance to the party. What a law of physics, what electricity! Behold, on the other hand, cities and countries disinherited! Behold the city of Valence, who laboured all in her power, who followed with angelic patience all the prescriptions of the new science; nothing could produce the phenomena. Is it that at Valence, perchance, the human species has no electricity? Mon Dieu! it has electricity, but it is not of that accidental and local kind, the real kind for the occasion, and which may be therefore denominated erratic; as the ancients called those gods that moved about from place to place.

355. “No, Science is not to be so deceived; she is not satisfied with the explanation of the little fingers, but soon perceives that these little fingers supply here precisely the part of the famous mesmeric trough, and the chain that was formed entirely round it. Then, also, the chain was said76 to be very important; and the trough, magnet, steel, glass pile all necessary agents. Very well, what has now become of all these necessities? The magnetic effects exceed all those of that time, and notwithstanding they are not made any use of. Much more! since the passes have ceased to be the fashion, the phenomena have doubled. In Germany, where people go to the bottom of things, they have desired to look into the heart of it. Each master of the magnet—and they are pretty plenty there—has constructed his own trough. That of Walford consists of an iron box, furnished with bottles, iron wire, ground glass, &c. That of Keiser was made of beech without bottles, and filled with water, which did not prevent the effects from being precisely the same in the two cases. Thus it was said: It is magnetism alone which gives them this power, and they magnetized their best. But one lucky day it was thought proper not to magnetize, and the trough lost none of its power! ‘Ah! ah!’ they say, ‘the trough is magnetized by the magnetized patients themselves, and they put a stout man into it, free from all magnetic influence, and besides in excellent health. Well, this time! the magnetic effects exceeded in intensity all the previous experiments, and never had the phenomena exhibited themselves so brilliantly.’

356. “This is the precise account of the famous report of Bailly, of which M. Arago spoke so highly in his last memoir; and in one respect he was right; for these great experimenters did not allow themselves to be caught by any of these electric seductions, and proclaimed physics to be entirely innocent of all the effects they witnessed. But at the same time they thought proper to refer to the imagination these same prodigious effects, which no one could understand even after having seen them; and there was their great mistake; they were right as savans, as philosophers inexcusable.

357. “Moreover, this absurd explanation by imagination he renewed under these circumstances; and that of jugglery is not more fortunate. What prejudice! These two words rendered much service, and covered many retreats! That is, however, passed; it will be necessary hereafter, not only to admit them, but to redeem all analogous precedents, for these are about to be, at last, explained. Again, what is to be done? It will be necessary to proclaim that these electric phenomena which are real as an effect, are not in fact real in their cause; that they lie when they wish the contrary to be believed, that they joke when they act by turns with and without a chain in a particular town, and not in some other, &c.

358. “But on the other hand to perceive a capricious and lying cause, is almost to perceive ... a mind. A mind, grands dieux! You represent yourself before the whole Academy Arago as recognising spirits, hobgoblins! grand experiment! But that itself is horrid to contemplate! Not a face at the Institute can remain uncovered, and that day will forever be regarded as unlucky for science, as it robs it of a victory which was thought to have been gained centuries before.


359. “Beware, however, of the first supernal intelligence! for we shall fall back on our ancient and primitive criterion, our infallible touchstone.

360. “All depends on what it is going to give us; think well of it this time; an imprudent question might lose all.

361. “And already, what signifies that last phrase of a serious article which we find in the Courier du Nord? ‘In another house the table, they say, obeyed the commands of one of the experimenters; took the direction indicated, danced in measure to the sound of a piano, counted the hours, and told the age of the assistants,’ &c.

362. “What means that other letter from Bordeaux, in the Guyenne? ‘A hat submitted to animal magnetism appeared more intelligent even than the table; it indicated, they say, by little gambols, the age of persons, the number of pieces of money they had in their pockets, it told the amount of ladies and gentlemen together in the room,’ &c.

363. “What follows is better still: see in the Journal le Pays, a letter of M., the Abbé of Moigno, according to which it follows that MM. Seguin and de Montgolfier, very distinguished engineers, ordered the tables to rest on this leg and then on the other, and made them beat time, &c.

364. “We read in La Patrie—‘Explanation given by the savans.’ Ah! let us see! this subject is becoming important. According to this journal the following is the hypothesis at which the savans have arrived: ‘The table and hat turners act mostly in good faith, (quite a concession,) but they deceive themselves; they think they cause the motion of an inanimate object by an act of volition, or an effusion of magnetic fluid from their fingers; while it is by muscular action, imperceptible to themselves, or others.’ Ah! take notice! It is by a vibratory movement coming from thousands of small nervous branches. Add to this, lassitude, humidity of the hands, and you will have an explanation, if not entirely satisfactory, at least sufficiently plausible, of the phenomena which engage our attention. M. Chevreul (of the Institute) has analyzed this physiological predisposition, and has illustrated it by the fact familiar to the billiard player, who having struck the ball, follows it with his eyes, with his shoulders, and with the whole body, and makes fantastic motions, as if to impel it, though no longer subject to his direct action, &c.

365. “It is well M. Chevreul has used the phrase ‘as if to impel it,’ for had he been so unfortunate as to say, and in fact he did impel it, we should have been lost. In truth we should have been silenced. But that lucky ‘as if,’ saves us from a very bad predicament; it brings back to our memory what we were about to forget; that is to say, that in the relations of man and matter, never, up to the present time, has all the muscular effort of the world been able to influence, in the smallest degree, the direction of an object, not under its direct action. To the present78 time all the laws of physics have been based on the grand primordial law, and the player of ten-pins is not more successful from such efforts, than he of the billiard ball just named.

366. “How changed are the times! Two years ago, the whole Academy of Sciences revolted against the Baron de Humboldt for supposing that at a distance he caused a deviation of the magnetic needle—an experiment, too, which could never be renewed at Paris; and, behold! in place of needles, all at once heavy tables are seen waltzing about the room, and obedient to the will; and all this is easily explained! It is quite plausible! Yes, but this time, gentlemen Savans, we will not allow you to distort the facts. Since the commencement of this volume, we have done nothing but establish, on good evidence, all those which your colleagues arrange agreeably to their fancy, after having absolutely denied them. But now the half of France rises with us to convict them, and to say to you: No, your nervous branches will never explain it; neither the physical phenomena which you would refer to them, nor the intelligence of our tables which respond to our own questions, nor the super-intelligence of those which probably to-morrow will reveal to us what we are ignorant of ourselves.

367. “Attending on the morrow, then! It is truly sorrowful to see a man of the highest merit, like M. Chevreul, expose himself in this way to the weakest scholar who, cue in hand, might fairly undertake to answer him. Those may hereafter believe in physics who wish. It is most horribly compromised. A science, capable of thus forswearing all its principles, loses, in our estimation, much of its authority.

368. “La Revue Medicale, cited by La Patrie of May 20th, declares in its turn ‘the explanation either by imagination or muscular vibrations, as represented by MM. Corvisart and De Castelnan, entirely nullified by the fact of the simple change in the relations of the little fingers.’

369. “As for the Medical, they see in it animal magnetism, and exclaim: ‘No one is able to foresee the application of which this discovery is susceptible. It is an entire world for explanation. Who knows if there is not at the end of this hint the means of illustrating a whole generation!’

370. “Lucky Magnetism—what a reparation you have a right to demand! what incense will be bestowed on you to-morrow, by those who yesterday so cruelly tore you to pieces! But La Presse and L’Union Medicale may do what they please, no one will hereafter believe them on their word.

371. “A just reward, gentlemen, for things here below. You would not believe and you are not believed now! We read afresh in La Patrie of May 21st, the recital of ‘tables promenading and upsetting without contact by pure efforts of volition, or even by a simple magnetic pass—a very superfluous precaution of the experimenter.’ Very superfluous, indeed! It could not have been better expressed.

372. “In the presence of such a fact, will the magnetizers still maintain that the magnetic rapport results from the mixture of the two nervous at79mospheres? The nervous system of tables, (disgueridons,) to use the language of Reichenbach, must be very sensitive; and in this new dance without contact—what becomes of the explanation by muscular vibration, and especially by the humidity of the hands?

373. “We have some very important communications, on the 23d of May, from M. Bonjean, member of the Royal Academy of Savoy, at Chambéry, respecting several experiments made at the academy itself, and establishing the perfect intelligence of the agent in question. M. Bonjean, however, always refers this intelligence to one uniform process. ‘These responses,’ he says, ‘are not, and cannot be but the reflection of the thoughts of the person who causes the phenomena, and the movables are only able to satisfy those questions whose answers are known, without ever being able to supply an answer that is not known.’

374. “The idea that the furniture is unable to give satisfaction is charming! but up to this point it was not understood to be super-intelligence. Patience, however, for it is bound to happen!

375. “Besides, M. Bonjean does full justice to the muscular movements of M. Chevreul, by means of that single exception of the table of Strasbourg turning with all its operators, or certain tables at Lyons moved without immediate contact. Next, he passes from the physical to the moral question, which, if to be believed, is certainly not very encouraging. ‘Fathers and mothers,’ he exclaims, ‘if you do not desire to develope premature feelings in your daughters, husbands who regard the peace of your wives, be mistrustful of the magnetic chain in general, and of the dancing of tables in particular.’

376. “It will be recollected that in the famous secret report of Bailly on mesmerism, in 1784, exactly the same thing was said. There is under all this, then, we have good reason to apprehend, a uniform unrepented sin.

377. “In a letter of May 24th from M. Seguin, one of our most distinguished engineers, to the Abbé Moigno, who had very ably opposed these experiments in Le Pays, M. Seguin says, ‘When I reason dispassionately on the real and very positive results which I have obtained, and seen obtained by others before my eyes, I think myself under the control of an hallucination which causes me to see things differently to what they are, so much does my reason refuse to admit them; but when I repeat my experiments, I find it impossible any longer to resist the force of evidence, when indeed it confounds and upsets all my opinions.

378. “‘How can you expect me to accept your explanation, when a table touched very lightly by the ends of the fingers, presses against my hand and against my legs to such a degree as to repel me and almost break itself? How believe that the person whose hands touch it could impart to it a force equal to such efforts, and especially when that person is myself? Accept, then, freely and with courage, the facts as THEY ARE,80 the facts well seen and satisfactorily produced by myself, in whom you have, I think, as much confidence as in yourself. The explanation will come hereafter, rest assured. Believe firmly that in these phenomena of turning tables there is something more than you see—a physical reality outside of the imagination and of the faith of those who appear to make them move.’

379. “It is impossible, as we see, to be more positive, or better to defend the physical evidence on the ground of facts. M. Seguin has a thousand times the advantage over his learned antagonist; but let us see if M., the Abbé Moigno, defeated on this ground, will not take his revenge on another.

380. “Referring to a communication made to the academy by one M. Vauquelin, about one of these enchanted tables, which in his hands was able to reply to the most mysterious questions, divine the most secret thoughts, &c., M. Meigno exclaims in Le Cosmos Revue Encyclopédique des Sciences: ‘This time it is too strong; we find ourselves definitively at the mercy of magic, and the moment has come to proclaim it at Rome. Then there is neither magnetism nor electricity; not even the influence of human volition on matter; but supposing the fact to be certain—WHICH IS HARD TO SWALLOW—there must be in it the intervention of spirits, or magic. Intelligence that can refuse these deductions of common sense, would be DISORDERED intelligence, as useless to dispute with as with fools. If you have not been mistaken, if the extraordinary facts which you affirm are true, we ourselves are believers. The intervention of spirits and of magic became the sorrowful but great realities.’

381. “M. Agenor De Gasparin, one of our most sedate philosophers, writes what follows in La Gazette de France:—‘I will not insist on this point. The phenomenon of rotation, if alone, would not appear to me entirely satisfactory. I am mistrustful, though not an academician, and, I admit, that it may be possible (at a pinch) that a mechanical impulsion might be communicated. But the rotation only serves to present other phenomena, the explanation of which it is impossible to refer to any kind of muscular action.

382. “‘Each of us, in his turn, gave orders to the table, which it promptly obeyed; and I should succeed with difficulty in explaining to you the strange character of these movements, of blows struck with an exactness, with a solemnity that fairly frightened us. “Strike three blows; strike ten blows. Strike with your left foot; with your right foot; with your middle foot. Rise on two of your feet; on only one foot; remain up; prevent those on the side raised from returning the table to the floor.” After each command the table obeyed. It produced movements that no complicity, involuntary or voluntary, could have induced; for we should have afterward tried in vain to place it on one foot, and keep it there by the pressure of the hands, resisting incontestably the efforts to press it down.


383. “‘Each one of us gave orders with equal success. Children were obeyed as well as grown persons.

384. “‘Still more: it was agreed that the requests should not be audible, but merely mental, and whispered to a neighbour. Still the table obeyed! There was in no instance the least error.

385. “‘Each person desired the table to rap the number of years of his age, and it gave our ages as indicated only in our mind, endeavouring in the most curious manner to hurry when the number was large. I must own, to my shame, that I was rebuked by it, for having unintentionally diminished my age; the table gave forty-three instead of forty-two, because my wife, with a better memory, had thought of the correct number.

386. “‘Finally, having continued these experiments more than an hour, at which the neighbours and the servants of the farm were present, I felt that it was time to stop. I requested the table to raise; to raise again, and turn over on my side, which it did.

“‘Accept, gentlemen, the assurance of my best consideration,

A. De Gasparin.’

387. “We stop our citations here; for those who are not content with the testimony we have furnished, emanating as it does from philosophers, or men of serious minds, the same revelations appearing, too, in all parts of the world, will not be better satisfied by any thing we could add. A day is coming, however, that will open every mouth. Then from all those parlours so reserved before—from all those cabinets in which experiments had been conducted with closed doors, the truth will burst forth in its full power. Then it will be known that some of the most esteemed men of Paris, of the bench, pulpit, and men of letters, have both desired to see and have seen it; have desired to know and have known it. It will be known that the evil super-intelligence has been revealed to them, and that if they have been silent on the subject, or desired to suppress their name, it was only an act of prudence to restrain public opinion.

388. “But on that day what will Science be doing? We can boldly predict: the facts of to-day which it does admit, proving to amount to nothing, and the inadmissible facts being admitted, its faith will change, and its language become more modest. Like the ancient Augurs, two savants will not be able to look at each other any more without smiling, and often enough to exclaim: ‘It has been well said, my dear colleague; it has always been foretold, that “He, who is outside of pure mathematics, pronounces the word IMPOSSIBLE, WANTS PRUDENCE.’”




Account of Mr. Robert Owen’s Conversion.

389. “While in doubt upon this subject, I heard of the media in this country, and was casually introduced to Mrs. Hayden, an American medium, without having any intention to ask a question respecting the spirits; my object being to purchase a book which Mrs. Hayden had for sale, written by a valued and most truthful friend of mine in America, Adin Ballou, who has written a plain, practical, common-sense history of this new revelation to the human race.

390. “While conversing with Mrs. Hayden, and while we were both standing before the fire, and talking of our mutual friends, suddenly raps were heard on a table at some distance from us, no one being near to it. I was surprised, and as the raps continued and appeared to indicate a strong desire to attract attention, I asked what was the meaning of the sounds? Mrs. Hayden said they were spirits anxious to communicate with some one, and she would inquire who they were. They replied to her, by the alphabet. that they were friends of mine who were desirous to communicate with me. Mrs. Hayden then gave me the alphabet and pencil, and I found, according to their own statements, that the spirits were those of my mother and father. I tested their truth by various questions, and their answers, all correct, surprised me exceedingly. I have since had twelve séances, some of long continuance, and during which, with one exception, I have had prompt and true answers so far as the past and present, and very rational replies as to the future; but these last have to be tested by time. The exception was my own afterward-discovered error.”

391. From the following quotation, it seems that Mr. Owen has not had any reason to diminish his faith in spiritualism. The manifestations, of which his account is subjoined, are eminently wonderful; yet they are not more so than those which are recorded as having been realized under the influence of the same medium, in this country, or at Koons’s Establishment in Ohio:—

Letter of Robert Owen to the Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph.

Seven Oaks, April 23, 1855.

392. “Dear Sir:—Just now, on my return from London, where, last night, I had been giving a lecture to Mr. Ronge’s party of foreigners and others on Education, I had the pleasure to receive your 2d Number of ‘The Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph.’ I have hastily glanced over it, and I feel much interest in your proceedings, and wish you all success in the good cause. I say good cause, for it is sure to lead to great ultimate good, and especially will it destroy the many evils arising from sectarianism, and other causes of hatred and ruin between man and nations. I must tell83 you of what occurred to me last night, after my return from the lecture, about nine o’clock.

393. “A Mr. Hume, a young Scotchman, who went to America to pursue his studies as a medical student, four or five years ago, became a medium, (he is now about twenty years of age,) and soon became a very superior one. He had engaged to accompany the Haydens and Miss Jay. He took his passage and came, but the others, for some cause, postponed their voyage, but may now be daily expected. They arrived on the 22d. I had heard on my arrival in London, from friends on whom I could depend, of the extraordinary results by his mediumship. I made arrangements to visit those friends and Mr. Hume when I finished my lecture, which I did, and found my two friends and Mr. Hume waiting my arrival. On being seated around a regular full-sized card table, there were raps immediately, and because I do not hear very well, the raps increased until they became very loud, but I heard the first raps distinctly. Many spirits were present; some, relatives of my friends, and others, my own relations. My wife and daughters, my son and brother, and also my father and mother, with all of whom I have had frequent delightful intercourse through various mediums. My two friends present are husband and wife; and the first new occurrence to me was, seeing the lady’s silk apron untied by invisible means—a somewhat complicated operation—and taken from her and given to Mr. Hume, opposite to her. It was then conveyed backward and forward, from one to another, and it soon came to me. I held it with much force, but it was drawn from me with greater force, for I was afraid damage would be done to it. Next a flower was taken from the table, conveyed away by invisible means, and brought to me. The flower I kept for being so presented to me. Next I had my handkerchief out; it was taken from my hands, and in an instant thrown from the opposite side of the table, not as it was taken, but made into a large hat, which I also have as a curiosity. Then the spirits came and touched each of us. I was occasionally touched on one knee, then on the other, and afterward on both at once; and then one of them shook hands with me, and I most distinctly felt the fingers of them separately. An accordeon was then placed under the table, and soon the spirit of the daughter of the family played most beautifully several tunes and pieces of music. I asked for one of my favourite Scotch tunes, and it was immediately played. The instrument was then raised by invisible power, and given first to one, then to another; it was thus brought to me. The table was then lifted from the floor; at first, about a foot, and immediately afterward, about three feet.

394. “After this the medium was put into a trance, during which he saw beautiful visions of spirits, and one of them spake through him while in that state sentiments that went to the heart of each of us, giving us advice, invaluable in its import, and in language beautifully and eloquently expressed, and calculated to make the deepest impression on our memo84ries. While reason remains I shall never forget it; and it was given with many encouraging words, to pursue my course in the measures in which I am engaged; to endeavour to introduce the millennium, but also stating the obstacles I should meet, and the great difficulties which were to be overcome.

395. “Much more occurred, very interesting; but the post time expires, and I wish you to have this communication by this mail.

“Yours sincerely,Robert Owen.”

396. I subjoin the following narrative of Mr. Rufus Elmer, of Springfield, Massachusetts, concerning manifestations through Mr. Hume, as corroborating those described by Mr. Owen. Thus, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have evidence of analogous striking results by the same medium:—

Mr. Hume at Springfield.

397. “Rufus Elmer, Esq., of Springfield, informs us that Mr. Hume spent the nights of March 17th and 18th at his house. On the evening of the 17th, thirteen persons were present, when a series of most extraordinary demonstrations took place. First, two large tables standing together, around which the company were sitting, were lifted from the floor, while all hands were resting upon their tops. Then an accordeon, held under the table in one of Mr. Hume’s hands, (the other being on the table,) with the keys downward, was played in strong tones, three parts being maintained, and any tune performed that was called for—even foreign music. The instrument was also played upon while held in the same manner by each person present,—all hands except the one holding the accordeon being upon the tables in sight. (These manifestations were all made in a room well lighted by gas.) A bell, weighing over a pound, was passed about under the tables, put in the hands of each person, taken away again, passed rapidly from one end of the tables to the other, a distance of eight feet, knocking loudly on the under side as it went; and, finally, the tables having been separated a few inches, and a cloth spread over the aperture, the bell was held up under the cloth, while the company were allowed to feel the hand which held it. Next, the bell was slid out on to one of the tables from beneath the covering, and the hand which grasped it was exposed to the view of all the company—the hands of each being at the same time in full view. To gratify one who sat at so great a distance as not to have a clear view, it was communicated that if all others would for a moment avert their eyes, so as not to concentrate their magnetism so powerfully upon the object, it could be more plainly manifested to this one alone. Acting upon this hint, each person was allowed to look singly at the hand—to the full satisfaction of all. One of those present, mentally requested, unknown to all others, that the hand of her85 spirit-child might be exhibited to her; and, behold! a child’s hand was presented, while no child in the body was in the room. One of the company was a coloured domestic in the family of Mr. E-—-, and she mentally requested that her mother, who had before purported to communicate to her, if present, would show her hand; when, lo! a black hand appeared! These are but specimens of what occurred during the evening.”


Remarks Introductory to my Spirit Father’s Communication.

398. Agreeably to my spirit father’s communication, the manifestations which of late have given birth to Spiritualism, have been the result of a deliberate effort, on the part of the inhabitants of the higher spheres, to break through the partition which has interfered with the attainment, by mortals, of a correct idea of their destiny after death. To carry out this intention, a delegation of advanced spirits has been appointed. Referring to this statement, I inquired how it happened that low spirits were allowed to interfere in the undertaking? The answer was, that the spirits of the lower spheres being more competent to make mechanical movements and loud rappings, their assistance was requisite.

399. Likewise, I inquired why it was deemed expedient to make these manifestations, in the first instance, at Hydesville, near Rochester, through the spirit of a murdered man? The answer to this was, that the spirit of a murdered man would excite more interest, and that a neighbourhood was chosen where spiritual agency would be more readily credited than in more learned or fashionable and conspicuous circles, where the prejudice against supernatural agencies is extremely strong; but that the manifestations had likewise been made at Stratford, in Connecticut, under other circumstances. Nor were these the only places. They had been made elsewhere, without much success in awakening public attention.

400. Thus, it appears that at the outset, the object was to draw attention, and in the next place to induce communications. It will appear from the account of the manifestations at Hydesville and Stratford, that as soon as through an ingenious agreement upon signals rational intercommunication was established, the manifestations became changed in character. The mischievousness displayed, in the primitive derangement of furniture, ceased. This was attributed to the replacement of spirits of inferior grade, by their superiors.

401. Thus this new and glorious light has come up amid dark clouds, as we often see the thunder-gust the harbinger of a bright sky.

402. But still there has been another source of temporary degradation,86 not arising solely from the spirits, but from the inquirers also. The great motive in the first instance for witnessing spiritual manifestations was the love of the marvellous, or the desire to expose what was deemed jugglery. The mere movements of tables, without any reference to spiritual agency, was the great object of attention. Though I was present where table turning was discussed, if I ever heard the idea of spirits being the cause, it left no impression on my memory, as has already been stated. (134.)

403. But after alphabetical communication commenced, it was performed so slowly, that the replies were often brief, and made with a view to establish identity of the spirits with the individual whom it professes to personate; or to test the existence of a spirit by the replies given to inquirers respecting facts which could not be known to the medium. At the first recognition, the spirit would occupy the time mainly with statements very natural and amiable, but not instructive beyond the degree of confirmation thus afforded of the great fact of such intercourse being possible on the part of friends who have quitted this stage of existence.

404. Communications through spelling and writing media very much fell short of the expectations which the name assumed by the spirit would awaken.

405. As soon as convinced that the phenomena were due to the shades of the dead, I looked with eagerness for some consistent information of their abodes, modes of existence, of the theological doctrines entertained by them, and the actual diversities of their situation consequent to various degrees of moral and intellectual merit.

406. It was with regret that I found in the published accounts, nothing satisfactory, nothing precise, nothing connected. In no publication did I find any satisfactory statements of the location of the spirit world, or of its subdivision into spheres.

407. Urging this deficiency of information upon those spirit friends who seemed to have selected me as an instrument in promulgating the invaluable truths of Spiritualism, I obtained information, as early as May, 1854, respecting the situation of the spiritual spheres, or country of spirits, relatively to the earth; but about the latter part of October my father commenced writing on the subject through a medium of the other sex, but the ideas furnished were too much blended with her own prepossessions, with which her mind was replete. Hence, although many pages had been written, they were rejected, and resort was had to another medium—Mrs. Gourlay. The result thus obtained was afterwards read to the author, at the disk, so as to have every paragraph scrutinized.

408. Under the following head will be found my father’s communication.


My Spirit Father’s Communication.[10]

409. My son, in communicating with you respecting the destiny of man, I shall endeavour, according to the extent of my capacity and highest perception of truth, to give you a view, as correct and definite as possible, of the all-important subject in question.

410. The spirit world lies between sixty and one hundred and twenty miles from the terrestrial surface; the whole intermediate space, including that immediately over the earth, the habitation of mortals, is divided into seven concentric regions called spheres. The region next the earth, the primary scene of man’s existence, is known as the first or rudimental sphere.

411. The remaining six may be distinguished as the spiritual spheres.

412. The six spiritual spheres are concentric zones, or circles, of exceedingly refined matter, encompassing the earth like belts or girdles. The distance of each from the other is regulated by fixed laws.

413. You will understand, then, they are not shapeless chimeras, or mere projections of the mind, but absolute entities, as much so indeed as the planets of the solar system or the globe on which you now reside. They have latitudes, longitudes, and atmospheres of peculiar vital air, whose soft and balmy undulating currents produce a most pleasurable and invigorating effect. Their surfaces are diversified with an immense variety of the most picturesque landscapes; with lofty mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, lakes, forests, and the internal correspondence of all the higher phenomena of earth. The trees and shrubbery, crowned with exquisitely beautiful foliage and flowers of every colour and variety, send forth their grateful emanations.

414. The physical economy and arrangements of each sphere differs from the other; new and striking scenes of grandeur being presented to us in each, increasing in beauty and sublimity as they ascend.

415. Although the spheres revolve with the earth on a common axis, forming the same angle with the plane of the ecliptic, and move with it about the ponderable sun, they are not dependent on that body for either light or heat, receiving not a perceptible ray from that ponderable source; but receive those dispensations wholly from his internal or spiritual correspondence, (a spiritual sun concentric with the sun of your world,)—from that great central luminary whose native brightness and uninterrupted splendour baffle description.


416. We have no divisions of time, therefore, into days, weeks, months, or years; nor alternations of season, caused by the earth’s annual revolution; those periods being observed with reference only to the affairs of earth.

417. Although we, like you, are constantly progressing toward perfection, our ideas of time and the seasons differ widely from yours; with you it is time—with us, eternity. In the terrestrial sphere, a man’s thoughts, being bounded by time and space, are limited; but with us they are extended in proportion as we get rid of those restrictions and our perceptions of truth become more accurate.

418. As order is a primary object in the spheres, there are of course laws for its preservation. Fundamentally, these proceed through his ministering angels, from the Divine Lawgiver, who commands the angelic hosts of heaven and rules the inhabitants of earth; who employs myriads of ministering angels as the means of intercommunication between their Supreme Master and his creatures throughout the universe.

419. So far as legislation, subordinate or supplementary to that of the Supreme Legislator, is required, the government of the spheres is republican, exercising legislative, judicial, and executive powers. But these functions are not embarrassed by the necessity of codes indited or printed, nor by that of physical coercion. The results of these functions are realized in simultaneous and homogeneous opinions awakened in the minds of the ruling spirits, as truth takes hold of the minds of mathematicians, pari passu, as they read the same series of demonstrations. The conclusions in which the chief spirits thus unanimously concur, are by them impressed upon their constituents, who, thus impressed, are constitutionally unable to resist the sentiment which, like a magic spell, operates upon their sense of right, and overrules any rebellious passion.

420. As, in the rudimental sphere, weighing, measurement, or mathematical calculation or demonstration, when performed by competent persons, are rarely disputed, so in the spheres, the decisions of those whose authority is intuitively evident in moral or legal questions, meet with acquiescence. It follows, therefore, that neither imprisonment nor fetters are requisite for the enforcement of moral or legal restrictions.

421. Moreover, it must be evident that in the spheres, wisdom, knowledge, rectitude, and conscientiousness are the real vicegerents of God, the higher spirits acting as his media.

422. We acknowledge no aristocracy but that of mind and merit. In our diplomatic intercourse with our brothers of earth, when affairs of the greatest importance are to be transacted, (the present dispensation, for example,) we intrust them to a delegation of the most advanced spirits—those who are best acquainted with the affairs of the celestial country and of that to which they are accredited.

423. Our laws are meted out in the scale of exact justice, from whose89 awards there is no appeal. Punishments are but the natural consequences of violated laws; being invariably commensurate with offences, and have reference as well to the reformation of the offender, as to the prevention of future crime.

424. The political economy of the spheres has reference only to wealth, which being unbounded and free as air and light, can of course be appropriated by each and every member of society, according to his or her capacity of reception, the supply being always equal to the demand.

425. Wealth consists, upon earth, of those objects of human luxury or taste, which can only be acquired by means of labour and capital. Other things being equal, the value is generally in proportion to the cost incurred in the production. But in the spheres, such objects existing in profusion, the supply is of course always equal to the demand, though no less necessary than the air which you breathe; like it, they have no marketable value; there is no one who has occasion to buy, all being abundantly supplied from a common inexhaustible stock.

426. Hence it will appear that we have no occasion for gold or silver, which perisheth with the using, but the currency of moral and intellectual worth, coined in the mint of divine love, and assayed by the standards of purity and truth. Our bank, whose charter is eternal, and whose notes are never subject to fluctuations, and always payable on demand, is none other than the great bank of heaven, whose capital stock consists of an infinitude of love, mercy, and benevolence, of which our Heavenly Father is president and director, and in which his beloved children, the whole human family, are shareholders.

427. With regard to the social constitutions of the “spheres,” each is divided into six circles, or societies, in which kindred and congenial spirits are united and subsist together, agreeably with the law of affinity.

428. Although the members of each society unite as near as may be on the same plan, agreeing in the most prominent moral and intellectual features; yet it will be found, on careful analysis, that the varieties of character, in each society, are almost infinite; being as numerous as the persons who compose the circle.

429. Each society has teachers from those above, and not unfrequently from the higher spheres, whose province it is to impart to us the knowledge acquired from their instructions and experience, in the different departments of science, and which we in turn transmit to those below. Thus, by receiving and giving knowledge our moral and intellectual faculties are expanded to higher conceptions and more exalted views of the great Creator, whose almighty power is no less displayed in the constitution of spirit worlds, than in that of the countless resplendent orbs of space.

430. We do not, as many persons in the rudimental state imagine, abandon the studies which we commenced on earth, which would presup90pose the loss of our reasoning powers, and our consequent inferiority to yourselves; but on the contrary, we go on progressing in knowledge and wisdom, and shall progress throughout the boundless ages of eternity. You being chained down to earth, by the law of gravitation, are comparatively limited in your resources for information; but we having arrived at a higher sphere of thought and action, and having a more extensive field of vision, can soar higher and farther into the wonderful workings of that mysterious Being, who, owing to the infinity of his perfections, must be forever in advance of us, his finite creatures, and to whom, of course, we can bear no relative proportion.

431. Our scientific researches and investigations are extended to all that pertains to the phenomena of universal nature; to all the wonders of the heavens and the earth, and to whatever the mind of man is capable of conceiving: all of which exercise our faculties, and form a considerable part of our enjoyments. The noble and sublime sciences of astronomy, chemistry, and mathematics, engage a considerable portion of our attention, and afford us an inexhaustible subject for study and reflection.

432. Nevertheless, there are millions of spirits who are not yet sufficiently advanced to take any interest in those pursuits; for you will bear in mind that the spheres are but so many departments of a great normal school, for the mental discipline and development of the race, each of which is reached only by the spiral[11] stages of progression,—the earth being the first in the series, and the seventh sphere the last; being preparatory to an entrance into the supernal heaven. You will perceive, then, that we have an unlimited scope for the prosecution of our studies, and that whatever knowledge you fail to acquire in the rudimental state, legitimate thereto, you will have to obtain, in some of the degrees of the spiritual spheres.

433. We do not study those practical arts, which are so essential to the earth life, such as mechanics, &c.; for we do not stand in need of their applications; our studies being wholly of a mental character, we attend to the fundamental principles only. All the more intellectual branches of the arts and sciences are cultivated in a much more perfect manner than that to which we have been accustomed upon earth. The mind being untrammelled by the gross material body, and having its intellectual energies and perceptions improved, we can by intuition, as it were, more clearly and rapidly perceive and understand the principles and truths on which the sciences are based. We can trace the various relations of each subject, so as to understand its connective importance; a knowledge at which mortals arrive only by a long and tedious process.

434. We are not, for good and wise ends, which in due time will be fully explained, permitted to reveal all our knowledge to those below us,91 as the consequences of such a procedure would be perilous to the happiness of all, and subversive of order.

435. In addition to our studies we have many other sources of intellectual, moral, and heartfelt enjoyment, from which we derive the most ineffable pleasure: one of which is social reunions and convivial meetings; a coming together of dear friends, brothers, sisters, children and parents; where the liveliest emotion and tenderest affections of our nature are excited, and the fondest and most endearing reminiscences are awakened; where spirit meets in unison with spirit, and heart beats responsive to heart.

436. Yet individuals united by the ties of consanguinity are not always linked together, even here, by the golden chain of love and benevolent affection, since it not unfrequently happens that there is much more harmony existing among those who are not members of the same family. Notwithstanding that persons who were intimately acquainted with each other in the natural world, and those who are akin, may be and often are separated, sometimes for long periods, still they do occasionally meet together; those in the higher degrees and spheres passing to the lower, while those in the latter never ascend to the former till fully prepared for such a transition, agreeably to the fixed and unalterable laws of progression. The periods of such separations vary according to the relative gradations of intellectual and moral qualities in each.

437. The peculiar connections and relations of parents and children, brothers and sisters, and all the minor ties of consanguinity, must be forever maintained, although there may be an indefinite interruption to the harmonious play of their affinities.

438. As regards the institution of marriage, I would observe that on earth it is a civil contract, entered into by two persons, male and female, mutually or otherwise, as the case may be, for and during the term of their natural lives, but which is legally annulled on the demise of either party; so that whether or not it be renewed in the spiritual world, is determined by choice, not obligation.

439. Celestial marriage, however, is quite a different affair: it is the blending of two minds in one, resulting from an innate reciprocal love in each; a conjunction of negative and positive principles, forming a true and indissoluble bond of spiritual union, which human legislation cannot reach: a marriage which is born of God, and is therefore eternal. It is often asked, “Will all be married in heaven?” I answer, Yes, most assuredly; it never was designed for man to be alone, either on earth or in heaven: each will seek and find their counterpart.

440. Each society has a municipal administration or moral code, subject to the divine government; submission to the will of God, and obedience to his laws, whether recognised in nature or revelation, forming the basis of its constitution. With us philosophy and religion go hand in hand.


441. Evil or misdirected spirits find their affinities in the second sphere, where the lowest and most undeveloped are associated together, and remain for indefinite periods, but with all the moral depravity and darkness with which they are enveloped, through the benign influence exerted over their perceptive and rational faculties, by higher intelligences, each begins to feel, sooner or later, the low and degraded position he occupies; moreover, finding new means of progress, and new sources of contemplation as well as delight, and his capacity of making perpetual advancement in knowledge, his intellectual faculties become gradually expanded, and his moral powers increased. Hence the grovelling propensities of his nature yielding to the dictates of reason, his grosser passions subside, causing him to aspire to higher associations and circumstances, which in turn beget new wants, thoughts, and feelings.

442. We have no sectarian or ecclesiastical feuds; no metaphysical dogmas; nor are we troubled with those insatiable cravings and inordinate ambitions, so often manifested by mortals; nor have we any taxation for religion, the voluntary contributions of intellectual and moral minds being its meet support.

443. Our religious teachers belong to that class of persons who were noted, during their probation on earth, for their philanthropy and deeds of moral bravery; those who, regardless of the scoffs and sneers of the time-serving multitude, dared to promulgate and defend the doctrines of “civil and religious liberty.” These practical reformers and saviours of the race, instead of worrying their hearers, as is the custom with many on earth, with horrible denunciations and awful threats of eternal vengeance for their misdoing, admonish and exhort them to higher and nobler aims and aspirations; to the study of Deity as manifested in his stupendous works.

444. They urge upon them, too, the necessity of their co-operation in the reformation and advancement of their more degraded brethren, by instructing them in the divine principles of love, wisdom, and benevolence. They instruct them in the soul-inspiring and elevating doctrine of universal and eternal progression, and in the sublime truth that evil is not an indestructible and positive principle, but a negative condition, a mere temporary circumstance of their existence; and, furthermore, that suffering for sin is not a revengeful and malevolent infliction of God, but a necessary and invariable sequence of violated law.

445. They teach them also that, according to the divine moral economy, there is no such thing as pardon for sins committed—no immediate mercy—no possible escape from the natural results of crime, no matter where or by whom committed; no healing of a diseased moral constitution by any outward appliances, or ceremonial absurdities; and finally, that the only way whereby to escape sin and its consequences, is by progressing above and beyond it.


446. We derive much pleasure from the exercise of our talents in vocal and instrumental music, which far excels the noblest efforts of musical genius on earth. When we convene to worship God in our temples, whose halls and columns beam with inherent celestial light, our voices are blended together in songs of praise and adoration to the Almighty Author of our existence, from whom all blessings are derived.

447. From what has been stated, it may be perceived that we are moral, intellectual, and sensitive creatures. Instead of being, as many of you imagine, mere shadowy and unsubstantial entities, we are possessed of definite, tangible, and exquisitely symmetrical forms, with well-rounded and graceful limbs, and yet so light and elastic that we can glide through the atmosphere with almost electric speed. The forked lightnings may flash, and the thunders roll in awful reverberation along the vault of heaven, and the rain descend in gushing torrents; nevertheless, by the mere act of volition, we may stand unharmed at your side.

448. We are, moreover, endowed with all the beauty, loveliness, and vivacity of youth, and are clothed in flowing vestments of effulgent nature suited to the particular degree of refinement of our bodies. Our raiment being composed of phosphorescent principles, we have the power of attracting and absorbing or reflecting the rays evolved, according as our condition is more or less developed. This accounts for our being seen, by clairvoyants, in different degrees of brightness, from a dusky hue to the most intensely brilliant light.

449. The spiritual body is a perfect human form, originating in, and analogous to, the corporeal organization in its several parts, functions, and relations. The heart beats in rythmic pulsations, the lungs fulfil their office of respiration, and the brain generates its vitalized magnetic fluid, whose life-giving currents permeate every portion of the spiritual organism. Man in the rudimental state is tripartite, consisting of soul, of spirit, and flesh; but in the spheres a duality, composed of soul and spirit. Having approached the portals of death, he disrobes himself of the exterior form as he would put away a worn-out garment. The gross and cumbrous physical machine, which was given for the purpose of developing his more beautiful and excellent spiritual body, and of bringing him into more immediate relationship with the outward world, can serve his purposes no longer.

450. For your clearer understanding of the modus operandi of our intercourse with man, you will remember that by our transition to the world of spirits we part with the body only. We lose none of our intelligence by the transfer, but, on the contrary, become daily more and more developed in our knowledge of and power over the forces in nature; so that we are enabled to perform many feats to you, seemingly wonderful, and which really appear miraculous to the majority of those who witness them.

451. Having disposed of the external mechanism of flesh, we cannot come into direct contact with physical matter, but we are able, through94 the sphere of the medium, when natural conditions are complied with, not only to communicate our thoughts and wishes to our friends, but to move solid, ponderable bodies. By spheres, I mean the particular mental or physical state, or emanation by which all bodies, organic or inorganic, are immediately surrounded, and the particular electrical relations which they sustain to each other, causing repulsions and attractions in man and animals as well as in chemical reagents.

452. When we wish to impress the mind of the medium, by the effort of our magic will, (provided always that he or she is in sympathy with or sustains a negative relation to the operator,) we can dispose and arrange the magnetic currents of the brain so as to form or fashion them into ideas of our own. We can also learn to read the thoughts of another—conditions being favourable—as readily as you can gain a knowledge of the characters or symbols of a language foreign to your own.

453. Thoughts being motions of the mind, assume specific and definite forms, and when distinct in the mind can be clearly perceived and understood by any spirit who is in sympathy with the mind in which they are generated.

454. To influence, mechanically, the hand of a medium to write, we direct currents of vitalized spiritual electricity on the particular muscles which we desire to control. In order to produce the physical manifestations, it is not by any means requisite that the medium should be possessed of a good moral character or well-balanced mind, as an individual of small mental calibre would answer our purpose equally well; but an advanced spirit could not directly impress or control the organs of a mind with which he is not in affinity, and vice versâ.

455. We can instantly determine the sphere of a spirit, in or out of the body, by the particular brilliancy and character of the light in which he is enveloped, as well as by the peculiar sensation which his presence creates.

456. The raps are produced by voluntary discharges of the vitalized spiritual electricity, above mentioned, from the spirit, coming in contact with the animal electricity emanating from the medium. These discharges we can direct at will to any particular locality, thereby producing sounds or concussions.

457. The question being often asked, “How do you move solid substances?” I would partly answer it by asking, How does a magnet attract and raise from their resting-places certain bodies within whose sphere it is brought? How does a man move his body and direct it whithersoever it goeth? How does God, the almighty cause of all causes, move and keep in perpetual motion the immense systems which revolve in space, and maintain each in its due relative position? I answer, By the magnetism of a positive will.

458. We, in common with you and all animals, possess an infinitesimal portion of this power, varying in degree in different classes and in95 different individuals. When you raise your arm, as in the act of lifting or moving a body, you direct by the force of your will-power galvanic currents on the muscles required to perform the function. The muscles acting as levers, through the stimulus of the subtle element, act and react on the more solid parts, the bones, and thus is the object laid hold of and moved, and still you do not come into direct contact with the object. Now, this is called a very simple operation, and so it would appear, but who understands it? Although advanced spirits are much more conversant with the forces operating in nature than the most intellectually developed man in the form, still they do not, nor can they ever, as long as eternity rolls on, understand the hidden sphere of cause. The operation of the will it is impossible to understand. Now, as I have said, we are not possessed of physical bodies; still we can make the imponderable elements subserve our purposes by acting as bones, nerves, and muscles.

459. Touching our peregrinations and voyages of discovery, about which so much has been said by spirits, as well as mortals, I will say that it is a fallacy to suppose that every spirit can visit at will the planets of the solar system, much less those of the more remote systems, since I am certain that none but the residents of the seventh sphere, or the angels of the “Supernal Heavens,” have the power to do so; because each planet, being an inhabited globe, hath its concentric or spiritual spheres, through all of which in order to reach it a spirit must pass. It is obvious, therefore, according to the immutable law of progression, that the transit of a spirit to a distant planet would require its adaptation to the highest sphere of that body.

460. Having spoken of the angels of the “Supernal Heavens,” I will explain what is meant by this designation. They are those pure and comparatively exalted beings who, having advanced beyond the highest sphere of the planet to which they belonged, and attained a very high state of moral and intellectual development, have been admitted into that great and illimitable sphere of progression which lies outside of all other spheres, and in which the greatest conceivable degree of harmony reigns. It is composed of one grand harmonial society, whose members are privileged to go wheresoever they will through the boundless empire of space. They are principally from the planets Jupiter and Saturn, and hold a much more distinguished rank in the intellectual, moral, and social system than the inhabitants of earth. I have not learned that any spirit from our planet has yet reached the Supernal Heaven.

461. It has been said that spirits hunger, thirst, and stand in need of repose. It is true that those states do pertain to spirit life agreeably to the law of spiritual correspondences. The grosser and more undeveloped the spirit, the closer is the analogy between it and the physical states.

462. Physical laws and substances are gross or externalized spiritual96 laws and things. The more refined and developed the spirit, the less it requires of gross aliment. Refined, intellectual, and moral beings are nourished and sustained by refined, intellectual, and moral nutriment. Their food is derived from the “Tree of Knowledge,” and they slake their thirst at the crystal streams which continually flow from the inexhaustible fountain of God’s wisdom and love. The lowest undeveloped spirit lives on comparatively refined aliment to that on which mortals subsist. It consists of the more refined elements of spiritual fruits and vegetables. The spirit’s need of rest depends on its particular degree of development, diminishing in proportion to its advancement from the material plane.

463. Though the principles embodied in our teachings and philosophy may be regarded, by the majority of mankind, as strange and incomprehensible, they are, nevertheless, no more so than the principles of natural science would be to the unlettered mind. As the ability to comprehend the principles on which the natural sciences are based increases with the expansion of the intellectual faculties, in like manner is the power of perceiving spiritual things and relations increased by the development of the interior or spiritual faculties.

464. As there are no words in the human language in which spiritual ideas may be embodied so as to convey their literal and exact signification, we are obliged ofttimes to have recourse to the use of analogisms and metaphorical modes of expression. In our communion with you we have to comply with the peculiar structure and rules of your language; but the genius of our language is such that we can impart more ideas to each other in a single word than you can possibly convey in a hundred.

465. I have thus given you a general outline of the leading facts connected with the destiny of the race. I have endeavoured to show you that man is a progressive being, that he possesses a refined material (449) organization, which, going with him at death, serves as a medium through which he may communicate with the visible world. I will here add that, under certain circumstances, this spiritual organization has the power of reflecting the rays of light, so as to be rendered visible to the natural eye, as are certain gaseous bodies.

466. I have attempted to show you, too, that the spirit on entering the spheres, being governed by its affinity, takes its position in that circle for which it is morally and intellectually adapted; hence the first sphere is the abode of all the most degraded spirits, and that their advancement, however slow it may be, is nevertheless sure, since “onward and upward” is the motto emblazoned on the spiritual banner.

467. I have endeavoured to show you, also, that the spirit is a finite being like man in the form, and, therefore, fallible, and that as he advances in knowledge, he grasps more of truth and drops more of error. I have attempted to show you that the spirit world is a counterpart of the natural world, and that we, no less than you, are subject to surrounding conditions97 and circumstances. Spirits of congenial minds and opinions are drawn toward each other and to you, on the principle that “like attracts like.” In order to receive high moral and intellectual communications, it is essentially necessary that the medium and circle should be in affinity with each other, and with the spirits who are capable of giving such communications.

468. Besides the topics adverted to, I will briefly call your attention to a few of the most prominent among the beneficial results which will flow from spiritual intercommunion. It will settle the important question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” It will reduce the fact of the immortality of the human spirit to a certainty, so that the world’s knowledge of the fact will not be the result of a blind faith, but a positive philosophy. It will show the relation existing between mind and matter. It will make men thinking and rational beings. It will establish a holy and most delightful intercourse between the inhabitants of the terrestrial world and their departed spirit friends. It will expand and liberalize the mind far beyond your present conceptions. It will fraternize and unite all the members of the human family in an everlasting bond of spiritual union and harmonial brotherhood. It will establish the principles of love to God and your fellows. It will do away with sectarian bigotry. It will show that many of the so-called religious teachings are but impositions on the credulity of mankind, being founded on the grossest absurdities and palpable ignorance of the nature of things.

469. It will give man higher and infinitely more exalted views of God, and bring him into closer communion with the Author of his being. It will do away completely with the sting of death, and rob the grave of its terrors. It will teach the eternal progression of the soul, and show that the time is fast approaching when the moral condition of the race is to be vastly improved; when error is to be abolished, and truth is to take its place; when the glory of the Lord is to be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together! In fine, it will be a help to the soul in the hour of its adversity, and enable it to bear up under affliction with noble and heroic fortitude; and when about to launch its barque on the river of eternal life for the fair and beautiful land of promise, it will be its stay and sheet-anchor.

Your father, Robert Hare.

Communication from a Spirit Son of the Author.

I have in the spirit world two sons, one of whom died, thirteen months old, in 1813; the other, five months old, in 1825. Both have been to communicate with me. I subjoin a letter received from the younger:

470. “My Dear Father:—I made a very brief communication to you through the medium of Mr. Gordon, which was my first successful effort to control the human organism. It has been long known to me that spirits could manifest themselves to mortals; and that they have always held communion with their brethren in the flesh, is not new to me. The law is as98 natural as gravitation, and like it, I presume, will endure forever. But so great has been, and still is, the superstition of the masses, and to such an extent has man’s mental vision been obscured by his so-called spiritual teachers, that, excepting a comparatively few instances, spirits have failed in their attempts to reveal themselves to the civilized portion of mankind. The conditions have, for the most part, been wanting, owing to the above causes, and which have grown out of man’s false notions respecting his natural and true relation with the unseen world. The less civilized of our Father’s children, in regard to their communion with spirits, have been much more highly favoured than their otherwise more fortunate brethren, since it has not been an uncommon circumstance for them to commune with their departed friends.

471. “Many years, my dear parent, have elapsed since I entered the bright abode of the blest—a very little child, yet a very happy one. My first and second birth rapidly succeeded each other; but so little did I know, from actual experience, of my rudimental condition, that I have never realized the change. I have no memory of my earth-life, yet I know from observation and reflection that I am to some extent the loser by my premature birth into the spiritual state. I have, it is true, measurably obtained since then that knowledge of exterior nature which I should have acquired in the flesh, on the globe which gave me birth, as an independent, individualized existence.

472. “My life here has been a charmed one; enrapturing scenes of beauty being constantly presented to view, like the ever-varying landscapes delineated on the canvas by a skilful artist. Now is seen a beautiful silvery lake on whose translucent bosom floats the graceful swan, bending his pliant neck, as if proudly conscious of his surpassing beauty; and anon, among the lilies of this lake, which appear like gems placed on a virgin brow, shoots a tiny barque, freighted with angelic children. Then is presented a bolder view, of towering mountains and wide-extended plains, with the accompanying characteristics of hill and dell.

473. “In answer to a question which would naturally suggest itself to your mind, respecting the means by which I have become acquainted with that knowledge of the external world which I should have gained in it, I would say it has been acquired by frequent visits to the earth. I have been accustomed to accompany you, father, in your daily walks, and to study, through you and mother, those elementary lessons which are so essential to the full development of the spirit. Your son Theodore, though nearly forgotten by you, has not been far distant. The time is fast approaching, and is near at hand, when man’s spiritual nature and destiny will be much more fully comprehended by the world. Then spirit manifestations and spirit intercourse will be considered as natural as for the sun to rise in the eastern heavens. Spirits highly elevated in love and wisdom would not descend from their exalted position except to teach, fo99r their attractions are upward, but their mission is to instruct those below them, from which they derive much happiness. You know, father, how much pleasure it gives you to impart knowledge to others. How much greater then is our enjoyment, whose minds are intensely more susceptible of real joys! Your spiritual mission on earth has just begun, and we are endeavouring to impress your mind with the sacred importance of its fulfilment. Give unto others that we give unto you, and you shall receive abundantly. I occupy a place which has not yet been opened to your perception. Prepare yourself, my dear father, for its higher and more glorious unfoldings, by first gaining that knowledge which pertains to the lower degrees, and you will thereby become elevated to the higher spiritual planes, and increase your knowledge of things celestial, and greatly develop and enlarge your sphere of usefulness.


Additional Communications from Spirits who died while Infants.

474. The brother of a medium reported himself by spelling out his name in full—Dewitt Matthias. He had departed this life at the age of thirteen months. I inquired if he had taught himself to spell. I was instructed, was his answer.

475. While I was in a state of extreme unbelief, Dewitt’s mother told me that her son, who died when aged only thirteen months, had communicated with her; and said that his stature had grown with his age, now sixteen years. This statement I mentioned as an exemplification of credulity, little thinking that this wonder would be realized by the existence of my spirit children being made evident to me by such communications as that from Theodore, above given.

476. The eldest child of my parents died an infant, yet my elder brother, Charles, in his account of his spiritual birth, mentions that this brother came as a full-grown spirit to greet his translation to the spirit world.

Communication from a very young Spirit child to its Parents.

477. The following communications have been received from a spirit child, as I understand, of about six years old. It will be perceived that it was assisted by its grandmother. They have been handed to me by the child’s father, Mr. George Helmick, in whose sincerity I have great confidence.

478. The following message, says Mr. Helmick, came through the medium of Miss Irish, some eight months since, on an occasion when there were some twelve or fifteen persons present, nearly all of whom were entire strangers to me and my wife, who was also present. We had never seen Miss Irish before, and we know that she had no knowledge of us in any respect.


479. The fact that we had a child in the spirit world was not known to any present but myself and wife.

480. “Father, do you not, kind father, feel my soft and gentle touch upon your brow?[12] Can you not feel my presence, as grandmamma and I, with care, enfold you in our embrace?

“Mother, gentle, loving mother, do you not feel my angel kiss, as I imprint it upon your cheek?

“Father, mother, I left you before earth’s errors had a chance to take root within my young and tender mind.

481. “Then, loving parents, think of me as you do of a gentle moonbeam, which struggles to bless earth with its presence but for a moment, and then softly and sweetly returns to heaven again.

Spirit Child.

For George Helmick.

The following message was received through Mrs. Gourlay on the 27th of October last, by the aid of a disk and alphabet as arranged by Dr. Hare:

482. “Dear and loving mother, grandma will help me to write to you.

483. “A calm and holy atmosphere pervades this little company, and lovely forms are surrounding each earth friend. O thou great God of goodness! to thee our hearts are raised in thanksgiving for this privilege of communion with our friends on earth. Gratitude should fill the hearts of all present. Little children are sporting in this atmosphere of love like gentle moonbeams, kissing with a gentle touch the brows of their loving parents.

484. “Oh! why should you weep for those who have gone before? Rather mourn those who are debarred the joys of our celestial homes, where the weary spirit finds rest from the toils of earth, where all is joy evermore.

485. “Gentle mother, your little seraph-boy is not dead, but liveth. In his uncontaminated love, find comfort for the ills of life.

486. “Dear father, it was my spirit hand which was placed on thy brow, which you just felt.

487. “I left earth pure. In this purity I come to my dear parents. Accept my love, and give me yours in return.

Little Walter.

Mrs. Helmick.



Of Spiritual Birth.

488. Having obtained from several of my most valued spirit friends or relatives, narratives of their translation from this sphere to the world of spirits, it appears, from their concurrent testimony, that on the death of the body, the soul finds itself soon afterward awaking from a profound sleep,—but so much more like dreaming than being awake, as for a short time to create a doubt whether it be not dreaming. Meanwhile, bright shadowy forms become more and more distinguishable; and the body which it has left being perceived apart on its bed, or in whatever position its death occurred, the conviction is induced that another state of existence has been attained. As the forms, at first shadowy, become distinct, they are usually found to be those of the nearest or dearest previously departed friends. These meet the nascent spirit with every possible manifestation of affection, while the most ecstatic emotions are awakened.

489. Forthwith the spirit is conducted to his celestial abode: of which the elevation is greater as the morality of the individual concerned is higher.

Narrative given by Spirits of their translation to the Spirit World, the abode of human souls in a future state

490. The following narrative is from an excellent spirit philanthropist, who, though a stranger to me in this world, introduced himself to me at the session of a small circle, by the communication alleged to be intended for me, which has already been quoted. (147.)

491. He has since reported himself as the author of those sentiments, and has held many conversations with me.[14]


492. Subsequently to an address made by me at Franklin Hall, he expressed himself as follows: “Do not keep your light under a bushel. I was present and heard you speak last night. I wish you to say more about your personal experience. That would weigh with the community at large.” I excused my course by answering, that I wished my experience to be riper before submitting it to the community.

Narrative of his Spiritual Birth, by W. W-—-, a most benevolent Spirit of the Fifth Sphere.

493. “Did you ever have a most delightful dream in which you saw your near and dear friends about you, all seeming happy and contented with their condition? If you have, then you can form an imperfect idea of my state when I awoke to the reality of the change which opened upon my entranced sight on being ushered into the spheres. I had been long sick, and was subject to periods of unconsciousness. Therefore I did not soon perceive the change to be real. I felt almost too much happiness for my spirit to bear.

“On looking around, I perceived my mother, with outstretched arms, ready to receive her welcome son to the mansion prepared for him.

494. “Did I still dream? I asked: no! it was a blessed reality; all pain had fled, and my spirit rejoiced in new health. I could hardly contain myself from expressing my gratitude to God in verbal ejaculations. But I soon found that I had a much more delightful mode of expression. Each countenance beamed with love and intelligence, and the spirits could interpret my thoughts as readily as mortals can read a well-printed book.

495. “One spirit, on whose countenance I could read volumes, approached, and taking me by the hand said, ‘Welcome, dear brother, to this sinless world, where your progression is sure; no obstacles shall impede your footsteps; the conditions of time are removed; your feet shall fail not in the race of progress. Onward and Upward is our motto.’


496. “With willing heart I followed my guide. Every step taken led me up toward the great Source of light and truth. I never wearied in my journey. Bright and sparkling waters flowed at my feet, and living flowers sprang up before me. Each new object gave me courage to proceed. Old familiar faces met my gaze at every footstep, and cherub forms flitted past me. Golden clouds rested over the scene, and all nature was refulgent with light and animation. Huge oaks tossed their giant branches to the pure breezes of heaven, and lofty pines bowed their heads in love and adoration. The little birds sent forth their notes of praise, while the air was laden with the perfume of flowers. Being fond of the beauties of nature while on earth, I enjoyed this scene much.

497. “I was rejoiced to see so many of my friends present. Each vied with the other to give me the most cordial welcome.

498. “I soon perceived that I was near my journey’s end, for I had reached the fifth sphere of spiritual progression. My guide pointed out to my view the mansion which I was to occupy.

499. “I was told that I could return to earth, when I was so inclined. Inclination often draws me thither. So long as a spirit has friends on earth, he will visit them; but when they join him, he loses his attachment for the rudimental sphere, and seldom thereafter leaves his celestial abode.

500. “My habitation consists of suites of rooms, most beautifully ornamented with paintings and statues and the most elegant productions of spirit art. Each individual can have his dwelling to suit his own particular taste or fancy. The more refined and elevated the spirit, the more refined and beautiful is the house or home that he inhabits.

501. “The occupations of the higher spirits are of a more intellectual character than the highest on earth.

502. “Our spheres are types of yours; but we do not have to provide for the casket which contains the spiritual jewel.”


503. If the reader will turn to my narrative, 192 to 200, he will learn under what circumstances I became acquainted with Maria, the being of whose spiritual birth it will, in the next place, be my object to give her own account.

504. My acquaintance with this truly angelic creature has awakened104 in me lively friendship and esteem. These sentiments have been induced by her devotion to her parents, her affectionate recollection of her children, and gracious demeanour to others.

The Spirit Maria’s Narrative, as given through the Mediumship of Mrs. M. B. Gourlay.

505. Dear Father: I promised to give you an account of my entrance into, and life in the spheres. As I said to you on a former occasion, I felt like one just awaking from a deep sleep induced by the deadening influence of an opiate. It was some time before I could collect my scattered senses. On partially regaining my consciousness, I recollected having been sick, and the anxiety of my friends for my restoration to health; and I wondered at the sudden change in my feelings. Those racking pains I experienced had all fled, and I felt a newness of life which was truly delightful. Indistinct and shadowy forms flitted before me. On closely inspecting them, I perceived that they were my departed friends. It was then that I fully realized the change in my condition. My first and greatest concern was for those who seemed so inconsolable at my loss, and for whom I still entertained the most devoted love and affection. My vision becoming gradually clearer, I perceived, among the group, my brother William ready to receive me. He was clothed in a garment of living light, and closely resembles you, dear father, in form and features. He addressed me in the following language:—“Welcome, thrice welcome, my beloved sister, to the regions of immortality! I have been your guardian angel through life, and have looked forward with pleasure to this happy reunion.” I was now informed by him that I must leave my treasures on earth. This gave me some uneasiness, but being assured that I should visit them again, I cheerfully accompanied him in his upward flight.

506. Surprise and delight pervaded my existence when I beheld those friends bound to me by the ties of consanguinity ready to receive me and fold me to their hearts.

507. Gliding swiftly upward, on gaining an elevation of some sixty miles from the earth’s surface, we passed into the second sphere;[15] on entering which a tremor seized me. A moral darkness pervades the atmosphere, which renders it gloomy and uncomfortable in the extreme. The inhabitants are dark and dismal in their appearance, and are continually tortured with the pangs of a guilty conscience. Here disorder and confusion reign supreme, each spirit vieing with the other in rendering discord more discordant. We passed on rapidly, leaving the second sphere and its undeveloped inhabitants behind.

508. On approaching the third sphere, we were met by a company of angels from the seventh sphere, among whom I recognised my brothers105 who died in infancy. They had attained the stature of men. I now felt that law of affinity which binds us so closely together, drawing me toward them, and I was enabled at once to single them out from the multitude which accompanied them. With smiles they greeted me, saying, “Welcome, dear sister; another link is added to the chain of love which binds us together. One by one they shall be removed from earth till the chain is completed here.”

509. We next entered the third sphere, where comparative order reigns. There I perceived many spirits intently listening to a teacher, whose theme was the subject of progression.

510. Anxiously desiring to reach my destiny, we quickly passed to the fourth sphere. How different the scene! every thing looked bright and beautiful to my enraptured sight. It seemed like an enchanted land. Thousands of flowers scented the air with their odoriferous perfume, and rapturous strains of music thrilled me with delight! We now approached a beautiful temple devoted to the science of the harmony of sounds. In it music in all its departments is taught. O, father, could you hear the master spirits of song, who lived ages ago on earth, attuning their instruments to harmony, your senses would become entranced. Music, being conceived in heaven, is sent forth to earth to elevate man, and attract him to our great and beneficent Father. I perceived that the fourth sphere was to be my abiding-place for the present.

511. On my return to the second sphere, it looked somewhat different to me, for, having lost my fear, I could more closely inspect the place and its inhabitants. The country, as far as my vision could penetrate, seemed like a vast desert, without a green spot to relieve the eye. Its denizens are seen straggling here and there, with no fixed object in view. All are seeking to minister to their perverted tastes. Some are holding forth in loud tones, and painting in false and gaudy colours the joy of their home; others, who occupied high stations on earth, hang their heads in confusion, and would fain hide themselves from view; but they are taunted with rude jests, and told that their “pride of position will avail them nothing here.” One heart-sickening feature of this place is the absence of children. No purity can exist where such evils abound. “The loud laugh, which bespeaks the vacant mind,” is heard pealing forth in derision, as the teachers from the higher spheres approach the motley group. Some, in whom the work of regeneration has commenced, are seen ascending the spiral stairway of progress which leads to the third sphere.

512. The beauty of the third sphere far transcends that of earth. The scenery is endlessly diversified with spiritual objects, corresponding to things of your planet. Mountains and valleys, hills and dales, rivers and lakes, and trees and plants, lend their enchantment to the scene. The inhabitants of this sphere are anxious for instruction. The teachers from the higher degrees are listened to with profound respect and attention.


513. I saw many persons whom I knew in the rudimental state. I met a spirit yesterday whom I have seen in your company before he left the form.[16] I felt attracted to him. On approaching him, he smilingly said, “Why do you take such an interest in me, fair being? I know you not.” “True,” I replied, “but I saw you in my father’s company before you left the earth, and was present once when my brother gave you a communication, which, by the way, you received with much incredulity; therefore, I feel constrained to speak to you.” He thanked me, saying, “I never believed in the immortality of the soul; consequently, it was not strange that I should doubt the spirits.” “Your skepticism,” I replied, “was honest; therefore you will rise much sooner in the scale of progression. A sincere unbelief is better than false professions.” Here I left him, and followed a multitude who were just entering a magnificent temple, where a teacher was to address them. This structure is immensely large and exquisitely symmetrical in its proportions. Many stately columns support its roof, each surmounted by a cap of chaste design. The material of this temple is similar in appearance to alabaster, but transparent. The seats are semicircular, forming an amphitheatre, in the centre of which stood the speaker, Channing. With uplifted hands he invoked God’s blessing on all mankind. With what breathless attention all listened to the glowing words of eloquence which fell from his lips! This is the true worship of the soul. His text was: “The light that is within you.” He dwelt at some length on the importance of self-elevation, as a means of progressing others. He spoke of the moral bond of union which binds the race together. “When one individual,” said he, “is degraded, all must suffer.” His discourse abounded with clear and energetic thought.

514. As we passed from this temple, I met my friend of yesterday. He remarked that he had learned much from the speaker who had just addressed us. He said that his mind, before entering the spheres, had been much troubled about the future, although light had begun to dawn on his mental horizon. “Hope,” said he, “with her cheering countenance, had almost deserted me, and the world appeared like a dreary wilderness. Sick and disheartened, I laid me down to recruit my exhausted energies. An unconscious period intervened, and then burst on my enraptured vision the glorious morning of the resurrection in all its loveliness; and with it came a bright messenger of light to bear me onward and upward to the boundless regions of progressive wisdom, where my107 untrammelled spirit can soar aloft to study the wondrous works of Almighty God.”

515. In the fourth sphere the scenery is characterized by still more beautiful landscapes: the grass appears of a greener green, and the flowers are more gorgeous in their hue, and the birds sing still more sweetly. Shall I lead you to this parterre? Here you perceive the lily with its almond-shaped leaves, and stamens delicately tinted with the faintest crimson; by its side is the blushing rose. Here you observe the myrtle, the emblem of love, and the passion-flower, which speaks of a deathless passion. All have an interior language which spirits alone can fully comprehend. The trees here are somewhat different from those on earth. This is a strange-looking one. Its trunk is very straight, and runs up to an immense height without branches; its top is surmounted by tufts of beautiful spiral-shaped silvery leaves; by its side stands one of very different appearance, whose depending branches, like the graceful willow, bend beneath their wealth of leaves, courting one to repose beneath their grateful shade. Here, too, are sparkling streams, murmuring cascades, and gushing fountains, and trees bending beneath their load of golden fruit; and here are temples devoted to the arts and sciences.

516. Now, dear father, let not a school on earth rise up before your imagination. Our schools and systems of instruction differ widely from those in the rudimental sphere, inasmuch as they are far more beautiful. We use neither books nor charts, but the spirit or substance of each subject is presented to the student, whose mind at once perceives its internal meaning. In this way are solved the most difficult problems.

517. Let us enter this building devoted to the teachers from the seventh sphere. See the multitude thronging its portals. Before we enter, let us glance at its exterior. It is circular in form, and beautiful in its architectural design. Its spiral columns are entwined with the richest flowers, which yield a delicious fragrance. As you enter this temple, its fretted vaults resound with the soft harmonious symphonies of spirit voices. In the midst of the group stands the teacher, Melancthon, who suffered in the cause of religious freedom. His countenance is mild and angelic, but he still retains that fearless spirit which characterized him on earth.

518. Here comes a band of beautiful children carrying wreaths of flowers in their hands. They are singing, and they lead by the hand a lovely child just escaped from earth. How happy it seems! It is quite unconscious of the change in its condition.

519. Let us now wend our way to the fifth sphere. This state is in a still greater degree heavenly. As far as the eye can reach are seen lovely villas, magnificent temples, forest-crowned hills, and gently undulating plains. Let us go up this avenue, shaded with lofty sycamores: this is the residence of H. K. White. How enchanting the spot! It is a low cottage embosomed in the midst of trees and flowers, which, by interlacing,108 form beautiful arbours with arched entrances. The grounds about this dwelling are skilfully and tastefully laid out. The clematis and honeysuckle entwine their tendrils around the trellis-work of the door. Let us enter. Statues of the most exquisite finish fill the niches; couches and divans of various forms and singular devices grace the rooms, and carpets of the softest texture and most brilliant dyes cover the floors. It is, indeed, the beau ideal of a poet’s home. In this sphere dwell Channing, Ballou, Murray, the Wesleys, Byron, Burns, Moore, Shelley, Scott, and Hahnemann, the founder of your school, who is still engaged in the investigation of scientific truths. I speak of those persons in particular, because I am personally acquainted with them, being attracted to them by a congeniality of feeling.

520. The sixth state or sphere far transcends the most gorgeous picture of oriental splendour. So lovely are the scenes presented to the view there, that I cannot impress your mind with any thing like a just conception of them. I receive my ideas of the fifth, sixth, and seventh spheres from the spirits who dwell therein, having never visited them in person. What a magnificent panorama is there presented to the spirit’s gaze! There are colossal temples, and “houses not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” As far as the vision can extend may be seen cities and palaces, whose lofty domes sparkle like diamonds in the sunbeams of heaven; oceans and seas with which yours are mere lakes in comparison; placid lakes and noble rivers winding their interminable way through valleys clothed with perpetual verdure.

521. There are gardens there of inconceivable beauty, filled with the choicest and most aromatic herbs and flowers, and birds with every conceivable variety of plumage. The parks are of great magnitude, and abound with the most beautiful animals. The swift antelope, the wild gazelle, and the graceful deer are seen ranging over the flowery plains. There the lion and the lamb lie down together in peaceful innocence. There are congregated millions of spirits, who are associated together like a harmonious and happy family. The vales are vocal with celestial melody, and the air is redolent with the perfume of flowers.

522. How shall I describe to you the transcendent glory of the seventh sphere? Let us contemplate it. In it all the beauties and joys of the lower degrees are combined, but in a much more refined and sublimated form. There dwell the spirits of the just made more perfect. Innumerable companies of children, which constitute the infant army of heaven, are singing in gladsome strains the love of Him who called them into being, causing the atmosphere to resound with harmonious shouts of joy. There dwells Jesus of Nazareth, the great moral reformer, and “John the beloved.” There reside the apostles, prophets, and martyrs of olden time. There live Confucius, Seneca, Plato, Socrates, and Solon, with all the philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome.


523. That sphere is illumined by the refulgent beams of heaven’s great central sun, in whose genial warmth and golden flood of living light spirits find life eternal.

My Sister’s account of her Spiritual Birth, or Translation to the Spirit World.

524. Dear brother: The language of mortals is inadequate to convey to your mind a tenth part of the joy that I experienced when liberated from the physical body. You remember well the hour when the summons came. You did not expect me to depart so soon. The mutual relationship which had existed between my body and spirit being dissolved, I found myself still a living, thinking, and intelligent being, and in a world of tangible and eternal realities.

525. When the last act in the drama of life was finished, and as soon as I had emerged from the pleasing reverie which succeeded the moment of dissolution, I found my room filled with bright visitants from the world of spirits, and my ears were delighted with the sweetest melodies. I now felt that the great secret was about to be disclosed, and I began to realize that I had indeed passed from death unto life.

526. Dazzled by the exceeding brilliancy of the light which emanated from the pure beings who surrounded me, I began to distrust my senses, and looked about to assure myself that I was not in a dream or trance. I was soon startled from my musing by a gentle pull at my garment, and on turning round to discover the cause, I instantly recognised my beloved father. Oh! imagine my feelings at that joyful moment; no words can describe them. I now felt a strong desire to leave earth. Father perceiving this, placed his hand in mine, and said, “My daughter, the battle is fought, the victory is won; follow me.” He now led me forth into open space. We were immediately encircled by a magnificent halo of light, and strains of heavenly music floated on the circumambient air. Here a scene of glory was revealed to me which human imagination is unable to conceive. As we penetrated the clear blue depths of ether, myriads of angelic beings crossed our path, and many greeted me with words of welcome.

527. Having passed beyond earth’s sphere, new and more glorious scenes burst upon my enraptured vision, and they increased in beauty at each successive stage of our journey. I felt that a great change had taken place in my condition, for the most intense sensations of pleasure pervaded my soul. Father watched my emotions with deep interest, and was delighted with the startling and happy effect produced on my mind. We passed quickly through the different stages of our progress, till we arrived at the fifth spiritual sphere, which is my present home. I am often with my friends on earth, and would gladly influence them, and prove my identity to them, if they would render themselves receptive to my power.


528. My present home, in point of beauty, far excels any scene ever witnessed by mortal eye. The interior of nature is laid open to the spirit’s perception, and the hidden treasures of earth are exposed to its view. When we desire to be with our friends on earth, we have only to will it, and our desire is instantly gratified. We can visit the spheres below, but not those above us until we are prepared for admission into them by a gradual process of development.

529. The first spiritual sphere is the abode of those spirits whose desires are low and sensuous; they pursue those pleasures which are most congenial to their unrefined and grovelling natures; but as their moral faculties become strengthened, they lose their taste for debasing pursuits, and rise in the scale of being. The brightness of the halo which envelopes the spirit is increased in proportion to its increase of moral and intellectual greatness.

530. Dear Robert, I have looked forward with great pleasure to the time when I might be enabled to commune with you.

531. All knowledge gained by mortals will be of advantage to them in the spheres.

532. Each individual in the spirit world is judged and suffers according to the deeds done in the body. There is no possible escape from the legitimate consequences of evil actions. The book of God’s judgment is the record made on the tablets of the mind, and it may be read by all. The hypocrite can remain hypocrite no longer, as he will inevitably appear in his true colours; and in this fact, in part, shall his punishment consist.

533. I would say a few words to you concerning the condition of infants. The infant spirit ascends directly to the seventh sphere, and is given in charge of a guardian spirit, by whom it is cared for and instructed in those things which most serve to develop its intellectual powers. It is permitted occasionally to visit its parents who may be in lower spheres, and to descend even to earth with its guardian angel, who often communicates for it.

534. Every individual, at death, is waited on by a congenial spirit, who escorts him to his home in that sphere to which his merit entitles him.

535. The object of our present mission to the inhabitants of the earth is to convince millions of doubting mortals of the fact of their immortality, and of the glorious destiny which awaits them beyond the limits of the tomb.

536. It is thought by many of our brothers in the flesh that we will impart to them all the knowledge that we possess respecting the mysteries of the spheres; but on this point let them be undeceived, for it is utterly impossible for them to comprehend all in their present rudimental state. Our chief object is to assure them, by unmistakable signs, of the sou111l’s immortality, and the conditions necessary to be observed by them in order to obtain a happy future existence.

537. Notwithstanding the truth of spirit manifestations and spirit teachings, there are many persons who will not readily perceive it; their minds are so much cramped and distorted by false teachings, that many years shall have elapsed before there can be much improvement in them; of such it hath been said, “They would not believe though one should arise from the dead.”

538. My brother, I would say a word to you touching your duty in regard to the present dispensation. You occupy a prominent and important place in the dissemination of this most glorious gospel; your mind has ever been desirous of the truth; a uniform consistency of conduct has marked your course through life: pursue, then, the even tenor of your way, and let love be the controlling principle of your motives and actions, and if reviled, revile not again, but bear all things nobly for the truth’s sake, and great will be your reward. I would say, moreover, let your reason determine the value of our teachings. You are engrossed to some extent by the cares and perplexities of earth life; therefore you cannot so fully realize the wondrous joys which await you in yonder peaceful heaven!

539. My brother, when the lamp of your earthly existence shall begin to burn dimly, and the objects of earth recede from your view, your spirit father and sister will be at hand to conduct you into the presence of those loved friends who are bound to you by the ties of consanguinity and sympathy.


My Brother’s account of his Spiritual Birth.

540. Dear brother Robert: How long I remained in a state of unconsciousness, previous to my spiritual birth, is unknown to me; suffice it to say, when the vital cord which bound me to the physical body was parted, I experienced a full consciousness of my personality. I enjoyed perfect freedom from pain and sickness, and an unwonted degree of strength and buoyancy of spirit; sensations of the most exalted character took possession of me, and a holy calm pervaded the sanctuary of my soul. It was not, however, until I saw my body lying upon the bed, that the true nature of my situation flashed across my mind. I shall never forget that moment of ecstatic bliss. I felt a sudden and indescribable consciousness of increased mental and physical power, and my body was most beautifully and symmetrically formed; in fact, I beheld myself a perfect and immortal man! I perceived, too, that my step was lighter, freer, and more elastic than usual, and my whole system was singularly rejuvenated. I knew that I was in eternity, yet I saw that I was upon the earth. As my mind became clear, and my vision less obstructed, a radiant spirit, whom I had not before noticed, addressed me in these words: “Brother! welcome, welcome, to the bright and joyous spirit land, to this blest habi112tation for the children of men, to this land of ceaseless progression.” The spirit having spoken thus, beckoned me away.

541. Having passed beyond the sphere of earth, we entered the regions of perpetual day, where the foot of mortal never trod; where the brilliant flowers were never culled by mortal hands; where beautiful spirits, angelic beings, float in mid air, and sport beside the sparkling fountains; where harmonious voices mingle with the rich tones of golden harps, and silver flute-notes ascend to the arching heavens. On our way thither we saw many companies of ministering angels passing to and fro on their respective missions. Some, who were assembled in groups, talked earnestly together upon congenial subjects; while others blended their voices in anthems of praise, whose echoes were prolonged far up through the realms of space to blend with still more glorious harmonies in spheres above. Those celestial beings, though beautiful beyond the conception of finite man, were not of the highest order of angels. They belong to that class whose mission is to visit the dwellings of men, and to minister unto the bereaved and afflicted of earth; to tend the beds of the dying, and to whisper rest to the weary and hope to the desponding.

542. My brother, I might speak to you of the past, but I prefer to open the door of the bright and glorious future. Solon said that no one should call himself happy before death; now, although I do not sanction this advice of the distinguished sage, I know that there is, comparatively speaking, no happiness in the rudimentary state; no pleasure equal to that which awaits the resurrected spirit in those beautiful mansions where it shall forever bathe in the eternal sunlight of its Father’s love. I cannot find words to describe to you the magnificent creations of Him from whom all order, beauty, and harmony proceed.

543. I am surrounded by every thing that can delight the eye, please the ear, and gratify the taste. I have every facility for studying all the principles in the vast universe of matter.

544. In the higher spiritual states perfect peace and tranquillity reign: no strife mars the harmony of the celestial abodes.

545. My mission is to instruct spirits in the lower circles, and to raise them from their degraded condition.

546. Every spirit follows those pursuits that are most congenial to him.

547. Every spirit has a sphere of utility, and finds his true position on entering the spheres.

Brother, the years of your external life are drawing to a close. When your initial term is finished, you will enter upon an unending series of moral and intellectual developments; then you will be fully compensated for all that you have endured in the cause of truth on earth. Your present life, remember, is but the prelude to ineffable joys in the world beyond the grave. Thank God, your barque is not drifting rudderless and pilot113less on the great ocean of time. No! she is well-manned and equipped, and pursues her direct course, fearing neither Scylla nor Charybdis.

Robert, you have acted nobly and fearlessly in defending the great cause of humanity. We are watching your movements with great interest. Continue to devote your mental energies to the development of spiritual facts, and we will aid you when conditions favour. Farewell.

C. W. H.


Sixty-four Queries addressed to a Convocation of Worthies from the Spirit World; also, the Replies given by them, and confirmed under conditions which no mortal could pervert.

548. Having received many pages of communication from my father, sister, brother, and certain other spirit friends, on the subject of the spirit world, and having been urged by him and other inhabitants of that world to publish the information thus communicated, I represented, at a time when this honoured being reported his presence, that I felt a reluctance at publishing solely on the authority of my relations; and requested that certain distinguished spirits, who, as I had been told, had attended one of my lectures at Boston, should sanction a synopsis of the facts which I had learned respecting the spirit world. (409 to 547.)

549. The propriety of my request being admitted, it was appointed that on Monday, the 18th of February, 1855, at nine o’clock, there should be a convocation of some of the worthies in question at the dwelling of the excellent medium employed. Accordingly, soon after my arrival there, at the appointed time, my father reported himself, and the following names were spelt out as being present:

550. The queries subjoined were then read successively, pausing, of course, for an answer to each in turn.

551. The answers were given through an instrument analogous to that represented by Fig. 1, Plate 4, and described on the page opposite to the plate.

552. Finally, after all the queries had been answered agreeably to the114 usual conditions, a confirmation of the whole was given under test conditions, as explained in the page opposite Plate 4.

553. Relying on these conditions as competent to secure the issue against the control of the medium or that of any other mortal, the question was put, “Have all the answers been correctly communicated?” In reply, the index moved so as to point to the word “Yes,” and the following address was made at the same time:

554. Friend, we have heard your questions, and severally affirm that we have answered them as recorded by you.

555. It is to be understood that all the subjoined inquiries were answered simply in the affirmative, excepting where a qualified answer made more words necessary than the word “Yes,” by itself. The queries having been previously reduced to writing, the answers were written down by me at once.

556. (1.) Is it true that within a space lying between the earth and the lunar orbit there are seven concentric regions, denominated spheres, which may be called the country of spirits; that this country has all the features of terrestrial scenery, but with a much greater beauty, even in the third sphere, while the beauty of the other four spheres is greater in proportion as they are higher?

Ans. Yes.

557. (2.) Is it true that in those regions there are mountains, plains, rivers, lakes, brooks, rills, trees, flowers, birds, beasts, and every attribute of the most admired portions of this lower sphere?

Ans. Yes.

558. (3.) Is it true that, by the higher spirits, music, poetry, and all the sciences and fine arts, are highly and zealously cultivated, and that the pleasures of social intercourse are more highly enjoyed than upon earth?

Ans. Yes.

559. (4.) Are the narratives of their translation to the spirit world, which I have received from my sister, brother, William Wiggins, and the spirit Maria, to be relied on as coming from them, and as correct in their representations of the usual process of transference to the spiritual world after death?

Ans. Yes.

560. (5.) How many spheres are there, this world being the first in the series?

Ans. Seven.

561. (6.) How many inhabited by spirits?

Ans. Six.

562. (7.) Are there subdivisions? if so, how many in each sphere?

Ans. Six.

563. (8.) Are the subdivisions equidistant?

Ans. Yes.


564. (9.) How are they designated?

Ans. Either as circles or planes.

565. (10.) Are they concentric with each other and with this globe?

Ans. Yes.

566. (11.) At what distance from the terrestrial surface does the lower boundary of the second sphere, or first spiritual abode, commence?

Ans. Sixty miles.

567. (12.) Are the atmospheres of the spheres more rare in proportion as they are more elevated?

Ans. Yes.

568. (13.) Do they increase in beauty as they are higher in the series?

Ans. Yes.

569. (14.) How are they illuminated?

Ans. By a peculiar sun within the spiritual spheres.

570. (15.) Is our sun visible in the spirit world?

Ans. No.

571. (16.) If lighted by a peculiar spiritual sun invisible in our mundane region, do the rays of that sun consist of undulations of an all-pervading ethereal fluid, analogous to that assumed to exist by the undulationists?

Ans. Yes.

572. (17.) Or do they depend upon the last-mentioned fluid for existence?

Ans. No.

573. (18.) Are there not peculiar elementary principles appropriate, severally, to the spiritual world, and likewise to the material world?

Ans. Yes.

574. (19.) Is it not an error to suppose that any of the ponderable elements recognised by chemistry can contribute to the organization of the person of an imponderable spirit?

Ans. Of course, not without a loss of ponderosity, which involves a loss of identity or a transformation.

575. (20.) Is it not luminiferous matter which causes the effulgence of spirits, analogous in its effects to that of luminiferous insects, though consisting of a spiritual material entirely different from those which enter into the luminiferous matter of insects?

Ans. Yes.

576. (21.) Are spirits in the lowest level of the second sphere destitute of effulgence?

Ans. Yes.

577. (22.) Are they absolutely enveloped in a dark halo?

Ans. Yes.

578. (23.) Is reformation indicated first by diminished darkness, and subsequently by augmented effulgence?

Ans. Yes.


579. (24.) Is the sphere of a spirit known by the relative brightness or darkness of his halo?

Ans. Yes.

580. (25.) Is the lower circle of the second sphere disagreeable as to its scenery?

Ans. Yes.

581. (26.) Is spirit Maria’s description of the spheres correct? (505 to 523.)

Ans. Yes.

582. (27.) Does this feature lessen as the circles are higher?

Ans. Yes.

583. (28.) Do the last-mentioned circles present an aspect less agreeable than that of our sphere?

Ans. Yes.

584. (29.) At what point does the scenery become superior to any in our world?

Ans. In the third sphere.

585. (30.) What designates the boundaries of the spheres, so as to make spirits perceive when they are passing through the partition between one and another?

Ans. Diversity of impression made upon the spirit.

586. (31.) What confines a spirit to his proper level, so that none can mount above it into a sphere to which he does not belong?

Ans. A moral specific gravity, in which the weight is inversely as the merit, prevents the spirit from rising above his proper level.

587. (32.) Are spirits of different densities rarer or more refined in constitution as they are higher in rank?

Ans. Yes.

588. (33.) Has the most dense or most undeveloped spirit any weight? if not, how are they denser than those who have progressed farther?

Ans. They are in the spheres heavy as compared with other spirits, but their weight would not influence a scale-beam in this mundane sphere.

589. (34.) If the lowest have no weight, wherefore are they more competent to give physical manifestations by moving ponderable bodies?

Ans. They do not act by weight, but all spirits, under favourable conditions and with certain means, possess, in a minute degree, a portion of that power possessed to an infinite extent by the Deity, of annulling gravitation and vis inertiæ; and though they cannot exercise such powers without the aid of a medium, the medium is to them as an implement in the hands of a human being.

590. (35.) How are such movements produced consistently with the law that action and reaction are equal and contrary?

Ans. Gravity and vis inertiæ being neutralized, the physical law of action and reaction does not prevail against the spirit volition.


591. (36.) Do spirits employ their limbs in effecting manifestations?

Ans. Not necessarily.

592. (37.) Have spirits a power of creating that which they desire?

Ans. Yes.

593. (38.) Like the genius of Aladdin’s lamp, can spirits within their sphere create habitations at their bidding?

Ans. Yes.

594. (39.) Does this creative power exist in the spirits of each sphere, or is it denied, as I have been informed, to those of the second sphere?

Ans. It is denied.

595. (40.) Is this creative power more extensive as the sphere to which the spirit belongs is more elevated?

Ans. Yes.

596. (41.) Are the spirits of the third sphere happy?

Ans. Yes.

597. (42.) Does happiness become greater as the rank of the spirit becomes higher?

Ans. Yes.

598. (43.) Do spirits of infants go to the seventh sphere?

Ans. Yes.

599. (44.) Does an infant dying before noticing any thing go to that sphere?

Ans. Yes.

600. (45.) Does it require care analogous to that given to infants in this world?

Ans. It is carefully instructed.

601. (46.) Do infant spirits come down and reside among kindred more or less, visiting, as it grows older, those mundane scenes which may compensate it for its loss of opportunities by premature death?

Ans. Yes.

602. (47.) Does not the inability to communicate with its kindred cause it to be unhappy under these circumstances?

Ans. It is not rendered unhappy, in consequence of the peculiar manner in which such circumstances act upon the spirit mind.

603. (48.) Do such spirits, as for instance, those going to the other world while children, but having attained mature age, say forty, become companions for their parents and friends in the spheres who may have died after their maturity, or is there a too great simplicity or childishness?

Ans. In purity and simplicity they are contented to live.

604. (49.) Is the love of children, who have died very young, as great to their parents and relations who remain in this world as if they continued to live in their society?

Ans. Greater.

605. (50.) Is there a deference shown to spirits on the same plane118 commensurate with their superiority in learning, science, and wisdom?

Ans. Yes.

606. (51.) The object of marriage in this world being manifestly the perpetuation of the species, consistently with the preservation of refinement and the welfare of offspring, and there being no such motive in the spiritual world, how can there be any motive for any such indissoluble ties?

Ans. Between spirits joined by matrimony in the spheres there is a greater blending of mutual self-love into one common sentiment than in any other friendship.

607. (52.) Have spirits any fluid circulating through an arterial and venous system, which is subjected to a respiratory process, analogous to that which our blood undergoes?

Ans. Yes.

608. (53.) As spirits are weightless, is not this fluid devoid of weight?

Ans. Yes.

609. (54.) Has it any colour?

Ans. No.

610. (55.) Does the gaseous or ethereal matter respired by spirits pervade the mundane sphere?

Ans. Yes.

611. (56.) Do mortals breathe it as a means of sustenance to their spiritual organization while encased by this “mortal coil?”

Ans. Yes.

612. (57.) Does it supply the nervous system?

Ans. Yes.

613. (58.) Is it communicated to inferior animals?

Ans. Yes.

614. (59.) Do fishes require atmospheric oxygen while swimming, (water consisting of 8 parts in 9 of pure oxygen,) in order to get at the spiritual gas associated with the former?

Ans. The spiritual gas imperceptibly accompanying atmospheric air is especially necessary to fishes.

615. (60.) Creed is alleged to be productive of no obstruction to ascendency in the spiritual world.

Ans. Belief, being an involuntary act of the mind, has no merit or culpability attached to it, excepting so far as it is the consequence or is productive of prejudices; the advance of a spirit is retarded by these defects.

616. (61.) As in the spiritual world there is no necessity, desire, or passion which spirits can gratify by violence or fraud, on what is virtue founded? Where there is no motive or power to do wrong, where is the merit of doing right?

Ans. In the spheres, vice is displayed by the endurance of bad passions; virtue is manifested by love, purity, and the aspiration for improvement.


617. (62.) As the diversities of human character are clearly the results of organization and education, neither of which can be controlled by the human beings whose merit or demerit is the inevitable consequence, how can there be any culpability? It is true that a man can act as he wills; but is not his will the creature of his passions and reason jointly? If his passions be increased, will not reason be less capable of controlling them? and, vice versâ, if his passions be enfeebled or his reason strengthened, will not his passions have less sway? Does it not follow that while we must in self-defence resist or restrain those who cannot govern themselves, should we not commiserate all who have the misfortune to be so badly constituted?

Ans. We are no more able to answer that than you.

618. (63.) When a being virtuously constituted is murdered by one of the opposite character, who is most an object of commiseration? which is most favoured as a creature of God? Is not the difference between these beings analogous to that between the dog and the wolf? Both creatures of God—one is to be extirpated, the other cherished, as an inevitable consequence of the laws of creation?

Ans. The victim is most favoured.

619. (64.) Has not the analogy between a wicked or a savage man, and one who has the advantage of a good organization and education, a better exemplification in the case of a wild dog, and one brought up by a kind master, since the wild dog is reclaimable, may be reformed, and so may the bad or savage man. Hence, in the spheres, is not punishment or restraint made with a view to reformation rather than as a retribution for inevitable defects?

Ans. Correct.


620. From the information conveyed by communications submitted in the preceding pages, as well as others, it appears that there are seven spheres recognised in the spirit world. The terrestrial abode forms the first or rudimental sphere.

621. At the distance of about sixty miles from the terrestrial surface, the spirit world commences. It consists of six bands or zones, designated as spheres, surrounding the earth, so as to have one common centre with it and with each other. An idea of these rings may be formed from that of the planet Saturn, excepting that they are comparatively much nearer to their planet, and that they have their broad surfaces parallel to the planet, and at right angles to the ecliptic, instead of being like Saturn’s rings, so arranged that their surfaces are parallel to the plane in which his ecliptic exists.


622. Supposing the earth to be represented by a globe of thirteen and a half inches in diameter, the lower surface of the lowest of the spiritual spheres, if represented in due proportion to the actual distance from the earth, would be only one-tenth of an inch from the terrestrial surface. The bands observed over the regions in the planet Jupiter which correspond with our tropical regions, agree very well in relative position with those which are assigned to our spiritual spheres. They are probably the spiritual spheres of that planet.

It having struck me as possible that these bands might be due to spiritual spheres appertaining to Jupiter, I inquired of the spirits; their reply was confirmatory.

623. The objection naturally occurs that ours are invisible to us; yet we know that light may be polarized in passing through transparent masses so as to produce effects in one case which it does not in others when not so polarized. It would have to pass through the spheres of Jupiter, and return through them again. This light, twice subjected to the ordeal of passing through the spirit world, when contrasted with that which goes and returns without any such ordeal, may undergo a change of a nature to produce an effect upon the eye, when, in the absence of this contrast, no visual change should be perceptible.

624. I am aware that it has been alleged that the bands do not appear always to occupy the same boundaries, and at times appear separated or more unequally distributed than at others. This may be due in part to actual changes which the spiritual essence may undergo as to its relative position, or optical delusions, if not deviations, resulting from the susceptibility of polarizing causes.

625. Possibly some peculiarity in the reflecting surface of the planet may be productive of such polarizing variations in the state of the light as to cause a difference sufficient for detection.

626. Alum, transparent to the rays of light, intercepts nearly the whole of the rays of heat. Opaque black glass intercepts the rays of light entirely, those of heat but partially.

627. Rock salt, a substance analogous to alum, intercepts radiant heat only to a very small extent.

628. When the rays of the setting sun fall upon the glass of windows, we see one portion reflected with great effulgence, yet another goes through the glass. The last-mentioned portion of the rays received on a second pane are reflected, while those which were reflected will pass through another pane without reflection.

629. This may demonstrate that the conditions requisite to the permeability of media by rays is affected by diversities of intestinal arrangements which are inscrutable to us.

630. The interval between the lower boundaries of the first spiritual sphere and the second is estimated at thirty miles as a maximum, but this interval121 is represented to be less, as the spheres between which it may exist are more elevated or remote from the terrestrial centre.

631. Each sphere is divided into six “circles” or plains. More properly these may be described as concentric zones, occupying each about one-sixth of the space comprised within the boundaries of the sphere. There being six subdivisions to each of the six spheres, in all there must be thirty-six gradations.

632. These boundaries are not marked by any visible partition, but spirits have in this respect a peculiar sense, which makes them feel when they are passing the boundaries of one sphere in order to get to the next.

633. This allegation of the existence of an invisible spirit world within the clear azure space intervening between the surface of this globe and the lunar orbit may startle the reader; and yet this idea may have been presented by Scripture to the same mind, without awakening skepticism. It was urged by a spirit friend—Is it more wonderful that you should find our habitations invisible, than that we are invisible?

634. It is plain that between the lowest degrees of vice, ignorance, and folly, and the highest degrees of virtue, learning, and wisdom, there are many gradations. When we are translated to the spheres, we take a rank proportional to our merit, which seems to be there intuitively susceptible of estimation by the law above alluded to, of the grossness being greater as the character is more imperfect. Both the spirits and spheres are represented as having a gradation in constitutional refinement, so that the sphere to which a spirit belongs is intuitively manifest. Rank is determined by a sort of moral specific gravity, in which merit is inversely as weight. Another means of distinction is a circumambient halo by which every spirit is accompanied, which passes from a darkness to effulgency as the spirit belongs to a higher plane. Even mortals are alleged to be surrounded with a halo visible to spirits, although not to themselves. Intuitively, from the extent and nature of this halo, spirits perceive the sphere to which any mundane being belongs. The effulgence of the higher spirits is represented as splendid. As soon as emancipated from their corporeal tenement, spirits enter the spheres, and are entitled to a station higher in direct proportion to their morality, wisdom, knowledge, and intellectual refinement.

635. The first spiritual sphere, or the second in the whole series, is as large as all the other five above it. This is the hell or Hades of the spirit world, where all sensual, malevolent, selfish beings reside. The next sphere above this, or the third in the whole series, is the habitation of all well-meaning persons, however bigoted, fanatical, or ignorant. Here they are tolerably happy.

636. In proportion as spirits improve in purity, benevolence, and wisdom, they ascend. They may ascend as love-spirits, in consequence of the two122 first-mentioned attributes; but cannot go up on account of wisdom alone. A knave, however wise, cannot advance in the spheres. There are, in fact, two modes of ascent—love, so called, and love and wisdom united. Those who go up in love are called love-spirits; those who unite both qualifications are called wisdom-spirits. A feminine spirit, who had been remarkable for her disinterested devotion to her relatives and friends, ascended almost forthwith to the fifth sphere. My friend W. W. had an ascent equally rapid to the same sphere. Yet another spirit, who was fully as free from vice as either of those above alluded to, took many years to ascend in wisdom to the fifth sphere, not being satisfied to rise unless accompanied by the attributes of wisdom, as well as love. Spirit B. alleged that because he was a free-thinker he went up more quickly than another spirit, A. A., being questioned, admitted that B. had got on more speedily, in consequence of superior liberality.

637. Washington is in the seventh sphere.

638. In the spheres, diversity of creed has no influence, excepting so far as its adoption indicates badness of heart and narrowness of mind, and has been of a nature to injure the moral and intellectual character.

639. Degradation ensues as an inevitable consequence of vice, and as the means of reform, not as vindictive punishment. God is represented as all love, and is never named without the most zealous devotion. Spirits in any sphere can descend into any sphere below that to which they belong, but cannot ascend above this sphere. They are surrounded by a halo, which is brighter in proportion as their sphere is higher. They have an intuitive power of judging of each other and of mortals. Attachments originating in this life are strengthened, while hatred passes away. The spirits in the upper spheres have “ineffable” happiness. The sufferings of those below are negative, rather than positive. They are made to feel shame at a degradation which is rendered intuitively evident to themselves and all other spirits. But all are capable of improvement, so as to have elevation and happiness within their reach sooner or later. The higher spirits are always ready to assist sinners by kind admonition. (92.)

640. My brother alleges himself to hold the office of a teacher. By teachers, spirits fresh from this world, called the “rudimental sphere,” are examined to determine their rank.

641. Spirits are carried along with our globe by their moral affections and affinity, which upon them acts as gravitation upon material bodies. They are just where they wish themselves to be, as they move in obedience to their moral impulses or aspirations, not having a gross, material body to carry along with them.

642. Spirits of the higher spheres control more or less those below them in station, who are sent by them to impress mortals virtuously. Spirits are not allowed to interpose directly, so as to alter the course of123 events upon earth. They are not allowed to aid in any measure to obtain wealth.

643. Blessed spirits are endowed with a power competent to the gratification of every rational want. They enjoy, as I am authorized to say by the convocation of spirits to whom allusion has been made, a power like that ascribed to the genius of Aladdin’s lamp. (593.)

644. There is nothing of the nature of marketable property in the spirit world, since every inhabitant above the second sphere, or Hades, has as much as he wants, and needs no more to purchase the requisites for his enjoyment or subsistence, than we need to buy air to breathe.

645. It ought also to be explained that after spirits reach the highest plain or circle of the seventh sphere, they are represented as being entitled to enter the supernal heaven, taking place among the ministering angels of the Deity.

646. Whether the connubial tie endures or not, is optional. Hence those who have not found their matrimonial connection a source of happiness in this world, are at liberty to seek a new hymeneal union in the spirit world. Where there have been a plurality of husbands or wives, those unite who find themselves happy in doing so. But, as if to indemnify mortals for the crosses in marriage or in love, or for the dreariness of mundane celibacy, all are destined in the spheres to find a counterpart with whom they may be happy, there being peculiarly ardent pleasurable emotions attached to the connubial union in the spheres which mortals cannot understand.

647. Infants grow as they would have done upon earth, nearly. They are nursed and educated, and on account of their higher purity have, in this point of view, as much elevation as their relatives who attain great worldly pre-eminence.

648. The alleged motives for our existence in this rudimental sphere, is the necessity of contrast to enable us to appreciate the immunity from suffering of the higher spheres. Infants in this respect are at a disadvantage; but being unable to appreciate their deficiency, do not grieve therefor. “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘twere folly to be wise.”

649. Allusion has already been made to the condition of those who have departed from this world during infancy, or prior to maturity. A letter from one of my sons who died when five months old has been introduced into this work, (470.) The change which ensues on spiritual birth, has been described. (488.)

650. Among the most wonderful facts narrated by my spirit father, and sanctioned by the convocation of spirits, is the existence of a spiritual sun concentric with ours, and yet emitting independent rays for the spirit world, not for our world; while the rays of our sun do not reach the world above mentioned.

651. Further, the fact that spirits respire a vital fluid inscrutable to our124 chemists, although it coexists everywhere with oxygen, and furnishes our spirits, while encased in the flesh, with an appropriate spiritual nourishment.

652. Thus is there another world, existing concentrically and in some degree associated with ours, which is of infinitely greater importance to our enduring existence than that wherein we now abide.

653. After I had written the preceding exposition of the knowledge imparted to me of the spirit world, I solicited an intercommunion with Washington, to submit the summary for his sanction. Accordingly, he was ushered into my presence by a reliable spirit, and my exposition, and the pages contrasting the heaven of Spiritualism with that of Scripture, were read, and received his sanction under test conditions. (See Plate 4.)

654. In this, my first interview, I premised that I wished to let him know that I had always been one of his most devoted political advocates, having always styled myself a Washington Federalist, and that I had as early as 1812 embodied my sentiments in some verses. He said he was aware that such verses were written by me, but would wish me to repeat them. I obeyed his request. They are as follows:

655. Hail glorious day, which gave Washington birth,
To Columbia and liberty dear,
When a guardian angel descended on earth
To shed blessings o’er many a year.
Though heroes and statesmen, by glory enshrined,
May be seen in the temple of fame,
No hero or statesman unblemished we find,
Unless under Washington’s name.
Wealth, titles, and power, were by him ever spurn’d,
Of heroes too often the aim;
From a king or his favours indignant he turn’d,
Only feeling his country’s high claim.
To this ever true, in her trouble’s dark night,
Intent on her welfare alone,
Against her proud tyrants, he urged the dread fight,
Till lie forced them her freedom to own.
Next in France a strange demon uplifted its head,
All the nations of earth to bewray,
And into its snares would Columbia have led,
Had not Washington warn’d her to stay.
Best and wisest of men! when counsell’d by thee,
Could thy people their treasure withhold?
When ruled by another, then could they agree
To lavish their millions untold?
By Genet insulted, by slander aggrieved,
If thy wrongs unrevenged could remain,
For denouncing the men whom false he believed,
By a mob could thy Lingan be slain?
Can the voice of the country for whom he had bled,
E’er sanction a murder so base,
Or the tear-drops of millions, piously shed,
The deep stain from our annals efface?

656. As soon as the last words in the preceding verses were recited, I was thrilled by the following effusion:

657. My Friend: How my heart swells with grateful emotion, at hearing that beautiful effusion from your lips! Yes, my friend, I strove while on earth, to carry out the impressions which were made on my mind by superior intelligences, and if I failed, my countrymen will bear testimony.

658. Your noble father is a friend of mine, and I feel a love for you commensurate with his worth. He is foremost in the ranks of spiritual intelligences, and ready to act when duty calls.

659. My friend, I sympathize with you in your arduous undertaking; but let me assure you that your reward will be greater than the suffering you have endured. Yes, most nobly you have fought against error; and you will yet place the banner of freedom high upon the battlement of truth. Farewell, noble scion of a noble man!

Geo. Washington.


Apology for my change of opinion and belief in the existence and agency of Spirits.

660. I do not conceive that in my change of opinion I have been involved in any inconsistency of principle. It always appeared to me that in explaining the planetary movements, after arriving at the Newtonian boundary made by momentum and gravitation, there could be no alternative between appealing to the spiritual power of God, or resorting to atheism. An appeal to the power of God has always been my choice; nevertheless holding that wondrous power to be of a nature wholly unintelligible to finite man. (57 to 87.)

661. Confining the range of my philosophy to the laws of motion, magnificently illustrated by the innumerable solar systems, but no less operative in every minute mechanical movement, I hold that I could only come to the same conclusion as Faraday, that if tables when associated with human beings moved, it must in some way be due to those beings, since, agreeably to all experience of the laws of matter in the material world, inanimate bodies cannot originate motion. But as when the planetary motions are considered, any hypothesis fails which does not account for the rationality of the result, and therefore involves the agency not only of a powerful but a rational cause; so the manifestations of Spiritualism,126 involving both reason and power, might consistently justify me in looking for agents endowed with the reason and power manifested by the phenomena. This power being invisible and imponderable, and at the same time rational, there was no alternative but to consider it as spiritual, no less than that to which planetary motion is due. In its potentiality the power thus manifested might be extremely minute as compared with the potentiality of the Creator; still it had to be of the same spiritual nature.

662. It has not appeared unreasonable to infer that the soul in assuming the spirit form should acquire a power of which material beings are destitute, and of which they can only conceive an idea from its necessity to the operations of God. Parting with its material attributes, were the soul not to acquire others, even if it could exist, it would be perfectly helpless. Hence, in becoming an immaterial spirit, it must acquire powers indispensable and appropriate to that state of existence.

663. Since we know that the animal frame for the most part after death, on the exposure to the air, warmth, and moisture, returns to the atmosphere whence it is mainly derived, it follows that on undergoing that awful change the soul must take the spirit form, unless it perish with its material tenement. So far, then, all who believe in the immortality of the soul, must concur with spiritualists that on dying we become spirits.

664. It will then be admitted by all who believe in the immortality of the soul that, as for every mortal that dies a spirit is born, innumerable spirits must exist. Is it not then reasonable to consider them as agents in producing phenomena which can only be ascribed to invisible, imponderable, rational, and affectionate beings, especially when they themselves sanction this inference by word and deed?

665. Were a tyrant to enclose a human being while alive within a cast-iron vessel, the aperture through which the introduction should be made being closed by a stopple soldered in air-tight, all the ponderable elements of the corporeal body would be retained; but can any one who believes the soul to survive the body, think that it would remain included in that vessel so long as it should endure? Cast-iron coats itself with a carbonated peroxide, vulgarly called rust, and then undergoes no farther change; so that the corporeal elements might be retained to an infinite time. But could the soul be thus imprisoned, perhaps to eternity? Could the tyranny of a man thus imprison an immortal soul? Does it not follow that the soul would not be confined by the air-tight and apparently impenetrable metallic vessel?

Invisibility of the Soul.

666. The invisibility of the soul in leaving the body, must be admitted, since, however the dying may be surrounded by their friends and nurses, and vigilantly guarded after death by watches, as customary with many, the soul is not seen to leave the body. It must, therefore, be in127visible, and capable of permeating cast-iron or any other material within which, while alive, an immortal being might be enclosed air-tight.

On the Whereabout of Heaven.

667. The qualities of invisibility and penetrative power being necessarily conceded to the soul, is it unreasonable to extend this attribute to its habitation in the skies: to the country of spirits?

668. In communicating with a friendly spirit, I adverted to the difficulty of inducing people to conceive that in the clear azure space existing between the earth and moon, there should be scenery like ours, with plains, hills, mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, seas, and every variety of edifice in greater perfection than upon earth. “You do not see us,” said my friend; “then why should you wonder at not seeing our world?”

669. It is quite evident that no such obstacle stood in the way of belief in the existence of heaven among the Jews, as it is constantly referred to as being above; Noah’s deluge came through the windows of heaven; and this idea has been sustained in the language of Christ, as well as of the Hebrew prophets.

670. Elijah is represented as having visibly ascended to heaven. That the vicinity and invisibility of heaven are not at war with Scripture, is alleged in a recent work by the Rev. Mr. Harbaugh of the German Reformed Church, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He quotes approvingly a passage in a work, entitled “Physicial Theory of Another Life,” by Taylor, which I subjoin:

671. Taylor suggests—“That within the space occupied by the visible and ponderable universe, and on all sides of us, there is existing and moving another element, fraught with another species of life, corporeal indeed, and various in its orders, but not open to the cognízance of those who are confined to the conditions of animal organization, not to be seen nor heard, nor to be felt by man.” “Our present conjecture,” remarks the author in another place, “reaches to the extent of supposing that within the space encircled by the sidereal revolutions, there exists and moves a second universe, not less real than the one we are at present conversant with: a universe elaborate in structure, and replete with life; life agitated with momentous interests, and perhaps by frivolous interests; a universe conscious perhaps of the material spheres, or unconscious of them, and firmly believing (as we do) itself to be the only reality. Our planets in their sweep do not perforate the structure of this invisible creation; our suns do not scorch its plains: for the two collateral systems are not connected by any active affinities.”

672. This would bring “the things which are not seen,” indeed, near to and around us. To enter the other world would not be so much a removal in space, as just to be made loose from, or to become insensible to,128 the conditions of this life. Death will be only the destruction or disappearance of human and earthly affinities, and directly we shall be surrounded by affinities adapted to our new state of existence, and shall find for ourselves a congenial home in and around our present habitation.

673. Much is argued in favour of this theory. It is said in no place to interfere with Scripture, but rather to be countenanced by incidental hints and allusions. It is said to be made highly probable by the known truths of physical science. An unseen world, in all respects material, inhabited by corporeal beings, it is said, is possible. There are material elements which are not cognizable to any of our senses except by a round of research and experiment, and then only in their remote effects, as, for instance, electricity. The atmosphere also, and light, are material, and yet so subtle as almost entirely to evade our unassisted observation; and may there not be still others as yet to us unknown? We are related to, and become acquainted with, the external world by the medium of the five senses; but who will say that there are not other senses hidden in possibility in our nature which may by means of other affinities communicate with a world far more refined in its constitution, with which we cannot now come in contact? Science has discovered living animalculæ in the solidest substances; the air we breathe and the water we drink are the homes of myriads of beings, and though unseen by the naked eye, these elements are swarming with miniature life! It seems to be God’s motto, “Multum in parvo”—life in life, world in world, universe in universe! With these known facts in science before us, may we not, it is asked, consider the above theory probable?

674. It is further supposed that this invisible world around us is the after stage of the present life; and as it is a stage of being in all respects superior to this, it may be that its inhabitants have a knowledge of us, though we have not of them, just as we are acquainted with grades of animalcule life beneath us, when it can hardly be supposed that they know any thing of our existence. Hence, too, in some exceptive cases it may be possible for them to break through the veil of separation, and appear in various ways unto men on the platform of human life. Then we are indeed “surrounded by a cloud of witnesses,” who stand around, or bend over us, and look with deep interest upon the struggle of life, and when they see it unequal in the case of the saints, they break through in their ardour, and become ministering spirits to those who are heirs of eternal life.

675. It is also supposed that these beings in the world unseen may have capacities to communicate with the remotest inhabitants of God’s universe. The facilities of communication may be so great in these ethereal climes, that space is annihilated, and the different hosts of intelligences in the wide universe may commune with each other and God as one family in their “Father’s house.”


676. There is a surprising degree of coincidence between the speculations comprised in this quotation, and the accounts which I have received respecting the spirit world from some of those occupying an elevated grade therein. It has been observed above that if the soul be immortal, it cannot be imagined to remain in the grave, since the greater part of the human organization in hot weather escapes through putrefaction, as vapour or gas. Hence the endurance of the soul after death involves spiritual existence. We must, therefore, on dying, take an invisible spiritual form.

677. Believers in revelation stare incredulously when mention is made of a spirit, as if its existence were an impossibility; yet it has been shown, that according to orthodoxy, death extricating the soul from the body, it must forthwith commence its spiritual life. The existence of spirits being thus established, that they should communicate with us would be more probable than that they should not, excepting that it has not been heretofore generally known to take place. But spirits allege that the manifestations which have been taking place for some years have been the result of efforts especially made by a delegation of philanthropic spirits, to break through the partition which has so long prevented the communication to mortals of a correct knowledge of the existence of the human soul after death, and the requisites to the attainment of celestial happiness.

678. The accomplishment of this object is a step in the progressive advancement and the means of improvement possessed by the celestial world, analogous to the invention of printing or of the telegraph in the mundane sphere.

679. The management is intrusted to advanced spirits acquainted with the affairs of both worlds. Agreeably to Scripture, heaven is above, over our heads; to prevent the Tower of Babel from reaching it, a confusion of tongues was ordained. The second commandment speaks of heaven above and earth beneath. Christ “descended into hell,” according to the apostles’ creed; of course, hell is below. “Whosoever calls his brother a fool, is in danger of hell-fire.” That hell and fire should be thus associated is therefore consistent with the observations of geologists, who infer that the interior of the earth consists of ignited matter of which volcanoes are the safety-tubes, however inconsistent with reason to suppose immortal souls to be broiling therein.

680. But enlightened Christians do not, I believe, locate hell within this earth, nor call in fire to aid in their conceptions of it. Evidently, the more rational idea of the future abode of souls is that of its being above every point on the earth’s surface, and equidistant therefrom. This would involve that of a space concentric with the earth, and which falls in with the idea of that comprising the spheres of Spiritualism.

681. If we leave this earth, in order to imagine any location beyond the range of astronomical bodies, it would place the locality at a distance,130 according to Herschel, requiring nineteen hundred thousand years for souls to travel, moving with the velocity of light, two hundred thousand miles in a second. In one of my lectures, in 1842, I suggested that heaven might be situated at that central space about which all the constellations of the universe have been supposed to revolve.

682. But if we infer a general place of reception for souls, then in that celestial emporium every soul from all the myriads of planets, of all the solar systems in the universe, must congregate. Far more rational does it not seem that our heaven should be associated with our own planet, in the welfare, the past history, and future prospects of which the souls who were born upon it, must take pre-eminent interest?

683. The separation of any heaven into spheres seems inevitable, since the association of spirits according to their virtue and intellectual acquirements and capacity seems indispensable to harmony and happiness. Thus the more virtuous, wise, and cultivated spirits are, the higher their spheres of existence.

684. Let any person contemplate the information respecting the spirit world given in the preceding pages, in the communications from my spirit relations and others, and then say whether, in receiving them as true, any believer in immortality, as vaguely portrayed in the gospel, will not make a beneficial exchange.

685. How can any person become a spiritualist without forthwith finding an irresistible impulse to conduct himself in this world, so as to acquire eminence in the next? For what are we all working? is it not for happiness, “our being’s end and aim,” the difference being only in the mode by which it is sought? By some it is through the good of others as well as of themselves; yet too many seek it without regard to that portion of their fellow-creatures whom they may deem it their interest to oppress, deceive, cheat, or rob.

686. But even these will perceive how much better it will be to pursue the opposite course, since every wrong done by them here, will have to be expiated by a proportionate penance in the spirit world.

687. By every good action resulting from the wish to do as we would be done by, we advance a step higher in that heavenly stairway by which we may ultimately reach the supernal heaven, and become ministering angels of God.

688. But even during our ascending progression, we shall pass through a succession of stages wherein every intellectual, social, and amiable propensity of our nature will be gratified.

689. In justice to myself, and to give more weight to the inferences drawn from my laborious investigations, I will subjoin the correspondence between Mr. Holcomb and myself, which succeeded the receipt of the letter which has been introduced in the commencement of my narrative, (128.) So far as my judgment goes, there never was a letter written of which the131 facts or inferences are more correct; yet it appears that so late as the 8th of February I was still a doubter. The tenor of the correspondence will show that if I was conquered, I did not yield the ground undisputed, and was vanquished only by facts and reasons which, when understood or admitted, must produce in others the conviction which they created in me. If I was the victim of an intellectual epidemic, my mental constitution did not yield at once to the miasma. It took some three months to include me among its victims.

Philadelphia, January 14, 1854.

690. Dear Sir:—Your letter of the 17th of November met my eye as I was this morning looking over a file of letters. I am led to write, therefore, that in consequence of your suggestion, and those of others, I have been giving my attention to the phenomena to which you alluded. When I come to any conclusion, I will write again.

691. I still concur with Faraday, and have seen nothing to make me believe in the spiritual manifestations. Yet I am not surprised that the latter should be believed in by those who have that belief, as there are phenomena which I cannot explain yet, any more than many which I have seen resulting from jugglery. The converts are, however, such worthy persons, that I cannot bring myself to suspect them of deception. I think you must be mistaken as respects a table moving when left to itself entirely. The circumstances for producing this phenomena have been repeatedly made favourable by the mediums in my presence, but excepting in one instance, when it was within reach of the feet, no motion ensued.

692. It would, indeed, be a glorious mercy if God would give us some evidence, which should settle the religious opinions of mankind.

Robert Hare.

Southwick, Mass., Feb. 3d, 1854.

693. Dear Sir: I wish, however, to say something in regard to the subject-matter of your letter. You say you are not surprised at the belief of many in Spiritualism, as there are phenomena which you cannot explain. You also say that you think I must be mistaken “as respects a table moving when left to itself entirely.” I do not think a table would move if left to itself entirely, since matter cannot put itself into motion. The great question is, What is the power that makes the table move? You think it is muscular, and I am certain that it is something else. When I am looking at the sun in a clear sky, I know that it shines. No argument would have any influence to make me doubt the evidence of my senses. There has, no doubt, been a great deal of jugglery in the world, but shall I doubt the evidence of my senses on that account? How shall we prove any thing in a court of justice, if the evidence of our senses is not to be relied upon? While I am looking at a table, it moves, and I132 have the same evidence that no body touches it, that I have that it moves. I see the table tilt up, and poise itself on two of its four legs, and then on the other two, and finally it wholly rises from the floor, and seems to float in the air without any visible support whatever; all this time there are no persons within six feet of it. In a letter of N. P. Talmadge, published in the Tribune of May 27th last, he gives an account of his seeing tables move when nothing visible touched them. I mention him, because I suppose his character and standing would be likely to have weight with you. It would, however, be very easy to mention a very great many cases, proved by testimony that would be conclusive in any court of justice. I supposed that it was too late in the day to doubt facts of this character, as they are taking place in numerous places in this country and also in Europe. I suppose this is the reason why Faraday’s explanation has availed so little to check Spiritualism in England or France.

694. I believe Henry Gordon resides now in Philadelphia. I have no doubt you can see such things for yourself in his presence by attending a few times. Our judge of probate, who lives a few miles from me, told me a few days ago that a young lady of his acquaintance put her hands upon a table and it moved. He then took hold of the table to prevent the motion, but he had not strength to do it. The table would slide on the floor, notwithstanding his utmost efforts to prevent it. Now it is perfectly idle to say that the young lady unconsciously exerted such a power. The judge ridicules the idea of its being caused by spirits. He says that it is electricity. You are too well acquainted with the laws of electricity to believe that under such circumstances it can produce any such feats. I know of a case, in Springfield City, in which four respectable merchants, with whom I am acquainted, testify that a large table, with two of them on it, moved around the room. In that instance the medium’s hands were on the table. But who can believe that such a force could be exerted without the movers being conscious of it. There are cases enough of the same description to fill a volume.

695. There is another phase of this matter that is worthy of attention, and that is the intelligence connected with it. You mention cases where the answers were not correct. Thousands of such cases might be furnished. In the presence of some of the mediums, almost all the answers will be false; while in the presence of others, it will be very rare that a wrong answer is given. Some of the answers being wrong does not prove that there is no intelligence connected with it. In the presence of a good medium, a question asked mentally is answered as readily and as correctly as when asked vocally. I do not depend on the testimony of others for this. I have found it to be true in my own experience. In the presence of some mediums, mental questions are not answered. The foregoing are facts that are well settled if evidence can settle any thing. To say that we are dupes and fools, decides nothing. I suppose that I can examine a133 matter as carefully and intricately as most men, and I know I am not deceived about the facts. But the cause is quite another matter.

696. I suppose you are acquainted with the various and conflicting explanations that have been given. They all appear to my mind perfectly absurd and incredible, and no two of them agree. Rev. Dr. Beecher was appointed by his association to examine and report. He did so, and decides that the communications are from the spirits of the dead, but from the evil or unblest portion of them. If it is from spirits, there is as much evidence that some of them are good, as that others are evil.

697. I must close. I did not expect an answer, but was glad to hear from you, and if you make any important discovery, I should be glad to hear from you again; I am not settled in my mind respecting the cause of these strange phenomena. I agree with you heartily in your last remark in your letter, that “it would indeed be a glorious mercy if God would give us some evidence which should settle the religious opinions of mankind.”

Yours, very respectfully,
Amasa Holcomb.

In reply to the preceding, so much of a letter from the Author as relates
to Spiritualism.

Philadelphia, February 8, 1854.

698. You believe fully that tables move without contact, because you have seen them move; I am skeptical, because I have never seen them move without human contact, although I have been at several circles.

699. You have been much more lucky than I have been as to the manifestations, whether mechanical or mental.

700. I shall lose no opportunity of making further observations. I have no clue to find Gordon. You ought to give me his address, and communicate all you know respecting him.

Robt. Hare.

Southwick, February 20, 1854.

701. Dear Sir: Your letter of February 8th is before me. You did not say whether you believed in the soul’s immortality or not! This is the most important of all questions to me, and how is it to be settled? If the Bible is not to be depended upon, and we have no communications from the spirit world, what evidence have we of our immortality? I have been greatly afflicted with doubts upon this subject. It has exceeded all other afflictions that I have met with. You will of course see at once how desirous I am that these apparent communications should prove to be in reality from the spirit world, as that would settle the question. I seize upon every thing that seems to have a bearing upon the question of immortality, and I confess that I have strong hopes that Spiritualism, as it is termed, will settle this question. If it be true that there is physical force134 and intelligence, neither of which proceed from the medium, how is it to be explained? You doubt these two, but I am as well assured of them as I can be of any thing.

702. If spirits communicate, it is certain that some of them deceive. It would appear that there are all sorts of characters, the same as there are in this world. If you should become satisfied of the two facts that I mentioned, I should like to have you and other men of science try your skill at explanation.

703. I will relate what took place at the first sitting that I ever attended. It was in Boston, and I went as a perfect stranger. Before the sitting commenced, and but few had collected, a strolling musician came along and commenced playing at the door, and every tune played at the door was beaten or rapped on the table. The medium was in the room; I saw her walk up to the table and lay her hand on it, and then walk away, but it made no difference with the raps on the table; they continued, without any person near it, as long as the tunes were played at the door. When it came my turn to question, I asked, Are any of my relatives present? Ans. Yes. Will you rap at each letter of your name, if the alphabet is called over. Ans. Yes! The alphabet was called, and there was a rap at A, one at L, one at F, one at R, one at E, and one at D,—Alfred: a son that died at the age of twenty-two years. Among a great many questions, I asked, How many years since you died. Is it twelve? Is it eleven? Is it ten? Is it nine? Is it eight? Is it seven? There was a rap at seven, but I asked, Is it six? and instantly there were rapped........; the seventh was fainter. I said, He probably means that it is six and a piece, when instantly they were repeated ........; the last the faintest. The raps were equidistant, like the ticking of a clock, and about as loud. I supposed at the time that it was less than seven. After the sitting was over, and we were preparing to leave, I said, It is possible that we may have mistaken the time since my son’s death? There was instantly a loud rap on the table. I then asked, Did you mean seven? and there was instantly an affirmative. I inquired for the odd months, and the answer was four. When I got home, I found the true time was seven years, four months, and two days. These last raps were when no person was within six feet of the table. I confess myself unable to explain the foregoing without admitting that it was my son who responded. If you could have such an opportunity, and inquire for some dear friend whom you loved in life, I think you would witness what would interest you.

704. I mention the foregoing as a specimen. I have received a great many communications purporting to be both from my son and a daughter, who died at the age of eighteen, quite as remarkable as the above. Now, admitting the two facts of physical force and intelligence, I don’t know even then that spirits are the agents; but it seems probable, because I135 doubt whether any other explanation can be given, that will appear at all reasonable. It is very evident that there is an intelligence that governs the world; but if that intelligence has given us no revelation excepting what is in nature, then it appears to me that every thing that can give us any knowledge of what we are to be hereafter, is valuable beyond all price. Uncertainty upon this matter is painful, but then we know so little about the Deity, that I think there is great uncertainty in our views of what he does, either to prevent or bring to pass the good and evil that we see around us. Yours, very respectfully,

Amasa Holcomb.

Some parts of a letter to Mr. Holcomb, in reply to the parts of his letter relating to Spiritualism.

Philadelphia, February 24, 1854.

705. Dear Sir: There is a great resemblance in your sentiments, as described in your letter of the 20th, (just received,) and those which I entertain, excepting that while I am very desirous—I may say extremely desirous—to learn something which may prove another state of existence, I am not unhappy at my not being able to find out the truth. If I have less hopes, I have also less fears, than those who have heaven and hell both to encounter. I do not envy those who are placed in the situation of depending upon the estimate which may be formed of them hereafter, whether they are to be placed among the “sheep” or “the goats.”

706. It is true that the gospel holds out the idea on one hand that intense belief, called faith, will wash away sin; but on the other, it is said, that “he who knoweth his Master’s will, yet doeth it not,” shall be beaten with many stripes, while he who is ignorant of that will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with few. Under these circumstances, who can escape flagellation? Who is it that does the will of God, as enumerated by Christ? Who loves his neighbour as himself? Who presents a second cheek on receiving a blow on one? Who gives his coat, when his cloak has been taken? Who returns good for evil? Who acts as if it were as hard for a rich man to go to heaven as for a camel to get through the eye of a needle?

707. Unless our missionaries can make better Christians abroad than they leave at home, it were inhuman to add to the number, who are to be pre-eminently punished for their neglect of their Master’s will, while fully apprized of it. In many cases a pagan will be better off than his nominally Christian instructor, although he should not prove a convert to Christianity.

708. My sentiments are much like those which Socrates expressed. I hope for a future world, and therein to have a happier existence. All those reasons which have been advanced by wise and good men in favour of such futurity, operate upon my mind as upon theirs; but if there be136 no such a state of future existence, I shall never wake up to feel my disappointment. It will only be a prolongation of a state of oblivion analogous to that which we enter upon transiently, every night.

709. The incentives which have acted upon you, act also upon me, and I have seen some of the manifestations on which you rely; but not so satisfactorily. The answers which I have received have not been worthy of the other world.

710. A message from my own father, amounted to this: “Oh, my son, listen to reason;” and there it ended. Several similar nugatory sentences have been manifested through the alphabet.

711. I have, however, constructed an instrument to put the question of independency of intelligence to the test. It works independently of any control of the medium, as the letters, which must be seen to bring them correctly under the index, are concealed by a screen. (Plate I.)

712. The sentence above quoted was communicated in this way.

713. I am about, by this contrivance, to test the manifestations farther.

Robert Hare.


714. Among the best precepts afforded by the gospel is that of laying up treasure in heaven, in preference to seeking to become rich in this world. To pursue the last-mentioned course has been alleged to disqualify us more or less for entering heaven. Certainly, however, honest exertion for the acquisition of wealth is the corner-stone of human prosperity, and money seems in most instances necessary to the effectual exercise of that fellow-feeling in the cultivation of which human virtue pre-eminently consists. (See Influence of Mundane wealth on Celestial Happiness.)

715. How can a man display charity, hospitality, or contribute his means and time to objects of philanthropy, unless he beforehand lay up wealth? How could the Samaritan have assisted the traveller who had been maltreated by thieves, had he not taken care to have something beforehand, not only for himself, but for the needy? But still the precept, Lay up treasure for thyself in heaven, is precisely the course which Spiritualism indicates. Precepts may lead, but examples will draw. Those who have gone before us to eternal life, furnish us not only precepts, but examples also. They furnish exemplifications of the consequences of their conduct, if followed. With few exceptions, my intercourse has been with those only, who did lay up treasure in heaven, by doing on earth as they would have others to do unto them. Of the spirits with whom I have communicated, only two alleged or indicated that they were unhappy. Of these, I was informed, one bore an ill character upon earth.


716. Another, after having suggested to his inquiring brother some measures relating to his surviving wife’s temporal concerns, spontaneously added the following words: “I am not hapey.” The inquiry being made for the cause of his misery, the resulting reply was, “I did not do rite when I was in this world.”

717. Another admitted that he was drowned, in consequence of getting dead drunk. On being asked if he were happy, he answered, “Damned happy.” In reply to an inquiry whether he was sorry to have quitted this life, he replied in the affirmative.

718. Having evidently been a seaman, who had sailed under an officer who was present, he had preserved the usual fondness of sailors for tobacco and grog. This propensity he could not avoid displaying, notwithstanding his having passed death’s dread portal, and the obvious inutility of expressing to mortals his craving for those pernicious stimulants.

719. Thus it appears that in the spirit world one means of retribution for the indulgence of bad propensities in this life, is subjugation to their ungratified cravings.

720. Of course, the more of these a spirit carries with him, the greater is his misery; while the more he founds his happiness on the indulgence of good propensities, the greater his power and opportunities of enjoyment.

721. As an illustration of the manner in which happiness may arise from the indulgence of good propensities, one of the enjoyments of a spirit of the fifth sphere is, as I am informed, in looking after children of relatives and friends, who have not as yet followed them to the spirit world.

722. Believing in the existence of a spirit world, where there are thirty-six grades of existence, corresponding to degrees of purity and intellectual acquirement,—purity alone giving exaltation merely, while cultivation of mind secures breadth of consideration,—we have, in the first place, to adhere strictly to truth, honesty, justice, benevolence, and doing as we would be done by, to reach a sphere higher in proportion as we are more successful. Yet, among those on the same plane, superiority in mental attributes gives precedence.

723. Nothing is better known than “while precepts may lead, examples draw,” and that subjection to bad examples, even when checked by good precepts, is generally irresistible by the young. But when there are no precepts to check, but, on the contrary, ill counsel as well as bad example, few human beings, however well constituted organically, could resist the tendency of such educational evil. Let bad hereditary propensities be superadded, and what can ensue but a climax of wickedness? Manifestly, however, all this is independent of any choice on the part of the victim. A high degree of virtue may consistently be inferred to result if all these conditions be inverted, and good precepts, good examples, co-operative in improving a mind of the opposite kind, one which owes to its progenitors goodness of heart and high intellectual capacity.


724. Much stress is laid upon free-will, but is will ever free from the joint control of reason and passion? What is will, if it be not the resultant of the conflict or co-operation of these? It may be a question whether, without passions, a man would act at all; but certainly he would act like an idiot or baby, so far as his will should be entirely independent of his reason.

725. It must be conceded, then, that the prodigious diversity between virtue and vice is the consequence of contingencies, which are no more under the control of the individual affected than the colour of his hair or the number of cubits in his stature.

726. The great features of the spiritual religion are, as I understand them, as follows:—Its foundation is laid in the belief of an all-good Deity, whose power is manifested to us by the immensity, profundity, sublimity, ingenuity, and adaptation of the means to the ends in the creation ascribed to the co-operation, if not origination, of his mind. The Bible of the spiritualist is the book of nature—the only one which by inward and outward evidence can be ascribed to divine authorship.

727. In this book we read, as matters of fact, that there is an infinite series of gradation in the rank of animals, as well as variety in their dispositions and propensities. This may be seen, from the half-animal, half-vegetable known as the polypus, up to man, there being gradations not only of genera, but of species and varieties. Thus amid men there are various races, rising one above the other in development, from the Bushman, Hottentot, or lowest Negro, up to the most highly-developed race of white men. But when we have passed through the gradation of the races, we have to enter upon that of individuals, who in the same race are by diversity of organization or education, or of both, made extremely different as to intellectual, moral, and scientific pre-eminence.

728. It is difficult for human reason to reconcile with impartiality this immense diversity in the lot of the creatures of God; but that such is the law of nature is self-evident: it is an intuitive truth. To reconcile it with the all-goodness of God, we must suppose a limitation of power, and that it has been beyond his power to put created beings more nearly upon a level. But, as Seneca observes, all have received more than they had a claim for. Some may think that the parable of the hiring of labourers for a vineyard, conveys an idea like that of the Roman sage.

729. These considerations being premised, it would seem that punishment in the spirit world is only the carrying out of the same system, excepting that while the deficiencies or vices which have arisen in this world become a punishment in the next, they also operate as the means of improvement, or, to use the language of that world, of “progression.” It may be inferred that as in this world the power of the Deity, although commensurate with the all but infinite universe in which we exist, was so restricted by conditions as to induce that enormous diversity of position in139 the scale of animation which has been presented to view. Yet in the world to come these defects and vices are liable to be remedied; and, though they react upon their victim, it is with a view to his own ultimate benefit. There is not a malevolent devil to seize the poor miscreant, and, like the savage Indian, torture him with a fiend-like pleasure. He is regarded with compassion, and as soon as contrition is induced, treated with sympathy by the higher spirits, and assisted by counsel and enlightened by instruction. Unable any longer to indulge his bad propensities, the desire of rising to a higher level becomes a passion. Intellectual and social pleasures begin to be enjoyed. So long as he remains under the influence of his mundane appetites, he has to consort with spirits who are similarly actuated; they read each other’s mind, and thus are made acquainted with the deformity of their own. They eventually thus become instrumental in reciprocal correction. So soon as an aspiration for a better state is awakened, they rise to the next plane or circle above that in which they may have been existing; the only difficulty is in taking the first step. Progression grows with its growth, and strengthens with its strength, so that all beings may sooner or later attain to the highest sphere in the spirit world. It should be understood that there is no pardon for existing sin. Pardon can only exist as a consequence of reform, and in proportion thereto. (92.)

730. An assailant of Spiritualism, who not long since lectured at Sansom Street Hall, founded one of his charges on the commiseration felt by good angels for sinners, agreeably to Spiritualism. But from the examination above given respecting the origin of the difference between the virtuous and vicious, does it not appear that the fate of the latter is quite as hard as can be reconciled with justice, even under the more benign institution of Spiritualism? According to this, there exist in the spirit world six spheres, each subdivided into six circles or planes, forming together a succession of grades in which the soul finds its place according to moral and intellectual merit. The first of the spheres is throughout comparatively hideous in its aspect and disgusting in its inhabitants, who are designated by a dark halo in lieu of the effulgence which distinguishes spirits of the rest of the spheres. Moreover, this distinguishing effulgence, as well as the beauty of the spirit world, augments with the grade of the being whom it envelops, thus making a series of ranks in society founded on real nobility of head and heart. When it is considered that this immense diversity ensues mainly from contingency in organization, education, and greater or less exposure to trial, it must be clear that the difference made between the good and the bad by Spiritualism does not fall short of the degree which human reason can reconcile with justice.

731. The assailant of Spiritualism to whom allusion was made, while admitting the truth of the evidence given of communication with spirits, explained it by reference to Satan. It is remarkably inconsistent with140 this idea that this evidence is of a nature to abrogate the existence, and of course the sovereignty, of that imaginary arch-fiend. Again, it can hardly be conceived that the greater commiseration for sinners should come from a malevolent devil, and the urging for everlasting and cruel torture from a sincere disciple of the benevolent Jesus Christ. But how much, then, must it shock one who embraces these views, that in addition to the misfortune of being badly organized, badly educated, and badly tempted, the being subjected to these disadvantages is to be exposed eternally to misery, typified, if not realized, by broiling on burning brimstone! I am aware that doing away with the more horrible attributes of hell will be alleged to be subversive of one of the restraints upon criminality; but, in the first place, it is evident that a man who is restrained from crime solely by the fear of punishment is only a more prudent villain than one who is not restrained by that selfish apprehension. When a man is deterred from crime only by prudence, hope of reward, or fear of punishment, he ought not to have a higher grade in heaven than the perpetrator of the crime.

732. But, agreeably to experience, of all restraints upon crime, none are more efficacious than the fear of degradation. The lawyer who will do the bidding of a caucus (or of a powerful demagogue in the executive office) in order to get a judicial appointment, when securely seated therein, will not give a charge which will degrade him in the eyes of the legal profession, and consequently in that of society, as well as in his own estimation. The dishonest gambler, who neglects to pay his tradesman’s bill, will not fail to pay his gambling debts. The debtor who will take every advantage in getting a high price for his goods, and who will put off any other payment as long as possible, fails not to pay his note at a bank. Sovereign states, who pay no other claims, take every means to meet the interest on their funded obligations. “Failure” in the one case, in the mercantile adaptation, involves the loss of reputation for good financial faith, abroad as well as at home; but the just complaints of domestic claimants, not heard upon the exchange, are unheeded. The great object, in many cases, is not to leave the crime “undone, but to keep it unknown.” The corrupt, selfish politician, who would promote war in order to give himself an opportunity of emolument or official pre-eminence, when facing the enemy in the field of battle will nominally die for that country whose interests he has sacrificed. But not from the alleged motive will he die, but either to avoid being degraded as a coward, or for the hope of popularity which may help him to office.

733. In the spirit world, all are seen through and justly estimated, so that degradation and vice, or elevation and virtue, are inevitably associated by spiritual intuition. Yet there is, in my opinion, far more satisfactory proof of the truth of Spiritualism than of any other creed involving immortality; while, so far as adopted, it must tend to do away with priest141craft, sectarian malevolence, and religious intolerance. Man will go to the spirits of his ancestors for his religion, not to a fanatical, bigoted, or interested priest. Should spirits actually exist, as supposed, and convey the same religious knowledge all over the world, all men will agree that virtue is to be the means of salvation, not bigotry, under the name of faith.

734. It is conceived that Spiritualism has all the desirable attributes of religion, as stated in the second page of the introduction of this work. It sanctions the idea of the existence of one Supreme Being, who is represented as all love to his creatures; while his powers are made known to us by the sublimity, profundity, magnificence, and inconceivable extent of the creation which he rules. It does not represent him as selfishly creating us for the purpose of worshipping him, as capable of jealousy or implacable wrath for the result of errors which his alleged omnipotence could by a fiat correct. On the contrary, we have been created to be happy sooner or later; evil existing not through design, but in consequence of conditions which he cannot control or cure unless through the operation of general principles.

735. With a view to mutual happiness, reciprocal beneficence is enjoined. We are required to obey the precepts of acting toward others as we would have them act toward us.

736. This innate law is appealed to instinctively by any child who is oppressed by another larger than itself, and was consecrated by Confucius six hundred years before its judicious sanction by Christ.

737. Spiritualism has the merit pre-eminently not only of furnishing a knowledge of immortality beyond the grave, but a precise knowledge of the spirit world in lieu of the silence of the Pentateuch and the vagueness and inconsistency of the gospel. An effort to establish the truth of these allegations will be made under the next head.


738. On the first spiritual manifestations occurring, the great object of the mass of observers was to see the physical effects. In the next place, intellectual communications were sought, but these being obtained by a tedious process, it was deemed sufficiently interesting if a few sentences could be made out, or even one. It was, moreover, a great object with inquirers to ascertain by the interchange of language, whether the spirit of a relation or friend were really present, as alleged by the supposed spirit. Hence, the communications were very deficient as respects any information of the spirit world. It is not surprising, therefore, that prejudicial unbelievers should have taken up the idea that there is nothing inviting in the142 heaven of Spiritualism. I hope that, agreeably to the communications from the spirit world recorded in the preceding pages, there is enough to create an ardent desire to become a dweller therein.

739. But is it not unreasonable for a person to disdain a state of existence which is by the spirits themselves described as “ineffably” happy? Alluding to the progression, which is to carry spirits eventually among the ministering angels of God, I observed to my spirit friend, Dr. W. E. Channing, that I did not consider him in heaven yet. “Were you situated as I am,” said he, “you would not say that!” But let us see how far the ideas of heaven, as warranted in Scripture, are comparable with those which have been communicated by spirits.

740. In a work by the Rev. Mr. Harbaugh, of the German Reformed Church of Lancaster, Pa., a great effort is made to collect all the hints respecting heaven which have been given in the Old and New Testaments. This learned divine quotes the following paragraph from Dr. Chalmers: “The common imagination,” says Dr. Chalmers, “that we have a paradise on the other side of death, is that of a lofty aerial region, where the inmates float in ether, or are mysteriously suspended upon nothing—where all the warm and sensible accompaniments which give such an expression of strength, and life, and colouring to our present habitation, are attenuated into a sort of spiritual element; that is, meagre and imperceptible, and utterly uninviting to the eye of mortals here below; where every vestige of materialism is done away, and nothing left but unearthly scenes, that have no power of allurement, and certain unearthly ecstasies, with which it is felt impossible to sympathize.”

741. After reading and believing the representations of heaven given by the immortal inhabitants of the spirit world, who can avoid turning in disgust from the portrait thus cited by Dr. Chalmers?

742. The most favourable idea of heaven given in Scripture seems to be that which identifies it with Paradise; in other words, a most beautiful garden. But who would conceive an eternal residence in one garden, however superlative its attractions, as desirable? The idea of the spheres assumes a succession of gardens, with every pleasure, every joy of which the human heart and intellect are capable; and beyond those gardens the whole universe is open to us, and an ultimate ministration as angels under our Heavenly Father.

743. The portraiture cited by Chalmers is not approved of by the Rev. Mr. Harbaugh, but in order to confute it he does not resort to any better picture given in the Bible, but to reasoning. This shows that, learned as he is, and idolatrous as he appears in worshipping the Bible as an adequate fountain of light, he cannot get from the object of this idolatry any passage tending to prove the inconsistency of the idea quoted from Chalmers with Scripture. Were there not the greatest poverty of instruction on this all-important subject, the ideas alleged to exist as above mentioned,143 upon the high authority of Dr. Chalmers, could never have had sufficient currency to merit notice. It may be assumed that no Christians can conceive themselves to be better entitled to the joys of heaven than the twelve apostles of Christ. In order to show how far any expectations of a bliss higher than that afforded by Spiritualism could have been entertained by those disciples consistently with Scripture, I deem it in point to refer the language held to them by their Divine Master. I subjoin a few lines from Dr. Harbaugh, wherein he quotes the query put to that Master, by the twelve, and the consequent reply. Nothing can be farther from my idea of a happy state than the benefaction promised to them. The query and reply are subjoined, in order to enable the reader to judge of both:—Behold, we have left all and followed thee: what shall we have therefor? The Saviour answered the above query when made by Peter, as follows:—When the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Here is a direct answer by Christ to an inquiry respecting the nature of the reward which his disciples were to have for their merits as his faithful devotees. They are to be made severally worldly dignitaries; each is to sit on a throne, judging a tribe of Israel. That is, they are to have worldly pre-eminence, accompanied, of course, by all the vexations attendant on such stations, as well as the uncertainty and limitation arising from liability to death and disease. How weak and worldly-minded must his disciples have been, could such a prospect be alluring to them! I ask for any sectarian to say in candour, whether a governorship over one of the wealthiest States, the presidency, or any sovereignty in Christendom, would be deemed a heaven in comparison with that eternity of ineffable happiness enjoyed by the immortal spirits of the higher spheres? Yet Mr. Harbaugh, with the simplicity of blind faith, quotes this without perceiving how meagre is the gospel evidence thus afforded of the joys awaiting the faithful as a reward for their good conduct in this life.

744. The following remarks, made by Mr. Harbaugh, demonstrate how partial sectarians are in reading Scripture: “What shall we have therefor? This is a question that frequently arises in the Christian’s mind, as he endeavours to cheer his ofttimes drooping spirits with a look toward the recompense of reward. What shall we have? We have left all for thee, and by following thee we have confessed that we are pilgrims and strangers upon earth. In this world we shall have tribulation; but thou didst overcome the world; what shall those have who overcame with thee?” Harbaugh remarks: “Here then is curiosity which the Saviour himself approves, because he satisfies it. The same pious curiosity still manifests itself in the minds of God’s people in their holiest hours, and shall there be nothing revealed to satisfy them? Yes, God will approve of such inquiries, and will grant the influence of that Spirit, who leads unto all truth to all those who search the Scripture for an answer.” Drawing an144 eloquent picture of the aspirations of the soul for some realization of the vague ideas of the rewards of the faithful in a future state of existence, he exults that this curiosity, as he calls it, should be sanctioned by Christ, “who approves this curiosity because he satisfies it.” How does he satisfy it? Is it by holding up the hope of a judgeship for each? It seems it was not then foreseen that instead of performing the part of the Jewish Messiah, with which he thus identified himself, that of gathering together the chosen people of God, he was to put forth opinions which were to scatter them through the world. “Wo unto you, Chorazin,” &c., for the heinous offence of not admitting him to be both the Messiah and the Son of God. The promise of the judgeships was quite consistent with the former character, and strengthens the idea that he never pretended to any higher mission. With this the promise in question is consistent, but is wholly irreconcilable with his divinity, which would make these judgeships worse than giving a stone for bread or a serpent for a fish. In order to have bestowed these judgeships, the Roman empire must have been subverted. It seems that if (as stated by the worthy Mr. Harbaugh) the curiosity of the disciples was truly and correctly satisfied, that this satisfaction was the sum total of the heaven with which they were remunerated; since not the slightest hint is given that they were, like the penitent thief, to be with their object of devotion in paradise. It would seem, on the whole, that the rewards of the thief and the beggar Lazarus were of a more heavenly nature than those promised to the apostles, even had the latter been susceptible of realization, instead of being irreconcilable with the doom which awaited the Hebrews, and consequently a mere vox et præterea nihil. But while, in lieu of an eternal progressive happiness, Christ holds up the transient, precarious, and limited supremacy from which a truly pious and wise man would turn in disgust, when hell is to be represented, we have eternal torments typified by fire, and weeping and gnashing of teeth in utter darkness, in despite of this fire. The situation which Christ, the Son of God, was to have, was to bear manifestly a relation to that of his disciples. His situation would be somewhat analogous to that of Washington, when he was in the presidential chair, and the thirteen States were governed by as many of his faithful followers in the Revolutionary War. Yet Washington did not find his chair worth retaining longer than the good of the country made it important to remain. I am confident that neither would that great man leave his position in the seventh sphere for the presidency, nor any spirit among those who held the gubernatorial dignity, as suggested, find a governorship now a motive for leaving their bright abodes in the celestial world.

745. Dr. Harbaugh sanctions the idea that the revolutions of all the constellations with which telescopic examination has made us acquainted, may take place about a central sun, bearing the relation to other suns145 analogous to that which God has been represented to have to the other potentates; whence the title of “King of kings.” The existence, then, of a sun of suns is suggested, about which the constellations formed by inferior bodies of the same kind revolve. It would seem, then, that a more fitted allotment had been made if, enthroned by his Father’s side on that sun of suns, he had allotted to each of his disciples a constellation, than have assigned to them miserable transitory judgeships in Judea: a speck of territory, in this speck of a globe, which in a field of vision embracing the universe, would be imperceptible.

746. There being in Scripture so much more stress laid upon the torments of hell than the joys of heaven, is probably the reason why the horror of death is so great among Christians in general. Their practice in this respect is to speak of death as a great calamity. Here and there may be found a believer who is thoroughly convinced that the efficacy of his peculiar tenets, combined with the absence of criminality, and the redeeming influence of repentance, will insure him a passage to heaven; but the predominant language is to represent the death of any large number of human beings as a great calamity. Those who are exposed to danger pray most earnestly to be saved, and their death is always treated as a cause for deep regret by surviving friends. Hence the weeping, the grief, and the mourning called for by custom,—the relations and connections wearing black for months. Hence the dark hearse, the black pall, and bitter lamentation over the grave; which shows that it is not realized that death is only a glorious spiritual birth! I am confident that spiritualists will soon abandon a custom which must on their part be inconsistent; since they must look on death as no more a bereavement, than a residence in a foreign country, the means of communication being within reach, and a happy reunion foreseen.

747. When on board of a steamer under way at night, the possibility of her going down occurring to my mind, I felt cheered by the idea that I should not go down with her, but soar to the spirit world with my immortal friends, who would flock to meet my apotheosis. (Page 101.)

748. It has been urged that a most substantial idea of heaven, given in the old Bible, is that of a restoration to Paradise, of which the description gives the idea of an exquisite, beautiful garden; but Spiritualism gives the idea of garden above garden, improving in beauty with their elevation. Then there are thirty-six gradations in all, and in the five happy spheres thirty; so that there is excitement arising from well-rewarded emulation as a source of interest. Into the idea of heaven, as suggested in Scripture, intellectual ability and improvement form no part and give no superiority; whence the tendency of the more strict constructionists to turn a cold shoulder to every acquirement which is not coupled with scriptural knowledge. Neither the Athenæum, nor any library, is to be accessible on Sunday. If the time devoted at meetings and at church146 were given to the study of the real book of God, how much more learned would be those who thus employ their Sundays! It is held that the lowest and most ignorant person who is educated to believe implicitly the tenets of a sect, when he would by the same process as easily be made to believe any other tenets, is in heaven to be as high as the most enlightened as well as virtuous man, who has the only merit which can be attached to belief in a high degree—that of ardent desire for truth, and taking the pains to form an opinion for himself. Nay, the ignorant bigot is to be higher in heaven, if the free-thinker alluded to, should not agree with the ghostly adviser, of the devoted sectarian with whom he is compared.

749. The idea of living in the finest garden which imagination can conceive, without the enjoyments and progression which my father’s communication attributes to the spheres, would beget tedium rather than the ineffable happiness which my spirit friends profess to enjoy. But while one of the Jewish ideas of heaven in its best form, is thus deficient, the description given by the learned Josephus of hell is horrible in the extreme, that of heaven being disgusting. I give it as I find it quoted by the Rev. Mr. Harbaugh:

750. “Now as to Hades, wherein the souls of the righteous and unrighteous are detained, it is necessary to speak of it. Hades is a place in the world not regularly finished, a subterraneous region, wherein the light of this world does not shine; from which circumstance in this region there must be perpetual darkness. This region is allotted as a place of custody for souls, in which angels are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary punishment, agreeably to every one’s behaviour and manners.

751. “In this region there is a certain place set apart as a lake of unquenchable fire, whereinto, we suppose, no one hath hitherto been cast, but it is prepared for a day aforedetermined by God, in which one righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men; when the unjust, and those that have been disobedient to God, and have given honour to such idols as have been the vain operations of the hands of men as to God himself, shall be adjudged to this everlasting punishment, as having been the causes of defilement; while the just shall obtain an incorruptible and never-fading kingdom. These are now indeed confined in Hades, but not in the same place wherein the just are confined. For there is one descent in this region, at whose gate, we believe, there stands an archangel, with a host; which gate, when those pass through that are conducted down by the angels appointed over souls, they do not go the same way, but the just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns, sung by the angels appointed over that place, unto a region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the world, not constrained by necessity, but ever enjoying the prospect of the good things they see, and rejoicing i147n the expectation of those new enjoyments which will be peculiar to every one of them, and esteeming those things beyond what we have here; with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, nor any briers there; but the countenances of the fathers and the just, which they see always, smile upon them while they wait for the rest, and eternal new life in heaven, which is to succeed this region. This place we call the bosom of Abraham. But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand, by the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good will, but as prisoners driven by violence; to whom are sent the angels appointed over them to reproach them, and threaten them with their terrible looks, and to thrust them still downward. Now these angels that are set over these souls drag them into the neighbourhood of hell itself; who, when they are hard by it, continually hear the noise of it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapour itself; but when they have a near view of this spectacle, as of a terrible and exceeding great prospect of fire, they are struck with a fearful expectation of a future judgment, and in effect punished thereby; not only so, but when they see the place (or choir) of the fathers and of the just, even thereby are they punished, for a chaos deep and large is fixed between them, insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them cannot be admitted, nor can any one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it.”

752. So much for Josephus. Mr. Harbaugh subjoins as follows: “This extract is exceedingly interesting. It shows to what extent of distinctness the Jewish ideas of the future state had attained. The dreamlike underworld is here considerably illuminated. The righteous and the wicked are separated, and already share the first fruits of their eternal reward. The righteous are surrounded with intimations and shadowy promises of better things to come, in the expectation of which they are already happy; the wicked are surrounded with tokens and forebodings of more fearful ill, much of which they already suffer in awful expectation.

753. “Through this picture,” says our good parson, “we see in faint but terrible glimmerings, in the distance, the region of eternal fire, which awaits the wicked when the judgment-day shall remove them from Hades; on the other hand, we see also the dawning of an eternal day for the just, the rest and eternal new life which is to succeed this region. This kingdom of the dead, beyond which the thoughts of men in the early ages did not wander, is considered only as a place of detention for judgment, while the idea of a final state, both for the righteous and the wicked, is believed to exist beyond it.”

754. How can any person sincerely pretend that those who rely on a happy idea of our immortal life are indebted for it to the source from which this Hebrew Pharisee derived the impressions given in the preceding quotation? Yet the Pharisees were the only conspicuous Hebrew sect who believed in heaven. The Sadducees did not believe in immortality.


755. The history of Lazarus and the rich man, (says Harbaugh, page 168,) “plainly teaches that both the righteous and the wicked on death pass into a fixed and eternal abode, where no change is possible;” and he further states (pp. 169-70) that “the misery of the wicked commences immediately after death, and before the resurrection, and their condition is unchangeably fixed.” According to St. Luke, (chapter xvi.) in the page alluded to above by Harbaugh, we are informed that the wicked, while in the torture of hell-fire, are within the view of the righteous, (verse 23.) The righteous are near enough to converse with those in torment, and yet there is an impassable barrier between them. The rich man is not tortured for his sins, but simply because he had “enjoyed good things.” Yet Abraham, who turned his son and son’s mother out in the wilderness to starve, and twice exposed his wife to prostitution, is represented as enjoying the reward due to the righteous.

756. How little sincere, heartfelt belief there can be in the words of Christ, may be estimated from the fact that scarcely any Christian but seeks for the good things of this life, instead of qualifying themselves for heaven by undergoing the rewarded privations of a Lazarus.

757. It is utterly unintelligible to my mind why repentance and reformation should not avail after, as well as before death, as it is represented to be in the spirit world.

758. There is a coincidence between these representations of Josephus and those of the gospel, so far as that both represent the righteous as witnessing the torments of the wicked. Would not such a situation make heaven a hell to good-hearted angels?

759. According to Matthew, (chapter xxv. 24,) the blessed, after the day of judgment, are to inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. Of the joys that kingdom would afford there is no description. But, as usual, hell is made sufficiently horrible, (chapter xxv. 41,)—“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

760. In this respect, if in no other, there is an immense superiority in the conceptions of futurity given by my immortal advisers, in comparison with those attributed as above to Christ.

761. It has been urged that human conduct is so much dependent on organization, education, temptation, and example, neither of which are within the option of any soul, that the orthodox doctrine respecting sin is manifestly wrong. But admitting the culpability which that doctrine imputes, it has been shown that the gradations of sinfulness between the extremes of vice and virtue are innumerable. Suppose for each gradation a strand in a ladder, like that of which Jacob dreamed, and human souls supported severally at elevations commensurate with their respective pretensions. This adjustment being made, suppose a plane at any level to divide the vertical row into two portions, all below the plane being con149sidered as goats, all above the plane as sheep. Evidently, between the soul just above, and that just below the plane, there would be only a shade of difference; yet the one would have to go to hell, the other to heaven, eternally.

762. According to Spiritualism, on entering the spirit world each soul finds its just level by a sort of moral specific gravity, in which merit is inversely as weight. Every soul, moreover, has the privilege of reforming, and rising proportionally to the improvement thus obtained.

763. One of the most agreeable conceptions attending our future existence in the spheres, is that of being restored to the appearance of youth; the decrepitude and wrinkles of age, of disease, mutilation, deformity, ugliness, are all avoided in the spiritual body. The insane are restored to reason, the idiot gradually improved in mind.


764. There is no small degree of contradiction in Scripture respecting the locality of heaven. In addressing the thief, paradise is identified with heaven by Christ. “St. Paul is alleged to have been taken up into paradise,” says Harbaugh; yet, according to the map accompanying the work of Josephus, Paradise is represented as being upon the river Tigris, near the Persian Gulf. The idea given of the abode of Adam and Eve, in Genesis, conveys the impression that it was a terrestrial locality.

765. In the Decalogue the abbreviation of life is threatened as the punishment for not honouring parents, and God is alleged to have held out the promised land to Moses, instead of comforting him by a clairvoyant view of a place of blissful enjoyment in some celestial region.

766. Elijah was carried up to heaven in the sight of Elisha. The commandment makes heaven above, the earth beneath. Christ was seen ascending by his disciples, and according to the apostles’ creed, after descending into hell, he arose on the third day and ascended into heaven. Yet Josephus consigns both heaven and hell to a subterranean region, like the Elysian Fields and Erebus of the heathen, but places them on each side of a lake of everlasting fire. This representation is sanctioned in the allusion by Christ to Dives, Lazarus, and Abraham; the former, broiling to eternity, requests that Lazarus should get a little water to cool the tip of his tongue. This Abraham declares to be impossible. Hence it appears the parties were so near as to converse with each other, and for those who were blest to witness the sufferings of the damned. Thus, according to Christ as well as Josephus, heaven and hell are in immediate proximity, and both must be in the infernal regions.


767. The actual effects of the old Bible were to produce either unbelievers in immortality, like the Sadducees, or immoral believers, like the Pharisees, whom Christ especially denounces as vipers, and internally corrupt, like whited sepulchres holding dead men’s bones.

768. Christ never singles out the Sadducees for denunciation, but speaks of the Pharisees particularly as hypocritical and corrupt. But in what did their hypocrisy consist, if it was not in that insincerity of their professions as respects belief in futurity which was shown by their worldliness.

769. Thus the evidence of the existence of a future state was such as to produce avowed unbelievers, or professed believers whose morality was so deficient as to create an expression that they were corrupt hypocrites, as odious as vipers.

770. It is not the feebleness of the impressions respecting the existence of another world, where happiness is proportional to good conduct, that renders the existing system so inoperative in preventing those vices which it especially interdicts; as, for instance, combativeness, cupidity, and revengefulness; so that the course usually pursued by professed Christians, does not merely amount to a neglect of Christ’s precepts, but renders an adherence to them disreputable? Nothing is more degrading throughout Christendom than poverty or tame submission to blows. The last excuse Christians in general will make for any omission or deficiency is their poverty.

771. If they really believed that they would broil to eternity, like the rich man, merely for seeking the good things of this life, would the attainment of those good things be made the great object of their existence?

772. Notwithstanding the representations of Josephus, sanctioned, as above shown, by Christ, of the subterranean localization of Elysium, there seems, nevertheless, an instinctive propensity to assume that heaven is overhead. Clergymen all look upward when they address God, and the Thespian artists universally follow their example. Whenever heaven is referred to, it is customary, I believe, for all devout persons to turn their eyes in the same direction.

773. But if heaven be above, what does this term above mean? It practically designates a vertical direction relatively to this globe at any point over which a speaker who uses the word may stand. Consequently, it indicates a space overhead, having everywhere the same relative position to the terrestrial surface; in other words, a region concentric with that surface, like that within which the clouds float. This floating takes place rarely at a less distance than two, or more than six, miles.

774. The spiritual spheres are estimated, as already mentioned, as being between sixty and one hundred and twenty miles from the earth’s surface. They are, therefore, analogous in position to the region of the clouds, though at a much greater distance and vastly more capacious.


775. According to Christianity, there is no immortality for animals below the grade of humanity; but according to Spiritualism, animals that are favourites of man in this world are his companions in the next. Much stress is laid on the singing of birds in the account given of the spheres. There is a line of demarcation below which the privilege of an existence after death is not enjoyed. Respecting that boundary my information is at present incomplete.

776. In order to do justice to the excellent and learned clergyman to whom I have so often referred, I will annex the whole of those pages in which he conceives himself to give the “true doctrine” respecting heaven. However unsatisfactory it may be to me, I hope it will be found interesting to those who, like the author, look only to the Bible for information respecting their existence beyond the grave.


Respecting Heaven, according to the Rev. H. Harbaugh, Pastor of the First German Reformed Church, Lancaster, Penna.

“One gentle sigh their fetter breaks;
We scarce can say, ‘They’re gone!’
Before the willing spirit takes
Her mansion near the throne.”

777. “The different theories by which the souls of saints are supposed to be detained from entering heaven immediately at death, have now been exhibited. They have led us a long and dreary chase. The groundlessness of these theories has been, in part, shown in connection with a statement of them. They will, however, be more completely overthrown by a statement of the true doctrine, and by the arguments that may be adduced in its support. Various arguments that, in passing along, were offered against these false views, will also substantiate the true doctrine; thus the same implements that have been used to tear down the old building may be employed to erect the new. If, therefore, any thing should be presented in this section, among other things, which may seem to have been presented before, it must be remembered that though they are the same tools, they are now used to do a different kind of execution.

778. “We consider the true doctrine of God’s word on this subject to be this: The saints do immediately, at death, enter that place which is called heaven, where the body of the Saviour now is, where the divine manifestations are most clearly and gloriously made, where angels have their proper home, and where all the heirs of Christ shall finally and forevermore be assembled.

779. “That the saints pass immediately at death into heaven, is taught in the symbols in some of the most pious and learned denominations in152 the church. We grant that this does not prove it absolutely true; but it has much weight, as showing how the Scripture on this subject was understood by many pious and learned men who had the same interest in and motives for the truth as we have, and were, we may therefore suppose, just as sincerely anxious to be led into the truth as we can possibly be. The conclusions, therefore, to which they have come, and which have been adopted by their numerous successors for centuries, are valuable. Beside furnishing us with the testimony of so much learning and piety, it serves to show that this is no new idea, and that it is not the faith of a few, but is the testimony of the church.

780. “The first symbolical testimony we produce is the Heidelberg Catechism, published first in 1563. This symbol has been the embodiment of the reformed faith for more than three centuries. Its influence has been very extensively respected and felt. It has, since its publication, been translated and read in at least fourteen different languages; and it is said that half a million editions of it have been published in Germany alone. In this country it is received as a symbolic book, both in the Dutch Reformed and in the German Reformed churches. In the fifty-seventh question it is asked, What comfort is afforded to us by the doctrine of the resurrection of the body; and the answer is: ‘That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its head; but also, that my body, being raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and be made like unto the glorious body of Christ.’ Here the doctrine is plainly taught, and has been responded to with a joyful amen by millions during three hundred years.

781. “The next is from the Shorter Catechism, received as a symbolic book in the different branches of the Presbyterian communion. It is in answer to the thirty-seventh question: ‘What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death? The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.’ In the eighty-sixth question of the Larger Catechism this same doctrine is taught in more words. The following quotation is from the Westminster Confession of Faith: ‘The bodies of men, after death, return to dust and see corruption; but their souls, (which neither die nor sleep,) having an immortal substance, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies.’ The declaration that they are ‘then made perfect in holiness,’ is no doubt directly aimed against the idea of a process of purgatorial or medicinal preparation, mentioned in a previous section. The declaration that they are then ‘received into the highest heavens,’ is intended to stand in opposition to the idea of a middle abode in all its forms.


782. “The book of ‘Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church’ is silent on this subject; but, so far as I have been able to learn, the proper Protestant doctrine on this subject is held in that large communion. Their views of the nature of justification and sanctification would admit of no other to be consistently believed among them. It is believed that this is also the prevailing sentiment among Baptists, and other Congregationalists.

783. “What is here presented from symbols as the united faith of so many learned and pious men living in different ages, and in different parts of the world, is also founded on holy Scripture. By no wresting and violence has the church, in the general stream of its theological views, been turned aside from this faith. It is vain that men hope to annul, by means of violent and unnatural interpretations, the plain declarations of Scripture, to serve a theory.

‘Truth, crush’d to earth, will rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers.’

784. “The Saviour said to the penitent thief on the cross—‘To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ Now the question arises, Where and what is that paradise in which the Saviour promised the dying penitent that he should be with him that day? This can be seen by referring to other passages in the Scriptures where the word paradise is used, and where its sense cannot be mistaken. This can be seen by reference to 2 Cor. xii. There it is said that Paul was caught up into paradise; and in the same passage the place into which he was taken is called the third heaven—the highest and holiest place in the universe. In Rev. ii. 7 we are told that the tree of life stands in the midst of the paradise of God; and in Rev. xxii. 2, we are told that that same tree of life stands by the side of the river which flows from the throne of God and the Lamb. From this it is evident that paradise is the heaven where God dwells and the Lamb. Is then the middle abode, Hades, the kingdom of shades, the peculiar abode of God and the Lamb?

785. “The objection that the Saviour himself did not go to heaven that day, but was for forty days afterward on the earth, and that therefore he could not be with the penitent thief in paradise, has no force. During the three days that intervened between his death and resurrection, he could as well be in heaven as in Hades. Indeed, it is evident that he was in heaven during those three days, from what he says to his disciples shortly before his death: ‘A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.’ Moreover, his tarrying on the earth and appearing among his disciples does not conflict with the idea that he was also in paradise. When he was yet in the flesh on earth, he could say: ‘And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but that he came down from heaven, even the Son of man which154 is in heaven.’ In the same way that he was in heaven at that time, he may have been in heaven with the penitent thief during the forty days between his death and ascension.

786. “The history of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke xvi.) plainly teaches that both the righteous and the wicked, at death, pass into a fixed and eternal abode, where no change is possible. No comment on the passage is necessary. This portion of Scripture has a thousand times been tortured out of its meaning by errorists of various kinds, and as often has its testimony fallen back into the church’s healthful stream of sound views. As a sheep, carried away from the fold, returns when set free, so this passage always comes back again; for the voice of a stranger it heareth not, nor followeth!

787. “In the Revelation, John, in his vision, saw the souls of departed martyrs and saints ‘in heaven,’ ‘under the altar,’ ‘before the throne of God,’ &c., and in the company of each other, of God, of Christ, and of angels, in the central and highest heavens, and in that place where the saints go no more out forever. Let it be remembered, also, that all this is before the resurrection; and if the following passages are carefully considered, they will leave no doubt on any candid mind that the saints are, immediately after death, admitted into heaven. To quote them all would be too tedious; a reference to them is sufficient: Rev. v. 6-14; vi. 9-12; vii. 9-17; xiv. 1-6; xiv. 12, 13.

788. “For further proof still the reader is referred to Acts vii. 59; 2 Cor. v. 1-9; Phil. i. 21-24; 2 Tim. iv. 6-9; Eph. iii. 15. In this last passage, the whole family of Christ is represented to be at two places, in heaven and on earth; but according to the other theory, there ought also to be some in Hades, or the third place.

789. “It may also be remarked that the misery of the wicked commences, according to the Scripture, immediately after death, and before the resurrection, and that their condition is unchangeably fixed. This is evident from Luke xvi.; and also from that passage in Jude where he says that those who had died impenitent in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were, at the time he wrote, ‘suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.’ In like manner it is said of the righteous at death, that they are blessed ‘from henceforth;’ and of those who were clothed in white robes, having come up through great tribulation, it is said, ‘therefore are they before the throne of God.’

790. “These passages are plain, and it would, in all probability, never have been attempted to make them mean any thing different from their plain sense, were it not for some difficulties, which, it is thought, stood in the way of the doctrine that the souls of the saints pass immediately at death into heaven. Let us look at these, and see whether they are not fancied difficulties, which one glance at the truth ought to remove:

791. (1.) “It is said that the soul, in a state of separation from the155 body, cannot be in the same state, nor properly in the same place, as it will be after the resurrection; and as heaven is to be the eternal abode of the saints after the resurrection, it cannot be a proper abode for them before. This objection has, however, no force. There is, for instance, in this world, a great difference between a person in childhood and old age, yea, before he is born and after, or between his sleeping and waking state; and yet he is in all these in the same world, in the same place, and is the same person. The state and condition of the Saviour differs widely from that of any saint or angel, and yet both are in heaven. So angels and human spirits differ, and yet both are in one company and in one place. So in heaven the condition of the saints before and after the resurrection may differ much, and yet they may be, in both cases, in the same place.

792. “(2.) The saints cannot enter heaven, it is said, before they are judged; and as the day of judgment is represented to be after the resurrection, the saints cannot enter heaven until after that, and consequently not immediately at death. We may, however, consider, as is generally done, that the day of judgment is only a public and final consummation of the decision of man’s destiny. Although God can, and no doubt, does, for himself, judge and decide for each one when he dies, yet it seems necessary for the glorious praise of his justice and righteousness that all other intelligences should see the propriety of his decision. This is necessary, that every mouth may be stopped; and in order to do this he has appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained.

793. “(3.) It is also said that the condition of many is represented in that day to be undecided. Thus many are said to be disappointed; coming to be judged, they find that their expectations of heaven are vain, and they say, ‘Have we not prophesied, cast out devils, and done many wonderful works in Thy name?’ Now it is said that if these persons had been in a fixed state before, they could not have been in doubt on this matter. The force of this objection is only apparent. The representations of the judgment are after the manner of men, and consequently our conceptions of it must be more or less according to what we are accustomed to see on earth. The Saviour is warning his hearers not to delay preparation for death; and, in order to impress his solemn exhortation, tells them that many will find themselves disappointed in their expectations in reference to the final decision of their judge, and that their hopes of heaven, being built on the sand, will fail at last. It does no more exclusively refer to that day than the many warnings to prepare to meet the Son of Man refer to the time of his second coming. He is always coming, and to prepare for death is to prepare to meet him. So to find ourselves deceived at the day of death is the same as to find ourselves deceived at the day of judgment.

794. “(4.) Again, it is said that in some cases the full effects and156 consequences of persons’ actions are not fully worked out when persons die. Thus, for instance, it is known that the labours and writings of many infidels, who are long since dead, are still working for evil; and on the other hand, the labours and writings of many good men are still working out good. These consequences must, in a certain sense, come into the consideration of their punishment or reward. Hence it is thought their destiny cannot immediately be decided. But to this it may be replied that God, who judges, knows how these consequences will work themselves out, and is able, therefore, to give a just judgment as well at the day of death as at the end of the world. At the last day, when all consequences have run out their history, it will be proper that they should be exhibited in a solemn public judgment, that all may see for themselves that all his ways are just and right. Besides, there is nothing unreasonable or unscriptural in the belief that the happiness of the righteous in heaven, and the misery of the lost in hell, will increase in exact proportion as the consequences of their actions on the earth are developing themselves, until the day of judgment, when the cup will be full, and then the full draught of happiness or misery will be taken finally and forever! Oh, what a moment will that be!

795. “Some additional considerations will serve more completely still to answer these and other objections, and reconcile the serious and thoughtful mind to the idea that the souls of the saints are in heaven before the resurrection of the body.

796. “We shall only gain proper ideas in reference to this interesting subject when we have corrected our ideas of heaven, for many of them are evidently wrong. We are inclined to think of heaven as affording to the saints a fixed or stereotyped condition, without attaching to it the idea of degrees and progression. When we maintain that the saints pass immediately at death into heaven, we do not mean that they enter then upon their final condition, or into their highest state of perfection, but only that they enter into that place which is their final abode. When, for instance, a child is born into the world, it is in the world; but it is limited in its observations, actions, ideas, capacities, and enjoyments, and yet all these are in their state perfect; all its faculties occupy their place symmetrically, and we have in the child a uniform but not a perfect being. Analogous to this may be the primary stage of our future celestial history. The child is in the world before it is born and during its infantile years, but how different is it, and how different is the world to it, from what it will be when all its faculties are ripe! So in heaven. The child before self-consciousness appears to enjoy an indistinct and floating life, but happy too; so may it be with our future condition before the resurrection of the body. The condition of the disembodied spirit will, no doubt, be somewhat isolated and lonely, (in a pleasant sense,) its happiness being derived much, though not entirely, from the flow of its own harmonious existence,157 and not from its connection with things external. Its future connection with its body will arrest its floating condition, and connect it again more consciously with locality and materiality. Thus it will become more capable of social relations and joys; just as the child emerging from its floating state in infancy has its social powers developed by being furnished with self-consciousness and speech, by which it learns intelligently to separate and distinguish itself from the general mass of being, which makes its enjoyments higher in their nature and more acute and sensible in their quality.

797. “Perhaps the state of the saints previous to the resurrection of the body, and in the first stage of their future being, may be analogous to (but of course higher than) a state of ordinary sleep, with active, pleasant dreaming. In dreams, the spirit acts and enjoys, unconscious of the body; and may we not suppose that the spirit after death may, to a certain extent, act and enjoy without the body? Perhaps it may in this state pass profitably and pleasantly through the first stages of its future history. It may, so to say, become habituated to eternal things, and develop its spiritual capacities to such a degree as to be prepared, at the time of the resurrection, to enter upon a more tangible and positive state of existence. It may thus, also, become acquainted with purely spiritual beings, and with the modes of purely spiritual existence. This will be useful, because the saints after the resurrection will be required to hold communion with things material and immaterial. While the saint is in this world, in the body, he becomes conversant with material things, and habituated to them; now, in the other world, in a disembodied state, previous to the resurrection, he will become conversant with and habituated to purely spiritual existence, so that after the resurrection, when soul and body are again united, he will be able to hold converse and communion with either material or immaterial existences at pleasure.

798. “To this it may be objected that while those who lived in the early ages of the world would have a long time to remain in this state of celestial pupilage, those who live in later ages would have less, and those in the last days scarcely any.

799. “This objection, so far from militating against this idea, most beautifully illustrates and confirms it. Thus the souls of men are more developed in spiritual things now, and will be still more in future, than they were in the earlier ages of the world. Those who lived in the morning of the world had very limited and indistinct ideas of divine and eternal things. Their views of a future world, especially, were exceedingly misty and obscure. As the church advanced, life and immortality were more and more brought to light. Revelation passed from types, shadows, and ceremonies, into brighter and clearer realities; and spiritual conceptions gained a firmer and more distinct hold upon the consciousness of men. The new dispensation was an advance upon the old, as under the158 old the age of prophecy had been upon the law, and the law upon the simple twilight of the patriarchal age. In what a different light those who lived after the new dispensation dawned, stood from those under the Old Testament, is clear from what the Saviour says—‘Among those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God’ (in the new dispensation) ‘is greater than he.’

800. “At the present day, clearer views are enjoyed than were enjoyed in the early history of the Christian church. Let any one read the history of the patristic controversies, and he will see how the most learned stumbled among propositions in search of truth which are now clearly comprehended by intelligent Sabbath-school children. And so it will go on into the future. Spiritual ideas which are as giants to us, and the nature and relations of which we do not see, will be apprehended by our successors at once. Thus, under the tuition of the Spirit, revelation will show itself progressive, and new things, as well as old, in reference to the spiritual world, will be constantly and successively brought out of the treasure of God’s word, of which the divine Spirit is the commentator. How, you ask, does all this apply to the subject in hand? Thus the earlier a saint lived in this world, the longer time for this heavenly pupilage he will have in the next before the resurrection, and he needs more; the later he lived in this world, the less will he have in the other before the resurrection, and he needs less. Thus those who enjoy in this world superior advantages on account of living under the clearer dispensation of divine truth in the last ages of the church, shall not have any advantage over those who had less on account of living in the first ages, since those who had less will have longer time in the future world before the resurrection.

801. “With this idea in view, the passage in 1 Thess. iv. 15 becomes beautifully intelligible: ‘For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent’ (that is, shall not go before, anticipate, or have any advantage over) ‘those which are asleep; the dead in Christ shall RISE first: then’ (when they have risen) ‘we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord.’ Those who shall live in the last moment, having had their spirits fully enlightened and prepared for a future existence in the brightness of the latter-day glory before death, shall not ‘sleep’ at all, for there will be no necessity for it; but ‘shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.’ ‘The dead shall be raised incorruptible,’ having been prepared for their incorruptible body, but ‘we shall be changed.’ 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52.

802. “This theory may be seen in the same way to illustrate itself consistently when applied to those who are lost. Those who live last in the world, when superior light is around them, sin against greater light159 than those who lived earlier, and are therefore sooner prepared to have their doleful station fixed finally in hell, in the union of soul and body.

803. “The doctrine we present in reference to the condition of the spirits of the saints in heaven, differs from the idea of a middle state, in a third place, in several important particulars. It excludes the idea of a middle place entirely, and of course all idea of probation, which is generally attached to it in some form or other. The state of the spirit in heaven, though imperfect, being the celestial childhood of the spirit, is nevertheless final, and not probationary. Our enjoyments there will be in exact proportion to our capacity; and as fast as our spirits are unfolded, will our joys increase.

‘The more our spirits are enlarged on earth,
The deeper draughts they shall receive of heaven.’

804. “What an interesting moment to the spirit will be the moment after death! What scenes will open up before it! The friends will stand weeping over the now tenantless body, but the spirit is—oh!

‘My thoughts pursue it where it flies,
And trace its wondrous way!’

805. “The Christian need have no unpleasant anxiety about what scenes will open to him, for he knows that the glory which will then break upon his astonished spirit will exceed his keenest anticipations.”


806. The facts which I have noticed in relation to mediumship, are certainly among the most inexplicable in nature.

807. There are two modes in which spiritual manifestations are made through the influence or sub-agency of media. In the one mode, they employ the tongue to speak, the fingers to write, or hands to actuate tables or instruments for communication; in the other, they act upon ponderable matter directly, through a halo or aura appertaining to media; so that although the muscular power may be incapacitated for aiding them, they will cause a body to move, or produce raps intelligibly so as to select letters conveying their ideas, uninfluenced by those of the medium.

808. Even where they act through the muscular frame of the media, their vision may be intercepted by a screen, so that they cannot influence the selection of the letters requisite to a communication. (Plate I.)

809. Rappings or tappings are made at the distance of many feet from the medium, and ponderable bodies, such as bells, are moved or made to undergo the motion requisite to being rang.


810. It will be perceived that my spirit father, in reply to the queries put in relation to this mystery, asks, “How do you move your limbs—carry the body wheresoever it goeth? how does God cause the movements of astronomical orbs?” (457.)

811. Evidently some instrument must intervene between the divine will and the bodies actuated thereby, and in humble imitation between the human will and the limbs. Upon the viscera our will has no influence. The heart moves without the exercise of volition.

812. As there is an ethereal medium by means of which light moves through space from the remotest visible fixed star to the eye, at the rate of two hundred thousand miles per second; as through an affection of the same ether frictional electricity moves, according to Wheatstone’s estimate, with a velocity exceeding that of light,—so may we not infer that the instrument of Divine will acts with still greater velocity, and that in making man in this respect after his own image, so far as necessary to an available existence, gives him one degree of power over the same element while in the mortal state, and another higher degree of power in the spiritual state. But if there be an element through which a spirit within his mortal frame is capable of actuating that frame, may not this element of actuation be susceptible of becoming an instrument to the will of another spirit in the immortal state?

813. The aura of a medium which thus enables an immortal spirit to do within its scope things which it cannot do otherwise, appears to vary with the human being resorted to; so that only a few are so endowed with this aura as to be competent as media. Moreover, in those who are so constituted as to be competent instruments of spiritual actuation, this competency is various. There is a gradation of competency, by which the nature of the instrumentality varies from that which empowers violent loud knocking and the moving of ponderable bodies without actual contact, to the grade which confers power to make intellectual communications of the higher order without that of audible knocking. Further, the power to employ these grades of mediumship varies as the sphere of the spirit varies.

814. It has been stated that mortals have each a halo perceptible to spirits, by which they are enabled to determine the sphere to which any individual will go on passing death’s portal. Spirits cannot approach effectively a medium of a sphere much above, or below that to which they belong.

815. As media, in proportion as they are more capable of serving for the higher intellectual communication, are less capable of serving for mechanical demonstration, and as they are more capable of the latter are less competent for the former, spirits likewise have a higher or lower capacity to employ media. It has been mentioned that having made a test apparatus, my spirit sister alleged that it could not be actuated by her without assistance of spirits from a lower sphere. I inquired whether she could not meet me again, accompanied by the requisite aid. The reply was in161 the affirmative, and accordingly she met me at an appointed hour, and my apparatus was actuated effectually under test conditions. (Plate 4, dd, ii, kk.)

816. After I had read over an exposition of my information respecting the spirit world to the spirit of the illustrious Washington, I requested him to give me a confirmation while the medium should be under test conditions. (Plate 4, kk.) I placed the hand of the medium upon the board lever of the instrument, of which a representation has been given, (Plate I, Plate 4,) so as to be on the outer side of the fulcrum, and requested him to attest the reliability of the medium during the previous intercommunion. In reply it was alleged not to be within his power to give me that test; I urged that this test had been given in his presence. “We had an employee, then,” was his rejoinder. Fortunately I had contrived a test instrument requiring less of the mechanical power, so that by means of it he was enabled to perfect the evidence by bringing the index to the affirmative, under conditions which put it out of the power of the medium to produce that result. (See Plate 4 and description.)

817. These facts make the subject of mediumship a most complicated mystery; but the creation teems with mystery, so that inscrutability cannot be a ground for disbelief of any thing. The only cases wherein there is absolute incredibility, are those in which the definition of the premises contradicts those of the inferences or conclusions.

818. It is evident from the creative power which the spirits aver themselves to possess, that they exercise faculties which they do not understand. Their explanation of the mysteries of mediumship only substitutes one mystery for another.

819. If we undertake to generalize, it must come pretty near what I have said above, that spirits are endowed, as my spirit father alleges, with a “magic will,” capable of producing, as they allege, wonderful results within their own world, (452;) nevertheless that this will does not act by itself directly on mundane bodies. An intermedium is found in the halo or aura within or without certain human organizations. The halos thus existing are not all similarly endowed; some having one, some another capability. Some are better for one object, some for another object. Again, the will-power varies as the sphere of the spirits is higher or lower, so that the medium suited for one is not suited for another.

820. Thus the means by which they are capable of communicating is various, and moreover precarious, according to the health and equanimity of the mortal being under whose halo they may strive to act.

821. Evidently, the ponderable elements recognised by mundane chemists cannot contribute to any of the bodies of the spirit world, since their gravity must disqualify them for use in a world where every thing is, in comparison with them, weightless. Accordingly, one of the queries put by me to the convocation of spirits (574) was, whether any of our elements, being ponderable, could act as such in the imponderable spiritual creation.162 The reply was, Not without undergoing a transformation. This would be equivalent to annihilating them first, and recreating them afterward, when the process of creating alone would be sufficient. But manifestly it is of no importance, whether their adaptation to the spirit world be the result of creation or of transformation.

822. Concerned in the processes of mediumship, it is manifest that there is none of that kind of electricity or magnetism of which the laws and phenomena have been the subject of Faraday’s researches, and which are treated of in books, under the heads of frictional or mechanical electricity, galvanism, or electro-magnetism.

823. Frictional electricity, such as produced usually by the friction of glass in an electrical machine, or of aqueous globules generated by steam escaping from a boiler, is always to be detected by electrometers, or the spark given to a conducting body when in communication with the earth; the human knuckle, for instance. When not sufficiently accumulated to produce these evidences of its presence, it must be in a very feeble state of excitement. But even in the highest accumulation by human means, as in the discharge of a powerfully charged Leyden battery, it only acts for a time inconceivably brief, and does not move ponderable masses as they are moved in the instance of spiritual manifestation. It is only in transitu, that frictional electricity displays much power, and then its path is extremely narrow, and the duration of its influence inconceivably minute. According to Wheatstone’s experiments and calculations, it would go round the earth in the tenth part of a second.

824. How infinitely small, then, the period required to go from one side of a room to another! Besides, there are neither means of generating such electricity, nor of securing that insulation which must be an indispensable precursor of accumulation.

825. Galvanic or voltaic electricity does not act at a distance so as to produce any recognised effects, except in the case of magnetic metals, or in the state of transition produced by an electric discharge. In these phenomena the potent effects are attainable only by means of perfect insulated conductors, as we see in the telegraphic apparatus. No reaction with imperfect conducting bodies competent to toss them to and fro, or up and down, can be accomplished. The decomposing influence, called electrolytic, is only exhibited at insensible distances, within a filament of the matter affected.

826. It has appeared to me a great error on the part of spirits, as well as mortals, that they should make efforts to explain the phenomena of the spirit world by the ponderable or imponderable agents of the temporal world. The fact that the rays of our sun do not affect the spirit world, and that there is for that region an appropriate luminary whose rays we do not perceive, (415) must demonstrate that the imponderable element to which they owe their peculiar light differs from the ethereal fluid which,163 according to the undulatory theory, is the means of producing light in the terrestrial creation.

827. In one of the replies made by the convocation, (571,) the idea was sanctioned of the effulgence of the spirit being due to an appropriate ethereal fluid, analogous to that above alluded to. But it has, I think, been shown by me, that as light is due to the undulations of our ether, so electricity is due to waves of polarization. But if undulations produce light in the ether of the spiritual universe as well as in ours, why may not polarization produce in the ether of the spirit world an electricity analagous to ours? Thus, although in spiritual manifestations our electricity takes no part, their electricity may be the means by which their will is transmitted effectually in the phenomena which it controls.

828. The words magnetism and magnetic are used in this world in two different senses. In one, it signifies the magnetism of magnets or electromagnets; in the other, the animal magnetism of which the existence was suggested by Mesmer, and which is commonly called Mesmerism.

829. This mesmerical magnetism seems to be dependent rather on properties which we have as immortals, encased in a corporeal clothing, than as mortals owing our mental faculties to that frame. If it be the spiritual portion of our organization which is operative in clairvoyancy, spiritual electricity may be the intermedium both of that faculty and of mesmeric influence.

830. All spirits are clairvoyant more or less, and where this faculty is exercised, it seems to be due to an unusual ascendancy of the spiritual powers over the corporeal, so that clairvoyants possess some of the faculties which every spirit, after shuffling off the mortal coil, must possess to a greater or less extent.

831. In striving to make a test apparatus by which the communication should be uninfluenced by the muscular power of the medium, through which alone her will could modify the ideas communicated, an interesting fact was ascertained. The nullifying of the power of muscular control, which it is the object of this contrivance to accomplish, is obtained unexceptionally by means of two balls and a plate, as already illustrated, (Plate 2,) or by placing the hands of the medium exterior to the fulcrum of the lever-board, as described in the instance of testing the communication received from the convocation. But these methods requiring that the conditions should be favourable, both, as respects the spirit communicating and the medium, are liable to fail. It struck me that the distance between the hands and the surface of the table or tray to be moved, by lessening the influence of the medium on the table or tray, lessened the power of actuation. My efforts were therefore directed to contrive to have the hand of the medium near the surface to be moved, without the possibility of contact.

832. With this view I placed a board for receiving the hands of the164 medium upon delicate rollers, so that no horizontal movement would affect the base board supporting the rollers and actuating the index. To give greater efficacy to the aura, a plate of glass was supported in a wooden frame or sash by means of four screw rods fixed upright on the base board, each furnished with two screw nuts. The screw rods passed through four suitable holes, so as to have one nut beneath, the other above, the sash. Thus situated, by adjusting the nuts, the sash could be regulated to any horizontal level, so as to be near the upper surfaces of the hands without any contact therewith.

833. On trying this arrangement, it was found as difficult for a spirit to actuate it as if the glazed sash had not been employed.

834. Under these circumstances, I had the glass plate or pane slit lengthwise into two equal strips. These being restored to the position previously occupied in the sash, I interposed between their edges a piece of sheet-tin, with teeth cut in one of its edges, (Plate 4, kk,) so as to make it look like a long narrow saw, such as are used by sawyers in frames. With the aid of a leaden joint, (such as is used by glaziers to join glass panes,) to which the saw was soldered, the teeth of this projected about the eighth of an inch below the glass, so as to be near the upper surface of any hand, resting on the sliding board.

835. It was with no small degree of satisfaction that I found the apparatus now sufficiently susceptible of actuation by my spirit friends.

836. From this result it would seem that the saw-shaped metallic conductor, operated precisely as it would have acted had it been necessary to impart to the pane those means of electric discharge of which, as at first used, it was deficient.

837. As soon as I had introduced the serrated conductor, my spirit father corroborated the impression that it promoted the influence of the medium.

838. This was the first instance in which I have discovered any analogy between the laws governing the communication of the medium of the spirit will-power, and those obeyed by electrical phenomena.

839. An account is given in my narrative of an experiment in which a board, suspended at one end from a spring-balance, was made to descend with a force of three pounds, through the instrumentality of a medium who had no connection with the board, excepting water which was interposed. Hence, as the hook screwed into the board, by which it was secured to the hook of the balance, was six times as far from the fulcrum as the hands of the medium, the force exerted by the officiating spirit was equal to 3 × 6 = 18 pounds. (See Plate 3, and description.) Nevertheless, no upward reaction was perceptible to me, nor was any experienced by the medium, Henry Gordon, as he declared.

840. In the case of the boy (Plate 3,) a downward action of seven pounds was observed, which, multiplied by the difference of distance, amounted to165 7 × 6 = 42 pounds, and yet the boy was not perceptibly impelled in the opposite direction. Nor, when through the same juvenile mediumship, the whole of the apparatus was thrown upon the floor, did the boy appear to be impelled in the opposite direction. Nor was there any reaction when the apparatus was thrown down. Now, agreeably to the laws of nature, as established by human experience, in all cases of motion or momentum, there must be an equal force exercised in the opposite direction by the vis inertiæ of some other matter endowed with that attribute. Hence Archimedes said, “Give me but where to stand, and I will move the world.” A point of support, a place of resistance, however, was held to be indispensable.

841. The only explanation of which I can conceive is, that spirits, by volition, can deprive bodies of vis inertiæ, and move bodies, as they do themselves, by their will. But the necessity of the presence of a medium to the display of this power, granting its existence, is a mystery.

842. That the spirit should, by its “magic” will-power, take possession of the frame of a human being, so as to make use of its brain and nervous system, depriving its appropriate owner of control, is a wonderful fact sufficiently difficult to believe, yet, nevertheless, intelligible. The aura which surrounds a medium must be imponderable. No volition of the medium can, through its instrumentality, move ponderable bodies, nor cause raps or consequent vibrations in the wooden boards. Hence, the presence of a medium imparts power to spirits which the medium does not possess.

843. The aura on the one side, and the spirit on the other, are inert unless associated. Thus the volition of the spirit gives activity to an effluvium, by itself, so devoid of efficacy that it wholly escapes the perception of the possessor or the observation of his mundane companions. It has been already alleged, that the usual reference to mundane electricity must be wholly unsatisfactory to all acquainted with the phenomena and laws associated under that name; since no such movements have ever been produced by such electrical means, nor is it consistent with those mundane electrical laws, nor the facts which electricians have noticed, that such movements should be produced. Those movements which have been produced by electricity have never been effected without surfaces oppositely charged, nor, of course, without the means of charging them. Neither are there associated with the spiritual manifestations means at hand of creating nor of holding charges either much more minute than those which display perceptible force or cause audible sound.

844. Electro-magnetic phenomena require the use of powerful galvanic batteries or magnetic metals. Galvanic series, of the most powerful kind, do not act at the minutest distance without contact.

845. Even lightning could not move a table backward and forward, though it might shatter it into pieces, if duly interposed in a circuit.

846. Electrical sparks produce snapping sounds in the air, not knockings or rappings upon sonorous solids.



847. Allusion has been above made to the unfavourable influence upon manifestations of the demeanour and incredulity of the investigator, displayed in suspicious, cold, scrutinizing looks, such as would be merited only by a cheat or pickpocket. All this has a deteriorating influence upon mediumship, and likewise repels the spirits. While communicating through a medium, a near blood relative, much beloved by the communicating spirit while in this world, coming into the circle, an immediate departure of the spirit was the consequence. It was subsequently alleged in explanation that there existed a repulsiveness between him and the spirit, founded on the idea that his opinions were under the influence of worldly considerations, whence a predetermination to disbelieve, as far as possible, by an unfavourable view of the evidence.

848. An incredulity liable to be overcome by the reason by which it has been created does not form a bar; but where an impregnable bigotry has been introduced merely by education, so that the person under its influence would have been a Catholic, Calvinist, Unitarian, Jew, or Mohammedan by a change of parentage, cannot usually be changed by any evidence or argument. Spirits will not spend their time subjecting their manifestations to such impregnable bigotry, or to predetermined malevolence.

849. On this account such persons find it hard to obtain the manifestations which they seek with ill-will to Spiritualism, and a predisposition to ridicule and pervert it.

850. Besides this difficulty, there is no doubt a constitutional state, the inverse of that which creates a medium. The atmosphere of persons so constituted, neutralizes that of those who are endowed with that of mediumship.

851. It were impossible for any one to be more incredulous than I was when I commenced my investigations; but in the first place, my recorded religious impressions, founded on more than a half century of intense reflection, in no respect conflicted with the belief which Spiritualism required. As I said to a clergyman, I wish I knew as well what I ought to believe, as I can perceive what I ought not to believe. I was ardently desirous that the existence of a future state should be established in a way to conform to positive science, so that they might start together. This was perceived by my spirit friends, and that they had only to give me sufficient evidence of the existence of spirits and their world, to make me lay down in the cause my comparatively worthless mortal life, could I be more useful to truth in dying than in living.

852. My father and sister, brother and friend Blodget, were therefore not deterred by my sneers or denunciations. Moreover, I was never pre167disposed to suspect any medium of treachery, and therefore never disgusted them by the display of any such impressions. To the aid of these truly angelic spirits who were nearly allied with me, came another angel, (whom I will designate by his initials W. W.,) who, from philanthropic motives, seems to have selected me to serve in this invaluable dispensation. Hence, his first annunciation of my destined course, in language which so far, however it may imply an overestimate of my capacity to serve, shows the more the partiality with which it seems to have been estimated by him. (47.)

The Author’s Discovery of his powers as a Medium.

853. It occurred to me to try how far the interposition of my hand would interfere with the powers of the medium to whom I resorted. To my surprise, it seemed very little to impair the actuation of the index by the officiating spirit. It next occurred to me to ascertain how far a diminution of contact, between the hand of the medium and mine, would impair the power exercised under these conditions. In pursuance of my request, the contact was diminished by successively lifting the fingers of the medium and the rest of the hand from mine, until only one finger was left. Finally, this finger was removed, and yet the power of actuation still continued to exist, though enfeebled. The officiating spirit, my friend W. W., now was made a party to this investigation, being requested to estimate the effects as well as myself.

854. I requested the medium to pick up a pair of scissors which lay on the table, and, while holding the blades between the finger and thumb, to lay the rings upon the back of my hand. An increase of power was manifested to my observation and that of W. W.

855. At a subsequent sitting, having made due preparation, a strip of sheet tin about two inches wide, and about fifteen inches in length, being applied to the back of my hand while resting on the base board of the spiritoscope, (Plate 4, Fig. 2,) the medium held it successively at various distances. Under these circumstances, the facilitation was greater as the distance between her hand and mine was diminished.

856. A plate of glass of about four inches square, interposed between the palm of the hand of the medium and the back of mine, interrupted the power entirely; but neither cork nor a metallic plate of a similar size much reduced the power.

857. The frame (Fig. 3, Plate 4) being in situ, as described, paragraph kk of the description, under these circumstances the removal of the serrated strips diminished the power more and more as removed.

858. Thus it appears that there is a mesmeric electricity, or spiritual electricity, which may be considered as appropriate to the spirit world as their vital air is; but which like that air, may influence our spiritual bodies while in their mundane tenement. It may, as well as the vital air of the spirit world, belong in common to the inhabitants of that world and to us168 as spirits, being a polarizing affection of the spiritual ethereal medium, of which the undulations constitute the peculiar rays of their spiritual sun.

859. That this spiritual or mesmeric electricity should be auxiliary to the efficacy of the magic will-power, of spirits, is of course one of those mysteries which, like that of gravitation, may be ascertained to prevail, and yet be to spirits as well as mortals inexplicable.

860. We live in a wonder-working universe, which becomes more and more wonderful as we learn more of it, instead of being brought more within our comprehension. When we compare what we know with the knowledge of savages, it may appear a mountain of learning and science; but this very learning and science only makes us see still more how great is our ignorance!


861. This, for the third time, brings under discussion the report of Dr. Bell, of Somerville, near Boston, on spiritual manifestations.

862. It is not in reference to this distinguished physician in his individual capacity that I name him thus often, but in reference to the hypothesis which his allegations must oblige him to sustain, and of which he may be considered a most respectable advocate. Dr. Bell not only admits, but confirms by his own testimony, the important fact of the movement of heavy bodies without contact. His experience, in this respect, is more striking than mine, since he has not only seen this phenomena take place repeatedly, but on one occasion, as before stated, saw tables move fifty feet, intelligently obedient to his directions. He also admits the reception of such communications from pretended spirits, as spiritualists would consider as coming from real spirits. Yet on the negative ground, that agreeably to his experience, nothing was found to be communicable but what pre-existed in the mind of some mortal present, he infers that the ideas received are not derived from spirits, but from the minds of those mortals who are parties to the process.

863. Of course our distinguished friend thus involves himself in the task of explaining not only the intellectual, but also the mechanical movements, by the mental agency of the media who participate in the conditions under which the manifestations occur.

864. I have already adduced manifestations irreconcilable with the assumption on which the whole of Dr. Bell’s inference is built, (111 to 288.) But were his observations verified, in order to make them justify the abnegation of spirits, it should be shown that any spirit could tell him any thing which must be known to him, whether known to the spirits or not.169 Remembering all the facts communicated to him by his spirit brother, it should be shown that any other spirit could narrate them as well as his spirit brother. Any inquiry made of any spirit, of which the answer is known to the inquirer, should be told on request as well as any other; but it will be found that answers are given only to those of which the spirit knows the answers independently, through his own memory. Under favourable circumstances mental questions are answered; but often, when mental questions cannot be answered, those put verbally are replied to. I have detected spirit impostors, by their inability to tell the name of my sister in the spheres.

865. I postponed the discussion on this question until I should have submitted to the reader the communications which I had received. I trust that these are of a nature to show that they could not have originated in my mind, nor in those of the media through whom they were obtained.

866. Whatever want of ability may be shown, by Dr. Bell, to exist in the communications alleged to come from Paine, Swedenborg, and Bacon, or from spirits personating those distinguished men, it cannot do away the valuable information which I have obtained from my spirit father and others, sanctioned by a convocation of spirits. It has been shown that in a few pages of that communication, there is vastly more knowledge of our happy prospects in the future world, than all that can be found in the Scriptures.

867. Dr. Bell will not, I am sure, suspect me of any want of truthfulness, and will hardly flatter the media and myself with an unconscious origination of ideas, which had never before occurred to either.

868. If he finds that in the case of Swedenborg and Bacon the spirits are below their medial instruments in capacity, he will find that in the instance of my spirit friends this estimate must be inverted.

869. My experience does not tend to establish that there is less folly or more wisdom in the inhabitants of the spirit world than in this. I concur with Dr. Bell in the opinion that the work to which he alludes, attributed to the spirit of Paine, merits all the denunciation which he bestows on it. I concur that it must be the work of a mind, whether celestial or mundane, ignorant of the rudiments of chemical philosophy. But if such a work coming from a mortal would not disprove the author’s claim to be a mortal human being, wherefore then should a foolish book coming from a foolish, ignorant spirit, personating Paine, disprove the author to be a spirit? It only shows that low, ignorant, foolish spirits personate the spirits of eminent authors; but does that disprove the existence of spirits? Does madness or idiocy annihilate the victim of these afflictions? But in all cases where communications are obtained through speaking or writing media, the minds of the media are liable, unconsciously, to pervert or repress the sentiments of the spirits, and therefore are not trusted by me, unless corroborated by communications through the alphabet.


870. By their existence in the spheres, it seems to me that spirits improve as to their talents, not as to their reasoning powers. They have a superior knowledge to that which we possess of their own world, but not of our sciences, as far as I have had means of judging. Having no great objects to effect, they have no great incentive to thought or contrivance. It is by learning, more than by invention, that they rise in the spheres.

871. These inferences are not, however, admitted by the spirits. They allege that as their medial instruments improve, they will give me reason to change my opinion. They assume to go deeper and farther into the nature of things than mortals.

872. To me it seems that their happiness is due in part to self-felicitation and seeing every thing under a rosy hue. They often advert to the superior height upon which they stand, without showing that they see more in consequence.

873. So far as I can judge, in some branches of knowledge, the spirits will improve by discussion with mortals. They will be cured of some of their “sky scraping!”

874. They seem to be mainly improved by their reciprocal intercourse. Thus honest bigots of all sects, find when they get together that in point of fact none of their records are true!

875. It is by getting rid of error, more than acquiring knowledge, that they rise in reciprocal estimation.

876. Very soon after my father began to communicate with me, nearly fourteen months ago, he said—“We know little more in religion than you.”

877. They all agree that good works are solely of importance, creeds only being good or bad as they induce good or bad deeds.

878. A good man cannot accept a creed which sanctions wickedness; that, for instance, which authorizes, under certain sophistical pretences, spoliation, massacre, rape, fraud, &c. Whenever any man brings himself to believe that his God ever authorized such crimes, or patronized those who were guilty of them, he becomes more or less immoral. Dr. Berg truly alleged that “a devotee is assimilated to the God whom he worships.”

879. To assist me, as it were, in exposing the errors of those who with Dr. Bell admit, for the most part, the facts of Spiritualism, yet ascribe the whole to the minds of mortals acting as media or inquirers, an advocate of that side of the question gives this explanation of the fact of my having sent a message to Mrs. Gourlay by my spirit sister:

880. He alleged it as a fact, that if two snails be placed in proximity, and afterward apart to a considerable distance, that the contact of one, will affect the other perceptibly.

881. That Mrs. Gourlay and myself being frequently in each other’s society, it followed that if at the distance of about a hundred miles I wished her to induce Dr. Gourlay to apply at the bank, Mrs. Gourlay, although at the time engaged in receiving a most interesting communication from171 her mother for her brother, had so much more snail-like sympathy, with me at Cape Island, than with the ideas she believed to proceed from her mother, that she would interrupt the one forthwith, to attend to the other at that particularly inconvenient time! Meanwhile, the phenomenon of the index of my disk being moved independently of any effort of mine, so that I can make oath that no mortal moved it, is not taken into view. Surely if by such means a message respecting a pecuniary affair could awaken sympathy, there are many messages which it would be of immensely more importance to convey, than that which I sent in the instance in question.

882. But how comes it that neither I nor any other of her friends can send messages to Mrs. Gourlay while in the same city with her? Must her friends go to Cape Island for the purpose? Will this erudite and ingenious psychologist inform me by what means I may bring about this object, which, on business account, would be more convenient than sending notes by penny post?

883. Am I to go through the same process of sitting down at my spiritoscope? Will this learned assailant of Spiritualism inform me why I must do this, and must wait till the index moves? Wherefore should it move after a quarter of an hour’s invocation, when it will not move at first?

884. Again, I wish the circumstance I am about to mention to be explained by psychology: I was sitting in my solitary third-story room at Cape Island, invoking my sister as usual, when to my surprise I saw Cadwallader spelt out on my disk. “My old friend, General Cadwallader?” said I. “Yes.” A communication ensued of much interest. But before concluding, I requested him, as a test, to give me the name of a person whom I met in an affair of honour more than fifty years ago, when he (General Cadwallader) was my second. The name was forthwith given, by the pointing out on the disk the letters requisite to spell it.

885. Now as the spirit of General Cadwallader, during more than fifteen months that other friends had sought to communicate with me, had never made me a visit, why should his name have been spelt out when I had not the remotest hope of his coming, and was expecting another spirit, the only one who had been with me at the Cape?

886. Further, the breakfast bell having rung, I said, “General, will you come again after breakfast?” I understood him to consent to this invitation. Accordingly, when afterward I reseated myself in statu quo, I looked for the General, but, lo! Martha, my sister’s name, was spelt out!

887. I challenge this psychologist to put his hypothesis on paper, in order that I may psychologize him into a more consistent assumption of premises and conclusions.

888. Let him show his hand by reducing his sophistry, as I conscientiously consider it, to black and white. He may learn the difference between talent and judgment. I am aware that he shows a vast deal more of the172 appropriate ability of his profession in defending the view he has espoused, than I could hope to exert. It is only in the strength of truth that I feel strong. “Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just.”

889. It is of no small importance that this learned and subtle psychologist, should explain how my spiritoscope, or any other instrumental means of alphabetic indication, becomes necessary to effect the psychologization of a medium at a great distance, so as to convey to her mind the ideas which it is an object to impart. Why is it necessary that the index over a disk at Cape May, should revolve to the letters requisite to spell a message, in order that the index of another disk in Philadelphia, should revolve at a subsequent time? How does the mechanism in one place, acquire a power from the remote actuation of another? Will it be pretended that they are affected analogously to the sympathetic snails; whence, having kept each other’s company, this miracle ensued? But even this is not true, since they were not kept together, if ever they were in each other’s company.

890. Could any process be divined by which an instrument for supposed alphabetic communication with spirits, could be applied to transmit such messages as that for which I employed mine, according to this psychological hypothesis, it would be superior to the existing telegraphic process, since the ocean could be no barrier to messages which, although dependent on snail-like sympathy, would have nothing in it of the proverbial creeping attribute of the animal in question.

891. The following manifestations are of a nature, as it seems to me, to invalidate Dr. Bell’s notion that the communications received from the spirit are acquired from the minds of the bystanders:

892. Calling on Miss Ellis, it was found that her time was so pre-engaged, that she could not, as she said, sit for me till the day but one succeeding. My spirit sister manifested her desire to communicate, and conveyed the idea that Miss Ellis could give an hour named next day, if she would examine her list. This examination being made, the suggestion was verified.

893. Here was an idea not obtained from the mind of any person present. It could not exist in the minds of those who, like my friend and myself, had not seen the list, nor could it have been in Miss Ellis’s mind, as in that case she would not have had to consult the list, in order to determine the truth of the suggestion.

894. In this visit, Dr. W. F. Channing, who was my companion, said that possibly he had better not accompany me. It was left to my spirit sister to decide. No instrument being ready, as the quickest mode of communication, the medium was made to take up her pen, and began forthwith to make figures upon a sheet of paper. When the operation terminated, nothing but figures were seen to have been written. The medium said she did not know what to make of it. But under the letters it was written, “Select, from the alphabet, the letters corresponding, and you have173 my answer.” This being done, the following sentence was obtained: “My dear brother, come alone.

895. It cannot be reasonably imagined that either Miss Ellis, my friend, or myself suggested this reply, as my friend and myself regretted the result, and it was not the interest of Miss Ellis to lessen the circle. But none of us had the ability to have perceived the numbers indicating the relative position of letters in the alphabetic row, so as to have selected them correctly. It would take some time to associate the letters with the numbers duly, and an unusual strength of memory to recollect them.


896. In his instructive work on Spiritualism, the idea is advanced by Capron, that the species of modern spirit communication, of which his book mainly treats, dates back to a period of history so early that no age or country is exempt from accounts of them.

897. To me it seems that I have never read any thing in history in which intellectual communication was established by sounds or mechanical movements with invisible beings. Sight has almost always been the sense most appealed to in evidence of the appearance of ghosts. In the instance of the Witch of Endor, Samuel is made to come from his grave, not like one of our happy spirits from his beautiful abode in the spirit world:—

“Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce174 wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover, the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Sam. xxviii. 11-19.

898. It is represented in this quotation, that the ghost of Samuel came and conversed with Saul; that he “ascendeth out of the earth; an old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle.” Where is there any thing in common between this representation and the process by which I communicate with my familiar spirits,—not coming up from the grave, or the disgusting heaven of Josephus, but from their magical abodes in the skies! I challenge any one to adduce the idea, as having ever been expressed, that any one had found any mode of conversing with spirits resembling in its operation that which we now have discovered. This seems to be as new to the spirits as to us, being as much a novelty as the electric telegraph. The very limited degree in which it has been recently accomplished has been attained with very great difficulty. It appears that efforts were made to establish this intercourse in England at the mansion of the celebrated Wesley, without any beneficial result. If ever this art had been discovered, certainly it would not have been lost. Even the idea of rapping or knocking independently of mortal agency, had the fact ever been established, could not have been held so incredible as it was, almost universally, when it took place at Hydesville, or in Great Britain, as above mentioned.

899. The learned Dr. Priestley, utterly incredulous that the rappings at Wesley’s could be ascribed to any supermundane agency, attributes it to some trick on the part of servants, assisted by neighbours. It appears that in general the most scientific and well-read persons are the most backward in ascribing such phenomena to invisible spirits. If, therefore, during past ages such inscrutable noises and movements of bodies had occurred, resembling those recently noticed, still no such use had been made of them as we now behold. Such manifestations being once so far demonstrated as to induce people of sound mind to unite in referring them to the immortal spirits of departed friends, is a fact of such awful, thrilling interest, that it never could have become obsolete; especially as the same state of things which permitted it once to be successfully witnessed, would have led to its reiteration. Neither the spirits nor mortals had laid it aside, any more than the telegraph or the railways will be disused, after experiencing the advantages of those inventions.

900. Is there not as much reason for the lateness of this discovery, as for that of any of those inventions by which modern times are distinguished from ancient? Even now, with what difficulty has it been accomplished to the degree to which it has arrived. After eighteen months of laborious175 investigation, I find myself surrounded by inveterate skeptics among my own family friends and most of my comrades in science.

901. There is scarcely a country besides this in which I should escape legal penalties or tyrannical restraint, in expressing the opinions which I most devoutly entertain, and am impelled irresistibly to express; and, although in this country, free from legal penalties, there is scarcely an orthodox female tongue belonging to some of the best of the sex (in all other respects amiable) which will not devote itself universally in the service of bigotry and intolerance.

902. But beside the arguments thus founded, there is another, resting on the fact that had there been any intellectual communication with the spirit world, there could not have been such an ignorance of the religious doctrines which there prevail. There is in that world no diversity as respects the existence and unity of God; nor as to the unimportance of those creeds which have caused in this world so much mischief, by the consequent animosity, persecutions, and warfare. The superior efficacy of good works over creeds is by the higher spirits invariably insisted upon.

903. Then, agreeably to the same authority, the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, and prescient God being under the necessity of subjecting things to trial, is considered as involving a contradiction; the premises being irreconcilable with the conclusion. There is not an elevated spirit that will not answer in the affirmative, every query proposed in the verses inserted, (page 34.)

904. There is but one sentiment as respects the question between probation and progression, and that is in favour of the latter. “Onward and upward is the motto on our spiritual banner.” Such is the language held, and repeated over and over again. It would not take a quarter of an hour for a spirit to pour information into the ear of a mortal which, if credited, would put an end to all honest discord respecting religion, and induce that mortal thenceforth to look to the spirit world as his ultimate destination. The language of the paragraph in the address through Lanning, would go home to every human mortal having reason to comprehend it, so that whatever they might pursue in this world would be with an ultimate view to ascendancy in the other. (See Preface.)

905. Bigotry, fanaticism, selfish sectarianism, the want of media and bold, enlightened investigators, seem to have formed impenetrable obstacles to the promulgation of a knowledge of the greatest importance to human prosperity, morals, and future happiness. No doubt that so much evil should arise merely from want of a knowledge so near at hand, is one of the facts which human reason finds it most difficult to reconcile with the power and goodness of the Almighty Ruler of the universe; but that is a difficulty which exists in case any one creed be assumed as true; since none has been heretofore so communicated as to be within the reach of mankind in general. Meanwhile the error has originated in various sects, that they176 have been especially favoured by God, so that they alone of all his creatures have had true light let in upon them.

906. Happily, from the mode in which the light of Spiritualism has been received by its present votaries, it may be gradually extended to all their fellow-creatures; and meanwhile those who enjoy this light do not assume that their fellow-creatures who are in this respect less fortunate, are on that account to be censured, denounced, and persecuted as far as the power to persecute goes. Spiritualists believe the wonderful manifestations on which their creed rests, to have far more testimony in its favour than any other before accredited; and that the manifestations relied on being more recent, and observed by multitudes of eye-witnesses, known by their neighbours to be truthful, have, as mere hearsay proof, an immense superiority over the recorded tradition of an obscure, illiterate, superstitious age and country. But then the same privilege which has been enjoyed by one set of observers belongs to any succeeding number, and no less to succeeding ages than to this. It is not assumed that any special inspiration appertains to any existing being, as an instrument of promoting truth, that will not inure to others. No particular exclusive capacity for miracles is claimed for this age; on the contrary, the belief is that in this, as in other things, there will be improvement and progression, and that posterity will learn directly from the same high angelic source whence we learn.

907. The more the moral code of Spiritualism is contrasted with that which has heretofore prevailed, the better we shall be pleased. We challenge the strongest, the most learned of those who adhere to that dispensation, to meet us ore rotundo seu currente calamo. Confident in the strength of truth and the feebleness of error, the writer of these lines fears not any competitor who makes error his client.


According to the Spiritual Code, riches elevate or degrade according to the virtue displayed in their acquisition and employment.

908. The great object of the more prudent and calculating portion of mankind, is to provide for that old age which they all hope to attain, or, if it be not reached, to provide the means for themselves or families which may insure a comfortable if not luxurious support, in case sickness or mutilation should deprive them of the power of making money, or competency to earn wages.

909. But how precarious and fleeting are any such worldly advantages, when compared with those of an eternal home, where every thing desirable may be had without causing a drop of sweat to fall from the brow! Let177 the description of the higher spheres be compared with any earthly paradise, which, besides inferiority in every attribute which can render it attractive, is open to all the ills of mental and bodily suffering to which flesh is heir. If there be any objection to the consequences of a due appreciation of the bliss which we may expect in the spirit world, it would seem to be founded on its tendency so to enfeeble our interest in this world, as to deter the human efforts on which this sphere is, under God’s laws, mainly dependent for improvement. But then, as a matter of principle, in order to merit elevation in the spirit world, exertion may be induced in this; and exertion thus originating, can never be perverted to the perpetuation of those wrongs now so often forming the steps to human aggrandizement. The subjugation, the pillage, and extirpation of mankind, will never be induced by considerations founded on the desire to accumulate treasure in heaven.

910. There is hardly in respect to any subject, more error than in the estimate made of persons who strive to acquire wealth. The question lies not in the zeal with which it may be sought, but in the object for which it is desired. Although the maxim that the end justifies the means, be immoral when extended so far as to palliate any dereliction of the cardinal virtues, does it not hold good so long as the means employed are consistent with these virtues? Is it not charitable honestly to seek the pecuniary means of being charitable? Is it not liberal to seek the means wherewith to be liberal? Hospitable, to seek the means to support hospitality? Is it not the duty of each man to promote the welfare of his wife and children, by seeking the means wherewith to house, clothe, and feed them, and, moreover, to educate them intellectually as well as morally? Since, when destitute of education, a man is little above a brute, surely it must be meritorious to seek the means of educational improvement, both for ourselves and for those by whom we are surrounded; but more especially for those who are so dependent on us, that it can only through us be attained.

911. That part of the Lord’s prayer which deprecates temptation, is perhaps of pre-eminent importance; since where there is one man who goes through the world honestly by resisting temptation, there are hundreds who preserve their honesty by avoiding temptation: by so providing pecuniary means in due time, as not to be placed between the alternative of starving, begging, cheating, or stealing.

912. In our republic it will be found that while the acquisition of wealth enables one individual to raise his family by educational superiority, the offspring of another, by the loss of fortune, sink into the mass of illiterate labourers; so that there is a perpetual undulation by the educational influence of money. Though public schools may extend the advantages of education to the poor, yet want drives the educated youth to loathsome drudgery, made more painful by the enlargement of his views resulting from education.


913. To the consequence of hereditary noblemen hereditary wealth is essential, having vastly more influence than titles. In those countries where titles exist without associated wealth, they have scarcely any weight. However incompetent money may be to give importance to an uneducated commoner, a cotton-spinner, by educating his son and giving him his fortune, may prepare him to sway an empire; when, had his father been a pauper, the premier might have lived among those so eloquently described by Shakspeare’s Henry the Fourth, as upon “uneasy pallets stretching them.” How different from those perfumed chambers and canopies of costly state, to which this spinner’s boy was actually enabled to climb through the education and position resulting from paternal affluence!

914. Civilization elevates those who have the advantages of education, and who are either professionally employed in intellectual pursuits, or have leisure to cultivate science and literature from taste. But the same division of human labour and enterprise which gives intellectual pursuits to a few as a profession, gives to the mass occupations inconsistent with the cultivation of their intellectual powers. Those who are engaged in the humblest species of industry, living from hand to mouth, have little or no time to spare from that which their necessities imperatively require; and the bodily fatigue incurred during working hours, makes repose from all exertion the primary object.

915. But the situation of the poor, ignorant, and uneducated labourer in civilized society, is rendered worse than that of an equally ignorant and uneducated barbarian, by contrast with his educated neighbours. The lowest savage has as much scholastic education as his chief, while the civilized labourer may be in the rear of an educated child of five years of age. Thus the absolute evil is made relatively still greater. When any man reflects on these facts, can he be otherwise than anxious for those means which are necessary to put his offspring upon a par in learning with those of others in the same community?

916. Early in life, it is manifest to every one who does not enjoy pecuniary affluence, that any species of indulgence which he may desire requires money for its attainment. Even the command of leisure for any enjoyment requires money, since, if obliged to work to earn his bread, a man may not have leisure for any other object.

917. Among the most rational motives for the pursuit of wealth is the love of independence. “Thy spirit, Independence, let me share—lord of the lion heart and eagle eye!” In this sentiment every noble soul must participate. How many have had, like the apothecary in Shakspeare’s tragedy, to allow their poverty to rule, instead of honest will! How many have been induced to “earn their daily bread by their daily shame!”

918. Prudent, thoughtful, honest men, who do not choose to live houseless, without clothes, nor upon the sweat of other men’s brows, turn from the paths of amusement, of sensual enjoyment, from the love of literature179 or science, or from the observation and investigation of nature’s beauties and miracles, in order to get, through wealth, the power, and honest right to indulge. But while pursuing this great object, in the first instance only as the means of attaining other objects, good or bad, they grow old in the chase; their passions burn out, while avarice originates as it were from their ashes, not, phœnix-like, to replace one parental being, but a horrid monster, having nothing in common with a plurality of progenitors, but the selfish, ardent love of money, unmitigated by any redeeming aspiration. A being so actuated—or, in other words, a miser—would certainly find it as difficult to reach a higher sphere in the spirit world, as it were for a camel to get through the needle’s eye.

919. As swine accumulate fat to bequeath to those to whom they leave their carcasses, so the avaricious accumulate wealth, to hoard until it can no longer be retained. They die with an immense amount of negative sin; since all their omissions to do good, which is within their power, is carried to their debit in the spirit world. Their poverty in the spirit world will be proportioned to their ill-used wealth in this temporal abode.

920. When this is well brought home to mankind, there will be less avarice, and fewer of those crimes which arise from selfish cupidity, or ambition.


921. The following is a narrative of the circumstances which led to the conversion to a belief in Spiritualism, of my esteemed friend, Mrs. M. B. Gourlay, through whose high attributes as an intellectual medium, I am in a great measure indebted for my conversion. I do most devoutly believe that the information received from my spirit father, through her mediumship, would, if duly credited, be of more value to true religion and morality, than the forty millions of dollars annually expended upon the Church of England.

Philadelphia, May 20, 1855.

To Professor Robert Hare:

922. My Dear Sir: Pursuant to your request, I have the pleasure to present you the following particulars of my experience and observation in relation to the phenomena of spiritual intercourse,—phenomena which engage, at the present time, the serious and profound attention of thousands of intelligent minds; manifestations that are rapidly and steadily spreading their influence over the entire continent, and carrying with them the evidence of their spiritual origin, while impressing receptive minds with the truth of their sacred importance to an extent unexampled in the history of any other movement.


923. My attention was attracted to the phenomena in question, about five years since, by reading sundry reports in the New York Tribune, of certain mysterious sounds which had occurred in the city of Rochester, and purported to have been made by the spirits of the departed.

924. I regarded the subject at first with great distrust, supposing it a mere imposition on the credulity of the public, and considered it entirely unworthy of serious thought.

925. Finding, however, that it was eliciting considerable notice, and knowing that facts are sometimes stranger than fiction, I deemed it consonant with reason to suspend my judgment till more conversant with the facts.

926. Having been admonished by a much-loved, intelligent, and, I would add, practical Christian mother to worship at the altar of truth, while exercising my reason on all subjects presented to my mind, I was, as might be presumed, nearly, if not entirely, free from the shackles of bigotry, superstition, and dogmatism, and was thus prepared, so far at least as these barriers to mental and moral progression are concerned, to investigate any subject within the range of my capacity.

927. Hearing of the spread of the manifestations, and their actual occurrence in the city of Bangor, Maine, where I then resided, I resolved, with the first favourable opportunity, to investigate the matter for myself.

928. Not many days had elapsed after forming this resolution, before I met an intimate friend, an exemplary and respected member of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, who informed me that she was interested in spiritual manifestations, and desired to investigate them. But alas! she was bound by the galling fetters of sectarian and priestly bondage, and dared not move in such an investigation. Her pastor had said that the “arch deceiver,” the veritable Satan, was the prime instigator in this scheme, and, moreover, that to participate in a movement so diabolical in its character would render her liable not only to loss of membership in the church, but expose her to divine wrath in this world, as well as endless torment in the world to come.

929. I believed such an intolerant and persecuting spirit, to be diametrically opposed to every principle of true Christianity, and repugnant to the claims of reason; and deprecating any doctrine, orthodox though called, that would thus stifle free thought and inquiry, and consign to eternal misery the children of our heavenly Father, even however depraved, I advised my friend to exercise her reason, with which she was by nature endowed, and regardless of the sneers of a time-serving multitude, or the anathemas of the church, to obey the injunction of the apostle—“Prove all things—hold fast that which is good.”

930. She consented; and a few days subsequent to this interview, she extended to me an invitation to attend a spiritual circle to be convened181 at the house of a highly respectable family, members of the Unitarian Church, and much esteemed by a large circle of friends for their many virtues.

931. The invitation was gladly accepted, and the ensuing evening found us seated at a table in the domicile of our worthy friends, Mr. and Mrs. T-—-, with some six or eight intelligent persons of both sexes.

932. Having, agreeably to request, placed our hands on the table, we silently raised our thoughts in solemn and sincere aspirations to the great Father of spirits, and desired to be brought into more harmonious relation with the spirits of our dear departed friends, and hoping that these might thereby be better able to manifest themselves to their friends still in the earthly habiliments of humanity.

933. We had not remained long in this position, before we heard distinct sounds like the falling of drops of water on the table. Imagine our surprise and inexpressible delight, when first aroused to a vital consciousness of the presence of celestial visitants in our midst! I shall never forget the glorious expression of pleasure which illumined the countenances of that little band of seekers for truth, nor the electric thrill of joy which I experienced on this happy occasion.

934. The sounds continued to respond to our inquiries; three expressing the affirmative, and one the negative. It was suggested by a member of the circle to use the alphabet as a means of communication; and that on passing a pencil slowly over the card, the spirits would indicate, by the sounds, the letters required to convey their thoughts. In this manner we received many convincing evidences of spirit intercourse; such as getting the names of our spirit friends, the particular localities of their birth and death, and the precise time of their departure from this world, with many other proofs of their presence and identity.

935. We were soon informed by the communicating intelligence that a much more rapid mode of communication would now be established between us. On inquiring its nature, it was spelt out—Let Welthea (referring to my friend) take the pen, and we will write through her hand.[17] To all of us this was a new and unexpected revelation. My friend, being very timid and retiring in her nature, was evidently confused by this announcement. At our very earnest solicitation, however, she lifted the pen from the table. Her hand was now seized by an invisible and intelligent power, and being in a normal state, several beautiful stanzas,[18] touching182 her mission in this glorious cause, resulted from this first and, to all of us, astounding performance.

936. This, to us, was a new phase of the manifestations, and to myself and friend was very wonderful, since, I am certain, she had never thought of becoming a medium for spiritual intercommunion.

937. Soon after writing the stanzas alluded to, her hand was again influenced to write a communication to a gentleman present. He was a stranger to my friend, now regarded as a medium, and the communication was from the spirit of a sister who had passed from earth about thirty years before, the name, in full, of the spirit being appended.

938. After receiving instructions from the spirits, in regard to the manner of conducting our circle, we adjourned to the time appointed for our next meeting.

939. On the succeeding day I visited my friend at her residence, and received many additional evidences of the presence and identity of spirits. My father, mother, and sister, and many other loved spirit friends with whom the medium had no acquaintance, and whose names even were not known to her, communicated, and reminded me of many incidents of their life on earth of which my friend was wholly ignorant, and some of them I had myself almost forgotten.

940. At subsequent and frequent interviews with this lady, I received many indubitable proofs of the presence and guardianship of angels; of which the following is an example:

941. Some weeks after our first interview, and while discussing the ordinary topics of the day, her hand was influenced to write these sentences:

942. “My dear M: You will be surprised and pleased to learn that an old schoolmate is present; one that you never, while on earth, anticipated hearing from again. Many years have fled since our last meeting. I have come from the realms of the unseen, to renew the acquaintance with you begun in childhood, and to advise you in relation to your spiritual development. You are destined to become a good impressional medium for spiritual truth. Follow the directions which we from time to time shall give you, and you will progress rapidly, and be greatly profited thereby. Elevate your mind to the source of light and truth, and seek to be saved from every thing that might hinder your spiritual advancement. Devote a portion of each day to the development of your spirit, and investigate the principles which govern the physical and spiritual departments of the universe. You are living in the light of an advanced age, and are surrounded by many advantages. Improve the privileges that you enjoy, for the benefit of yourself and others.

Lydia Manly.


943. The communication being finished, my friend handed it to me, saying, “I am not acquainted with this name.” I said, on glancing at the signature, that I never knew any one of the name of Hanly. It was immediately written, “Let Margaret look again, and she will find that she is mistaken in the name; it is Manly, not Hanly.” Imagine my astonishment on recognising the name of a schoolmate whom I had not seen, heard, nor thought of, for many years. This was to me, and might be to any one, a full and satisfactory confirmation of spiritual communion.

944. On a subsequent occasion, it was written, through my friend, by my spirit sister, “Do you want instruction? I will talk to you of friendship this time. Let the basis of your friendship be esteem, and by all means seek to have this sure foundation. Friendship is a source of the greatest pleasure, and when begun in a right manner, ends not on earth, but continues to increase with unabated interest throughout eternity. Yours has thus far been characterized by firmness and sincerity. Oh! if you knew with what interest I look upon you, my dear sisters, watching the progress of your affections, and seeking a close intimacy with your spirits, it would awaken in both of your minds a lively interest for heavenly objects, and incite you to the pursuit of solid happiness. Friendship should begin in time to continue in eternity. Oh! could I convey to you the worth of time when viewed in this light!

945. “I am watching your silent communings. The lofty aspirations of your souls are not of an earthly nature. Your minds are being enlightened and seeking communion with God. Be encouraged, my dear sisters; we shall all be united in love. Be well grounded in the spiritual faith, and let your motto be—Onward in the divine life.


946. Again, it was written, “Sing with the spirit! Sister, let thy heart make tuneful melody with an angel choir who now surround you! Sing a song to immortality; how the dear departed, clothed in robes of victory, now stand on heavenly hills, enwrapt in glorious visions of the Great Eternal, bowing before the throne! Sing, ‘Death, where is thy sting? oh! grave, where is thy victory?’

947. “While here you meet, guardian angels are in attendance. Here is a gray-haired sire, a mother, and a sweet-lipped babe. All have come, with noiseless wing, to listen to thee. Precious moments! Improve them in converse sweet of heaven, and blessings, richer far than earthly treasures, we will pour upon you.”

948. The reminiscences of the hours devoted with my friend to the investigation of this sublime subject are among the happiest of my life. They serve to awaken the purest, holiest, and most affectionate sentiments and sympathies of my nature, and thereby lead me into closer communion with the loved ones who have gone before me.

949. But in reference to my family, I was for a season destined to be alone in my happy belief. It is true, my husband did not reject the sub184ject, but thought the phenomena in question might be accounted for by a reference to the principles of mental science. I requested him to solve the mystery. He attempted it, but failed. His explanation, like all others adverse to the spiritual theory, was an explanation in which nothing is explained.

950. About three months after these occurrences, a lady informed my husband that one of her daughters, about fifteen years of age, was a medium for the rappings. The young lady being present, declined the appellation as a term of reproach. Perceiving her discomfort, he requested to know what she thought of these manifestations. Her reply was, that they claimed a spiritual origin, but, in her opinion, they were due to “electricity, or something of that sort.”

951. Hearing the raps on the young lady’s chair, and on various other articles of furniture in the room, he requested her to put her hands on the table. This being done, the sounds were made on the table so loud and distinct, that they might have been heard in an adjoining apartment. Inquiring of the spirits if they would communicate with him by the alphabet, he was answered in the affirmative by three raps.

952. Having taken a seat at some distance from the table, and placed himself in such a position that no one could see the letters but himself, he proceeded to take down those indicated by the sounds as he passed a pencil slowly over the alphabet.

953. The sounds having at length ceased to respond, he tried to read the communication, but found it impossible to do so until he had first arranged what was written into words and sentences. This having been accomplished, he read, to his utter amazement, as follows: “My dear son, your parent rejoices in this opportunity to communicate with you. Let me advise you to investigate this most important subject; it will benefit you in time and eternity.

Your spirit father, W. G.”

954. On reading this communication, my husband said he felt “riveted to the spot;” that he had realized the presence of a long-lost parent, and that language failed to convey his feelings. It is perhaps needless to say that he was from that moment a believer in the truth of Spiritualism.

955. Months rolled on, and we continued to receive and enjoy the delightful intercourse of our spirit friends. One day, while engaged in sewing, the needle dropped suddenly from my fingers. At the same instant I experienced a sensation in my right hand and arm analogous to a slight electric shock. My husband, seeing me start, inquired the cause. Perceiving the temperature of my hand diminished, he became somewhat alarmed, and commenced rubbing it. In a few moments we heard sounds on the workstand at which I was seated. I inquired if the spirits wished to communicate, which was responded to by three raps. Taking the card and passing a pencil over it, the following words were given:

956. “My child, be not afraid! we are trying to develope you as a185 writing medium.” I experienced the next day a similar feeling in the same arm, and was influenced to write the following impressive words:

957. “My dear Child: Your mother would impart to you a few thoughts relative to an event which is generally regarded with unspeakable horror. I mean the dissolution of the material body. Death should present no terror to the mind, since it is but a transition of the spirit to a more exalted and perfected state of being; a disunion of the imperishable and eternal principles of the soul and spirit from their temporary home in the physical form. It is but the door at whose threshhold the spirit lays aside its worn-out garment, to appear clothed in its much more beautiful habiliments in the spiritual realm—the entrance to “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

958. “To the mind that views this change in the condition of the spirit in its true light, it will appear a necessary preliminary step in the development of the immortal germ to a higher and much more glorious existence. With the gross earthly body, the spirit could not inhabit the celestial spheres, nor rove the elysian fields of eternal progression. You have a rosebud in your keeping, which must expand to an immortal flower in heaven. Earth has given it birth, but its vitality is feeble. It needs transplanting into a more genial soil in the garden of our Father and our God, where it will ultimately unfold its fair and beautiful proportions. In other words, your little infant, Emily, will soon join me; for I perceive that disease is deep seated in her system—a disease that no remedy can reach. Be prepared, then, my dear child, for the change which is soon to take place. Prepare for the messenger Death! Be calm, be firm!

“Your mother, Lydia.”

959. This was a manifestation to me of a spirit mother’s love and watchful care. She foresaw that the inevitable event was at hand. She perceived that our darling child was incurably diseased. Although I trembled at the thought of parting with my treasure, still I was much calmer and more resigned in consequence of this parental warning, when the dread summons came.

960. Three weeks passed, and still there was no apparent change in our little one from her usual seemingly healthy condition. My husband had business which called him to Philadelphia. At his urgent request I accompanied him. We left our little ones in charge of a female friend and a faithful nurse, intending to be absent about two weeks. Ten days subsequent to the time of our departure from home, I received a strong impression to return, and that my presence would soon be required there. My husband objected, on the ground that his business was unfinished. I proposed returning alone, but he was unwilling, and we started for home the next morning. We found our children all well. I was joked about my spiritual impression, and was told it was the result of imagination. On the day succeeding our return, however, our dear child was taken sick, and186 after an illness of three days her enfranchised spirit passed from earth to heaven.

961. Notwithstanding the ridicule heaped, at that time, by its opposers upon the believers in Spiritualism, and the affected contempt in which the votaries of this much-abused doctrine were then held, we pursued the investigation of the subject, and became daily more imbued with a sense of the truth and harmony of its divine teachings. We had the pleasure of seeing many persons, who had once denounced it as an idle dream, as a humbug, and a delusion, now converted to a full faith in its glorious realities. A change came over the spirit of their dream, and they are now blessed in the enjoyment of the richest feast for mind and soul ever bestowed by a munificent God upon his grateful children. And many do not hesitate to proclaim the fact to the world; for, thank heaven, the days of the Inquisition are numbered, and a brighter and more glorious day is dawning on benighted humanity.

962. The following extracts from a letter of my brother, Dr. North, of Waterville, Maine, in reply to my husband, may serve to show the mind of one of the skeptics referred to, in regard to the subject of Spiritualism, both before and after investigation. As they may not be uninteresting to your readers, I give them to you, as follows:

963. “Dear Doctor:—Your letter of the 17th instant is before me, and its remarkable contents noticed. Had a great man or men, for instance, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, or Millard Fillmore, advised a friend to a certain course, if I thought that course improper, I should have felt at liberty to dissent from him or them; but when the adviser is the spirit of my departed mother, or the soul of your departed brother, I cannot dissent, or give an opinion that would conflict with them. It seems to me, dear doctor, that you cannot have better advisers unless you call the spirit of Gabriel to your assistance, and you can do no less than consult the dictates of the rappers.

964. “To be serious, I am surprised at your easy conversion to Spiritualism. I had supposed you spirit-proof, the greatest skeptic in the land; but I find you are completely taken in and done for! I do not place the least reliance on your superhuman communications, and would advise you to look upon them as phenomena of Mesmerism or mind-reading. The medium is in a mesmeric state, and consequently is capable of reading the thoughts of the inquirer, and answering questions correctly. The sounds are easily accounted for. The subject is alarmed and superstitious, and therefore easily imposed upon. The creaking of a boot is often taken by such persons in this state of mind as a spiritual rap. Do not be imposed upon by such superstition, but choose rather to be guided by good sound sense.

965. “You might consult the spirit of Lorenzo Dow. He was a good old soul, and one that always safely advised his friends.


966. “Give my love to Martin Luther, and William Penn, and the Wandering Jew. If you should hear any thing of M. B-—-, you may let me know. He died three or four years since in my debt.”

967. The subjoined was received some time after the foregoing from the same hand, but was dictated, it seems, by a more elevated spirit:

968. “In relation to Spiritualism, I am deeply convinced of its truthfulness. God grant that the grand and glorious realities which it reveals may so influence me that my progress in goodness and holiness will never end! Do I believe in it? Yes! yes! It is my daily hope and happiness; the bread of life; and it will be my consolation in death. I have read much, but have seen little of the manifestations. I should be very happy to spend a fortnight with you and meet your circle.

969. “My wife is reading and approximating toward belief. We have read the following works:—Davis’s Harmonia; Davis’s Present Age and Inner Life; Edmonds’s and Dexter’s work on Spiritualism; Beecher’s Report, and Brittan’s Reply to the same; Stilling’s Pneumatology; Riechenbach’s Dynamics; Cahagnet’s Celestial Telegraph, and the Spiritual Telegraph, weekly. I am so deeply interested in spiritual literature that other reading is insipid to me. I am rejoiced that people in the higher walks of life are engaged in the subject. It will give popularity to it, and the weak and fearful souls will be encouraged and strengthened in well-doing.” The following was addressed to me last February:

970. “My Dear Sister: You say it is too late to wish us a happy New Year. It is never too late to wish our friends happiness, and strive to make them happy. This is a new year indeed; a new era to be made memorable through time and eternity; one in which the spirits of our friends are striving for our happiness. Then let us not only make each other happy, but by purifying our thoughts and conversation, strive to progress in this rudimental world, so that when we find ourselves disrobed of these bodies, and in the sphere of eternal progression, we may be with and make the spirits of our friends happy. This is a glorious happy new year. The old ark of theology and superstition is passing away. The life-blood of the popular theology is drying up. The lens of the spiritual philosophy is concentrating upon it the powerful and burning rays of truth. Already a dense and fetid smoke is issuing from its decaying portals. Its priests and votaries already are crying, Fire! fire! God grant, that from its ashes no phœnix may arise to propagate anew its senseless dogmas. Then will this be a happy year for all mankind.” On a subsequent occasion he writes—

971. “The spiritual doctrine is gaining ground here. Many of our influential citizens are believers. Some that were infidels have become hopeful Christians. Public opinion is softening, and it is not now esteemed a disgrace, as it was some time since, to believe. The acquisition of such men as Professor Hare, Edmonds, Talmadge, Chase, Simmons, Dexter, and188 Brittan to our ranks, has given respectability to it, and wrought a revolution in opinion.”

972. Thus much I have said respecting my spiritual experience anterior to leaving Maine. Concerning my experience since then, much more might be said, but as you are already familiar with the most of it, it remains for me to present you with a few of the best and most unequivocal demonstrations of spiritual communion that I have witnessed, but which have not come under your personal observation. Among which the following touching incidents cannot fail to interest those whose hearts and minds are not closed by the iron bars of prejudice and superstition:

973. While spending the evening of January the 21st, 1854, at the house of a friend, it was proposed by the lady and her husband that we should form a circle. We had not been long seated at the table when three ladies, two of whom I had never seen, favoured us with their company, and took their seats at some distance from the circle. They had been in the room but two or three minutes, when the following was given through the table:

974. “My dear mother! In love I meet you this evening. Oh, mother, why do you mourn my death? I have just begun to live. Grieve not for me!

975. “I wish my husband to investigate Spiritualism. I will communicate to him.

976. “Why should you erect a monumental slab to my memory? Let me live in the hearts of friends.

Sarah North.

977. When the gentleman who took down the communication read it, I was surprised at hearing the name of North, that being my maiden name. As there was no Sarah in our family, I asked the spirits, Who is Sarah North? Before they had time to reply, one of the ladies referred to (Mrs. Wightman) approached the table in tears. She said, “That is from my daughter Sarah. I have been engaged to-day in the solemn duty of selecting a tombstone to her memory.”

978. On Nov. 25th, 1854, I sat by appointment with Mrs. Wightman for spirit intercourse. Mrs. W. put the question, “Is Elizabeth Adams present?” “Yes.” “Will she communicate?” “Yes.” “My dear aunt,” was immediately spelt out. Interrupting the communication at that point, I asked Mrs. W. if Elizabeth Adams was her niece. No, she replied; it must be a mistake. Thinking it probable that there was something wrong in the conditions, I removed my hand for a few moments. On replacing it, to our surprise, the words, “My dear aunt,” were repeated. “Well!” we exclaimed, simultaneously, “that is strange. Let us see what may come;” and we received the following:

979. “My dear Aunt: This is the first time that I have communicated. When I left the rudimental sphere, I was so young I did not know wha189t it meant to die; I now know. It was the beginning of life! I will come again soon and talk with you.

Your niece, Almira Barnes.”

980. It was some moments before Mrs. W. could recall to mind the fact that her sister had lost a child, of the above name, about twenty-three years since, aged three months. Here is intelligence so clearly independent of our minds, that it is, in my opinion, entirely fatal to the theory of “mental reflection” so often adduced by the unbelievers in Spiritualism. At the close of this communication the following was received:

981. “Dear Mother: I am happy to have this opportunity to send you a kind message. Although I am often with you, I cannot speak to you through your own mediumship. Oh mother! what delight it would give me could I make myself visible to you. What would you say if you should see me sitting in the chair I so long occupied when an invalid? I often sit in that chair, but you cannot yet see me. Have you not heard me rap to you? I have tried in various ways to make myself manifest. I think you had better go South this winter. I think father’s health would be better there. I will visit you, if you go. The climate where you now live is too bracing for father’s lungs. When the warm weather returns, you can bid farewell to the sunny South and seek your Northern home. I wish I could speak to you through your own dear hand, but that I cannot yet do.

982. “Dear mother, you will become a medium; then we shall have good times. Good-by, blessed mother! I look forward to a happy reunion with all your loved ones here.

Elizabeth Adams.

983. The above, as may be seen, was from the spirit that Mrs. W. called for, and the communication was designed for the spirit’s mother, who lived in the State of New York. The message was subsequently forwarded to her address. E. A., Mrs. Wightman, informed me, died after a lingering illness of consumption. She occupied the arm-chair alluded to during the greater part of her sickness, and she promised her mother she would come back and sit in it after her death, if she could. Her step-father, whose indisposition she refers to, is affected with a chronic disease of the lungs. The loved ones are Elizabeth’s brothers and sisters, all of whom, five or six, are in the spirit world. These facts were unknown to me at the time.

984. Last January, my friend Mrs. Wightman brought two ladies to witness, for the first time, some of the phenomena of our beautiful philosophy. Their names were suppressed, to be disclosed by the communications that might come from their spirit friends, in order to strengthen the evidences of spiritual intercourse. My hand being applied to the disk, the index spelled out the following:

985. “Dear Mother: I am not dead, but living in the love sphere of my Father in heaven. When you laid my little body in the ground, it caused you many tears. Kind friends wept. I see one here who was a190 faithful friend to you in that hour of anguish. Cherish her, for she was a friend in need. Oh! mother, I wish you to believe that your little child is indeed with you. I can come to earth when I wish to see you and father. It only causes me to feel a little sad that you and father cannot see me.

F. H. W.”

986. One of the ladies rose from her seat and accepted the communication as from her darling boy, who had been put in his grave two years before. The name was all right: “Franklin Henry Wilcox.” The friend referred to was Mrs. Wightman, who had been a true friend in the trying hour of a mother’s sorrow, and had performed the solemn duty of preparing her dear child for the depository of his earthly remains, and to pour balm on the heart of a bereaved and stricken mother.

987. About two months since, two of the professors of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, one of whom, Dr. Harvey, is favourably known to you, called to see me in relation to the subject of Spiritualism. I had never seen either of these gentlemen. After a few minutes’ conversation on the topic in question, Dr. H. observed—“We should like, madam, if you will be kind enough to favour us with a sitting, to communicate with our spirit friends.” Complying with the doctor’s request, I placed my hand on the disk, and the subjoined was rapidly communicated:

988. “My brothers in the glorious profession of medicine! I greet you this afternoon with unabated affection and respect. It seems like a dream that I have passed from your midst; but passing away is written on all things of a perishable nature. Not so with the spirit, which is an emanation from God.

989. “My earthly career is closed, and a brighter one is now in view. Oh, the inexpressible delight which fills my soul when I behold the wondrous works of Omnipotence! Here I can pursue, untrammelled, those subjects which were so delightful to me when an inhabitant of the mundane sphere. Oh! that I had prepared my mind in some measure, by proper investigation, for this transcendent world of living beauties! but the love of my profession filled my mind, to the exclusion of the more important one of spiritual progression. I would that I could converse with my beloved wife, that I might console her for her early loss! Tell her that I am happy; this will speak volumes.


990. The foregoing was accepted by the doctors, as coming from their colleague, the late Dr. Johnson; and they said that he was the spirit they had wished to hear from.

991. The same spirit has since communicated with Dr. H. and has given him abundant evidence of his identity.

992. Many more incidents in my experience, giving proof of the truth of spirit intercourse, might be adduced; but as time and space admonish me to bring my narrative to a close, I reserve them for a future period.

993. I have thus, my dear friend, given you a very hasty and imperfect191 sketch of my experience in Spiritualism, and my development as a medium. Little need here be said to prove, to reflecting minds, the value of this heaven-descended philosophy. It is a theme that all may study with pleasure and profit, when so disposed.

994. Whatever may be thought of modern Spiritualism, and however opposed it may be to many of the preconceived notions and opinions of mankind, it is certain that there is nothing in its fundamental doctrines and teachings, which may not be reconciled with the laws of God, so far as these are known to man.

995. It matters not, I should think, whether this movement is sanctioned or not by a former revelation, as that would neither add to nor detract from its intrinsic merit. Spiritualism is endeared to the heart of thousands by its fond associations, and mementoes of love and affection from those dear friends who have passed from their sight, though still united to them by kindred ties. It has gone on in triumph, overspreading every State in our glorious republic, and, passing over the broad sea, has reached the shores of other lands, binding together the brotherhood of man in the sacred bonds of love, and dispelling the discordant elements of strife and sectism which have hung over the world, and like a dark pall, imparted their sombre hue to the minds of men. Progress is its name, and love its mission. It has no affinity with vice. It makes no war with right, but inculcates the highest standard of morality. It is noiselessly accomplishing its divine mission. Many a widow’s heart is made to leap with joy by its benign influence, and many an orphan feels its silent ministration. Many a prodigal son has been reclaimed at the brink of ruin by the voice of a spirit mother! It is not only a few individuals who are to receive the blessings which flow from this new dispensation—the masses are to be benefited. It inculcates principles which will strengthen the foundations of society, promote harmony in the social system, and ultimately unite all mankind under its broad standard of peace. That Spiritualism is rapidly extending its bounds, and gaining hundreds of thousands of converts, admits not of a doubt; and that it has the elements within it to elevate, reform, and redeem the race, it were folly, nay, madness, to deny.

996. Eighteen months have scarcely elapsed, my dear friend, since our first acquaintance, and you are aware of the circumstances which afforded me this highly-esteemed pleasure. The event, I am happy to say, has proved an era in my own life that I shall always revert to with pleasurable and heartfelt emotion; for its results have not only proved a blessing and solace to you, but a source of much joy and happiness to myself. Though you have encountered much opposition, and even abuse, from the ignorant and illiterate as well as from the professed votaries of science, in defending the cause of spiritual philosophy, you have fearlessly and faithfully battled against error, and planted your standard on the high pinnacle of truth. And as David of old, with the smooth stones of Kedron, slew the192 Gathean giant, and was met with songs of triumph and dances of joy by the daughters of Israel; so you, armed with the panoply of truth, have gone forth with the weapons of philosophy and reason to prostrate the hydra-headed monster; and will, I trust, receive in your turn the acknowledgments and love of your grateful friends.

997. “There is a nobler strife than clashing spears,
A nobler peril than the battle-field;
‘Tis when, with trust in God, worn as a shield,
‘Midst universal hisses, scoffs, and sneers,
The man of truth with brow serene appears
And stands forth singly, for the right appealed
To the Eternal Umpire; nor will yield
One backward step, from policy or fears.
The savage, bandit, nay, the brute, is steeled
‘Gainst bristling danger—e’en the worm uprears
Beneath the foot his tiny sting, to crave
A venomed vengeance; but immortal years
Are full of glory for the Christ-like brave,
Who dare to suffer wrong, that they from wrong may save.”
Very truly yours,
Margaret B. Gourlay.


998. Certainly, in one conclusion all zealous religious sectarians will coincide. I allude to that which makes belief in a future state of existence of the highest importance to the happiness of reasoning mortals.

999. Those who, for faith in immortality, have been satisfied to rely on the creed which they may have chanced to derive from their ancestors through education, and have consequently felt the comfort of a belief in immortality thence arising, may readily conceive of the benefit which must ensue to those of their fellow-creatures upon whom such a creed has not been impressed, but who are quite sensible of the immense value of any facts tending to create such a belief in life to come. It is to be lamented, however, that persons who have this impression contingently from a peculiar education, are irritated at having analogous impressions created in a different way.

1000. But in obedience to any dissatisfaction thus arising, to assail those who may acquire a knowledge of futurity by a new route, is manifestly inconsistent with the golden rule. As an exemplification of the benefit which the new evidences of another and a better world may pro193duce in the minds of those who are not satisfied with that of revelation, I will subjoin the account of his conversion indited by one of my esteemed friends, Doctor W. Geib, who preceded me in spiritual investigation, and has longer enjoyed the influence which Spiritualism exercises over its votaries.

1001. The author was a member of the circle under whose auspices my experimental tests were for the most part applied, and was present on the very occasion when my own apparatus, which had been contrived to disprove spiritual agency, demonstrated its existence.

1002. “The verdure and warblings of fifty springs had elevated the souls of the writer of the present sketch in wonder, admiration, and gratitude, to the great Omnipotent Father of the Universe, without opening to his longing view a world beyond the grave.

1003. “There was pain in the thought, that scenes so enchanting, feelings so susceptible to their charms, a mind constituted to appreciate their miraculous wonders and pervading fascinations, and to do homage to the great Intelligence which gave them existence, should in a few short years be destined, like the foliage of the forest, to death and decay.

1004. “Still, to his mind there was arrogance in the thought that man could ever be the recipient of joys beyond those provided for him in common with all animal creation; and he chased from his mind the sombre thought of death, as a dreaded incubus upon life and the enemy of his few remaining joys.

1005. “But how changed the scene! Death, once so disturbing to his peace, so discordant with the moral attributes of his nature, which ‘puzzles the will,’ and leads the mind to seek in wonder and discouragement the motive for human life, is now but a ‘consummation devoutly to be wished,’ when this race of earthly life shall have been duly run; when we may have filled the measure of our destined usefulness, and secured by our moral affinities a joyful reception in the spheres above.

1006. “And why this change in thought and feeling? How are the horrors of the grave, the dread of dissolution into the primordial elements of creation, exchanged for the blissful assurance of immortal life for the soul of man, in all its associate identity, after it shall have departed from its earthly tenement of flesh?

1007. “The answer to this all-absorbing question, which sheds light into the gloomy recesses of the skeptic’s mind, and gives joy to his despairing heart—which supplied evidence where none had been sought, conviction where it had been sought in vain, and imparts to the accepted hope and faith of the professional believer, the confirmation of a demonstrated fact—is to be found in the irrefutable evidence of Spiritual Philosophy.

1008. “How invaluable is this dispensation of an Almighty Providence, which has made his despairing creature, a believer in the immortality of the soul of man; has cleared from his mental vision the clouds of doubt194 and disbelief, and has opened to his rejoicing mind the irrefragable evidence of a future life beyond the grave!

1009 ‘Hail now on earth the glorious day,
When infidels have learnt to pray;
When heaven’s laws by reason blessed,
Are all with fondest love confessed!
When man in bliss can look above,
And see a God in all his love;
Can own with joy the mighty King,
And loud his hallelujahs sing.
Throw back the gates, ye heavenly band,
To loved ones show the spirit land;
Hang out the beacon lights to see
A home for all, the bond and free.
And now the dreams of former days
Behold in those celestial ways;
Where sorrow’s eye is never seen,
Where love and hope are ever green.’—W. G.

1010. “The exhibition of so-called spiritual agency in New York City by the Misses Fox and their mother, was the first incident that claimed my notice, and excited my laughter and ridicule, in this apparent new phase in the science of legerdemain.

1011. Blitz and his wonders crossed my mental vision, and seemed outdone by the results of this feminine exhibition, in which the spirits of another world were invoked, and aided in the performance.

1012. This happened when psychology had been developed to a wondering world, as the climax of magnetic phenomena in the wonderful attributes of man, and was regarded by myself among many as the culmination of human research in the science of animal life.

1013. Meeting an intelligent friend who had bestowed much pains in the investigation of this department of science, and inquiring of him as to the progress of magnetism, I was answered, that something much more wonderful than magnetism engaged his attention and occupied his mind at that time.

1014. Asking what the subject might be, and being asked in return, if I had not heard of the wonders of Spiritualism, a painful impression was made on my mind and feelings that, where all had been regarded as sound and straight, there must be some latent obliquity of thought; that my friend, as the Spaniards say, was a little tonto, or that he was likely soon to become so, was quite apparent.

1015. However, my strictest scrutiny could detect no decline of his intelligent and ingenuous mind, and his well-digested remarks addressed to my incredulous ears, gave proof enough that this might be another demand for the investigation of science, and a step forward in the progressive development of nature’s laws.


1016. Being the leading member of a circle that held its meetings at his house, and kindly acquiescing in my request to be present and witness the phenomena, I found myself shortly afterward seated at a table, on a Sabbath evening, with about twenty ladies and gentlemen, whose every appearance was fatal to my preconceived prejudices against the understanding of those with whom I expected to be associated.

1017. It was evidently a meeting for religious devotion. Sacred songs took the lead, and my own voice, as if impelled by a foreign influence, was raised for the first time by the impulse of feeling to participation in this vocal prayer of gratitude and praise, sung to the great, almighty Founder of the universe.

1018. Indeed it would be well for the cause of spiritual philosophy if all exhibitions of its wonderful and sacred phenomena were made under circumstances calculated to impress the mind with the greatness and dignity of its source. To feel protected from the nefarious cupidity of the world is an important first step for the successful investigation of a subject so sacred in its character, and so absorbing, in contemplating the prospective existence of man.

1019. Seeing my associates place their hands flat on the table, I followed their example, and was soon made sensible of the reason, by feeling what was recognised as electric concussion, made by spirits to denote their presence.

1020. And ever will my mind recur with delight and gratitude to the influence on my moral nature of this mission of love and salvation to an invulnerable heart! It flashed like electricity across the mind; the clouds of skepticism were ruptured, and shed a grateful and refreshing shower of hopeful joy on the feverish doubts of an unbelieving soul. This beginning led to progressive investigation, and that, as is uniformly the case, to a confirmed conviction of the communion of spirits with their friends on earth.

1021. Hearing much of physical demonstrations, but having witnessed only the concussions, vulgarly called the raps, the question was put to my friend, the gentleman already referred to, if a demonstration could be had to gratify my curiosity, and strengthen my assurance, when the following dialogue occurred:

1022. ‘Will the spirits be so obliging as to make a physical demonstration?’ Answered by three raps on the table, which were responded to by an affirmative expression from the whole circle. My seat was at the side of the medium, a married lady of considerably more than ordinary weight. Question. Will the spirits move Mrs. D. in her chair? Ans. Yes.

1023. As this demonstration was intended for my special benefit, and our invisible friends were fully committed for its performance, my attention was riveted on the lady who was to be the subject of it. ‘Madam, will you please put your feet on the spar of the chair?’ This being fully196 accomplished—‘and your hands in your lap,’ was added. As her hands dropped, the lady left my side, passed about two feet backward, and immediately returned to her former position at the table.

1024. My astonishment was naturally raised to the highest pitch, demanding of Dr. P., who sat on her opposite side, if I could believe my own eyes, and that Mrs. D. had really been moved from my side. ‘Oh, certainly,’ he replied; ‘that is nothing. I have seen far more wonderful manifestations than that.’

1025. The idea of collusion was too ridiculous to be entertained for a moment; every consideration condemned it. The carpet on which the chair stood on its slender legs, with at least one hundred and fifty pounds added to its gravity, must have been extensively injured had the chair remained in contact with it. But not even a sound was audible, and my mind was left to contemplate an invisible power that had effected the movement of a ponderous body in mid air.

1026. Showing the interest of my own dear invisible guardian friends, it was spelt out by the card, the primitive mode of communication at that time, that I should change my seat to the side of the medium; and it was only after this change had been made that my mind was impressed to ask for a demonstration.

1027. By this demonstration of supernal agency I was delighted, humbled, and convinced. As the octogenarian Robert Owen, of London, proclaimed to the world in a published letter, in relating his own case, I became a convert to spiritual life and intercourse by the force of this evidence, because I should have considered any man a fool, who, with a mind free from the curse of a bigoted education, and whose thoughts and feelings were not mortgaged to the world, could reject such palpable and convincing proof, and entertain a different conclusion.

1028. Being subsequently in the city of New York, I visited the public circles of Mrs. C., a medium for automatic writing and the sounds. Being requested, as the rest had been, but without response, to ask if any of my spirit friends were present, my interrogation was answered by three distinct raps on the table. ‘Now ask who it is; a father, mother, and so on;’ and I was informed it was a son. ‘Is your sister with you?’ ‘Yes.‘ ‘Will you spell her name?’ ‘Yes;’ and it was correctly given. ‘Is her little son with her?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Will you spell his name?’ ‘Yes;’ and a name of seventeen letters was correctly spelt out by the card, the letters being indicated, when pointed to, by three raps.

1029. My spirit son also informed me when he had died and of what disease. I asked if they were happy. It will be observed that my son’s name had not been mentioned, reserving it for a test. Three raps had replied in the affirmative to my question, when the medium spasmodically seized a pencil, extended a sheet of paper toward me, and wrote upside down, so that I might read it as written: ‘We are looking forward197 for you to join us, when we shall be more so;’ and to my perfect delight and astonishment, signed my son’s name to the communication, asking whether the name was correct.

1030. On a subsequent occasion, when a large and respectable company was present, I remarked to Mrs. C. that she had reported the fact that foreign languages had been written by her hand. ‘All kinds of language; but I don’t know any thing about them,’ was the reply. ‘If you have no objection, I should like to get a communication from my son, in a foreign language.’ ‘Oh, not the least; if he knew it in this world, he will know it in the next.’ ‘My son, will you give me a communication in a foreign language?’ Answer, three raps. The company were all intent on this striking and convincing test of spiritual intercourse. In French? no; one rap. In Spanish? three raps. The medium’s hand, as before, seized the pencil, and wrote upside down a communication to me in correct Spanish, though we all accepted her declaration, that she was not acquainted with one word of the Spanish language.

1031. As it is said of our beneficent almighty Father, that when two or three are gathered together in his name, he is with them, so it is with the spirits of our dear departed relatives and friends. When a few congenial, harmonious spirits of earth are associated in virtuous love, and their affinity for their supermundane spirit friends is strong enough to draw them here, they come on missions of friendship, and pour happiness into our hearts, provided the presence of a medium, possessing the required conditions, affords them an opportunity.

1032. It has been my good fortune to be a member of such an association, called a spirit circle; and the communications which have come to me from my dear departed children, and others who are dear to me, filled with love and interest for my welfare in the world, have given a value to life which it never had before, supplying a stimulus to the heart and mind which has guarded them from the influence of surrounding excitements, and strewed that path with many sweets which was too apt, with less humility and resignation, to be regarded with doubt and pursued with remorse.

1033. Let it not be said that spiritual philosophy imparts no benefit to man. It need not be asked if opening heaven to the mind of the skeptic is not a boon: it is too manifest an axiom to be made a question. Is it no advantage to mankind to know that this life is a prelude to one in the skies? no incentive to virtue to be taught that the beginning of our spirit life will correspond with the termination of our mundane existence, and that our position there will be governed by our affinities here? Operating on spiritual, as gravity does on physical, matter, and giving to crime a weight which holds the criminal back in the career of immortal happiness; and that this must be first disposed of by the redeeming laws of nature before the soul can begin its progressive flight to spheres of celestial bliss.


1034. At one of those family harmonious associations at which spirits are wont to come, I received a first communication from a much-loved daughter, whose devoted affection in this world caused her untimely death to leave a large blank in my happiness, till spiritual philosophy gave to my mind the assurance of her exalted bliss and unaltered love.

1035. To hear, as it were, the voice of one who had been resolved, agreeably to my belief, into the primitive elements of her physical nature, proclaiming her existence and transcendent happiness in scenes of surpassing beauty and fascination, was well calculated to soften the heart, however hard before, and make it for the future a more ready recipient of happy impressions; to open the floodgates of feeling, waken up the latent sympathies of our nature, and make us participants of those fountains of joy, which flow from the blessings of pure religion.

Letter from a Spirit Daughter.

1036. “‘Father Dear: I will give you some idea of my beautiful home. Think of all the flowers ever seen on earth blended in one, all the heavenly strains of music blended in one strain, all beauty combined, and you will have a slight conception of the heavenly kingdom.

1037. Poets have sung of heavenly joys, but fancy cannot paint, nor artist sketch, the wondrous beauties of the spirit home. Darling father, how glad I am to see you have begun to live for heaven! I shall be one to welcome you when life’s journey is over. Oh, mother dear, will you, for the love you bear to us, listen to the voice of your children? We will give you all the proof you ask.


1038. This was all got by pointing to the letters on a card, and taken down by a third person. All in such a manner as to preclude the possibility of the least participation of any one in its production.

1039. A beautiful and much-loved son, who left this world at three years of age, came to me, at the end of twenty-seven years, from the seventh supernal sphere, with words of love, consolation, and advice. Such events, to a believer in the spiritual doctrine, are well calculated to arouse the strongest energies of the soul and inspire the best feelings of the heart!

1040. The regular progress of maturity of the spirit, uninterrupted by the grave, is made evident to our astonished minds by an event like this. We are also admonished by the same source that decline is not an attribute of spirit life; that old age recedes, and infancy advances, to the same point of maturity, with entire immunity from all physical infirmity.

1041. On last Christmas-day, being convalescent from a rather doubtful illness, and musing alone on the wonders and blessings of spiritual intercourse, I was induced to write the following letter to my much-loved spirit daughter, from whom had come the preceding and many other communications:

1042. ‘Dear angel Child: The untiring affinity of your cherished199 love, which, unobstructed by time and space, makes you so often the companion of my mind and heart, and the dear partner of my thoughts and feelings, would seem to render the present object of addressing a letter to you and your dear brothers in heaven a superfluous task.

1043. But, my dear Maria, my ever dear and cherished child, with my growing faith in the blessed reality of spiritual existence, I am becoming daily more anxious to preserve the history of my happy experience, and also my correspondence with my beloved relations of this world, who have preceded me in the progressive destiny of the human race. Beside which, my beloved daughter, it will assimilate, revive, and perpetuate that mundane correspondence, the dear mementoes of which had their beginning seventeen summers since in your sick chamber on the banks of the Hudson, while an ambitious and youthful votary of Minerva, and ended on the Alabama, ever sacred to my memory, with the termination of your worldly career, a wife and a mother.

1044. The considerations which engage my mind and elicit my solicitude, in this contemplated correspondence with my spirit relatives and friends, are the mode of conducting it, that may make them acquainted with its contents, the fear of transcending the limits of propriety in the subject-matter of my letters, and my solicitude to make all my thoughts, feelings, and acts as conformable to the high behests of spirit life as may be within the reach of my weak and earthly nature.

1045. The communications I have received from you and your dear brothers, and from your Uncle John and Aunt Rebecca, are a perpetual source of happiness to my mind, and nothing, while I am in this world, can reflect so much joy on my heart as the continued correspondence of all the loved ones who have gone before me.

1046. Your angel visits, and those of my dear William, during my recent bodily affliction, have exercised that joyful influence on my heart and mind so essential in diseases of a dangerous nature and of doubtful termination.

1047. The assurance which you and your dear brother have given me, that my sickness has had the happy effect to spiritualize my mental and physical nature, has been already made manifest to my grateful mind by strengthened resolution for the future, and a more exalted sense of the demands of that true spiritual philosophy which felicitates our life in this, and secures for us a desirable position in the spheres above.

1048. Flowing from my warm aspirations for the increased happiness of my fellow-creatures in this mundane sphere, by the dissemination and growth of the spiritual doctrine, I cherish a wish that this letter may be made to subserve that divine object, by exhibiting to the world an irrefutable test of spiritual intercourse.

1049. For this purpose, my dear angel child, in your next interview through our much-respected medium, allow me to request the favour of200 you to make my letter so far the subject of your communication, as may exhibit the reality of your spiritual existence, intelligence, and clairvoyance, and your continued correspondence of heart and mind with your happy father.

Christmas, 1854.

1050. Shortly after writing this letter, at the circle of which I am a member, the following communication was spelled out on the spiritoscope or disc.

1051. ‘Darling Father: I wish to say something to you about William’s communication. He has impressed you since you were sick more than myself. You are rapidly developing as an impressional medium.

1052. ‘We have been constantly with you. Having wished to give a communication the evening our friend (a lady who is a very superior medium) was with you and mother, but the mode was too tedious. It was an era in mother’s life. Her opposition tends in some measure to repulse us; not that we love her less, but our loving natures must meet reciprocal tenderness.

1053. ‘Love begets love in the heavenly spheres, as well as on earth. I cannot say more at present, but I think William will speak more at length about the letter.


1054. ‘What letter?’ ‘Father knows,’ was the reply. The next communication for me on the same evening was the following:

1055. ‘Father, I wish you to read the letter which you have in your pocket-book before you go home; it will dispel all doubts in your mind relative to its spiritual origin.

W. G.’

1056. On the next evening, finding myself incidentally one of a happy meeting of spiritual friends, the following came for me through the spiritoscope from my brother, referring to my letter:

1057. ‘Brother William: We are still with and around you. During your sickness it was the province of Maria to watch you daily. Other friends were near; among these were father and mother, with your sons Jacob, William, and Henry, Rebecca, and many others bound to you by the ties of consanguinity. On Christmas-day we held a levee in your room. If you could have seen us, I think it might have disturbed your placidity, but you sat as composed as if you were entirely alone. I think if you will recall the circumstances, you will confess that a power foreign to your own was exerting an influence to give forth spiritual monitions.

1058. ‘I am anxious that Maria should make a communication in regard to the letter, and she will do so when an opportunity offers.’

1059. On the next meeting of our circle, the following beautiful letter was put in my hand by our intelligent and highly-developed medium, Mrs. Gourlay, written by her under spiritual impression:

1060. ‘Dear Father: I mentioned to you briefly at the circle that brother William impressed you to write the letter which you addressed to201 me on Christmas-day. I perceive with pleasure that my friend Mrs. G. is now sufficiently under my control to answer your affectionate epistle. The proposed correspondence between us affords me much pleasure, and causes me to feel as if I were really to live over again the days of my earthly existence, when I was blessed with the oft-repeated manifestations of your parental love and affection. I flatter myself, my dear father, that this revival of loving association will tend much to your happiness as well as mine. I will be a friendly star to guide you in your course over the troubled sea of life, that you may not become submerged in its surging billows, but arrive safely at the haven of eternal joy and felicity. I will lift your soul by degrees to the source of love and wisdom, and cause you to feel sensations of pleasure such as you have never before experienced. You have a mind which delights in the beauties of nature and art. Let me tell you, then, that no scene of earthly grandeur which you have ever witnessed, nor the sublimest flight of fancy of the wildest enthusiast in the cause of Spiritualism, can compare with the beauties and joys of the spirit home.

1061. ‘I regret that the members of my loved family are so much blinded by prejudice, as to debar themselves the holy privilege of spiritual intercourse—a communion which would serve to connect them indissolubly with us, and teach them of a world beyond death and the grave. Oh! father, how my heart rejoices that I can come to you with cheering words, and pour into your willing ear the tidings of the gospel of peace, which will prove a balm of consolation to your drooping spirit! The ordinary trials of life are but as dew on the eagle’s wing, when the proud bird soars aloft to court the rays of the rising sun. Father, I have already presented you with a view of the beautiful realities of my spirit home. The picture I have drawn is no ideal one, but a real and substantial scene of enduring pleasures. Now let me ask, How will your joys compare with ours? Oh! that the minds of my darling children might become imbued with an understanding of this most holy religion, for I am conscious that it would add largely to their present and future bliss!

1062. Dear father, I perceive the emotions of your inmost heart, and if the love of a devoted child can in any wise conduce to your happiness, it is most freely thine. Oh! that dear mother could feel as you do, how happy her declining years on earth might become! When she is disposed to listen to the voices of her spirit children, it will be our pleasure to come to her “with glad tidings of great joy.” Wishing you both, my dear parents, all the happiness which earth can afford, I subscribe myself your ever loving daughter.


1063. The following letter was placed in a sealed envelope, addressed and handed to Mrs. Gourlay for an impressional reply. A few days afterward the answer to it, here annexed, was handed to me by my esteemed friend, the lady named, with the original letter still in the sealed envelope202 as it had been handed to her. This has to be regarded as a beautiful specimen of psychometric mediumship.

Philadelphia, March 23, 1855.

1064. My dear Brother John: Your communication last evening at our circle of “progress” afforded me much gratification, as you are doubtless aware from your pervading perception. I regret that circumstances do not allow of a more frequent intercourse with my beloved friends of the spirit land. It is also my ardent desire to hold communion with all my spirit relatives, and would wish with you, my dear brother, to bring about this delightful consummation.

1065. Your injunction of cheerfulness, as an efficient means of securing a healthful equilibrium of the vital organism, I can fully appreciate, and shall endeavour to profit by your welcome brotherly and excellent advice, as far as circumstances will permit. It is true, my dear John, that a longer sojourn here harmonizes with my desire to effect some objects, the accomplishment of which would probably add to my happiness here, and my claim for congenial association. The object to which I allude is the amelioration of the condition of the poor and wretched of my fellow-creatures, making them through my agency the recipients of some active benevolence.

1066. I have imbibed the opinion that the only acceptable offering at the throne of the great God, is the actual performance of those duties which are incumbent on us as individuals and social beings; beginning with the establishment of our own personal physical and moral character, and those of our own household and immediate social circle of relatives and friends; and then, to the accomplishment of this, to cultivate the sentiment of benevolence in aiding to promote the individual welfare of mankind in the use of what talent and other means may have fallen to our lot. I am prone, in my relations with the great Omnipotent Ruler of the universe, to apply the time-honoured maxim, “Actions speak louder than words.”

1067. Your invitation, my dear brother, to increase my intercourse with my spirit friends, finds in my heart and mind a very ready compliance. You propose a daily appropriation of time to this object. If you will do me the favour to appoint the time most agreeable to them and most desirable for myself, it shall be, to the fullest extent of my power, sacredly devoted to a duty and pleasure that are nearest to my heart.

1068. I feel the assurance that the good earth-character and intelligence of my spirit family, and the extent of our mutual love and affinity, afford me a more than ordinary opportunity for receiving information of that bright world which has become a delightful prospective inheritance to me and to thousands of doubting, fearful, and despairing minds.

1069. Your inspiring cheerfulness, my dear John, has already verified your sensible prognostic of the great influence on disease of a cheerful mind. I have learnt to entertain a high opinion of the bright intelligence203 and clairvoyance of the more elevated denizens of the spirit world; and shall always, therefore, regard any advice that may be offered me for the better government of my body and soul as a welcome and precious offering from those I love. I will close for the present with the assurance of my unaltered affection.


1070. My dear Brother: With heartfelt love and affection I respond to your letter in reply to a message which I delivered through the instrumentality of our devoted friend, Mrs. Gourlay. During our happy interchange of thought, it will be my endeavour to suggest such ideas to your mind as may serve to elevate it and develope its capabilities. To the mind that is ignorant and prejudiced, this mode of communion with the invisible world may seem to be a direct violation and infringement of nature’s laws; but it is, on the contrary, not only natural, but perfectly legitimate to the age in which you now live. It is not a new revelation, but simply the discovery of hidden truths peculiarly adapted to the present advanced state of the race. It is old material in a new form. The material and spiritual elements are contributing, as never before, to the elevation and happiness of mankind, and already is established a spiritual telegraph on which I am at this moment successfully operating—sending a message of love to you, my brother.

1071. You say my words of cheer have wrought a change for the better in your system. This is a result which naturally follows a strict adherence to my prescription—cheerfulness.

1072. You desire to know what time would be most advisable for you to sit for spiritual communion. I would say, early in the morning, before the mind becomes taxed with the cares of the day, make a record of your impressions.

1073. You observe that it gives you great pleasure to receive messages from those in the spirit world who are bound to you by the ties of relationship. Let me assure you, my dear brother, that the feeling is mutual; and while time lasts with you, it will be our endeavour to gladden your heart with tokens of our increasing and untiring love. Your cup of happiness shall be filled to the brim, if it depends on us.

1074. Brother, may you meet with friends true and kind; may the labours of the cheerful morn render each day a happier one to you; and when night steals upon a slumbering world, may you close your outward eyes in peace with all mankind! Keep the mind’s sunshine bright! You have a soul to feel for others’ woes, and this is the true stamp of divinity.




The Hymeneal Tie in the Spirit World grows out of the necessity of the Connubial Union in the Mundane Sphere. “Free love” imputation refuted.[19]

1075. Some peculiar views respecting marriage, which are not consistent with the ideas of female delicacy and chastity heretofore entertained, have been designated by the name of “Free Love,” and have been commented on as proceeding from the spirit world. I am happy to say that, agreeably to the impressions which I have derived from my spirit friends, any doctrine, having a tendency of the kind thus described, would be at least as much censured in the spirit world as in this. As the best mode of removing this groundless imputation on Spiritualism, I will state the impressions which I entertain on the subject of marriage.

1076. Among the sources of happiness in the spirit world much insisted on is that resulting from a combined union of those really created for each other. The marriage contracted in this world, loses its binding power in the spirit world, yet may endure if mutually desired. If a husband has had several wives, or a wife several husbands, the tie endures only between the most congenial pair.[20]

1077. Sexual association is the means throughout nature by which the perpetuation of species is effected. But that this association may exist among human beings without degradation, it is manifestly necessary that it should not be indiscriminate. Not only delicacy, modesty, and the cultivation of congenial affection, but likewise the interests of offspring, require that the parents and children should form one family. The welfare of children, their equal duty to both parents, and natural affections between the parents and their children, must make a separation painful to all parties, however affection may have declined between the husband and wife, on the part of either or both.

1078. Hence, in the mundane sphere, the perpetuation of the human race consistently with decorum, and the welfare of offspring, and the happiness of the parties, especially the mother and wife, seems to be the great object of matrimony. In the spheres it is difficult to perceive how any motives of equally high importance can exist. It must be that connubial union in the spirit world rather grows out of marriage in this world, in order to fill up the void in the heart which might otherwise205 arise from our mundane habits. It would seem as if it were a benevolent indemnification for celibacy, or for the miseries so often resulting from the connubial state in this world, consequent, like the sufferings of child-bearing, to the perpetuation of mankind.

1079. It seems to me an error to suppose that the terrestrial marriage can be a secondary object with God, when the important part which it performs is taken into view.

1080. Incapacity to maintain a family often renders it impossible for those who would marry to come together, and worldly motives induce marriages, even when disgust or indifference may exist on the part of one, if not on that of both the parties.

1081. It seems, moreover, even where marriage actually results from the passion of love, that it is more or less the consequence of a species of hallucination, through which lovers deck an object with all that they would wish to exist in the way of merit, and feel toward them an affection proportionate to their own capacity to love, rather than of the degree of power in the object, reasonably to excite such intense partiality. It is thus that the love of the mother to the child she believes to be her own, will be powerful in proportion to her own capacity for maternal love, rather than of the child to excite love; since though it be a monster, and not really her own child, but fraudulently substituted therefor, it will cause no diminution of her maternal devotion.

1082. It is the impression on the mind that determines the object to which the passion is directed; the character of the being actuated by the passion, which determines its strength.

1083. But where to all those qualifications which would create friendship between persons of the same sex, the peculiar emotions which take place between those of different sexes are superadded, those who come together in this world under the hymeneal tie, may find it something more than a mere civil contract, and not terminated by death. Moreover, independently of the original passion, there arises an affection which is justly distinguished as conjugal, and which differs from the other in this highly important particular, that it is founded on a thorough reciprocal knowledge, instead of that ignorance which too often accompanies attachments produced by the arrows of the blind god, as Cupid is sometimes designated with figurative consistency.

1084. Having always supposed that independently of the emotions peculiar to the sexes, there could only be friendship between a man and woman like that which would exist between a brother and sister, I am at a loss to understand what it can be which, in the spiritual state of existence, can induce indissoluble marriage.

1085. On submitting the suggestions comprised in the preceding statement to the spirit to whom I owe much information, herein quoted, and206 to the spirit of a most intimate male friend, by both it was alleged that peculiar emotions were attendant on sexual affection in the spheres, as well as on earth, so far as consistent with the absence of that which exists in common with brutes.


Inspiration can have no higher authority, than the human testimony on which its existence is arrogated.

1086. Is it not a mistake to suppose that any doctrine gains any validity by claiming inspiration as its source, when there is nothing but human testimony to advance in support of that claim? For if in the instance of Spiritualism, human testimony is deemed to be unavailable, how comes it to avail when adduced in support of this arrogant claim of inspiration? As well might a man expect to cure the defect of a marshy foundation by substituting columns of iron for wooden posts, or that, while resting on wood, the support could be made firmer by introducing iron into the superstructure.

1087. As the introduction of the iron would diminish the competency of the foundation in proportion to the augmentation of weight, so the claim to inspiration lessens the competency of the testimony upon which it is advanced, proportionally as the incredibility is increased.

1088. But as respects the ancient witnesses, their own statements make them out unworthy of confidence. Facts or circumstances are stated which are manifestly blasphemous, inconsistent, and absurd, if not impossible. Thus a want of veracity or of discretion being demonstrated in some points, is sufficient to destroy validity in all.

1089. Revelation assumes God to be omnipotent, omniscient, prescient, and all good, yet represents him as under the necessity of subjecting his creatures to probation, to find out what, by the premises, he must foresee. It represents him while wishing his creatures to know him and his attributes, as not teaching them that which he wishes them to learn, yet punishing them and their posterity for ignorance arising from his own omission.

1090. It does not suffice to allege that the Old Testament taught God’s will to the Jews; since it is to me incredible that our Heavenly Father would give instruction of vital importance to a few of his children, leaving all the rest uninstructed, and yet afflict them for this result. But, admitting this possible, it appears that the instruction given the Jews in207 the book of Moses failed in those particulars, which are of paramount importance.

1091. In the Bible, God is represented as susceptible of jealousy, of wrath, of authorizing the butchery of three thousand Israelites for worshipping a golden calf; sanctioning the massacre of the whole nation of the Midianites, with the reservation of the virgins for violation by the bloody murderers of their kindred; the outrageous deception and fraud on the part of Jacob; swindling the Egyptians by borrowing their ornaments with intention of purloining them; hardening the heart of Pharaoh, yet afflicting his subjects for the obduracy thus produced; instructing Saul to surprise and massacre the Amalekites, even to each “suckling babe”, for a wrong done by their ancestors some hundred years before, as authorizing the hewing down with a sword the regal prisoner Agag in cold blood,[21] and sanctioning the destruction of whole pagan communities by David.[22]


1092. The following is the account given of this favourite of Jehovah: “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel; so shall I escape out of his hand. And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife. And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him. And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee? Then Achish gave him Ziglag that day: wherefore Ziglag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day. And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months. And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt. And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish. And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to-day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites. And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines. And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant forever.”

1093. Here is massacre, spoliation, base lying to Achish, his truly noble-hearted friend, whom he deceives into a belief that he had made the people of Israel abhor him, when it was his intention to become king of Judea, and of course the enemy of his too-confiding protector, whenever an opportunity offered.

1094. Praise be to God that he has sent us a new way to religious light, not associated with this detestable immorality!

1095. Jehovah is made to arrest the sun, in order that Joshua may slaughter his flying foes. He is described as authorizing the Jews to extirpate their neighbours and seize their territory. I do most conscientiously declare that the portrait of Jehovah by the Bible appears to me more209 suitable for Satan than for our heavenly Father, who is represented by the spirits as perfectly impartial and equally loving to all his creatures.

1096. The example set in the Bible of slandering and persecuting those who did not believe in its doctrines, has ever been followed out by scriptural devotees, who would presumptuously represent that it is only from the Scriptures, which they recognise as the word of God, that a correct knowledge of the divine attributes can be obtained. But this is the converse of the truth. As described by Seneca, the Roman Sage, the God of the ancient theist was to the Jehovah of the Bible as Hyperion to Satyr. (See Seneca’s opinions of God, 1224)

1097. It appears to me a striking proof how far men can be demented by educational bigotry, that it should be supposed that their omnipotent God can require human missionaries’ aid to promulgate or carry out his will.

Did God a special creed require,
Each soul would he not with that creed inspire?

1098. The Old Testament does not impart a knowledge of immortality, without which religion were worthless. The notions derived from the gospel are vague, disgusting, inaccurate, and difficult to believe. The Pentateuch did not give the Jews an idea of immortality, nor were those Jews distinguished for morality, who from other sources than the Pentateuch embraced a belief in immortality. It has already been pointed out that the most enlightened sect among the children of Israel, the Sadducees, did not believe in a future state, while the Pharisees, who professed to believe therein, appear to have been so immoral as to be pre-eminently the objects of Christ’s denunciation.

1099. As respects the precepts of Christ, those on which he laid most stress are not only neglected, but grossly violated, by the opposite course being sanctioned by the overruling sentiment of society. Nothing would subject a man to more contempt in Christendom than a tame submission to blows, or being so poor as to wear patched or ragged clothes. There are few, if any, in Christendom, who would not rather have any deficiency in attire attributed to accident or taste, than to poverty.

1100. I have shown that the idea which the Pharisees entertained of heaven, as portrayed by Josephus, representing the wicked like the rich man within sight of the good, would be a hell to a good-hearted angel. This representation is sanctioned by Christ in his story of the rich man and Lazarus. The only reward promised to his apostles was worldly preeminence in the form of judgeships. Hence it were hardly reasonable for those who are subordinate in merit to the disciples to expect any better remuneration. Hell is as absurdly as horridly typified by eternal exposure to interminable fire.

1101. Thus neither among the Jews, nor among Christians, has the Bible furnished any adequate account of a future state, nor has it been productive of higher morality; since the only morality which does exist,210 is coupled not only with the neglect, but with the violation of those precepts which the gospel inculcates.

1102. Diogenes took a lantern to see if he could find an honest man in Greece. Were any one to employ a lime-light, he would not in Christendom find a Christian who carries out in practice the precepts of his divine Master. If those who know their Master’s will, yet do it not, are to be beaten with many stripes, while the ignorant pagan is to bear but few, were it not better to be a pagan than such a Christian as those are, for the most part, who exist in Christendom? Unless our missionaries can make better Christians, is it not inhumane to add to the number?

1103. On calling on a bigoted, self-styled disciple of Christ to show me anyone who put the precepts of Christ into practice, the reply was, “We rely on his merits.” “That is all you do,” said I. “In common with others of your tenets, you make the blood of Christ a fund on which every sinner may draw in proportion as he has confidence in its detersive influence.”

1104. I am supported in some of the views above presented, by a communication from a believer in revelation, under the signature of Bosanquet, to the Baltimore Church Times, for June 15, 1848. I will quote a portion of this communication, which is as follows:

1105. “But the want of faith is more open and direct than this, and it is the more obvious and pointed upon religious subjects. The Bible is boldly and practically denied in every particular. No class or body of men believe and obey it, and strange as it may seem, it is by no nation, or people, or churches, or sects of men, less implicitly believed and followed than by those very people and sections of the church who talk so much about it. There are no persons less obedient to the plain sense and mandates of the written word of God, than those who most speak of and uphold it as the sole authority and standard, and reject all assistance from the history of the church and what is spoken against as tradition. Every class of persons reject some portion or other of the sacred Scriptures. If you talk to some of temporal honour and rewards, and the observance of a day of rest, and the patriarchs, they will say, Oh! that is the Old Testament, and is abrogated. If you speak to others of good works, they will say, Oh! that is only in the Gospels, and the Epistles carry us much beyond that, and are superior to it. Unitarians, again, receive a Bible of their own; that is, just so many passages are excluded as will suit their own belief and purpose. Others, of numerous sects, dwell each upon some half dozen chapters, or passages, or phrases, or words of Scripture, of the Epistles especially, and dwell upon them idolatrously and devotedly, to the exclusion of all the rest, so far as the authority of Scripture is concerned, from belief and practice.

1106. This is even in the religious world—the thinking and reasoning world. Let us now turn our observation to the world itself; to the working and practical.

1107. The Bible is denied in every particular. Men do not believe that we are really to be Christians; that we are to imitate our Lord. They do not believe that the world could possibly go on if all men were to act upon pure Christian motives, and up to a perfect Christian rule: if they were to forgive and forget injuries; if they were not to resent an affront; if they were to give to people because they asked them: if they were to lend money without looking for interest; if we were all to give up luxuries, and style, and costly furniture and equipage; if we, our cattle and servants, were strictly to observe the day of rest. How many are there among us who believe that ‘the tree of knowledge’ is not an absolute good? or that we ought to receive the gospel with the simplicity of little children. Who believes that we ought to honour our father and mother, and our sovereign? Who is there that acts up to the precept that we ought not to judge others in their character? How many are there who appear to believe that it is not right to be anxious about the future; that riches are not a good thing; that the entrance into heaven is easier to the poor man; that we ought to return a tenth to God; that we would bring a blessing to give freely and largely to the poor; that children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord, and that the man is happy who has his quiver full of them? It is evident that in all these points the Bible is disbelieved and is practically denied, and does not control or guide us in our habits and principles of life and society.

1108. Still less do we believe that the public measures, the laws, and government of211 the state, and the intercourse with other nations, ought to be, or can be, carried on and conducted upon Christian principles. What number or classes of persons believe that righteousness exalteth a nation? that we are punished according to the national sins of the people, and for the sins of the rulers? and that if wicked and irreligious men preside over our councils, we shall as a nation suffer the penalties of it? or that the conscience of the government is the conscience of the people, and that our rulers are bound to take the first care for the pure religion and morals of the country; and that, if they do so, their righteousness will bring down a blessing upon the nation?

1109. To come again to more direct practice, and to our own habits of life. Who is there who thinks first what is right, and according to the pattern of Christ, and after the will of God, in what he is about to do, and not what is wise and expedient? Who seeks first the kingdom of God, and God’s rule of righteousness, and trusts that all temporal good consequences will follow upon it? Who is there who thinks and abides only by the rule of what is right and commanded? We may almost answer in the words of Scripture, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one!’ Who believes in and trusts to the assistance and suggestions of the Spirit in his designs and undertakings, and believes, and acts, and writes, and thinks, as believing that the most useful and important and influential suggestions of our thoughts and invention come to our mind by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, more than by our own cleverness, and exertion, and memory, and prays for divine help upon commencing every task, or writing, or undertaking accordingly? Who forbears strictly and endeavours to expel at once all thought and every suggestion of the mind in worldly matters on a Sunday, with confidence and faith that the same and more useful thought will be supplied on the succeeding week-days, and that the unqualified dedication and sanctification of the Lord’s day will make the labour of the six days more effectual and fruitful than would be that of the seven? Who would believe now that a sabbatical year would not necessarily be impracticable and ruinous, or that a populous country could exist under such a rule, or that it would not produce a debasing and demoralizing idleness?”

1110. Let not the reader infer that these admissions come from a free-thinker. The following remarks will prove the writer one of the faithful, in the sense in which this epithet argues a mind chained down by abject enthralment, to put any constructions on facts but that which is subversive of educational prejudice: “All the evils of which the existence is admitted are due to our narrowing down our reception of truths and facts to the limits of reason—of our own more or less shallow individual reason.

1111. Now to me it seems that the nominal profession of a faith in facts which are absurd and contradictory, and professed reverence for precepts which are as utterly impracticable as unwise in the abstract, induces this monstrous incompatibility of the actual morality of Christendom with the professions of Christians and doctrines of Christianity.

1112. Our submission to scriptural authority is not to be governed by our own reason, but by that of persons who lived many ages ago, originally assumed to be inspired by God, upon human testimony; which in the case of Spiritualism, or any other than the one in point, is treated as mere chaff.

1113. It strikes me, from the considerations presented under the head of Mundane Wealth, that the precepts of Christ were fundamentally erroneous, so far as they discredit and discourage efforts for the honest acquisition of wealth. (908.)

1114. God has given the fowls of the air feathers as a natural clothing, and thus any effort to procure clothing on their part is rendered unnecessary; he has not given them hands nor intellectual ingenuity to spin and weave. On the other side, with little exception, man is naturally devoid of clothing, and requires clothes to protect him from the scorching solar212 rays or freezing blasts of winter, but has been furnished with the hands and the ingenuity to spin and weave. Under these circumstances, was it reasonable to allege that man should be governed by the example of the feathered creation? Was it reasonable to infer that there should be no spinning or weaving by men, because there neither was nor could be any performed by fowls?

1115. Again, the lily, like all other vegetables, not only comes into existence naked, but remains so, since it neither can nor will clothe itself, and would perish if by any artificial clothing it were shut out from the influence of the solar rays, and from the absorption of carbonic acid, which furnishes the vegetable creation with the carbon requisite for the fibres essential to stability. Hence the allegation that Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like the lily, is irreconcilable with the nature and actual state of this beautiful flower, which is destitute of clothing by nature, and which would perish if it were clothed. The skin of vegetable leaves, to a certain extent, performs for them what mouths do for animals. How unreasonable, then, to argue from one to the other, that man should imitate the vegetable; or to compare a plant, naturally and of necessity naked, with a king gorgeously clothed?

1116. The degrading a rich man, whether honest or not, to the level of a felon or murderer, as respects accessibility to heaven, and of course favour in the sight of God, is so erroneous, that there never was a precept which was less respected in practice, by the votaries of its author. As I have heretofore remarked, the conduct of Christians is not merely negative in respect to this precept—they do not merely neglect it; their course is the converse of any obedience to its dictates. Yet professed Christians while violating their divine Master’s behests in a way which makes their performance the inverse of the results which their professions involve, for the most part treat any person who does not profess devotion for Christ’s doctrines, as actually more culpable than themselves, and more liable to retribution after death. This is about as just as for a man, who after marrying a woman and calling her his wife, should act the inverse of the obligations imposed by the connubial contract, and then consider an individual who had never entered into any obligation with her of any kind, as guilty of sinful neglect in not acknowledging as a wife, one whom he never married. The question is, who treats the woman most ill, he who acknowledges but neglects, or he who does not display a hymeneal devotion which he never led her to expect?

1117. Again, the precept to return good for evil, would, if acted up to, encourage evil. Were a man to submit quietly to be robbed, whipped, and cheated, he would encourage robbing, flagellation, and fraud. Far wiser is the precept of Confucius, “Return good for good; for evil, justice.” The impracticable precept of Christ is so far from being carried out by professing Christians, that in their conduct to the aborigines of Africa,213 India, and America, they have always been aggressive, always rewarding the hospitality of the natives with fraud and violence, and their conduct toward each other is the inverse of the ultra precept of Christ—“Return good for evil.” They not unfrequently return evil for good.

1118. There is, as I think, nothing more injurious than the habitual violation of acknowledged professions. If the violator be aware of his inconsistency, it involves the incessant perpetration of manifest wickedness; and if his mind be so cramped by education that he commits such violations unconsciously, it must degrade the all-important power of distinguishing good from evil. Thus, in the garb of truth,

Dark error leads
With best intent
To evil deeds,
The bigot to ensnare.

1119. It is this nominal devotion to the doctrines of Christ, with a demeanour diametrically in teeth of them, which causes that anti-Christian morality which Bosanquet portrays.

1120. But I am conscientiously of opinion that the respect paid to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, &c., by which one five hundred-millionth of the blood of Abraham is made an honour to Jesus Christ, is among the reasons of the low state of morality among those who consider the Bible as the Word of God, and are thus led to view with indulgence, prostitution, murder, massacre, rape, cheating, and fraud. Agreeably to the opinion of a champion of Christianity, already quoted, “The worshipper is assimilated to the imaginary deity whom he worships.”

1121. With the exchange of two words for two other words, the verses which Pope ascribes to Eloisa, might well be uttered by many self-called Christians, who in defending the gospel from any conscientious attack, hesitate not at any intemperance of language, and yet think that the marriage ceremony is all that is called for.

1122. “Ah! wretch, believed the spouse of God in vain,
Confessed within the slave of love and man.”

1123. Although the substitution of the words wealth and power for love and man would spoil the rhythm, it would not lessen the applicability to the great mass of those who call themselves Christians, while not only neglecting, but positively violating the precepts of Him by whose blood they still hope, by a due degree of faith, to wash away their transgressions.

1124. The universe, as it is presented to my mind, induces a belief that it must have a presiding deity of commensurate power. As there are millions of suns, each having its planets; as the space which it occupies appears to us little short of infinity; as it must have endured from eternity, and must endure eternally,—the power and glory of this presiding214 deity must be commensurate with his realm, as to extent and magnificence. Yet evil exists; which can only exist from choice on his part, or because it cannot be avoided. There must be a want of will or power to prevent or remove evil. Such is the God which my reason obliges me to acknowledge. Where impressions are the offspring of reason, they cannot destroy their parent. But those who owe their opinions of their deity to tradition, have a deity which, not having originated from reason, may always be made the means of setting its dictates aside.

1125. The bigot’s god is a dangerous idol, although he be not represented by an image; and no less dangerous is any book which owes authority to hereditary, intolerant dictation and servile devotion.

1126. The fear of public opinion, or a desire to do what is deemed right among men, seems to be the principal motive for religious professions and church-going in the great mass of society. The prevailing morality being, as already noticed, not only neglectful of Christ’s precepts, but absolutely the inverse of them—not only permitting, but calling for a course diametrically opposite, as respects the acquisition of wealth and submission to wrongs—shows that it is not generally founded on a desire to cultivate the good will of Christ, but to square with sectarian opinion. I hold that one cause of this is, that the conviction of a future state, in which happiness is in proportion to our deportment here, is not so deep as that which I now have. Under the conviction which I have, nothing could tempt me to act in such way as to produce a retrograde influence on my pretensions as a spirit.

1127. It seems to me, as urged by me before, that no one believing the language of Abraham, as narrated and sanctioned by Christ, to have come authenticated direct from the Son of God, and consequently expecting it to be verified, would render himself liable to the punishment of Dives for the sake of enjoying the good things of this world.

1128. The idea that souls are to remain in the grave till the “last day,” the procrastination of that day and geological knowledge being inconsistent with the belief that any such day will arrive, makes the sinner less fearful, the good less hopeful, and diminishes the number of those who are actually, in their worldly conduct, influenced by their hopes or fear of future rewards or punishments.

1129. The expectation of washing away sin through the merit of a bigoted belief in Christ, co-operating with the vague, contradictory, and irrational idea of heaven and hell recorded in Scripture, seems to be the reason why Christians act so inconsistently with the precepts of Him whom they professedly adore.

1130. Nothing can be more inconsistent with the religion inculcated by my spirit friends, than the idea of atonement for sin by faith in any religion, true or false.

1131. Had there ever been any available light let in from the spirit215 world, this error had been denounced, and having been thus stamped as erroneous from on high, could not have acquired or retained its mischievous hold of so many millions of human beings, by substituting blind faith for genuine virtue.

Injurious Influence of unreasonable Restriction.

1132. Another reason why, throughout Christendom, the vices most deprecated by Christ are those pre-eminently prevalent, is that his precepts were absolutely impracticable, unless explained away in the style of Lord Peter in the “Tale of a Tub.”

1133. Some of the excellent Society of Friends may, as respects war, have been obedient to the precepts of Christ, and probably in other respects deviate from them less than most other sects; but as to wealth their course is the inverse of giving away their money. They are rationally among the most active and successful in the honest acquisition of money. In this they would act morally, excepting the violation of their recognised obligation to obey the precepts of Christ.

1134. Does not experience show that nothing is more injurious to morals than unreasonable restraint? This has been seen in the profligacy of the children of puritanical sectarians. To disobey an unreasonable restriction always appears comparatively a trivial offence. Going to a play, in the opinion of the mass of the world, is not sinful; but for a minor to go to a play in disobedience of parental authority, by stealth, deception, or lying, becomes sinful delinquency, and introduces a habit which may lead to crime as wicked as that of the conduct of Jacob to Esau. Lying and deceiving for venial purposes will soon induce the habit. The restriction from eating pork or drinking wine has no doubt induced much deception and falsehood among the followers of Mohammed, and thus made a crime where none would have existed. In like manner, the putting a rich man on a footing with a felon, as respects access to heaven, forbidding the resistance to blows or spoliation, makes almost every professed Christian practically unfaithful to his professions, and of course an infidel of the worst kind. More or less of this infidelity is involved in various ways, as above admitted by “Bosanquet.”

1135. If the history of Christianity, so called, be reviewed, it will be found that the deviations from the precepts of Christ during the present age are quite venial, compared with those which took place during the thousand years or more in which Romanism had the ascendency.

1136. A painful picture of the morals of the clergy during that period may be found in a recent work by Bishop Hopkins of Vermont. It would seem as if the crimes and indecency displayed during the Middle Ages, exceed even those of Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and David, and Samuel, the cruel, despotic pope of Judea. The deposition of Saul for not killing Agag, and his hewing his royal prisoner down with a sword in cold216 blood, may have been looked to as a justification of pontifical cruelty and despotism.

No one would believe that a capable farmer would make such a mistake as to sow garlic instead of wheat. Yet God, while represented as having intended to sow Protestantism, is considered as having caused, throughout Christendom, a crop of Catholicism, in the Roman or Grecian form, for more than a thousand years; those weeds still occupying more than half of the whole soil.

1137. The immense importance attached by mankind to correct religious impressions is demonstrated, in the first place, by the enormous expenditure throughout this world in sustaining those who are conceived by their constituents to be the true expounders of religion;[23] and, in the second place, by the blood and treasure which have been expended either in missions or in wars, for the extension or defence of the impressions believed by various sectarians to be the most accordant with truth.

1138. Yet it must be plain that in no case has there been any higher evidence than that of an alleged human communication, direct or indirect, with some recognised deity, if not the true God. If the will of God has ever been revealed, the number who have actually pretended to an interview with him, or with any immortal subordinate spirit are very few. The Old Testament depends upon the testimony of Moses and a few Hebrew prophets, whose inspiration rests upon their own allegations, respecting themselves or each other.

1139. As regards the basis of Christianity, there are two irreconcilable opinions: one held by the Protestants, the other by the Roman Catholics; since although there is a great diversity of opinion between Protestants, there is between all Protestants and Papists this difference: The latter relying on their own church as the sole depository of all the evidence of Christianity, do not allow any direct recourse to Scripture for a rule of faith. The former reject the claims of the church of Rome, and resort to the gospel for their rule of faith.[24]

1140. But wherefore should such implicit confidence be placed in language alleged to have been held by Moses or any other ancient author? or should they be credited, even when they allege God to have used such words as these, “Let me wax hot in my wrath that I may consume them.” The motive for this imputation against God, was that Moses might take credit for moderation in slaughtering only three thousand of God’s chosen people in one day, for worshipping a golden calf, made by his own brother, afterward made high-priest. Thus the ringleader, being the brother of Moses, was loaded with honours, while those whom he led astray were to217 be massacred in cold blood. Yet it is on such witnesses as this blood-thirsty, blasphemous bigot, that orthodoxy relies for assuming the Pentateuch to be the word of God, censuring, if not persecuting, all who do not concur with it.

1141. The intercourse with the angel Gabriel rests upon the evidence of Mary alone, who was interested immensely to make her child a god, instead of being her illegitimate offspring. Of the dream of Joseph there can be no witness besides himself. But would a dream be now admitted as testimony in any court of justice.

1142. The diversity of opinion existing between Romanists and Protestants, are briefly exhibited in the subjoined quotations from the controversy between Archbishop Hughes and the Rev. Mr. Breckinridge. They have already been cited by me in a pamphlet on the better employment of the first day of the week. Here are the opinions of two men highly qualified to judge. In one, we have an eminent champion of Romanism; in the other, a no less able champion of Calvinism. To the latter belongs the distinction of having persecuted the Quakers and witches, and of having roasted Servetus; to the former, putting some hundreds of thousands to death or torture by the sword, the rack, or the fagot.

1143. Agreeing with each of the parties that the other is in the wrong, I, of course, assume that they are both in error. Taken together, they may be considered as proving that there is no evidence in favour of Christianity, which I have not the authority of eminent Christians for rejecting. In the 29th page of the controversy between himself and Breckinridge, Bishop Hughes speaks as follows:

1144. “My fourth argument was, that the Protestant rule of faith actually undermines the authority of the Scriptures, by extinguishing the proofs of their authenticity and inspiration, and consequently terminates in moral suicide. Just imagine to yourself an ordinary will or testament, written but twenty years ago, purporting to be the last will and testament of a wealthy deceased relative, and designating you as heir, but without either signature or probate, and ask yourself what it would be worth? Could such a document establish its own authenticity? And yet this is precisely the situation to which the Protestant rule of faith reduced the Scriptures, by which, and by which alone, their authenticity could have been established. St. Augustine, of whom Presbyterians are sometimes wont to speak with respect, declared that it was the testimony of the church which moved him to believe in the Scriptures. But now the order of belief is ‘reformed.’ Men pick up (pardon the phrase) the sacred volume, as they find it floating on the sea of two thousand years, and by one great but gratuitous act of belief, which flings all intermediate church authority and tradition to the winds, they say ‘the Bible is the Bible, and we are its interpreters, every man for himself.'”

1145. It seems not to have occurred to the right reverend champio218n of the Catholic creed, that it is not more true that a testament without witnesses is of no validity, than it is true that the testimony of witnesses claiming under the will, cannot be admitted. A document written after the death of the testator would not be considered in a court of justice as entitled to the name of a testament. But were persons to write a will after a man’s death, and bring it forward, claiming under it supremacy, would their claim produce any result beside derision?

1146. The distinguished prelate justly treats the gospel as resting on the traditionary evidence of the church; since, as he truly urges, the church existed before the gospel, having been instituted at the time when his instructions were given to the apostles by Christ.

1147. But how much value is to be attached to the testimony of the church, may be learned from the following opinion of the learned clergyman to whom I have alluded as the other party in the controversy, (pages 35, 36:)

1148. “The unwarrantable liberties of your church with the word of God show her fallible to a deplorable degree.

1149. Your rule, if observed, requires implicit faith in the decretals and interpretations of fallible men, which is subversive of the very nature and end of religion in the soul. Faith supposes knowledge, conviction on evidence, and trust in God, founded on a belief of divine truth; but your rule requires unconditional submission to the dicta of the church in the lump. The ‘Carbonaria fides,’ or faith of the collier, is the very faith required. It is as follows: When asked, ‘What do you believe?’ he answered, ‘I believe what the church believes.’ ‘What does the church believe?’ Ans. ‘What I believe.’ ‘Then what do you and the church together believe?’ Ans. ‘We both believe the same thing.’ This is the grand catholicon for believing every thing, without knowing any thing. In this soil grew the maxim that ‘ignorance is the mother of devotion.’ It is believing by proxy, or rather not believing at all, in the true sense. Here is the secret of the unity of your church.”

1150. To conclude, I agree with the right reverend able and learned archbishop, that Christianity has no witnesses but those disciples of Christ whom he calls the church; but I also concur with his able, learned, and reverend opponent, that the said church is neither competent as a witness, nor reliable as a foundation for Christianity.

1151. Breckinridge does not perceive that the gospel on which he relies, and the recorded traditions which ascribe that work to inspiration, have no better foundation than the testimony of fallible men.

1152. Manifestly, however, the authority of the church of Rome cannot be overset without oversetting the authenticity of the Christian religion.

1153. Could any one believe that an experienced farmer would sow a field with garlic when intending to have a crop of wheat? Would not th219e conclusion be that if a field upon his farm were occupied by that objectionable weed, it must have been the spontaneous production of the soil, not of a mistake so gross on his part? Yet our prescient God is represented as so much inferior in foresight to an ordinary farmer, that while the religious soil of Christendom was for ages occupied with crops of Catholicism, in the Grecian or Roman modification, the seed of Protestantism was sown by God through his son and vicegerent, Christ, intending to have the soil occupied by Protestantism. Manifestly, either it was intended that Catholicism should prevail, as above described, or an omnipotent, omniscient, and prescient God did not preside over the seeding.

1154. Yet notwithstanding this diversity as to the true import of Christianity between the most distinguished Christian sectarians, each sect conceives itself justified in propagating its own peculiar opinions among ignorant pagans. The principle being thus sanctioned, that those who believe themselves to have become acquainted with religious truth, are justified in propagating a knowledge of it, wherefore should not that privilege be exercised by a spiritualist as well as a Christian?

1155. Humility is one of the virtues inculcated by Christ; but if his disciples assume to themselves a peculiar capacity to know what is true, and an exclusive right to teach what they thus assume to be truth, there will be no humility in their practice, however it may be blazoned among their professions.

1156. The view which I have presented in the preceding pages is corroborated by a personage of no less authority than William Pitt, afterward the Earl of Chatham, and prime minister of England. His opinions, alleged to have been originally published in the London Journal for 1733, are as follows:

Letter of William Pitt.

Pure Religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the Fatherless and Widows in their afflictions, and to keep one’s self unspotted from the World.

1157. “Gentlemen: Whoever takes a view of the world, will find, that what the greatest part of mankind have agreed to call religion, has been only some outward exercise esteemed sufficient to work a reconciliation with God. It has moved them to build temples, flay victims, offer up sacrifices, to fast and feast, to petition and thank, to laugh and cry, to sing and sigh by turns; but it has not yet been found sufficient to induce them to break off an amour, to make a restitution of ill-gotten wealth, or to bring the passions and appetites to a reasonable subjection. Differ as much as they may in opinion concerning what they ought to believe, or after what manner they are to serve God, as they call it, yet they all agree in gratifying their appetites. The same passions reign eternally in all countries and in all ages, Jew and Mohammedan, the Christian and the Pagan, the Tartar and the Indian, all kinds of men who differ in almost every thing else, universally agree with regard to their passions. If there be any difference220 among them, it is this; that the more superstitious, the more vicious they always are, and the more they believe, the less they practise. This is a melancholy consideration to a good mind; it is a truth, and certainly above all things, worth our while to inquire into. We will, therefore, probe the wound, and search to the bottom; we will lay the axe to the root of the tree, and show you the true reason why men go on in sinning and repenting, and sinning again through the whole course of their lives; and the reason is, because they have been taught, most wickedly taught, that religion and virtue are two things absolutely distinct; that the deficiency of the one might be supplied by the sufficiency of the other; and that what you want in virtue, you must make up in religion. But this religion, so dishonourable to God, and so pernicious to men, is worse than Atheism, for Atheism, though it takes away one great motive to support virtue in distress, yet it furnishes no man with arguments to be vicious; but superstition, or what the world means by religion, is the greatest possible encouragement to vice, by setting up something as religion which shall atone and commute for the want of virtue. This is establishing iniquity by a law, the highest law; by authority, the highest authority; that of God himself. We complain of the vices of the world, and of the wickedness of men, without searching into the true cause. It is not because they are wicked by nature, for that is both false and impious, but because to serve the purposes of their pretended soul-savers, they have been carefully taught that they are wicked by nature, and cannot help continuing so. It would have been impossible for men to have been both religious and vicious, had religion been made to consist wherein alone it does consist; and had they been always taught that true religion is the practice of virtue in obedience to the will of God, who presides over all things, and will finally make every man happy who does his duty.

1158. This single opinion in religion, that all things are so well made by the Deity, that virtue is its own reward, and that happiness will ever arise from acting according to the reason of things, or that God, ever wise and good, will provide some extraordinary happiness for those who suffer for virtue’s sake, is enough to support a man under all difficulties, to keep him steady to his duty, and to enable him to stand as firm as a rock, amid all the charms of applause, profit, and honour. But this religion of reason, which all men are capable of, has been neglected and condemned, and another set up, the natural consequences of which have puzzled men’s understandings, and debauched their morals, more than all the lewd poets and atheistical philosophers that ever infested the world; for instead of being taught that religion consists in action, or obedience to the eternal moral law of God, we have been most gravely and venerably told that it consists in the belief of certain opinions which we could form no idea of, or which were contrary to the clear perceptions of our minds, or which had no tendency to make us either wiser or better, or, which is much221 worse, had a manifest tendency to make us wicked and immoral. And this belief, this impious belief, arising from imposition on one side, and from want of examination on the other, has been called by the sacred name of religion, whereas real and genuine religion consists in knowledge and obedience. We know there is a God, and know his will, which is, that we should do all the good we can; and we are assured from his perfections, that we shall find our own good in so doing.

1159. And what would we have more? are we, after such inquiry, and in an age full of liberty, children still? and cannot we be quiet unless we have holy romances, sacred fables, and traditionary tales to amuse us in an idle hour, and to give rest to our souls, when our follies and vices will not suffer us to rest?

1160. You have been taught, indeed, that right belief, or orthodoxy, will, like charity, cover a multitude of sins; but be not deceived; belief of, or mere assent to the truth of propositions upon evidence, is not a virtue, nor unbelief a vice; faith is not a voluntary act, does not depend upon the will; every man must believe or disbelieve, whether he will or not, according as the evidence appears to him. If, therefore, men, however dignified or distinguished, command us to believe, they are guilty of the highest folly and absurdity, because it is out of our power; but if they command us to believe, and annex rewards to belief, and severe penalties to unbelief, then they are most wicked and immoral, because they annex rewards and punishments to what is involuntary, and, therefore, neither rewardable nor punishable. It appears, then, very plainly unreasonable and unjust to command us to believe any doctrine, good or bad, wise or unwise; but, when men command us to believe opinions which have no tendency to promote virtue, but which are allowed to commute or atone for the want of it, then they are arrived at the utmost pitch of impiety, then is their iniquity full; then have they finished the misery, and completed the destruction of poor mortal man; by betraying the interest of virtue, they have undermined and sapped the foundation of all human happiness; and how treacherously and dreadfully have they betrayed it! A gift, well applied, the chattering of some unintelligible sounds called creeds; an unfeigned assent and consent to whatever the church enjoins, religious worship and consecrated feasts; repenting on a death-bed; pardons rightly sued out; and absolution authoritatively given, have done more toward making and continuing men vicious, than all the natural passions and infidelity put together. For infidelity can only take away the supernatural rewards of virtue; but these superstitious opinions and practices have not only turned the scene, and made men lose sight of the natural rewards of it, but have induced them to think, that were there no hereafter, vice would be preferable to virtue, and that they increase in happiness as they increase in wickedness; and this they have been taught in several religious discourses and sermons, delivered by men222 whose authority was never doubted, particularly by a late Rev. prelate, I mean Bishop Atterbury, in his sermon on these words: ‘If in this life only be hope, then we are of all men the most miserable,’ where vice and faith ride most lovingly and triumphantly together. But these doctrines of the natural excellency of vice, the efficacy of a right belief, the dignity of atonements and propitiations have, beside depriving us of the native beauty and charms of honesty, and thus cruelly stabbing virtue to the heart, raised and diffused among men a certain unnatural passion, which we shall call a religious hatred—a hatred constant, deep-rooted, and immortal. All other passions rise and fall, die and revive again; but this of religious and pious hatred rises and grows every day stronger upon the mind as we grow more religious, because we hate for God’s sake, and for the sake of those poor souls, too, who have the misfortune not to believe as we do; and can we in so good a cause hate too much? the more thoroughly we hate the better we are; and the more mischief we do to the bodies and states of these infidels and heretics, the more do we show our love to God. This is religious zeal, and this has been called divinity; but remember, the only true divinity is humanity.

W. Pitt.

Offer of Guidance by a Mundane Spirit.

1161. The Rev. Allen Putnam, whose narrative of his conversion to Spiritualism, has been submitted, gave a very sensible and interesting lecture on this new doctrine, at the Melodeon, in Boston, last October. One of his remarks struck me as being very well warranted by my own observation and experience. He said that we are wont to express indignation at the absurd, cruel, and unnatural Chinese custom of cramping the female foot; but to him it appeared that in Christendom a much worse practice existed, that of cramping the minds of females by bringing them up zealous sectarians, their opinions, in general, being determined by their parentage. Thus Miss A. is a Romanist; Miss B. an Episcopalian; Miss C. a Calvinist; Miss D. a Methodist; Miss E. a Jewess; all most excellent creatures in any other respect excepting the effects of educational sectarianism, which had been interchanged, had their parentage been commuted. (259.)

1162. One of the blessings of Spiritualism, according to my view, is, that this cramped state of the mind, which attaches importance to various phases of analogous educational error, will be removed by receiving their opinions from the same source. But it seems that one of the most amiable and interesting among those angelic devotees, has been actuated by the same anxiety for my salvation from hell, that I have felt for her emancipation from the educational ligatures imposed upon her otherwise excellent understanding. The following letter is the fruit of her zeal in my favour:

August 1, 1855.

1163. My dear Sir: You have too much kindness yourself, not to receive in kindness what is so intended; and you have too much politeness not to223 grant as much as you ask of a friend. I, therefore, with all confidence, send you the enclosed letter, written by one of the first intellects in the country. Now, if when you send your pamphlets and the papers you wish me to read, you will state that you have read this letter, (with the care you wish me to read yours,) not to refute but to comprehend the mind of the writer, I will do the same. But, as what I send to you requires higher power than any power in created man, I will continue to pray to this higher power, this Creator of all things, that you may so read under his blessing and guidance, (before whom you and the very world upon which you tread, are but a molecule or mite,) that you, I say, may find that salvation for your immortal soul, which you seem so much to desire. If you believe that your father and sister exist, and consequently, that you have a soul that cannot die, you must feel a deep anxiety with us all for the future welfare of this soul, and will not treat with indifference the attempt to offer you that which is a complete satisfaction to your friend!

1164. I would avoid argument, as two persons at opposite points can never see the objects in the same light; but I send simply the Christian’s plan of salvation, to which I only ask you to attend as carefully as I attended to the statement of your theory. When I return to New York permanently, I will inform you. As I am anxious to retain these papers, and life is uncertain, please so arrange them that they may easily be found, should any thing happen.”

1165. The following lines, which are subjoined in the title page of my pamphlet, addressed to the Episcopal clergy, would have forewarned any but an enthusiast, that there was an outwork to be conquered before any impression could be made:

1166. If God can creatures make to suit his will,
Foresee, if they can, his design fulfill,
Wherefore those creatures to trial expose,
Traits to find out, which he thus foreknows?

1167. Persons who should differ about axioms could never agree in mathematical demonstrations, nor is it possible for A and B to agree in theology, when A assumes what to B appears to comprise a contradiction within its premises and conclusions. Having for years held the opinion conveyed in the above lines, to be self-evident truth, it is of course useless to debate with those who take an opposite view, especially just at this time, when I believe that opinion to be sanctioned by my spirit friends. This opinion was urged in my letter to the Episcopal clergy; yet this kind adviser has not seen, or has not taken pains to understand, its all-important bearing.

1168. The letter of this charming woman commences with begging the question. It is assumed that the arguments of her clerical friend require for comprehension a higher power than any power created in man. But224 this to me appears fanatical presumption, just as much as it would be in any other sectarian. The excellent authoress of the epistle puts herself in a class of females whom it has been my object to emancipate from the restraint imposed upon their minds, no less cramping than that to which the feet of Chinese ladies are subjected.

1169. It must be evident, that unless there was a successful precursory effort by facts and reasoning, to make me believe that what appears to me below good sense, is actually above it, her inference that discussion would be useless is quite evident. But this amounts to an admission that the opinions which it is her object to impart, are not founded in reason.

1170. Her clerical friend falls into the same error, as will appear from the following quotation. The last postulate in the world which he could induce me to admit, would be that any thing which owes its existence entirely to barbarous, wicked, ignorant, covetous, and blood-thirsty men, can be God’s word, and, therefore, paramount to human reason.

1171. How would he enable an idiot to believe in the Bible, or in any thing? Is not our capacity to believe correctly, greater as our reason is better by nature? It is only through his own intellectual faculties that he has received his opinions and can defend them. It is through my reason that my head and heart repel the Old Testament as, for the most part, the work of a set of unprincipled bigots, comprising allegations which the present state of astronomy and geology demonstrate to be fallacious, and which, independently of that cramping of the intellect by education, which it is my ardent desire to remove, would be denounced replete with indecency, immorality, and misrepresentation of God.

1172. It is striking that this kind lady, in referring to my sister and other spirit friends, should suppose that I would slight the direct heartfelt evidence received from them, in obedience to impressions felt by her in common with every other devotee to any religion whatever. They could, with just as much consistency, appeal to their tenets, and assume their “Koran,” their “Shasters,” or “Zendavesta” to be above my reason.

1173. But the whole tenor of this application shows that the authoress expects to set aside the results of nearly twenty months’ investigation, creating in me a firm devout conviction that I have a correct knowledge of the spirit world, received through my relatives, friends, and high spirits, in deference to those of a set of people of whom I know nothing but ill. May God do that for her which she has so benevolently implored for me, and remove from her brain the influence of educational narrowness. I would utter the same aspiration for the divine whom she has brought in as her advocate, who I hope as sincerely believes what he alleges, as I believe in the communications of my guardian spirits.

1174. But this superior intellect, it will be shown, falls into one of the most inexcusable errors, into which a tyro in reasoning can fall, that of founding his arguments on premises which are emphatically denied by225 the other party—a gross begging of the question, that the Bible is the word of God, and paramount to human reason.

1175. In a subsequent part of this letter, Hume’s excellent rule is set aside: that we must weigh the probability of the evidence against the improbability of the miracle. Rochefoucault alleges, ‘Tis better to tell a probable lie, than an extremely improbable truth. By what evidence can any record be proved true, when it is vastly more probable it should be false, than the facts recorded by it should be true.

1176. Manifestly, there are but these two ways in which any record can command credence: either there must be external evidence sufficient to weigh against the improbability of the facts which it has recorded; or those facts must be of a nature to create belief from their probability, from what is called internal evidence. As to external evidence, clearly any amount of that, may be adduced without creating a belief in spiritual manifestations. Human evidence is wholly inadequate to prove any thing which sectarianism does not wish to admit. Considering the external evidence of Scripture as vastly inferior to that on which Spiritualism is founded, and the miracles recorded, and the doctrines taught, as carrying no evidence of their truth, but the contrary, I do not understand upon what reasonable ground they are to be identified with the word of God.

1177. This fascinating lady supposes that she gave ear to my exposition of my views; but I am under the impression that she is quite deaf to any thing that does not concur with her fanatical impressions, otherwise she would never have looked upon me as one to be converted from the opinions which I entertain by the reasoning of her clerical friend, beginning with a begging of the question: assuming that revelation is God’s word, in order to prove it to be God’s word.

1178. So the Bible is true because of the miracles which it records; and these are true because the Bible records them!

1179. If she can so confine her mind as to become master of the pyramid of facts which I have raised in favour of Spiritualism, she will perceive that all other evidence of immortality sinks into insignificance as compared with it. Now all this may be nominally abrogated by denying the truth of it. But if I do not rely on my own senses, is it likely I shall rely on those of other persons, in whom I have no more confidence than her clerical adviser and herself have in Mohammed and his disciples.

1180. I subjoin a portion of the letter of the clerical champion, whose reasoning this interesting devotee deems so conclusive. I have gone over the whole of it, and have ascertained that by substituting Allah for God, Mohammed for Christ, Prophet for Redeemer, Mediator for Saviour, it has a qualification which would be deemed a merit elsewhere, if not in Christendom: it would serve just as well to uphold the religion of Mohammed, as that of Christ.

1181. The letter is so long that it would occupy too many pages to give226 the whole; but I will give a portion, sufficient to show how the reasoning, on which many sectarians rely, may be just as good for any other creed, founded on an arrogation of premises, as that for which they contend.

1182. “Allah forbid that I should depreciate the value of reason in any of its offices. Reason is Allah’s gift to man, and must be used as Allah designs. But so is the Koran Allah’s gift to man, and must be used as Allah designs. Two gifts from the same perfect being cannot conflict with each other. The Koran in its teachings and revealings may go beyond or rise above the comprehension of our reason, because reason in man is a finite and imperfect gift, while the Koran from Allah opens the mind of an infinite and perfect being. But the Koran does not and cannot in any thing contradict reason, because Allah does not and cannot contradict himself. Unless, therefore, you are prepared to say that the Koran is not Allah’s gift to man—if you are a believer in its true divine inspiration—you must see and admit that when the Koran, as Allah’s mouth, reveals any thing which our reason cannot as yet comprehend, because beyond or above, though not against, that reason, then Faith must submissively receive the revelation addressed to it, and Reason stop her speculation and shut her mouth at the limit which Allah has set. Reason has to do with the evidences which show the Koran to be Allah’s gift; with the grammatical and intended sense of what Allah taught and revealed in the Koran, and with the use of what in the Koran is clear to the comprehension of man. But here Reason’s province ends. When the Koran goes beyond or rises above this point, Reason must pause and adore, and Faith must go forward and receive. I do not hold, as you intimate, that the right exercise of reason ‘is impious,’ or that Reason is to be discarded and Faith substituted, if by this be implied any thing incompatible between the proper offices of Reason and Faith; but I mean that our finite reason is to stop at the limit assigned her by her author, and let Faith as a higher power go forward and receive what Allah teaches or reveals to her acceptance. Faith can now receive more than Reason can as yet comprehend. She does so in the province of nature; she must do so in the province of revelation. This cannot be denied without taking at once the ground of the infidel—a ground from which, I doubt not, you would shrink back as from the border of an open pit of destruction.

1183. I am thus brought to your remark, that ‘The Mohammedan system, as generally received, is not difficult to understand.’ If this be strictly true, it must be because that system, ‘as generally received,’ is not the true system; for, in this sense, or as truly and rightly received, the Mohammedan system contains various things which it is difficult to understand, if by understanding be meant comprehending. We may, indeed, understand that a fact or a truth exists or is revealed, while that fact or that truth itself is, for the present, utterly beyond or above our comprehension. And this is precisely the case with the Mohammedan system rightly viewed.227 It contains various facts and truths which our reason cannot yet fathom. Natural reason loves to separate and set aside these great and high things from the Koran as non-essentials, and then to busy itself with those parts of the Koran which are level with its own height; pleased with the dream that it has grasped enough, has grasped all that can be of any real value. Believe me when reason does this, for one who has the Koran in his hands, she plays at a perilous game.

1184. The main position which I have thus far taken is, however, virtually conceded in another part of your letter. Alluding to what I had urged as to the importance of acknowledging Mohammed as your mediator, and relying on his mediation only for justification as all-sufficient, reconciling all difficulties, and removing all embarrassment from the consideration of the union of justice and mercy in the deity, you say: ‘But does it remove all embarrassment? Is not Allah himself the author of the plan of salvation? Was not Mohammed himself Allah, and also his vicegerent?’ The impossibility of answering these questions satisfactorily to the plainest reason, teaches me to recoil from the impiety of inquiring how my Maker will save me or reconcile his own attributes? I know full well that the great mass of human minds are totally incapable of considering such a subject with any approximation to a solution of it, and therefore do I feel that the eternal salvation or condemnation of mankind does not depend on such theological questions. Here you directly admit the inability of reason in most minds satisfactorily to comprehend some of the great and high points of the Mohammedan system, and the consequent impiety of her attempting such a comprehension. You might as well explicitly admit her inability for this comprehension in all minds; for no mind in its present state can by reason alone grasp all that Allah has revealed in the Koran. These great and high things are not proposed to reason alone, but to reason so far as their evidence is concerned, and to faith so far as their substance is to be received. Reason may satisfy herself that they are revealed. Faith alone can take in the substance which they contain. When they are proposed to it, faith must receive them, or salvation cannot come, whether the reason of the individual addressed be the ‘plainest’ or otherwise.

1185. Your argument in the above extract does not satisfy me so well as your admission. From the inability of the great mass of minds satisfactorily to comprehend the high mysteries of the Koran, you infer that the ‘eternal salvation or condemnation of mankind does not depend on such theological questions.’ Certainly, the salvation of mankind in the mass does not depend on these or any other theological questions; if by this be meant depending on the ability to comprehend such questions, because the points involved in these questions, so far as they are mysteries, are proposed not to reason as comprehending, but to faith as receiving. But do you mean to be understood as saying, that when the Koran is put into228 any man’s hand, and when Allah through the Koran opens to that man his revealed way of salvation, the individual thus approached may accept what is level with his reason, but reject what is proposed to his faith and above his reason, and that yet notwithstanding such rejection he may reasonably hope to be saved? If so, I ask you by what right you argue thus? Who is Allah, and what is man? When he tells you the way in which he will save you, not the mass of mankind or the heathen to whom the Koran has never come, but you yourself, what right have you to say that your salvation does not depend on your faith’s reception of those very things which are above your reason’s comprehension? How do you know but that the whole efficacy of the plan proposed to you, depends on your receiving the great facts and truths propounded to your faith? ‘Faith itself, I admit,’ you may contend, ‘does not save any man; it is the Mediator that saves.’ But you have no right to say, or think, or hope that he will or can save you with the Koran in your hand, in any other way than that which in the Koran he proposes to your faith. And if when he demands your faith in what surpasses your reason, you withhold that faith, and plead the sufficiency of what he has incidentally made level with your reason, do you not thereby show that you have not the spirit which he requires, and that you are yet none of his? In the Koran he has not only revealed to you his mission and sanctification, but also proposed to you his mediation as a propitiation for your sin; and he has told you that ‘you must be born again,’ not only of water, but also ‘of the spirit;’ that except you be converted and become as a ‘little child, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven;’ and that ‘he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned:’ ‘believeth’ not a part only, but the whole of the Koran then intrusted to its Ulemas. Here he explicitly demands your faith in the whole Koran. But suppose it had been otherwise, suppose he had simply opened to you a way by which he could certainly save you, without saying any thing about faith, as the one great and necessary receiver of the facts and truths involved in that way; I ask, would not a rejection of a part of those involved facts and truths be equivalent to a rejection of the whole? Would it not display the same spirit as a rejection of the whole? Would it not show that you were not walking in his way, but in some other which you supposed might possibly be found? Nay, would it not show that in your heart you had no confidence in him as a mediator; that you even rebelled against his right to prescribe to you the terms on which he would save you?”

1186. To conclude, with respect to this guardian angel of my soul, to whom this digression owes its existence; it may comfort her to know that I conceive myself so securely protected and guided already, and so sure of the result of that guidance and protection, that I would advise her, in my turn, to consider well whether she ought not to pray to God to give her a little more light respecting her own destiny, than is afforded by the229 book which is vaunted as being above reason, and as being the word of God. Does she conceive the subterranean cave with the “lake of unquenchable fire,” in which Dives is roasting in sight of the blessed, to be so satisfactory as to be unwilling to hear of a preferable abode in the azure sky? Does she aspire to some official position commensurate with that of the judgships which Christ promised his disciples? If it is to procure me a place in the heaven described in Scripture, I beg leave to decline, being pre-engaged; and therefore give her an invitation to meet me hereafter in the glorious abode to which I confidently aspire, and where I shall feel myself especially called upon to render her my assistance to rise from the inferior though happy sphere to which, with her present opinions, she is destined.

1187. I would recommend to her, and to others in the same predicament, the perusal of the influence of the conversion to Spiritualism on my friends, as presented in this volume. I would also recommend her to study the comparison made between the heaven and hell of Scripture and that of Spiritualism, as herein presented.

1188. I hope my would-be mundane guide to salvation will find in the verse and prose addressed to me by one more nearly allied (215, 250, 538) a sufficient apology for declining her kindly-tendered guidance, especially as the path through which she would lead me is known to this excellent relative, who has frequently passed and repassed it during her residence of more than two years in the spirit world, while to my mundane friend it is as yet unknown, and, as I believe, misapprehended. But although my mind has not been converted to her view of the service tendered, my heart will never cease to be gratefully inclined toward one who, while actually in want of guidance herself, thought so much of the supposed deficiency from which it is imagined I suffer.

Improper use of the epithet Infidel, as used in the parodied quotation from the Clergyman’s Letter.

1189. If a man cannot be guilty of infidelity to another man’s wife, how can he be guilty of infidelity to another man’s religion? The Mohammedan wrongfully calls the Christian “infidel,” because he does not believe in Mohammed; and as wrongfully is the epithet retorted, because the Mohammedan does not believe in Christ. The epithet can only be truly applicable to those who, while professing a religion, do not act up to their professions. In this sense, Christendom, so called, teems with infidels to Christianity.

On Atonement.

1190. Since my spirit sister’s translation to the spheres, she has risen from the fifth to the sixth sphere. It has been alleged by her that her ascent was retarded by her belief in the atonement. I subjoin some reasoning on that subject:


1191. As respects free-will, Dr. Johnson shrewdly said that all practice is in its favour, all theory against it; but whatever view may be taken on this subject, no one can deny that so far as it is possible for sin to be avoided, it must be within the power of God to make men virtuous. The fact that they are not sinless, must arise either from his not wishing to make them more virtuous, or from his inability to make them so. That he does not make them free from sin implies either a want of will or a want of power.

1192. But whatever may in this respect be true, his omniscience must have enabled him to perceive the result beforehand, and of course it is inconceivable that he would, consistently with his goodness, have created them, foreknowing that they would be so wicked as to deserve eternal punishment.

1193. All this it was in his power to obviate by not creating men, or by making their temptations less, or their power of resistance greater. But foreseeing their wickedness, and imposing fetters on his omnipotent power, so as to render a certain amount of suffering inevitable, he is said to have determined that a portion of the godhead should expiate in the flesh, by the pains of crucifixion, the punishment due to the sinful creatures which he has been supposed to have wilfully created, foreseeing this result.

1194. But in order to make men better, instead of using that almighty power with which he is said to have hardened the heart of Pharaoh, to soften the human heart and enlighten the human mind universally, he is made to resort to a method which, however cruel and manifestly unjust in making an innocent being suffer for the guilty, has proved utterly inefficient, since only a small minority of mankind profess Christianity, and of that minority only an imperceptible portion, if any, comply with its requisitions, as before observed; hence the greater part are liable “to be beaten with many stripes,” while those to whom the mission of Christ has been unknown are to “be beaten with but few stripes.”

1195. Human lawgivers may enact constitutions which result in practical failure, because they do not foresee the issue. Such failures are ascribed to their deficiency in practical wisdom. But the failure of measures for the production of any result proving it unwise, must demonstrate that it did not originate with an all-wise author; in other words, with the Almighty.

1196. It is manifestly absurd to ascribe to that Being any measures which have failed to effect the ends for which they have been specially devised. Knowing that Mohammed would have more followers than Christ, that the largest portion of mankind would remain pagans, that even in Christendom the Christian religion would be a source of bloody contention and theological hatred, making scarcely any real Christians,—how could it originate with a wise and prescient Deity?


1197. “By their fruits ye shall know them?” It being premised that God is omniscient, all-wise, and omnipotent, can any fruit proceed from that high source which has not proved to answer well the purpose for which it was intended?

1198. The actual morality of Christendom being the inverse of that excessive and impracticable restraint, which Christ enjoined as the object of his mission, must prove that his doctrine could not have originated with a being by whom its failure must have been foreseen.

1199. Arguments such as I have used are met often by referring to the evils, to which all animated nature is subjected, in the way of misery, mutilation, disease, or death. But when the government of the universe is attributed to general laws, it may be inferred that evil results from a want of power to render those laws free from bad consequences. Nothing but such limitation of power, or an indisposition to prevent those evils, can account for their occurrence. But this is widely different from assuming, in the first place, with self-called orthodoxy, that God is omnipotent, omniscient, all-wise, and all-good, and then representing him as resorting to measures for the accomplishment of his ends which are utterly inefficacious. This is accusing the Almighty of acting like an idiot. Can any thing be more preposterous, than that an all-wise, all-good, all-powerful, and all-foreseeing Deity should require the services of human missionaries to carry out his will? Would he not at least require that such messengers of his word should first agree as to what that word ought to be? A pagan might remain during his whole life a pagan, should he, before adopting any creed, require that professed Christians, in general, should agree as to the tenets which he should espouse.

1200. Agreeably to the attributes assigned to the Deity by orthodoxy, the state of things which exists in the universe cannot be otherwise than as God wishes it to be, to the falling of a sparrow; so that any change sought by man, beyond the immediate sphere of his necessities, must be an officious interference with God’s providence.

1201. Yet if a man be considered as an instrument in attaining certain beneficent ends, without which those ends could not be accomplished, then human exertion is reasonable, in whatever way it can be productive of good.

1202. How can any being who contemplates the wonderful power displayed in the creation, hesitate to perceive that if the divine Architect desired that all men should coincide in their modes of worship, he would have furnished them sufficient evidence of his will, and disposed their minds to receive the desired impression?

1203. Nevertheless, his measures are represented as the inverse of these. It is represented that a creed which he wished all men to embrace was promulgated in an obscure part of an obscure country, under the yoke of heathen despotism, in a language unknown to any other people. It was so promulgated that the great majority of mankind were entirely out of232 the reach of its influence, and have remained so for nearly two thousand years. Moreover, those who have been made acquainted with Christianity are unable to agree in what it consists.

1204. As I have already urged, if we were to judge of the extention of Christianity by the number of Christians who do not in practice violate the precepts of Christ, it might be a question whether the name of Christendom is applicable to any part of the world.

On the massacre at Sinope, as a probable consequence of Religious Fanaticism and Intolerance.

1205. As in consideration of the idolatry of the Amalekites the Israelites were, according to the Bible, authorized to extirpate that nation, for a wrong done to Israel some hundred years before, may not the Russians imagine themselves justified for the massacre of Sinope? (1 Sam. xv.)

1206. The Turks have done vastly more harm to the Greek Christians, when, with fire and sword, they subdued the Greek empire, and obliged each man to pay annually for wearing his head, than the tribe of Amalek did to the Hebrews. In the one case there does not appear to have been for centuries any repetition of the wrong; but in the other the wrongs were reiterated, and of an enduring nature. It is true that the Mohammedan sovereigns were in Turkey more tolerant of their Christian subjects than Christian sovereigns were of Mohammedans; or even of the Albigenses, Lollards, Wicliffites, Lutherans, or Calvinists. The Turks never introduced an inquisitorial tribunal to burn or torture unbelievers. On this account they may think themselves less open to the charge of cruel intolerance than some of the self-called disciples of Christ; and no doubt the discordancy between the conduct of those disciples and the precepts of their teacher, may have contributed to their contemptuous opinions of those whom they improperly call infidels to Mohammed, not perceiving that people who have not professed a religion, can no more be infidels thereto than one man can be guilty of infidelity to another man’s wife. This argument, however, would be answered by the fact that Christians call Mohammedans infidels, not in consequence of any violation of their faith in Mohammed, but because they have never had any faith in Christ.

1207. Such skeptical Mohammedans as Lady Mary Wortley Montague made mention of in her letters from Constantinople, will no doubt consider the term infidel applicable only to such as break their professed faith, whatever it may be.

1208. Agreeably to this definition, every fighting or wealth-seeking Christian is an infidel to the religion which he professes; every Mohammedan who indulges in wine is an infidel.

1209. The religion taught by Mohammed, like that of Moses, authorized the most cruel wars, the extermination of nations for erroneous belief,233 while the religion of Christ directs us to love our neighbours as ourselves; to return good for evil; to give our coat when our cloak is taken; to submit passively to blows, and that the possession of wealth interferes with access to heaven. Christianity is, moreover, unfavourable to polygamy or concubinage.

1210. It follows that the precepts of Jesus call for restraint upon the predominant passions of human nature, while those of Mohammed, in justifying warfare, excessive indulgence in women, and in the spoliation and massacre of unbelievers, coincide with the most predominating propensities of human nature. It is, therefore, far easier to be faithful to the precepts of Mohammed than those of Christ.

1211. Nevertheless, as both Christ and Mohammed treated the Old Testament as authentic, it is to be feared that the Turks and Russians may look to it for justification of their intolerant cruelty.

1212. None of the ancient Pagans were as hostile to the Hebrews, as the disciples of Mohammed have been to the Greek Christians. But not even the Mohammedans have been so intolerant to those whom they call infidels, as Christian sectarians have been, to such persons as they have dogmatically adjudged to be heretics.

1213. It should be well considered whether any authority dependent on human records can justify the inference that God, anywhere, or in any age, ever authorized such cruelty as that exhibited at Sinope.

1214. Whenever men adopt the idea entertained by the Jews and Mohammedans, and certain sects of Christians, that a peculiar creed is necessary to salvation, it is deemed humane to inflict any temporal evil in order to eradicate any other belief which will subject souls to eternal punishment. When to the Catholics in the reign of Queen Mary it was urged that burning heretics alive would not change their creed, the reply was, that although the victims should not be converted, the souls of their progeny would be saved from damnation by the extirpation of the heresy with the heretics. Admitting the premises, the conclusion was correct, and the auto-da-fé and the tortures of the inquisition were even more excusable than a painful chirurgical operation, when it preserves the temporal life of the patient.

1215. If the Czar is of opinion, that for every Christian who may replace a Turk, a soul will be saved from damnation, he may conceive himself as well authorized to extirpate the Turks, as were Moses and Joshua to extirpate any heathen nation.

1216. Moreover, by some Christians, Jesus is considered as having sanctioned the retention of that characteristic of the Hebrew portraiture of Jehovah, which makes it right to exterminate unbelievers in the orthodox creed. This must be a source of discord wherever it is recognised, as it induces persecution from conscientious regard to the salvation of the victims upon whom it acts, while in them it naturally creates bitter resentment instead of gratitude.


1217. Having submitted the representations of Jehovah, given in the Old Testament, I will subjoin those of the great modern philosopher Newton, and those of Seneca, one of the most distinguished sages of antiquity. The reader may, from these data, judge how far piety or morality would suffer, were that ancient record to give way to the direct evidence of Spiritualism.

Opinions of God held by Sir Isaac Newton.—Enfield’s Philosophy, Page 638.

1218. “God has no need of organs; he being everywhere present to the things themselves.

1219. “It appears from phenomena, that there is a being incorporeal, living, intelligent, omnipresent, who, in infinite space, as it were in his sensory, sees the things themselves, intimately and thoroughly perceives them, and comprehends them wholly by their immediate presence to himself.

1220. “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only arise from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being; and if the fixed stars be centres of similar systems, these, being all formed by like wisdom, must be subject to the dominion of one; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun; and all systems mutually give and receive light.

1221. “God governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as the Lord of the universe. The Supreme Deity is an eternal, infinite, and absolutely perfect being, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration extends from eternity to eternity, and his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things which exist, or can be known. He is not eternity or infinity; but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space; but he endures and is present; he endures forever and is present everywhere. Since every portion of space is always, and every indivisible moment of duration is everywhere, certainly the Maker and Lord of all things cannot be never or nowhere. God is omnipresent, not virtually only, but substantially; for power cannot subsist without substance. In him all things are contained and move, but without reciprocal affection. God is not affected by the motion of bodies, nor do bodies suffer resistance from the omnipresence of God.

1222. “It is universally allowed that God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always and everywhere. Whence he is throughout similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all power of perceiving, understanding, and acting; but in a manner not at all human, not at all corporeal; in a manner to us altogether unknown. As a blind man has no idea of colours, so we have no idea of the manner in which the most wise God perceives and understands all things. He is entirely without body, and bodily form, and therefore can neither be seen, nor heard, no235r touched; nor ought he to be worshipped under any corporeal representation. We have ideas of his attributes, but what the substance of any thing is, we are wholly ignorant. We see only the figures and colours of bodies; we hear only sounds; we touch only external superficies; we smell only odours; we taste only savours; of their internal substance we have no knowledge by any sense, or by any reflex act of the mind; much less have we any idea of the substance of God. We know him only by his properties and attributes, by the most wise and excellent structure of things, and by final causes; and we reverence and worship him on account of his dominion. A God without dominion, providence, and design, is nothing else but fate and nature.”

1223. The language above quoted does not involve the idea that Newton owed his idea of God to the Bible, or that he considered him as having any person, much less that he consisted of three persons. He makes no allusion to Christ or to the Scriptures. His opinions are quite reconcilable with Theism, but incompatible with the existence of the Trinity.

On God and his Attributes, by Seneca.

1224. “Great respect is due to universal opinion. We consider common assent an evidence of truth. That there are Gods, we are convinced, among other proofs, from the fact that the belief in their existence is natural to man. No nation has been found so brutal as to be entirely without religion.

1225. “We begin to know God from his works. What is God? All that you see, and all that you do not see. In what does the nature of God and man differ? The best part of man is his mind; in God there is nothing but mind. He is pure spirit. Many names are applicable to him. Do you call him Fate? You do not err. He it is upon whom every thing depends. The cause of causes. Do you call him Providence? You are right. It is by his appointment that this world is so arranged that it performs without confusion the part assigned to it. Do you call him Nature? You do not sin. It is he from whom all things are produced.

1226. “You may properly apply to God any name expressive of celestial power. All his benefits may give rise to distinctive appellations. Thus he is called Father, Hercules, Mercury, &c. Father, because he is truly the Father of all; Hercules, because he is omnipotent; Mercury, because he is pure Reason, the principle of science, of order, and of harmony.

1227. “Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, are all names of one God, expressive of his various attributes, and are qualities of the one mind; whichever of them you love, you love God. Known unto God are all his works.

1228. “Whatever is to happen is present with him. What to us is sudden and unexpected, has by him been foreseen and provided for.


1229. “A wise man does not change his opinion, how much less God! As a river does not flow back, or stop in its course, so the order of nature is governed by fixed laws, which are nothing less than divine decrees.

1230. “Who is so wretched, so neglected, who born to so cruel a destiny, as not to have received any benefits from the gods? Look at those who complain of their lot, you will find that they are not deprived of all comforts. Is the gift of life nothing? Are there no objects pleasant to the eye, to the ear, or to the mind? God’s kindness does not only supply us with what is necessary to existence, he provides also for our pleasure. Witness the variety of fruits, differing in flavour; the many healthful vegetables, so great a variety of food for different seasons of the year, some produced from the earth without culture, even for the idle; animals of all kinds abounding in the earth, the sea, and the air, as if all things in nature were tributary to our enjoyment. Consider the rivers flowing gracefully through the fields which they fertilize; others, whose deep beds in their vast and navigable courses, afford the means of a profitable commerce, or by overflowing their banks during the drought and heat of summer, water the parched earth and cause it to bring forth abundantly. You deny that you have received any favours, and yet are unwilling to part with what you possess. There are some philosophers who do not appreciate the divine gifts. They complain that we are not endowed with perfect health, incorruptible virtue, and foreknowledge. They scarcely refrain from impudently despising nature, that she has made us less than gods. How much better would it be to return thanks to the gods for the many benefits we have received, and for placing us in this beautiful world, and subjecting it to our rule, as their vicegerents.

1231. “The Deity has thought of us from the beginning; and this world has been so arranged as to make his care of us manifest. We admit our obligation to love our parents, as those from whom we derive our existence. They were, however, certainly not the authors of our existence, but were utterly ignorant of the mysteries of nature.

1232. “That we are indebted for our existence to an intelligent cause, is evident from the provisions made for our support long before our birth.

1233. “The strong instinct of a mother, making her willing to endure any privation for the helpless stranger; the sacred fountain which, at the moment it is wanted, flows from the mother’s breast; the air adapted to the lungs, the light to the eye: what more shall I say?—a present God is revealed!

1234. “Our kind Father begins to bestow benefits on us before we are capable of perceiving our obligations to him, and continues them even when we are ungrateful. Some accuse him of forgetting them; some of injuring them; others believe him to be regardless of his works; nevertheless, like a good parent, who smiles at the follies of his children, God does not cease to confer his benefits on those who deny his existence, but237 with an equal eye regards all nations, and uses his power only to bless. He sprinkles the earth with soft showers; he moves the sea by his breath; tempers the severity of winter and the heat of summer, and is placable to the errors of imperfect mortals.”

On the Better Employment of the First Day of the Week.

1235. The subjoined essay, as above designated, was written nearly ten years ago, before the author had any hope that any knowledge of a future state would be mercifully afforded through himself, as well as many others, which would supply the only deficiency in the elements requisite to the proposed innovation. Fortunately the doctrines, since taught by the spirits, entirely corroborate the suggestions of this essay; so that Spiritualism, natural religion, and literature, may hereafter go hand in hand on Sunday.

1236. This now gloomy day, may, through the happy united instrumentality suggested, become a day of real intellectual improvement, as well as of every species of variety of innocent recreation. Yet every species of selfish sensual pleasure will be avoided and condemned by every conscientious believer in spiritual manifestations.

1237. It is suggested that persons opposed to sabbatarianism, inconsistent with the early and long-continued practice of Christianity, and with the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, should unite to render Sunday (erroneously called the Sabbath) a day of moral, literary, and scientific instruction, for those who, dissatisfied with the sectarianism of the existing places of worship, pass the day without edifying occupation.

1238. The object of this association would be to contemplate the Deity, agreeably to the opinions entertained by the first and one of the best of philosophers, Sir Isaac Newton; the sentiments of morality comprised in the precepts ascribed to Confucius, as well as to Christ, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

1239. As respects the object of devotion, the idea of the Deity entertained by Newton, and this sentiment of Pope’s universal prayer, might be adopted:

1240. “Father of all, in every age,
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord.”

1241. As regards ceremonial, that sanctioned by Christ, agreeably to which the brief appeal of the humble, contrite publican, was deemed preferable to that of the self-complacent, multiloquent, pompous Pharisee.

1242. The opinions of the Deity given by Newton, are quoted to show that there is nothing therein to justify intolerant sectarianism, nor to indicate the distinguished author to have been indebted for them to Revelation.

1243. As favouring toleration, the sentiments expressed by Seneca, the238 Roman sage, should be cherished. The sentiments of this sage prove that among the heathens a more pious idea of God existed than that given by the Bible, which represents him as jealous, and as punishing not only the individual, but his posterity, for an involuntary ignorance, which by a mere fiat, omnipotency could correct.

1244. God is quite tolerant, according to Seneca, as respects any misapprehension of his pretensions, while, according to Moses, he is extremely intolerant.

1245. Instead of teaching people to dislike and disesteem those who may differ from them, as to the designation, form, or name under which the Deity is to be worshipped, it should be held that no person of sound mind would waste his time and his energies in worshipping that which he does not conscientiously believe to be entitled to adoration, any more than a man will knowingly pay a debt to or court the favour of one to whom he owes nothing, and from whom he cannot expect any thing in return. It might be argued as reasonably, that a person in paying by mistake a forged draft, is less honest than in paying one which is genuine, as that a virtuous pagan is to have less favour with God than any other man, however orthodox his creed. (See Theological Axioms, page 34.)

1246. Were a lessee to pay a forged order for rent due to his landlord, would the latter strive to punish him for the mistake, especially if so wealthy as not to feel the want of the money? But what would be said of the landlord who, knowing that his lessee had received an erroneous impression as to the owner of his tenement, should allow him to pay year after year without any effort to prevent him from being cheated? Would not this deprive him of moral if not of legal claim to the rent? God is represented as omniscient, and consequently as cognizant of the misapprehension which leads the pagan to kneel before his idol, and yet without either influencing his mind, or placing before him any evidence of his error, punishing him for his mistake.

1247. It should, moreover, be an object to prove the greatness and goodness of God, by making men acquainted with the wondrous miracles of that universe of which a nook has been assigned to the inhabitants of this planet, which, in comparison with the totality, is as minute as any grain of sand which contributes to form our terrestrial globe is to the whole mass of which it constitutes a part—so insignificant. It should be an object to show how that “honesty is the best policy,”—the bad never being happy.

1248. Those well-educated sectarians of different creeds should be held wanting in humility, who severally considered themselves free from that error in belief to which they deem all other men liable. It is conceived, also, that individuals are answerable for their opinions to God only, and that for one man to condemn another for not thinking as he himself thinks, is to violate the precept, “judge not, lest ye be judged,” and the golden rule of acting toward other men as you would have them act toward you.


1249. Since our missions are all intended to induce pagans and others to think freely as respects the tenets in which they have been educated, how can it be otherwise than proper for every person to think without fear of denunciation upon the tenets of his ancestry. Are we to deny ourselves the liberty of thought, which we claim for all who differ from us as to their creeds?

1250. A sectarian who is a Christian only as to observances, and is therefore really a practical infidel, accuses a man of infidelity who is practically a Christian, so far as Christianity and virtue are associated, because that man does not arrive at his morality by the route which his denunciator points out, but never follows to any good purpose.

1251. While missionaries, who ought to know all that can be learned, do not agree among themselves, wherefore do they attempt to instruct the ignorant? How is the unlettered pagan to judge between the Catholic, Calvinist, Unitarian, or Deist?

Additional Remarks respecting the Observance of the Sabbath, so called.

1252. It is believed that a great majority of the people of the United States, while favourable to the observance of Sunday as a day of worship, of innocent recreation, and of moral and intellectual improvement, are adverse to the legal enforcement of restrictions introduced into Christianity by puritanism. They do not consider the first day of the week as liable to the commandment given to the Jews for the observance of the seventh day; still less that the innocent recreation allowed to the Jews under that commandment is to be denied to Christians on that day of rest. The commandment forbids work, but does not prohibit recreation. That it was thus viewed by the Hebrews, is asserted upon the authority of a learned Jew.

1253. It is conceived that the enforcement of any observance on sectarian ground, is inconsistent with the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

1254. If God intended the Sabbath to be kept so strictly, wherefore is it not kept holy by him? why do not the rivers stop flowing, vegetables growing, and the wind stop blowing on the day selected for the Sabbath, especially if a sparrow does not fall without his cognizance.

1255. Precepts may lead, but example will draw. Aware of this, is it conceivable that God would enjoin man to keep any day holy, and yet fail to keep it holy himself? Regulating the blowing of the winds, as well as the falling of sparrows, when creating a storm, would he not be responsible for forcing the breach of the Sabbath upon the mariner?

1256. Ought the farmer to lose his crops in order to avoid working on Sunday? The Romans took advantage of the Hebrew Sabbath to make their advances upon Jerusalem, the tenets of the Jews restricting them from resistance; yet there was no divine interference to shield this chosen240 people against the heathen conqueror, or to assist them in the observance of the commandment.

1257. The plea on which the commandment was founded is manifestly groundless—that an omnipotent God could be so weary as to require rest. But it has been suggested by enlightened Christians, that the six days were periods of immense duration, and of course the seventh day being like the rest could not be a day of twenty-four hours, like the Jewish Sabbath so called, but, on the contrary, an era comprising many ages.

If Creatures be not so created as to love their Neighbours as themselves, precepts can no more alter them in this respect, than change the Colour of their Hair, or the Number of Cubits in their Stature.

1258. In the spheres, agreeably to the communication received from spirits, great importance is attached to the friendship, the affection, and the ardent love, which may subsist between congenial minds or souls; they seem to recognise love as something which cannot be felt by all to all; so that while benevolence, charity, and sympathy may be sentiments entertained to mankind generally, there are other sentiments which require concentration, in order to have any efficacy. Of this nature are parental, filial, and conjugal affection, as well as other intimate friendships.

1259. Sympathy between the parent and child, between husband and wife, and likewise occasionally between brothers and sisters, or such friends as Pylades and Orestes, may be so strong as to induce the risk, if not the loss of life, but this sympathy cannot be self-induced. Where, from principle, a person may determine to make the sacrifice, not from impulse, he cannot endow himself with the sensitiveness which would make him feel for the sufferer as for himself. A being may admire such a sentiment, and have an ambition to be so actuated, but that would not create the sensibility to which its existence is due. It has been alleged that Napoleon’s mother said of him, as I remember to have read somewhere: “He wished to have a good heart.” The most that can be done is to act as if we did love, and consequently sympathize, so as to feel the pains and privations of another as if they were our own. But it were inconsistent to entertain a love so powerful and peculiar, and not give our time, thought, services, or attention to the object of our affection. It were inconsistent so to love and keep at a distance, and behave toward the object as if we were indifferent. But were the sentiment to be felt universally, or even generally, there would be such a cutting up of our time, service, or attention, that, as respects any individual in particular, it would be nugatory, and might as well not exist. There would likewise be such a multiplicity and perplexity of yearnings that it would distract the heart, perhaps place it in a less happy condition than if it were devoid of any affection whatever.

1260. Although temporal life may at times be sacrificed by one being to save that of another, it is manifestly because the being who makes the241 sacrifice is constituted so nobly as to endure less pain under the circumstances in question in making than avoiding self-immolation. But can any one who has not been so organized and educated as to make such a sacrifice, be sufficiently changed by preaching, or monition, to undergo self-immolation to save a fellow-creature?

1261. Is it reasonable to order, direct, or advise people to love, especially on the part of any one who by his acknowledged omnipotency could so constitute them as to sympathize to any required extent? I admit, that it may be consistent to urge them to act toward others, as far as possible, as if they were loved.[25]

1262. Should not the great object of cultivation be sympathy and benevolence, which are general in their nature? We may deeply sympathize with a sufferer, even with a brute, whom we do not love. Benevolence should we not also cultivate, by endeavouring habitually to take the most favourable view of those around us which our observation and reason can permit? Does it not argue a want of discrimination to treat love as a sentiment, to be entertained toward all other mortals by mere volition? Is it reasonable that Christ, or any other teacher, assuming to be missionaries of the Creator, should enjoin us to love, when the capacity for that sentiment manifestly varies through organization and education, derived from that Creator by various human beings, as much nearly, as the opposite propensities of the wolf and dog? Behold the difference between the elephant and rhinoceros: the former capable of a canine fidelity and affection, the latter irretrievably hostile; and again between a wild elephant and one tamed by education.

1263. Were his organization and education dependent on himself, it might be reasonable to say to a human being, Love your neighbour as yourself, love your enemies; but how can that Deity who determines man’s race and his parentage, and of course whether he be a savage or a civilized man, whether a Thug or a real Christian, if such a thing can be,—how can that Deity require a being to do that which is irreconcilable with his passions, opinions, and habits, derived from nature and education, as well as the examples set by those around him?

1264. The inutility of precepts in controlling human passions, may be seen in the history of Christendom, in which, as already urged, the morals and conduct of mankind, with very few exceptions, have been diametrically opposite to that of their divine Master, so called. Who have been more242 aggressive than the great majority of professed Christians? Who have been more actuated by cupidity? Yet these votaries have been, for the most part, vociferous in their professions of devotedness to Christ, making him the Son of God as well as their teacher, and too often cruelly maltreating those who have denied his divinity.

1265. Both on the part of the ancient Jews, or on that of modern Christians, religion has been made an excuse or a plea for despoiling unbelievers of their patrimony. In the contention respecting the right to Oregon, the great question, on which judgment was to turn, was, which of all of the Christian potentates claiming it, was the first to lay his longing eyes upon the object of contention? It has been shown that the massacre of whole nations involved no criminality, provided they were pagans. David put to the sword the pagan communities, man, woman, and child, during which time Jehovah was with him. The pagans being mere vermin in the estimation of the Jewish deity, the wrongs done to them were not cited as among David’s misdoings. No Nathan came to call him to account for his flagitious conduct to them, or to Achish, (1 Sam. xxvii. 8 to 12.)

1266. In his correspondence with the British minister, respecting territorial rights granted to the English by the Mosquito king, Mr. Clayton urged that the aborigines never had been admitted to have any rights to their own lands, which could interfere with Christian claimants.

Attacks upon the authenticity of Scripture cannot endanger the prevalent morality, which, while it is superior to that of the Old Testament, indicates a recklessness of the precepts of Christ, excepting so far as they make faith a counterpoise for sin.

1267. In the preceding pages, I have endeavoured to show that the existing morality of Christendom does not owe its existence to Christianity. My object has been to do away the apprehension that this morality would be deprived of its foundation were Spiritualism or any other innovation to be accredited which would be inconsistent with revelation. But I hope I have shown that whatever merit may be possessed by the existing state of morals, it cannot be ascribed to any influence exercised by those precepts of Christ which are not only neglected, but acted in diametric opposition to.

1268. Another cause of alarm has been that it would weaken that belief in a future state of rewards and punishments which is so essential to encourage virtue and repress vice. But it has been pointed out that the authority of Moses is against the existence of a future state, not merely negatively, but positively, so far as any authority is given to him as inspired by God. For what stronger argument need there be that there is no state of existence beyond the grave, than the fact that the being who of all mankind solely had immediate converse with the Deity, should not have learned from him the all-important fact? If, as now held generally among Chris243tians, an unbeliever in a future state is culpable in the sight of God, as well as theirs, and disqualified from testifying in courts of justice, can it be conceived that God would have failed to communicate a knowledge of immortal existence to his favourite lawgiver; or how could that lawgiver have been so devoid of that desire for immortality as to have been satisfied to remain ignorant?

1269. Materialists who have become converts to Spiritualism, all represent themselves as having entertained a great anxiety to believe in immortality prior to the blessed, cherished truth having been made evident to their thirsting souls.

1270. Converts from Materialism to Spiritualism, who have shown much zeal in the investigation of the subject, and eagerness in believing in immortality as soon as evidence was obtained, were, by certain sectarians, doomed to hell for their heresy. Yet this Hebrew materialist, who made no use of his transcendent opportunities of acquiring correct knowledge of futurity from the Deity, is made an object of veneration, and the book which he wrote, while devoid of this pre-eminently important information, is worshipped as an idol.

1271. His allegations that God authorized the Israelites to borrow in order to purloin, or that he authorized the murder of the people misled by Aaron to worship the golden calf, are manifestly as false as blasphemous. Then why imagine that mankind can suffer by the substitution of a belief in a future state associated with the purest principles of morality, for the books of Moses, which sanction crimes and discredit immortality?

1272. As respects any subsequent alleged inspirations to which Pharisees, the papists of Judea, owed their professed belief in a future state, in the first place, we have the authority of Christ for viewing them as hypocrites: externally, like whited sepulchres, internally, as no less corrupt than dead men’s bones. Of course there is reason, on this account, to doubt whether they acquired a sincere belief in a future state from any part of Scripture. But evidently it did not make them moral. Their immorality, on the contrary, was made more hideous by the cloak of false religion. Nothing is more detestable than to see religion in men’s mouths, with cupidity and unprincipled ambition at their hearts. Yet this much may be said for the Pharisees, that they had not professed themselves Christians, and thus subject to those precepts of Jesus which place the acquisition of wealth on a level with felony as respects the accessibility to heaven. The Pharisees of Christendom, even those who assumed to be exclusively the depositories of revelation and sole expounders of God’s word, have been absolutely as wicked as the Pharisees, and relatively more wicked by the monstrous discordancy of their course with their professed devotion to the ultra precepts of the alleged Son of their God.

1273. It has been shown, moreover, that although Christ occasionally referred to hell, yet he gave inconsistent views of it, (738, 764764.) At one244 time it is fire, into which any one is to be doomed for alleging his brother a fool, whether this allegation be true or not; at another, it is utter darkness, with weeping and gnashing of teeth; and of course there could be no fire. Then the disgusting description given by Josephus is sanctioned, agreeably to which, like the Elysium and Erebus of the heathen, both hell and heaven are subterranean localities, but separated by a lake of unquenchable fire, across which Abraham and Dives converse. At another time, heaven is above; he ascends to heaven in sight of his apostles, yet the penitent thief is to be with him in paradise, which, agreeably to Genesis and Josephus, is upon the earth on the river Tigris, near the Persian Gulf. But wherever the Elysium and Erebus of the gospel may be, all souls, according to it, are to remain in their graves till the “last day,” and then, like Samuel, being called up from their tombs, are to be sorted into two squadrons, of which one is to go to an undescribed heaven, the other to the “hell fire prepared for the devil and his angels from the beginning of the world.” The injustice which would follow from a judgment of this kind, by which two souls differing from each other only by a shade would meet a fate so different that one would have to go to heaven, the other to hell to remain eternally, is so manifest, that, like the ultraism of the same record, it loses its effect altogether upon people in general.

1274. It must be clear that the great mass of professed Christians are very little restrained by their fears of such an eternity of punishment. Had Christ any specific knowledge of the kingdom of heaven to which he occasionally alluded, wherefore did he not convey that knowledge to his disciples? But they seem to have learned no more from Jesus than Moses did from Jehovah, and hence their querulous inquiry as to what would be their reward. But the promise of judgeships, (743 to 745,) of worldly preeminence, was a satire upon them. It argues that he considered them as worldly-minded. Had he known the world to be looked upon by the apostles as beneath consideration in comparison with immortal life, he would hardly have insulted them by the offer. But their tone has a great deal too much of the Swiss in it. Had they been so very dull, or Christ so reserved, that the idea was not conveyed to them that in acting the part of pious, virtuous men, they would have the reward promised to the righteous in the other world.

1275. Thank God, no spiritualist who reads with attention the communications given in this work, will ever inquire as to the extent of selfish reward which he is to enjoy! He would be impressed by his general knowledge with the idea that the less any being is actuated by selfish aspiration, the greater his capacity for happiness and his pretensions to the means of felicity.


The Doctrine of a peculiar Belief being necessary to Salvation, and a counterpoise for Sin, a source of discord originally confined to Judea, expanded with Christianity and Islamism; verifying Christ’s allegation, that he came “as a Sword, not as a Messenger of Peace.”—Superior Morality, and far more unquestionable Certainty of the Communications from the Spirit World.

1276. It were in vain, I think, to find in the apple of discord, in the mischiefs let loose from Pandora’s box, or any other figurative exemplification, any idea adequate to convey my conception of the mischief done to the world by introducing the dogma, that belief could be the means of salvation; so that if God had so constituted or so situated a people, that they could not believe what was communicated to them by certain itinerant preachers, it should be worse for them in the day of judgment than for Sodom and Gomorrah; two cities which God had destroyed because he had not so organized them, and circumstanced them, as to make them as virtuous as he, subsequently to their creation, desired.

1277. Christ fully justified this opinion, when he alleged himself to have come as a sword, not as a messenger of peace, and to set father and son, mother and daughter, &c., at variance with each other, making the people of a man’s own household his foes. It may be said that he identified himself with piety and rectitude; so that it was for the virtue of which he, as the Son or missionary of God, was the representative, that he plead; but this pious devotion has much more of self in it than people imagine. They identify God or Christ with the welfare of their souls and bodies. It is through the hope of benefit to these that they take such a deep interest in God.

1278. But is it not strange that the Christian religion should be treated as a harbinger of peace and harmony, when, with its entrance into the world, came the intolerance, before confined to Judea, and when by its founder it is represented as a sword, to sever the dearest ties by introducing the poisoning idea that belief could be a virtue or a sin? It seems to have been the cause of a peculiar animosity which has always accompanied its progress, if not its endurance, and which set the example to Mohammed of attaching the same fanatical idea to another basis, comporting with his individual aggrandizement, at the expense of much human misery.

1279. The language of Christ held to his apostles, showing that he considered them as thirsting for temporal honours, and his aspiration for the throne of his glory, situated, of course, in the same mundane region, may warrant the surmise that his views did not differ from those of Mohammed as to the ultimate object, however much he may have found it necessary, under the Roman despotism, to fight with the tongue instead of the sword.

1280. But how can this sentiment be justified in which he makes devotion to himself irreconcilable with the holy ties between the child and his246 parents, or the parents and their children? The God of Spiritualism would view parental and filial love as the truest piety. He asks only that love. He has not constituted us to have that sort of love for him. Had he wished it, he would have made us so, as to be thus actuated.

1281. “He that believeth in me shall have eternal life.” “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” These allegations produced a change in the world at large. That bigotry and animosity which led the Jews to consider that all who did not agree with them in creed, were objects of spoliation, massacre, rape, enslavement, were now extended to other parts of the world.

1282. No doubt the success of this exclusive notion, on the part of Christ, led to its adoption by Mohammed, and thus some hundred millions have been actuated by this mischievous impression, which is now at work on the Russian territory. It has been already suggested that this idea always begets persecution to the extent of the power to exercise it. While seeing the horrid consequences of this error in the persecution of the French Calvinists, Calvin could not avoid the diabolic impulse in the instance of Servetus. It cannot be necessary to recall to our readers the many bloody persecutions and religious wars which have disgraced Christendom far more than any other part of the globe, nor to allude to the tyranny reciprocally employed by any sect having complete ascendancy. Yet with these consequences before the mind—the facts which I have adduced to prove that the morality of Christendom is not due to Scripture—the tocsin is sounded wherever any effort is made to get rid of the crimes and indecencies of the Old Testament, or the error of making bigoted belief, under the name of faith, a primary consideration on the part of the New Testament. People are taught that every thing good is due to Scripture; that thence alone can we get any correct notions of morality, any knowledge of a future state. The idea is entertained that Christianity made a great change for the better as soon as it prevailed, and that without it we should sink into a state of demoralization.

1283. Consistently with my experience of the effect of a confident belief in a future state of existence on my own mind, as already suggested, I was always under the impression, prior to my conversion, that those who believed in a future state must be happier; and if that belief were not associated with mischievous error, that it should not be assailed. The idea that what I considered as bigotry, should be a counterpoise for sin, I did consider a mischievous error, tending to substitute devotion for good works, and as I saw, too, made nations selfish. The love of hoarding was very commonly coupled with this selfishness, which operated at once to produce efforts to lay up treasure on earth by close dealing, and in heaven by strict sectarianism, bigotry, and intolerance. But, nevertheless, I was restrained from any effort to cure these errors, from the conviction that religion, unaccompanied by the expectation of a future state, can never take hold of the human heart.


1284. In a dialogue between the spirit of Wm. Penn and that of Thos. Paine, the former points out this error: “You strove to take from your readers one of their greatest comforts under the afflictions of mortal life.” Foreseeing this would have prevented me from writing the Age of Reason. Any set of skeptics who should only coincide in disbelieving, could never adhere together nor make many converts. The prospect of future life must be promised confidently, or there would be few proselytes.

1285. But the spiritual manifestations, and the intellectual, the heartfelt intercommunion with my relatives, friends, and the immortal, great, and good Washington, now enable me to assert that there is not, nor can be upon any record of the past, any evidence so complete, as that presented to my senses, concurrently with a multitude of observers. I now, therefore, feel myself warranted to speak out what my reason justifies and my conscience dictates; and have not hesitated to express the opinions which are spread out upon the pages immediately preceding that which contains this exposition.

1286. With a view to show how much more happy was the state of reciprocal sectarian feeling in the world before this idea of making belief an object of vital importance, I will quote here, first a passage from Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History, vol. i., and will subjoin some pages from “Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire;” following these up with quotations from Bishop Hopkins, of Vermont:

Quotation from Mosheim.

1287. “Each nation suffered its neighbours to follow their own method of worship, to adore their own gods, to enjoy their own rites and ceremonies, and discovered no displeasure at their diversity of sentiments in religious matters. They all looked upon the world as one great empire, divided into various provinces, over every one of which a certain order of divinities presided, and that, therefore, none could behold with contempt the gods of other nations, or force strangers to pay homage to theirs.

1288. “The Romans exercised this toleration in the amplest manner. As the sources from which all men’s ideas are derived are the same, namely, from their senses, there being no other inlet to the mind but thereby, there is nothing wonderful in the general prevalence of a sameness of the ideas of human beings in all regions and all ages of the world. The affections of fear, grief, pain, hope, pleasure, gratitude, &c., are as common to man as his nature as a man, and could not fail to produce a corresponding similarity in the objects of his superstitious veneration. To have nothing in common with the already established notions of mankind, to bear no features of resemblance to their hallucinations and follies, to be nothing like them, to be to nothing so unlike, should be the essential predications and necessary credentials of the ‘wisdom which is from above.’


1289. “It has, however, been alleged by learned men, with convincing arguments of probability, ‘that the principal deities of all the Gentile nations resembled each other extremely, in their essential characters; and if so, their receiving the same names could not introduce much confusion into mythology, since they were probably derived from one common source. If the Thor of the ancient Celts was the same in dignity, character, and attributes with the Jupiter of the Greeks and Romans, where was the impropriety of giving him the same name? Dies Jovis is still the Latin form for our Thor’s day. When the Greeks found in other countries deities that resembled their own, they persuaded the worshippers of those foreign gods that their deities were the same that were honoured in Greece, and were, indeed, themselves convinced that this was the case. In consequence of this, the Greeks gave the names of their gods to those of other nations, and the Romans in this followed their example. Hence we find the names of Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, &c. frequently mentioned in the more recent monuments and inscriptions which have been found among the Gauls and Germans, though the ancient inhabitants of those countries had worshipped no gods under such denominations.”

Quotation from Gibbon.

1290. “The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced, not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.

1291. “The superstition of the people was not imbittered by any mixture of theological rancour; nor was it confined by the chains of any speculative system. The devout polytheist, though fondly attached to his national rites, admitted with implicit faith the different religions of the earth. Fear, gratitude, and curiosity, a dream or an omen, a singular disorder, or a distant journey, perpetually disposed him to multiply the articles of his belief, and to enlarge the list of his protectors. The thin texture of the pagan mythology was interwoven with various, but not discordant, materials. As soon as it was allowed that sages and heroes, who had lived, or who had died, for the benefit of their country, were exalted to a state of power and immortality, it was universally confessed that they deserved, if not the adoration, at least the reverence, of all mankind. The deities of a thousand groves and a thousand streams possessed, in peace, their local and respected influence; nor could the Roman, who deprecated the wrath of the Tiber, deride the Egyptian who presented his offering to the beneficent genius of the Nile. The visible powers of nature, the planets, and the elements, were the same throughout the universe249 The invisible governors of the moral world were inevitably cast in a similar mould of fiction and allegory. Every virtue, and even vice, acquired its divine representative; every art and profession its patron, whose attributes, in the most distant ages and countries, were uniformly derived from the character of their peculiar votaries. A republic of gods of such opposite tempers and interests required, in every system, the moderating hand of a supreme magistrate, who, by the progress of knowledge and flattery, was gradually invested with the sublime perfections of an Eternal Parent, and an omnipotent Monarch. Such was the mild spirit of antiquity, that the nations were less attentive to the difference than to the resemblance of their religious worship. The Greek, the Roman, and the Barbarian, as they met before their respective altars, easily persuaded themselves that under various names, and with various ceremonies, they adored the same deities. The elegant mythology of Homer gave a beautiful and almost regular form to the polytheism of the ancient world.

1292. “The philosophers of Greece deduced their morals from the nature of man rather than from that of God. They meditated, however, on the Divine Nature as a very curious and important speculation, and in the profound inquiry they displayed the strength and weakness of the human understanding. Of the four most celebrated schools, the Stoics and the Platonists endeavoured to reconcile the jarring interests of reason and piety. They have left us the most sublime proofs of the existence and perfections of the first cause, but as it was impossible for them to conceive the creation of matter, the workmen in the Stoic philosophy was not sufficiently distinguished from the work, while, on the contrary, the spiritual God of Plato and his disciples resembled an idea rather than a substance. The opinions of the Academics and Epicureans were of a less religious cast; but while the modest science of the former induced them to doubt, the positive ignorance of the latter urged them to deny the providence of a Supreme Ruler. The spirit of inquiry, prompted by emulation and supported by freedom, has divided the public teachers of philosophy into a variety of contending sects; but the ingenuous youth who, from every part, resorted to Athens and the other seats of learning in the Roman empire, were alike instructed in every school to reject and to despise the religion of the multitude. How, indeed, was it possible that a philosopher should accept, as divine truths, the idle tales of the poets, and the incoherent traditions of antiquity, or that he should adore as gods those imperfect beings whom he must have despised as men! Against such unworthy adversaries Cicero condescended to employ the arms of reason and eloquence, but the satire of Lucian was a much more adequate as well as more efficacious weapon. We may be well assured that a writer conversant with the world would never have ventured to expose the gods of his country to public ridicule, had they not already been the objects of secret contempt among the polished and enlightened orders of society.


1293. “Notwithstanding the fashionable irreligion which prevailed in the age of the Antonines, both the interest of the priests and the credulity of the people were sufficiently respected. In their writings and conversation, the philosophers of antiquity asserted the independent dignity of reason, but they resigned their actions to the commands of law and of custom. Viewing, with a smile of pity and indulgence, the various errors of the vulgar, they diligently practised the ceremonies of their fathers, devoutly frequented the temples of the gods, and sometimes condescending to act a part on the theatre of superstition, they concealed the sentiments of an atheist under the sacerdotal robes. Reasoners of such a temper were scarcely inclined to wrangle about their respective modes of faith or of worship. It was indifferent to them what shape the folly of the multitude might choose to assume; and they approached with the same inward contempt, and the same external reverence, the altars of the Lybian, the Olympian, or the Capitoline Jupiter.

1294. “It is not easy to conceive from what motives a spirit of persecution could induce itself into the Roman councils. The magistrates could not be actuated by a blind though honest bigotry, since the magistrates were themselves philosophers, and the schools of Athens had given laws to the senate. They could not be impelled by ambition or avarice, as the temporal and ecclesiastical powers were united in the same hands. The pontiffs were chosen among the most illustrious of the senators, and the office of Supreme Pontiff was constantly exercised by the emperors themselves. They knew and valued the advantages of religion, as it is connected with civil government. They encouraged the public festivals which humanize the manners of the people. They managed the arts of divination, as a convenient instrument of policy, and they respected as the firmest bond of society the useful persuasion that, either in this or a future life, the crime of perjury is most assuredly punished by the avenging gods? But while they acknowledged the general advantages of religion, they were convinced that the various modes of worship contributed alike to the same salutary purposes, and that, in every country, the form of superstition which had received the sanction of time and experience was the best adapted to the climate and to its inhabitants. Avarice and taste very frequently despoiled the vanquished nations of the elegant statues of their gods and the rich ornaments of their temples, but in the exercise of the religion which they derived from their ancestors, they uniformly experienced the indulgence, and even protection, of the Roman conquerors. The province of Gaul seems, and indeed only seems, an exception to this universal toleration. Under the specious pretext of abolishing human sacrifices, the Emperors Tiberius and Claudius suppressed the dangerous power of the Druids; but the priests themselves, their gods and their altars, subsisted in peaceful obscurity till the final destruction of paganism.


1295. “Rome, the capital of a great monarchy, was incessantly filled with subjects and strangers from every part of the world, who all introduced and enjoyed the favourite superstitions of their native country. Every city in the empire was justified in maintaining the purity of its ancient ceremonies; and the Roman senate, using the common privilege, sometimes interposed to check this inundation of foreign rites. The Egyptian superstition, of all the most contemptible and abject, was frequently prohibited; the temples of Serapis and Isis demolished, and their worshippers banished from Rome and Italy. But the zeal of fanaticism prevailed over the cold and feeble efforts of policy. The exiles returned, the proselytes multiplied, the temples were restored with increasing splendour, and Isis and Serapis at length assumed their place among the Roman deities. Nor was this indulgence a departure from the old maxims of government. In the purest ages of the commonwealth, Cybele and Æsculapius had been invited by solemn embassies, and it was customary to tempt the protectors of besieged cities by the promise of more distinguished honours than they possessed in their native country. Rome gradually became the common temple of her subjects, and the freedom of the city was bestowed on all the gods of mankind.”

For more than a thousand years the Grecian or Roman Catholic Clergy were the sole depositories of the word of God, so called, and Regulators of Religious morals; yet during that time the Clergy were for the most part pre-eminent in vice, as compared with the rest of the community; whence it is inferred that, like Pope Boniface, the wicked Clergy in general were really unbelievers in the truth of the Gospel. If the morals of the modern Clergy are better, it is neither from the barbarous example furnished them in the Old Testament, nor the ultra precepts of the Gospel; being too much enlightened to be governed in practice by either.

1296. “Origen complains of the neglect and inattention of his day, through the increase of worldliness. Cyprian about the same time mourns over the progress of degeneracy, and Eusebius, toward the close of the third century, laments the corruption of the primitive morality in strong terms of censure.

1297. “But yet superstition was rapidly advancing, and the complaints of priestly corruption and general licentiousness were on the increase. The election of Pope Damasus was the occasion of a public riot, in which his partisans besieged the church where the friends of the other candidate were assembled, broke down the doors, and uncovered the roof; and in the shameful battle that ensued, one hundred and thirty-seven persons were slain, of both sexes. The splendour of the Roman bishops had grown so rapidly, that the heathen historian Ammianus Marcellinus pronounced the episcopal style of living to be superior to that of a king. Toward the close of the fourth century, Chrysostom defended the new system of monkery, on the ground that Christians had become so corrupt, especially in the large cities. Jerome before him had bitterly complained of the prevailing degeneracy, and became a monk in order to escape from it. St. Augustine lamented that many Christians in his day (about A. D. 389) were superstitious, that they adored the sepulchres and pictures of the saints, and ate and drank to excess at funerals, under the excuse that it was an act of religion.

1298. “The fifth century was not likely to improve the state of the church, but on the contrary it witnessed a rapid deterioration. The testimony of Salvian is set forth by Fleury, proving that among the Roman Christians there was much heathen idolatry re252maining; that the greater part were only Christians in name, and worse than the barbarians in life and conversation.

1299. In the sixth century, toward the close, we see Pope Gregory the Great attributing all the public calamities to the ambition of the bishops, who concealed the teeth of wolves under the face of sheep.

1300. “The seventh century. We begin to see the fruits of clerical celibacy in the rule established by the council of Toledo, that the illegitimate children of the clergy, from the bishop down to the sub-deacon, should be slaves in the church where their fathers served. It is to be presumed that this canon was intended to discourage and amend the incontinence of the clergy, but the adoption of such an extraordinary law proves plainly the prevalence of the evil. So general had the worldliness of the clergy become, that in the latter part of this century the most eminent bishops of France took great part in political matters, and in time of war marched at the head of their troops, like the lay barons.

1301. “One of the most important events of the eighth century was the forgery of the Decretals, by which all the primitive bishops of Rome, from Clement to Sylvester, were made to utter the most extravagant doctrines concerning the power of the pope, the supremacy of Rome, and the authority to judge the other bishops, while the pope himself could be judged by none. Yet such was the ignorance of the times, that this forgery was successful throughout the whole Latin Church, and remained unquestioned for eight hundred years together. Another strong proof of this prevailing ignorance is found in the course of the bishops at the second council of Nice, where pretended miracles performed by images were cited from false documents without any suspicion of mistake.

1302. “The parliament of Worms presented to the emperor a request from all the people that the bishops should no longer go out at the head of their troops, but should stay in their dioceses and assist the army by their prayers; and Charlemagne willingly granted the petition. But it is remarkable that this application came not from the clergy, but from the laity; and it was so little regarded afterward, that we shall find some warlike bishops even among the popes themselves. This same emperor endeavoured with great zeal to purify the morals of the clergy; and his reproofs of their worldliness, their avarice, and their prostitution of sacred things for the sake of gain, are remarkable monuments of his own good sense and of the corruption which infested the church in the ninth century. After his death, which occurred in A. D. 814, some churches invoked him as a saint, notwithstanding he had four wives and five concubines.

1303. “The year 844 was signalized by the introduction of false relics at Dijon in France, by which, nevertheless, several remarkable cures were supposed to have been effected, until the fraud was discovered; but the proceedings show that such impostures were common. In A. D. 850 a poor presbyter named Gotheschalk, who had adopted high views on predestination, was not only deposed from the priesthood, but afterward publicly whipped, as an incorrigible heretic, and cast into prison, where he died after eighteen years’ confinement. Yet his doctrine was defended by other bishops of high reputation, and his punishment was denounced as cruel and unjust.

1304. “In A. D. 864, a violent outrage took place at Rome, in which Gonthier, the Archbishop of Cologne, protesting against the judgment of Pope Nicholas, told his brother Hildwin, who was a priest, to place his protestation on the tomb of Saint Peter: that is, upon the altar of the church. Accordingly, Hildwin entered into the church with several followers, all armed, and as the keepers opposed him, he repulsed them with blows, and killed one of them upon the spot. He then accomplished his purpose, and retreated sword in hand. The anecdote is only of importance as a proof of the spirit of the age. The first instance of a partial interdict occurs in A. D. 871. The ordeals of boiling water, cold water, and red-hot iron were employed in this age, to determine questions of justice under the auspices of the priests; and even kings employed them, with all faith and confidence. The Duke of Naples had formed an alliance with the Saracens, which the pope disproved; and as he refused to break it on the order of the pontiff, he was excommunicated. The Bishop Athanasius, who was the duke’s own brother, took him and put out his eyes, sent him as prisoner to Rome, and caused himself to be proclaimed Duke of Naples in his place. The pope approved this conduct highly, and praised the bishop for loving God more than his brother, and putting out the right eye which had offended, according to Scripture. This pontiff was John VIII., and the time was A. D. 877.

Reasons for not proceeding farther with Quotation of Details.

1305. It would occupy too much space, and make too wide a digression, were I to proceed in quoting the details of the evidence showing the state of morals in Christendom during the Middle Ages to have been much below that which the heathen displayed during the period immediately succeeding the advent of Christ, according to Mosheim and Gibbon. But253 although the reader should not be enabled to form an opinion directly, by a perusal of the details, fortunately I am enabled to submit that of the right reverend prelate by whom they have been compiled.

1306. The fact deserves attention, that for more than a thousand years, of all the upper classes of society the Christian clergy were pre-eminently wicked, frequent complaints having been made against them by the laity, notwithstanding the cruel persecution to which complainants were liable. The popes were generally as prominent in wickedness as high in official distinction. The summing up of Bishop Hopkins, which I subjoin, fully confirms the impression which I have endeavoured to convey:

1307. “I have now gone over the history of your church, with the single aim of proving, from your own records, the rise, progress, and terrible extent of its corruption, up to the close of the sixteenth century. Here we see that for a period of seven centuries together there had been a constant outcry for reformation; that the popes and priesthood were the objects of continual complaint on the part of the laity; that by their own acknowledgment, although the church was never destitute of true Christians, yet holiness was the exception, and iniquity the rule, since the great body of the clergy were steeped in licentiousness, avarice, simony, cruelty, violence, falsehood, and blood; that the University of Paris, one of your most famous nurseries of theological education, was infested with an infidel philosophy, and with habits of libertine sacrilege; that the boasts of absolute atheism were heard from the lips of pontiffs and cardinals; that the reliance of your church was in the terrors of the inquisition, in the rack, the dungeon, and the stake; that war, and treachery, and assassination, were patronized in the service of religion; that bishops, and cardinals, and popes, were ready to lead their troops to battle; that there were constant revolts and rebellions against the tyranny of the priestly power; that there were many schisms in the papal kingdom, in which two or three pretenders to infallibility cursed each other at the same time, in the name of God and his apostles; and that every effort to banish these horrible iniquities proved utterly abortive, until the success of the Protestant reformation compelled them to respect public opinion, by fear for their very being if they continued to brave it any longer.”

1308. It is believed that there was no such wickedness among the pagan priesthood as to have become a cause of complaint, although far less power existed to silence accusation. Throughout Christendom even monarchs were made to suffer severely for their remonstrances against papal tyranny, and had to make concessions after having been ill-treated. By way of exemplifying his disrespect for those precepts of Christ which enjoin humility, meekness, and poorness of spirit as the means of reaching heaven, Pope Celestin kicked the crown from the head of the emperor, Henry VII., as this potentate knelt before him. Could any sane man have done this while believing that Christ’s allegations were to be verified,254 agreeably to which the “poor in spirit” are to have heaven, the meek to inherit the earth? (See Hopkins.)

1309. According to Taylor’s Diegesis, Constantine inquired of Sopater, the pagan priest, if he could absolve him from his sins, among which was that of scalding one of his wives to death, and executing unjustly one of his sons. Sopater informed him that it went beyond his power to obtain pardon for such sins. The Christian priests having agreed to procure the desired absolution, is supposed to have been one of the principal motives which induced Constantine to embrace Christianity. Yet it was under this wicked despot that the Council of Nice was held, which decided in favour of the divinity of Christ.

1310. It is difficult to imagine that persons who actually believed in a future state of rewards and punishments, and who of course must have been impressed with the comparative insignificance of any worldly enjoyments, would, for any earthly objects, have acted so much in a way to doom their souls to perpetual torture. It may therefore be inferred that the clerical papists who acted so wickedly were religious hypocrites, like the Jewish Pharisees. I am strongly under the impression that the imperfection of the proof of the truth of Scriptures, in the first place, and the inadequate and disgusting representations respecting the future world which they present, has always been productive of secret unbelief, and consequent recklessness respecting the dictates of religion or morality.

1311. Of the manner in which the clergy of the present day reason themselves into a belief, and expect to induce others to concur with them, the parodied quotation from the clerical Goliah of my would-be guide to heaven is an exemplification. It is only by frowning down objections, or begging the question, that they can get on. (1182.)

1312. Said one among the most amiable of my clerical friends to me, when I adverted to the improbability that the Deity of this almost infinite universe would select a few human animalcules in Judea as his especial favourites: “Dr. Hare, you must not expect me to sit by patiently, and see the pillars of my profession assailed.” I am sorry, said I, if I have said any thing to give you pain. “How would you like the pillars of your science to be attacked?” I would defend them, not endeavour to silence the assailant! But all criticisms which lead to the cure of errors only benefit a science founded on truth.

1313. The skepticism produced by reading the Bible is alleged, by Archbishop Hughes, as the motive of his church for forbidding the reading of it to the faithful. It was the reading of the Bible, when a minor, which led to my unbelief in its authenticity. Bible societies may, without intending it, do much to prepare the reasoning portion of mankind for the adoption of a more moral, consistent, and rational gospel.

1314. That one pope at least was a materialist, the following quotation from Bishop Hopkins’s work will prove.


1315. “The year 1308 was marked by the resolution of Pope Clement V. to take up his residence at Avignon. Two years afterward, he appointed three cardinals to examine the witnesses against the former pope, Boniface VIII., and Cardinal Cajetan; and the testimony taken on the occasion proved them both to have been downright atheists. It was in substance as follows:

1316. “Nicholas, a priest and canon of the cathedral, &c., on oath, said, that being at Naples, under the pontificate of Celestin V., viz. A. D. 1274, in the house of Marin Sichinulfe, where Cardinal Benedict Cajetan dwelt, he entered the chamber of the cardinal in the suite of the Bishop of Fricenti, and found there a clerk disputing with him, in presence of several persons, upon the questions, which was the best law or religion, that of the Christians, of the Jews, or of the Saracens? and who those were that best observed their own? Then the cardinal said, What are all these religions? They are the inventions of men. We need not put ourselves to any trouble, except for this world, since there is no other life but the present. He said also, on the same occasion, that this world has had no beginning, and would not have an end. Nicholas, Abbot of St. Benedict, &c., deposed to the same fact, adding that the Cardinal Cajetan had said that the bread was not changed in the sacrament of the altar, and that it was false that it was the body of Jesus Christ; that there is no resurrection; that the soul dies with the body; that this was his opinion and that of all men of letters, but that the simple and ignorant thought otherwise. The witness being asked if the cardinal did not thus speak jestingly, replied that he said these things seriously and in good faith.

1317. “Manfred, a lay citizen of Lucca, said, that in the year 1300, before Christmas, being in the chamber of Pope Boniface, in presence of the ambassadors of Florence, of Boulogne, and of Lucca, and many other persons, a man, who appeared to be the Pope’s chaplain, told his holiness of the death of a certain knight who had been a wicked man, and therefore it was necessary to pray for him, that Jesus Christ might have pity on his soul. Upon which Boniface treated him as if he were a fool; and after having spoken injuriously of Jesus Christ, he added: This knight has already received all the good and evil he can have, and there is no other life than this, nor any other paradise or hell than what is in this world. The witness testified to another discourse of Boniface, which modesty does not allow of our reporting; and another witness recited a story about him still more impious than the foregoing.

1318. “‘What remains of this information,’ says Fleury, ‘comprehends the depositions of thirteen witnesses, all to a similar effect. Another information which appeared the following year contained the evidence of twenty-three witnesses to the same facts, with others equally scandalous. But as the affair was never brought to judgment, it is superfluous to enter into any further details.’

1319. “Now here is a very extraordinary and powerful evidence to prove that at least one pope, and he a very distinguished one, Boniface VIII., and one cardinal, of high reputation, were not only infidels themselves, but claimed to be of the same class with ‘all men of letters.’ That the testimony was satisfactory seems incontrovertible; because the witnesses were thirty-six in number, unimpeached in character, and thought sufficient by Philip the Fair, King of France, and all his leading nobility. He proposed that Boniface should be arraigned, though dead, for heresy, and that his bones should be disinterred and burned, according to the modern fashion established by the Roman Church. It may seem strange, however, that even if Boniface and Cajetan had held such sentiments, they should have been so foolish as to utter them in the presence of so many. To this two answers may be given. First, that the influence of the philosophy which we have already noted in the University of Paris was so prevalent, that the clergy and the upper ranks of the laity were generally infected with it, and religion was looked upon, by nearly all, as a thing of policy, necessary to keep the vulgar in order, but only professed by the higher classes, as it was in heathen Rome, ‘for the sake of appearances.’ Unhappily, there are many proofs too strong to be doubted that this infidel philosophy was rife among the priesthood; and perhaps there is no other way of accounting for the manifest fact that the church, like the state, was governed for so many ages by the machinery of force and fear, as if there was no inward conscience to appeal to, except among a few pious souls, here and there—enough to perpetuate the church, according to the promise of Christ, but not enough to affect the general sentiment.”

Any religion, like that of Moses, which does not make Immortality a primary consideration, must be chiefly confined to worldly objects, and of course unworthy of consideration or respect.

1320. While the silence of the Pentateuch respecting immortality throws the authority of the “word of God,” so called, against the endowment of the human soul with that all-important attribute, the language of the de256calogue is inconsistent with the unity of the divine power. The words, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” implies that there were other gods who might be acknowledged; since if there were none other, the proper words would be—Thou canst have no other God but me, or—There is no other God but me.

1321. Again, when Jehovah alleges himself to be jealous, of whom could he be jealous, if there was no other God to excite the sentiment of jealousy? Can any one conceive God to be jealous of an idol, when he must perceive that whatever worship may be bestowed on idols, is actually intended for the true God? (1245, 1246.) Could Adam have been jealous when there was no other man in existence to be jealous of?

1322. In the Introduction the ends to be answered by religion were stated, (page 18.) Several of the foregoing pages have been designed to show that Scripture does not fulfil these objects, being almost silent as respects immortality, using doubtful language respecting the unity of the divine power. Moreover, Jehovah is described as wrathful, jealous, and vindictive; as sanctioning the massacre, spoliation, and extirpation of neighbouring nations.[26] The fruits of the religion of Moses were two sects, of whom one did not believe in a future state of rewards and punishments; the other, although professing such a belief, (according to the barbarous idea of Josephus,) were not as moral as the unbelievers, (750, 1098.) Moreover, as respects the New Testament, the precepts on which it laid the most stress, those against pecuniary cupidity and resistance of wrong, have been not only neglected, but acted upon inversely; so that rapacity and aggression have been the predominant features of the conduct of Christians, unworthily so called, toward each other, but especially toward those who have been of a different religious belief. In one trait, however, the words of Christ, already cited, have been fully carried out: “I come as a sword.”[27]

1323. It may be seen from the passages quoted, that prior to the pro257mulgation of Christianity, people of various religious sects were willing to live in harmony; but that after its promulgation there was much discord, and that those who should have been especially influenced by Christianity (the priesthood) were the foremost in vice!

1324. It is conceived that either on the one side the evidence of Christianity could not have gone home to the soul of those who so grossly violated its monitions, or that the rewards held out by it had not been presented under an aspect sufficiently inviting to counteract the fleeting allurements of this temporal world. It is conceived that Scripture is from beginning to end, from the Pentateuch to the Gospel of John, too worldly, as first exhibited in the promise of lands to the Jews, and lastly of judgeships to the apostles. The Old Testament, of necessity, can treat of nothing but worldliness, since there is throughout scarcely any reference to heaven; and some of the Psalms would accord better with the curses of a devil, than with the prayers of a sincere Christian. The cix. Psalm contains this language:

1325. “When he shall be judged, let him be condemned; and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath, and let the strangers spoil his labour. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Because that he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil unto his bones. Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually. Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul.”

1326. Under these circumstances, wherefore should there be any alarm for the consequences of replacing belief in Scripture by belief in Spiritualism, if the evidence of this be, as we think, vastly more reliable, and the morality far more consistent with that followed in practice by great and good men of ancient and modern times.

1327. Moreover, the basis of probation, upon which the morality of Scripture is built, is manifestly a castle in the air, since it involves this contradiction, that an omnipotent, omniscient, and prescient Deity, who can make his creatures what he wishes them to be, and must know what they are, has to resort to trial to learn that which he knows before the process is undertaken, as well as he can possibly after its accomplishment. This demonstration alone overturns the whole probationary superstructure existing in the minds of sectarians.

1328. Meanwhile, the communications which I have submitted involve the idea of progression, and convey infinitely more knowledge of futurity than the Old and New Testaments taken together.


People profess Christianity more from a desire to do right, than they do right in consequence of their professions.

1329. I am aware how much it is a part of the existing system of education to imbue a confident faith in whatever tenets may be taught, and how little it is possible, in consequence, to have any arguments fairly considered which bear against the educational impressions. It may be seen in the instance of the interesting lady to whom I owe the kind letter, (1163,) how much more anxious such persons are to teach than to listen. She had, as she supposed, listened to an exposition of my views, of which the foundation had already been described in a published letter, with an effort to compare the heaven and hell of Scripture with those of Spiritualism; yet in all confidence of victory, this excellent creature brings me a letter written by one whom she considers to have a first-rate intellect, and who begins by assuming what I most emphatically deny, and of which the argument is just as good for Mohammedanism as for Christianity, provided the Koran be assumed as the word of God in lieu of the Bible, and Mohammed as the vicegerent of God instead of Christ. This may be considered as the argument of an eminent Episcopalian in favour of the truth of Christianity, while in those cited from Hughes and Breckinridge we have the arguments of an eminent Romanist on one side, and an eminent Calvinist on the other. The one objects to the basis of “fallible” men as the rule of faith; the other, to any inference derived from a gospel by “fallible” men. Breckinridge does not recollect that there is nothing more fallible than the traditions, compilations, and translations of fallible men, nor how skeptical all those who sustain the truth of Scripture on this evidence, are of any other evidence of the same kind which conflicts with Scripture.

1330. If the reader will look at the letters of Amasa Holcomb and my replies, (690,) he will see an exemplification of the difficulty in which many were placed, who had no other evidence of a future state beside that afforded by Scripture. Let him apply to the human evidence of antiquity no less skepticism than is now applied to the human evidence of Spiritualists, and then estimate the weight of testimony in favour of the Scriptures. Let him fairly consider the internal evidence against Scripture, as briefly sketched in this work or elsewhere, and then say whether he can conscientiously condemn Mr. Holcomb or myself for conscientiously disbelieving Scripture.

1331. Let it be considered whether belief in Christianity is not at the present time a consequence of morality, rather than its cause; whether it is not, with ninety-nine in a hundred, the consequence of early impressions, which have associated the Christian religion and morals inseparably on the conscience; without, however, inducing in any one of the individuals thus influenced any idea that the precepts of Christ are to be carried out in259 practice. It would be manifestly preposterous to look for this where the clergy, who were the teachers, did not practically obey the precepts, but went ahead in the race of iniquity, whichever way the current might lead, and almost everywhere as desirous of wealth, and power, and worldly distinction as other men. The imperfection of the evidence of scriptural truth, on which the belief in it rests, or that false moral sense derived from education, which makes the person affected just as tenacious of one creed as of another, whether it be Judaic, Christian, or Mohammedan, causes the faith thus arising to yield whenever the moral sense is impaired on which it rests. Not being supported by reason, as soon as the educational conscientiousness on which it was founded is blunted, any faith built upon it forms no barrier. The individual perceives that his opinions were not formed by himself, but imparted, and would have been different, had he been born of different parents. Thus faith rests upon morality, not morality upon faith; and when morality goes, faith ceases to be a barrier. But meanwhile those who abandon morality, find in their educational impressions one which is a salvo to them, however sinful. They find that Christ died for those who believe in his divinity or in his divine mission, and of course, that by closing their ears and eyes to all evidence or argument impeaching Christianity, and continuing to cherish the early impressions made by their teachers, they may be redeemed from future punishment; whereas, as Dr. Berg alleged in his debate with Barker, “A sinner cannot be saved out of Christ.”

1332. But one consequence of this interested, bigoted belief is, that animosity which, it was foretold by Christ, would cause such horrible discord, and would make his advent equivalent to a severing of all the dearest ties between relatives and friends, the superior and his subordinates. As at this time any idea of a religion would be scouted with indignation which should not make a future state of rewards and punishments the primary object, it is inconceivable to me wherefore the Old Testament should be an object of veneration to those whose thoughts are heavenward. How could there be any thing but worldliness where nothing but the things of the world were objects of desire—no heaven beyond.

1333. From what has been urged, is it not manifest that, in the first place, it is of great importance that the evidence of a future state should be placed on a firmer footing than on recorded and translated traditions, or on the decretals of a most profligate priesthood? Would it not be one of the greatest imaginable blessings that those who have not the consolation of believing in immortality, should have that consolation, and those who already believe in a future state of existence, should have a better knowledge of that state, than that given by Josephus, sanctioned by Christ, even as collated by the pious and learned clergyman, Dr. Harbaugh? (750.)

1334. If Christ had nothing but the vicinity of the fire prepared for the devil and his angels, agreeably to Josephus, and his story of Dives and260 Lazarus, or imaginary worldly appointments, or lying in the grave till the last day,—if these are all the grounds that Christians have had to build upon as respects future happiness, is it to be wondered at that the priesthood of the Middle Ages, who best knew the defect of gospel evidence, how little they themselves were to be trusted, and how illusory was the promise made to the apostles of judgeships, (743,) should, of all others in society, be the least restrained by fear of future punishment?

It is a calumny against human nature to represent men as wilfully ignorant of the true religion.

1335. A prevalent calumny against human nature has been, that men remain wilfully reckless as respects religious truth; or that they remain in error designedly, and not because they mistake it for truth. But it is notorious, that as respects the laws of man, those who make it their business to violate them take great care to make themselves acquainted with the laws which it is their object to break. None but an idiot would expect the law to be less severe in proportion as he should keep himself ignorant of its provisions. No banditti in the Russian empire would expect the less to go to Siberia because they should deny the reigning czar to be the sovereign. They would not expect to escape his power by enthroning a pretended czar, and paying him honour. Such conduct would be too absurd, even for fools to pursue; yet it is upon such erroneous views that three thousand Israelites were surprised and assassinated for worshipping the golden calf; and that eminent clergymen do not consider it as blasphemy against the paternal God, described by Seneca (1224) to represent him as sanctioning this horrible butchery.[28]

1336. The truth is, the selfishness of the worst men makes it quite as much an object with them, as with good men, to know to what punishments they may become liable, or what advantages they will be entitled to hereafter. Self-interest makes every man anxious to know that which deeply affects his future existence. Is there any one who would not wish to learn whether his soul is to rot in the coffin with its fleshy integuments, or to have another and eternal existence, happy or wretched according to his deportment in this world?[29]


1337. Those who really wish to serve the cause of true religion, and human welfare here and hereafter, should not expect that harsh words or measures will promote these objects. If, from want of due consideration, they uphold that which is repulsive to the human heart and understanding, and turn a deaf ear to facts and reasoning, which would produce a more beneficial issue, they will really be amenable to the blame which they so unjustly lavish upon those whom they calumniate as “Infidels,” while they themselves are really infidels to their professed principles. The Bible itself made me an unbeliever in its authenticity, and makes unbelievers of many who read it attentively and fearlessly, after their reason is matured.

1338. Nothing could serve the cause of true religion and true morality more than a belief in a future state of reward and punishment, without having that book made an appendage to the instruction.

To appreciate the Jewish representation of the Deity, a reader should first form an idea of this planet and its inhabitants, comparatively with the hundred millions of solar systems, and the inconceivable extent of the space which encompasses them, which fall within the domain of one common Deity.

1339. In order to form an idea of the Deity, we must consider the extent of the universe over which he rules, and the magnificence and multiplicity of the bodies which it comprises. Alpha Centauri, a star of the Centaur, a constellation in the southern hemisphere, is the nearest of the fixed stars; it nevertheless is nearly twenty thousand million of miles from the earth. Light, flying at the rate of two hundred thousand miles in a second, to come from that star, would take three years and three months to reach the earth.

1340. A star in the constellation of the Swan, known as “61 Cygni,” is another among the few whose distance is sufficiently small to allow it to be measured. This is nearly three times as far as Alpha Centauri; so that it would take light nine years to come from “61 Cygni” to the earth. This star appears single to the naked eye, but, seen through a telescope, appears like two stars, which according to Mitchell, are six thousand millions of miles apart.

1341. But the stars which enter into the nebula of Orion are so remote, that light, to come from one of them, would require ninety-two thousand years. Suppose an imaginary right line to be extended from a star in Orion so as to pass through the centre of this planet, and to reach a star on the other side as remote as that first mentioned; of course, the distance262 being doubled, it would require light twice the time to perceive it, or one hundred and eighty-four thousand years. Suppose a spherical space of which that line forms a diameter, or we may suppose a larger sphere, including all the nebula visible by the Rosse telescope. It is estimated that there are in all not less than one hundred millions of stars visible with the aid of that magnificent instrument, each of which is a sun with its planets; so that we have reason to suppose that there are an hundred millions of solar systems. Some of the suns are, like Sirius, estimated to give sixty-three times as much light as our sun emits. Our planet is to Jupiter as one to twelve hundred; to Saturn, as one to one thousand; to the sun, as one to one million four hundred thousand. It is hardly to be seen by the naked eye from Jupiter, and would be invisible to any human eye situated upon any planet more remote than Jupiter. To the whole of the sidereal creation, it is as a globule of water in the ocean, and the inhabitants are as animalcules in that globule.

1342. Having thus prepared his mind with a proper conception of the vastness of the attributes of the Deity, and the degree of the comparative importance of the human race in the divine mind, as it surveys the whole creation, let the reader take up the book of Genesis, and compare the impressions which that alleged word of God would convey with those which the preceding facts and considerations would induce. It may be expedient that the reader, while under the sublime impression of the majesty and magnificence of the Deity, as displayed in his works, should consider what evidence there is of any entity having the relation to him of a female; and if it be irrational to suppose a commensurate being of the other sex, let the reader consider how this Supreme Deity could have a son? The existence of a son requiring both a father and mother, it may be well to think how a male without a female god could have a son. He may take into view the opinions of Newton, that God cannot be presumed to have organs. Doubtless it will be perceived that this all-pervading, magnificent being cannot require eyes to see, ears to hear, a nose to smell, a tongue to speak, or a mouth to eat, legs with which to walk, or arms with which to strike. Of course he will not consider him as having a person made of those organs, as in the instance of his creature, man. He will agree with Newton, that it were absurd to ascribe even one person to God, and would be still more so to ascribe three persons. Again, if three persons be essential to God, he being eternal, the three persons must be eternal, and of course neither can bear the relation of a son to the other; nor can the coeval Holy Ghost proceed from two of the trio, forming the third person, who, by the premises, existed before he came into his subsequent existence, as alleged by the contradictory conclusion. If the individuals composing the Godhead have any distinct will or reason, the admission of the trinity amounts to polytheism; and if they have not severally independent natures and reason, then the association of the idea of three persons is useless. Is it not263 idolatrous thus to associate with the Deity effete masses of spiritual matter, under the name of persons, and worship the imaginary monster thus created as the true God? Still more, is it not monstrous to represent that those who cannot adore this imaginary idol, are wilfully incredulous?

1343. I have said that the account of the creation, given in the Pentateuch, is inconsistent with geological facts. Much sophistry has been employed to escape from this truth. Thus eminent geologists have striven to reconcile the alleged creation of the world in six days, to mean actually six eras, each of immense duration; yet Scripture representing that the day succeeding those so employed, should be kept holy as a Sabbath, and this being viewed in the Decalogue as a period of twenty-four hours, precludes the assignment of any longer duration to each of the six days, actually occupied by the Creator in performing his great work.

1344. To enable the reader to judge how far the facts ascertained by geological investigation, can be reconciled with the scriptural account, I shall here quote them, as stated by Professor Hitchcock, in his work entitled “Religion of Geology,” page 19. It should be known to the reader that this author is among those who assume the Bible to be the word of God upon the same grounds as the clergyman, (1182.)

1345. “Under these circumstances, all that I can do, is to state definitely what I apprehend to be the established principles of the science that have a bearing upon religious truth, and refer my hearers to standard works on the subject for the proof that they are true. If any will not take the trouble to examine the proofs, I trust they will have candour and impartiality enough not to deny my positions.

1346. “The first important conclusion to which every careful observer will come is, that the rocks of all sorts which compose the present crust of the globe, so far as it has been explored, at least to the depth of several miles, appear to have been the result of second causes; that is, they are now in a different state from that in which they were originally created.

1347. “It is, indeed, a favourite idea with some, that all the rocks and their contents were created, just as we now meet them, in a moment of time; that the supposed remains of animals and plants, which many of them contain, and which occur in all states, from an animal or plant little changed, to a complete conversion into stone, were never real animals and plants, but only resemblances; and that the marks of fusion and of the wearing of water, exhibited by the rocks, are not to be taken as evidences that they have undergone such processes, but only that it has pleased God to give them that appearance; and that, in fact, it was as easy for God to create them just as they now are as in any other form.

1348. “It is a presumption against such a supposition, that no men, who have carefully examined rocks and organic remains, are its advocates. Not that they doubt the power of God to produce such effects, but they deny the probability that he has exerted it in this manner; for through264out nature, wherever they have an opportunity to witness her operations, they find that when substances appear to have undergone changes, by means of secondary agencies, they have in fact undergone them; and, therefore, the whole analogy of nature goes to prove that the rocks have experienced great changes since their deposition. If rocks are an exception to the rest of nature,—that is, if they are the effect of miraculous agency,—there is no proof of it; and to admit it without proof is to destroy all grounds of analogical reasoning in natural operations; in other words, it is to remove the entire basis of reasoning in physical science. Every reasonable man, therefore, who has examined rocks, will admit that they have undergone important changes since their original formation.

1349. “In the second place, the same general laws appear to have always prevailed on the globe, and to have controlled the changes which have taken place upon and within it. We come to no spot, in the history of the rocks, in which a system different from that which now prevails appears to have existed. Great peculiarities in the structure of animals and plants do indeed occur, as well as changes on a scale of magnitude unknown at present; but this was only a wise adaptation to peculiar circumstances, and not an infringement of the general laws.

1350. “In the third place, the geological changes which the earth has undergone, and is now undergoing, appear to have been the result of the same agencies—viz. heat and water.

1351. “Fourthly. It is demonstrated that the present continents of the globe, with perhaps the exception of some of their highest mountains, have for a long period constituted the bottom of the ocean, and have been subsequently either elevated into their present position, or the waters have been drained off from their surface. This is probably the most important principle in geology; and though regarded with much skepticism by many, it is as satisfactorily proved as any principle of physical science not resting on mathematical demonstration.

1352. “Fifthly. The internal parts of the earth are found to possess a very high temperature; nor can it be doubted that at least oceans of melted matter exist beneath the crust, and perhaps even all the deep-seated interior is in a state of fusion.

1353. “Sixthly. The fossiliferous rocks, or such as contain animals and plants, are not less than six or seven miles in perpendicular thickness, and are composed of hundreds of alternating layers of different kinds, all of which appear to have been deposited, just as rocks are now forming, at the bottom of lakes and seas; and hence their deposition must have occupied an immense period of time. Even if we admit that this deposition went on in particular places much faster than at present, a variety of facts forbid the supposition that this was the general mode of their formation.

1354. “Seventhly. The remains of animals and plants found in the earth are not mingled confusedly together, but are found arranged, for the265 most part, in as much order as the drawers of a well-regulated cabinet. In general, they appear to have lived and died on or near the spots where they are now found; and as countless millions of these remains are often found piled together, so as to form almost entire mountains, the periods requisite for their formation must have been immensely long, as was taught in the preceding proposition.

1355. “Eighthly. Still further confirmation of the same important principle is found in the well-established fact, that there have been upon the globe, previous to the existing races, not less than five distinct periods of organized existence; that is, five great groups of animals and plants, so completely independent that no species whatever is found in more than one of them, have lived and successively passed away before the creation of the races that now occupy the surface. Other standard writers make the number of these periods of existence as many as twelve. Comparative anatomy testifies that so unlike in structure were these different groups, that they could not have coexisted in the same climate and other external circumstances.

1356. “Ninthly. In the earliest times in which animals and plants lived, the climate over the whole globe appears to have been as warm as, or even warmer than, it is now between the tropics. And the slow change from warmer to colder appears to have been the chief cause of the successive destruction of the different races; and new ones were created, better adapted to the altered condition of the globe; and yet each group seems to have occupied the globe through a period of great length; so that we have here another evidence of the vast cycles of duration that must have rolled away even since the earth became a habitable globe.

1357. “Tenthly. There is no small reason to suppose that the globe underwent numerous changes previous to the time when animals were placed upon it; that, in fact, the time was when the whole matter of the earth was in a melted state, and not improbably also even in a gaseous state. These points, indeed, are not as well established as the others that have been mentioned; but, if admitted, they give to the globe an incalculable antiquity.

1358. “Eleventhly. It appears that the present condition of the earth’s crust and surface was of comparatively recent commencement; otherwise the steep flanks of mountains would have ceased to crumble down, and wide oceans would have been filled with alluvial deposits.

1359. “Twelfthly. Among the thirty thousand species of animals and plants found in the rocks,[30] very few living species have been detected; and even these few occur in the most recent rocks, while in the secondary266 group, not less than six miles thick, not a single species now on the globe has been discovered. Hence the present races did not exist till after those in the secondary rocks had died. No human remains have been found below those alluvial deposits which are now forming by rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Hence geology infers that man was one of the latest animals that was placed on the globe.

1360. “Thirteenthly. The surface of the earth has undergone an enormous amount of erosion by the action of the ocean, the rivers, and the atmosphere. The ocean has worn away the solid rock, in some parts of the world, not less than ten thousand feet in depth, and rivers have cut channels through the hardest strata, hundreds of feet deep and several miles long; both of which effects demand periods inconceivably long.

1361. “Fourteenthly. At a comparatively recent date, northern and southern regions have been swept over and worn down by the joint action of ice and water, the force in general having been directed toward the equator. This is called the drift period.

1362. “Fifteenthly. Since the drift period, the ocean has stood some thousands of feet above its present level in many countries.

1363. “Sixteenthly. There is evidence, in regard to some parts of the world, that the continents are now experiencing slow vertical movements—some places sinking, and others rising. And hence a presumption is derived that, in early times, such changes may have been often repeated, and on a great scale.

1364. “Seventeenthly. Every successive change of importance on the earth’s surface appears to have been an improvement of its condition, adapting it to beings of a higher organization, and to man at last, the most perfect of all.

1365. “Finally. The present races of animals and plants on the globe are for the most part disposed in groups, occupying particular districts, beyond whose limits the species peculiar to those provinces usually droop and die. The same is true, to some extent, as to the animals and plants found in the rocks; though the much greater uniformity of climate that prevailed in early times permitted organized beings to take a much wider range than at present; so that the zoological and botanical districts were then probably much wider. But the general conclusion, in respect to living and extinct animals is, that there must have been several centres of creation, from which they emigrated as far as their natures would allow them to range.

1366. “It would be easy to state more principles of geology of considerable importance; but I have now named the principal ones that bear upon the subject of religion. A brief statement of the leading truths of theology, whether natural or revealed, which these principles affect, and on which they cast light, will give an idea of the subjects which I propose to discuss in these lectures.


1367. “The first point relates to the age of the world. For while it has been the usual interpretation of the Mosaic account that the world was brought into existence nearly at the same time with man and the other existing animals, geology throws back its creation to a period indefinitely but immeasurably remote. The question is, not whether man has existed on the globe longer than the common interpretation of Genesis requires,—for here geology and the Bible speak the same language,—but whether the globe itself did not exist long before his creation; that is, long before the six days’ work, so definitely described in the Mosaic account? In other words, is not this a case in which the discoveries of science enable us more accurately to understand the Scriptures?

1368. “The introduction of death into the world, and the specific character of that death described in Scripture as the consequence of sin, are the next points where geology touches the subject of religion. Here, too, the general interpretation of Scripture is at variance with the facts of geology, which distinctly testify to the occurrence of death among animals long before the existence of man. Shall geology here, also, be permitted to modify our exposition of the Bible?

1369. “The subject of deluges, and especially that of Noah, will next claim our attention. For though it is now generally agreed that geology cannot detect traces of such a deluge as the Scriptures describe, yet upon some other bearings of that subject it does cast light; and so remarkable is the history of opinions concerning the Noachian deluge, that it could not on that account alone be properly passed in silence.”

Our actions dependent, under God, on organization, education, and the extent to which we are tempted extraneously.

1370. “Are not the hairs of your head all numbered?—Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?” Luke xii. 7, 25.

1371. May it not be consistently inquired, who, without God’s assistance, can make his passions less ardent? his counteracting reason or conscientiousness more competent to restrain them? Who, prior to his sublunary existence, had the option, whether he should be born a Jew, a Gentile, or a Christian; whether in the Roman, Grecian, Episcopalian, or dissenting churches; whether his progenitors should be Chinese, Hindoos, Europeans, negroes, or savages? Who has, through his own previous choice, been brought up, on the one hand, by ignorant and vicious, or on the other, by virtuous and well-educated, parents? Can any soul be alleged to be responsible for entering the body of an infant begotten by idolaters, and thus subjected to the curse of the commandment? Or can a soul be deemed to have any merit because it came into the world as the progeny of parents orthodox in their own estimation, and happy in the belief that while myriads are to suffer to eternity in another world, for errors or crimes arising from causes beyond their control, a few are to be made eternally268 happy, notwithstanding their admitted sinfulness, by virtue of a bigoted confidence in the pre-eminent ability of their parents, their priests, or of themselves to learn tenets of which the great majority of mankind are ignorant? Humility in profession is associated with a towering and overbearing presumption in practice toward all who differ with them in creed: hence an effort to instruct others at the expense of millions spent in missions, while they have no better evidence of the accuracy of their own knowledge than a fallible human conviction.

1372. If two persons, A. and B., were organized exactly alike, educated precisely in the same way, and subjected to the same temptations or incentives, would they not act alike? Would not their acting differently prove that they were not alike in all respects?

1373. It may be said that they are free agents, being endowed with free-will; but if they be perfectly alike and similarly situated, (agreeably to the premises,) their free-will must be perfectly similar; and if not, let it be allowed to be, through God’s will, perfectly similar. Is it in their power to alter the nature of their will, any more than “the colour of their hair.”

1374. If any other being act differently from these, does it not follow that he is differently organized, educated, or situated from them; and that the diversity in one or all of these respects must be proportionable to the degree in which his actions and morals differ from those of A. and B.

1375. But it may be inquired, where is the merit of virtue, or the demerit of vice, if they be the consequences of causes over which we have no control? The reply is, that virtue is an endowment due to the will of Deity, just as the difference between the different races of mankind and the various genera of animals, or between individuals of the same species, must be due to that volition. An analogous idea of the necessity of God’s help to virtue is insisted upon by some of our most respectable and numerous Christian sects. It places virtue in man, so far as it may exist, upon the same basis as in God. It has always been held by all Christians that God can do no wrong; that vice is inconsistent with his nature. The more, then, a man is by nature and education incapable of being vicious, the greater his natural aptitude for virtue, the more he approaches its most perfect exemplification.

1376. But how can the punishment of the wicked be justified under this view of their case? I answer, that it can only be justified in self-defence, for the reformation of the offender, or to prevent the repetition of injury where no other means can be employed, just as killing wild beasts, noxious insects, or our enemies in warfare is justified.

1377. Punishment, unless with a view to prevention or reformation, seems to me diabolic. It seems irreconcilable with the injunction to return good for evil, that the Deity from whom it proceeds should return evil for evil, in excess; that he should, for finite and transient sins, award eternal punishment.


1378. The inference that omniscience and omnipotence could create myriads of beings, foreseeing that they must be subjected to extreme misery for an unlimited time, is irreconcilable with all goodness and omniscience. But it may be demanded, does not the fear of future punishment make mankind more virtuous? The man who avoids a felony solely through fear of future punishment is not the less wicked; he is only a more prudent, or a more cowardly villain. That piety to God and philanthropy are virtues, is most evident; but then these incentives must be disinterested. If Abraham could believe that shedding his son’s blood upon the altar would gratify the Deity, in order to make it a pious or virtuous act, it should have been unaccompanied by any expectation of benefit to himself. He must have had a conception of the Deity fully as bad as that of any heathen, to suppose that the sacrifice would be agreeable to him.

1379. There is, moreover, much reason to infer that a man who could pass his wife as his sister, and send her to a palace in order to gain influence with a king, did not lose sight of himself when he contemplated killing his son to propitiate the King of kings. But no human testimony should induce us to credit such imputations against Jehovah. Nothing is more probable than that priests should invent this absurd fable, and nothing more improbable than that an omniscient God, who could read Abraham’s inmost thoughts, should have found it necessary to ask such a barbarous sacrifice, in order to determine the extent and sincerity of that devotion of which he must have already known the precise limits.

On Probation.

1380. I have already made objections to the idea that we can be placed in this world for the purpose of probation. I will here make use of additional arguments in support of those objections. Spiritualism assumes that we are placed here for progression. It has, in this aspect, a self-evident ascendency over the scriptural doctrine.

1381. A finite being has need to subject his works to trial, in order to learn whether they have the requisite perfection; but how can an omnipotent and omniscient Deity be under any necessity of trying his works? In the first place, they must be precisely what he has designed; in the next place, foreseeing the result of any experiment he may make, he has no motive for the trial. Thus, before placing Adam and Eve in Paradise, God must have known that Adam would be incompetent to resist his wife, his wife the serpent, and that the apple would be eaten. How useless then was the experiment! How can it be reconciled with omniscience and omnipotence? The crime would not have taken place had God made woman less inquisitive; her husband strong enough morally to resist temptation and his wife’s seductive influence; or had not the serpent or Satan, under the form of this reptile, been allowed to tempt Eve. And yet in consequence of that act, not only the soul of the first man, but that270 of all his posterity, are considered by orthodoxy as having fallen, as being doomed to eternal punishment, unless by being morally regenerated, principally by a blind belief in the allegation of certain priests, who do not agree among themselves as to what we are to believe.

1382. But what had souls unborn to do with the acts of Adam and Eve? Is it conceivable that the soul of the child is begotten by the souls of its parents, or to be inferred that it is a spiritual being, created by God for the body, which the progenitors beget in their corporeal capacity? (See Seneca’s opinion, 1230.) How could a dumb snake, belonging to the class of reptiles, very low comparatively in intellectual capacity, acquire power of speech and reason without a special miracle on the part of God, either directly or indirectly through Satan, acting with the cognizance of his divine master. This reptile, previously created without feet, because the devil merely assumed his form, is doomed as a punishment to crawl on his belly, in the only way in which he could move consistently with his organization, independently of the sentence!!! Would it be any greater punishment to cause snakes to creep on their bellies than quadrupeds to go on their feet? Since none of the genera of serpents are endowed with reason or speech, how could they be responsible for the acts of an animal which, being endowed with those attributes, would not belong to their order? It must have been a peculiar reptile, in the form of a snake, created for the special purpose of tempting Eve. If, with Milton, it be assumed that it was Satan, in the form of a serpent, who tempted her? how could serpents be responsible for the crime?

World least moral when the Christian church had most sway.—Honour and mercantile credit more trusted than religion.—Virtue due more to the heart than to sectarianism.—Bigotry acts like an evil spirit.

1383. It will be perceived, that when the church had the world most completely under its sway, there was the least morality; but as the arts and sciences grew up, in despite of religious intolerance, morality improved. Thus a system has been established, which while violating, more especially the most emphatic monitions of Christ, tends to enforce those rules of conduct which are necessary to the welfare of society. But an auxiliary principle—honour—has come into operation, which often restrains those who are not influenced by religion, nor by pure morality. Honour, like the fear of hell, may make a man act more nobly, or more honestly, without improving his religious principles or his heart. Hence the saying, “Honour among thieves,” and likewise among unprincipled gamblers.

1384. Mercantile honour, under the name of mercantile credit, is another important substitute for real heartfelt integrity. The ill consequences of a loss of worldly consideration, or of those advantages which result from the ability to borrow, or to postpone payment with consent of the creditor, is a motive for punctual payment, when a debt equally due,271 in honesty, would be neglected. This goes much farther as an element of the prevailing morality in securing punctual payment, than religion.

1385. That religion has actually very little to do with mercantile morals, must be evident, since it is never, on change, an object of inquiry. When men are about to trust large sums, they do not inquire how often the other party goes to church, nor to what church he goes. It has never been my lot to know any one whom I thought better for his religion. I have known many whom I thought better through native goodness of heart than they would have been if left to the influence of their bigoted opinions alone. I heard a clergyman, distinguished for his amiability and liberality in social intercourse, speak from the pulpit of infidelity as “the work of the devil.”

1386. There are allegations of this kind made from the pulpit which to me appear to be absolutely calumnious, though those who make them do not conceive themselves to be calumniators. It is, in truth, their false religion which speaks; they are possessed as if by an evil spirit, yet the goodness of their hearts prevents them from realizing any such calumnies in their personal intercourse with society. Dr. Berg said it was not he (Dr. Berg) that spoke when he used ill language to Barker, but the Bible. There is a want of Christian moderation in the language of Christ, and John the Baptist, and in some of the Psalms, which seems inconsistent with Christ’s precepts. John, addressing the Pharisees as “vipers fleeing from the wrath to come,” representing them as poisonous reptiles, and God as enraged against them. The language of Christ respecting some of the same sect, to which allusion has been made, is even more abusive.

1387. But among the calumnies to which I have alluded, are those which represent the human heart as innately wicked, and only to be corrected by religious regeneration. All the souls created since Adam ate the apple, must be born anew, thus drawing a marked distinction between those who have gone through this second birth, and such as myself, who have not undergone this recuperative process. But what man of common sense draws a line between those who are thought to have been born over again, and those who have not? The great majority of those who call themselves Christians, do not put any more trust in one who has gone through this second birth, than in one who is not deemed to have been thus regenerated.

Progress of Literature and Science in Arabia under the Mohammedan Pontiffs, called Caliphs.

1388. While the science and literature of the Roman Empire sank under the influence of the Christian pontiff (pope) into ignorance, superstition, and vice, the Arabians, under the influence of their Mohammedan pontiffs, (caliphs,) arose from barbarism to a comparatively superior state272 of intellectual acquirement, as the following quotation, from “Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” will show:

1389. “After their civil and domestic wars, the subjects of the Abbassides, awakening from this mental lethargy, found leisure and felt curiosity for the acquisition of profane science. This spirit was first encouraged by the Caliph Almansor, who, besides his knowledge of the Mohammedan law, had applied himself with success to the study of astronomy, but when the sceptre devolved to Almamon, the seventh of the Abbassides, he completed the designs of his grandfather, and invited the muses from their ancient seats. His ambassadors at Constantinople, his agents in Armenia, Syria, and Egypt, collected the volumes of Grecian science: at his command they were translated by the most skilful interpreters into the Arabic language; his subjects were exhorted assiduously to peruse these instructive writings; and the successor of Mohammed assisted with pleasure and modesty at the assemblies and disputations of the learned. ‘He was not ignorant,’ says Abulpharagius, ‘that they are the elect of God, his best and most useful servants, whose lives are devoted to the improvement of their rational faculties. The mean ambition of the Chinese or the Turk may glory in the industry of their hands, or the indulgence of their brutal appetites. Yet these dexterous artists must view, with hopeless emulation, the hexagons and pyramids of the cells of a bee-hive: these fortitudinous heroes are awed by the superior fierceness of the lions and tigers; and in their amorous enjoyments, they are much inferior to the vigour of the grossest and most sordid quadrupeds. The teachers of wisdom are the true luminaries and legislators of a world, which, without their aid, would again sink in ignorance and barbarism.’ The zeal and curiosity of Almamon were imitated by succeeding princes of the line of Abbas: their rivals, the Fatimites of Africa and the Ommiades of Spain, were the patrons of the learned, as well as the commanders of the faithful: the same royal prerogative was claimed by their independent emirs of the provinces; and their emulation diffused the taste and the rewards of science from Samarcand and Bochara to Fez and Cordova. The vizir of a sultan consecrated a sum of two hundred thousand pieces of gold to the foundation of a college at Bagdad, which he endowed with an annual revenue of fifteen thousand dinars. The fruits of instruction were communicated, perhaps at different times, to six thousand disciples of every degree, from the son of the noble to that of the mechanic: a sufficient allowance was provided for the indigent scholars; and the merit or industry of the professors was repaid with adequate stipends. In every city the productions of Arabic literature were copied and collected by the curiosity of the studious and the vanity of the rich. A private doctor refused the invitation of the sultan of Bochara, because the carriage of his books would have required four hundred camels. The royal library of the Fatimites consisted of one hundred thousand manuscripts, elegantly transcribed and splendidly bound, which were lent, without jealousy or avarice, to the students of Cairo. Yet this collection must appear moderate, if we can believe that the Ommiades of Spain had formed a library of six hundred thousand volumes, forty-four of which were employed in the mere catalogue. Their capital, Cordova, with the adjacent towns of Malaga, Almeria, and Murcia, had given birth to more than three hundred writers, and above seventy public libraries were opened in the cities of the Andalusian kingdom. The age of Arabian learning continued about five hundred years, till the great eruption of the Moguls, and was coeval with the darkest and most slothful period of European annals; but since the sun of science has arisen in the West, it should seem that the Oriental studies have languished and declined.”

1390. I here close my remarks upon the Influence of Scripture on the Morals of Christians. They have proceeded from a desire to promulgate what I deem to be truth, and to expose the errors by which I conceive it to be environed. It is inconsistent with my nature to state less than the truth when treating on any subject. I shall be sorry for any pain which I may give to those whose hearts are so associated with their opinions, that whatever conflicts with the one is painful to the other; yet I wish any persons so wounded to reflect how little denunciation has been spared, not only as respects opinions, but as respects motives, where “infidels,” unjustly so called, have been held up to view. I have not assailed the motives of any one; even as respects opinions, I have withheld or modified sarcasms which, as I think, might have been justly employed, or used without modification.



1391. Subsequently to the printing of the articles under the head of Corroborative Evidence, a pamphlet was received from which the subjoined pages are translated, by my friend, Dr. Geib. It serves to show the impression made by spirit manifestations in another part of Christendom, upon one who belongs to the church.

The Opinions of MM. de Mirville and Gasparin, on Table Turning and Mediums, (considered in relation to theology and physics) examined, by the Abbot Almignana, Doctor of the Canon Law, Theologian, &c.


1392. “Mesmerism, table turning, and mediumship being phenomena which, in my estimation, demand serious investigation before pronouncing judgment on them, as soon as this became known to me, as an ocular witness, far from judging of them, ex abrupto, as so many have done under the same circumstances, I confined myself to make numerous experiments, with the hope that they might in time furnish me with some very useful facts, in searching for the cause of these wonderful phenomena.

1393. “Being in possession of some of these facts, I thought the present an opportune time for their publication, when two savans of the elite, such as the Marquis de Mirville and the Count de Gasparin, are engaged in a scientific contest on this subject.

1394. “I consider the present moment the more opportune, that the facts furnished by my investigation, being at variance with certain leading points in the doctrines contained in the Pneumatology of M. de Mirville, and the Supernatural in General of M. de Gasparin, may induce those writers to give a new complexion to their doctrines, by taking counsel from my facts. These, shedding a new light on the triple phenomena, would powerfully aid in the solution of a problem which, up to the present time, does not appear to have been solved in a manner as clear and positive, as the interests of truth, science, and religion demand. Such has been and is now my belief, as well as that of many others whom I thought proper to consult before undertaking the task in which I have engaged.

1395. “Simple as my language is, it will be seen to have issued from the pen of a man who boldly seeks the truth, and is not to be arrested in his course by any worldly interests. Persuaded that in view of my position, my readers will grant me the indulgence which in a similar case I could not refuse them, I will proceed to the main question without further preliminaries. I divide my monograph into two parts; facts opposed to the Pneumatology of M. de Mirville, and the Supernatural in General of M. de Gasparin.


First Part.

1396. “Table turning and mediumship are nothing more, in the opinion of M. de Mirville, than the work of the devil! I give an abstract of his doctrine as found in his Pneumatology. ‘In the letter,’ he says, ‘which I had the honour to address to the Societe Mesmerisme of Paris on the non-intervention of the devil in therapeutic mesmerism, dated Sept. 20, 1847, and published in numbers 54, 56, and 57 of the Journal of Magnetism, I established the existence of the devil, with the attributes given him in the Scriptures, as well as the power he possesses, with divine permission, to act morally and physically on mankind, as set forth in the same holy books.’

1397. “In view of what I have just said, I cannot be mistaken by M. de Mirville with respect to demonology. But while admitting the existence of a devil, and his power over man, I cannot agree with the opinion of M. de Mirville in his Pneumatology, which admits the direct intervention of the devil in table turning and table talking, as well as in the powers of mediums; a view of the subject which I hold to be at variance with the teachings of the Catholic Church on the possessed, and the manner of deliverance therefrom, the evil spirit, which I proceed to explain.

1398. “It is an axiom as old as the world—in proportion as the cause is removed the effect ceases; sublata causa tollitur effectus. The truth of this maxim, in reference also to diabolical possessions, is found to be explicitly proved in the Holy Scriptures. A mute is presented to Christ to be cured: oblatus est ei mutus. The Divine Master, knowing that dumbness is caused by the devil, hastens to remove the cause, by chasing the evil spirit from the body of the possessed, which being done, the mute spoke in the midst of the people ravished with admiration. ‘And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake, and the people wondered.’ St. Luke xi. 14.

1399. “There was at Philippi, in Macedonia, a girl who, being possessed of the evil spirit, had the gift of divination to such an extent, that people came from all parts to consult her, much to the benefit of her masters. St. Paul having chased the demon from the body of the possessed, she lost the gift of divination; which exasperating her masters, they dragged St. Paul before a magistrate like a malefactor. (Acts xv.) Admitting these principles, it follows that if the devil intervenes directly in tables and mediums, as Christ drove him from the mute, and St. Paul from the girl of Philippi, then, a fortiori, should clairvoyants lose their lucidity, tables be made to stand still, and mediums be deprived the power of tracing a line however short; sublata causa tollitur effectus. The cause being removed, the effect must cease.

1400. “Our next object is to refer to the means for removing the evil spirit wherever found; and consulting the Catholic ritual affords us this275 knowledge. In fact, agreeably to these teachings, demons are driven off by the sacred names of God and Jesus, by prayer, the sign of the cross, by holy water, and exorcisms; and these means being known, I am going to report the effect of these means on clairvoyant subjects, tables, and mediums.

1403. “Having witnessed some extraordinary phenomena, and desiring to assure myself as to the presence of a diabolical agency in these manifestations, as I had been persuaded to believe—profiting by the opportunity offered by some mediums magnetized by others, and not by myself—I was induced to pray to invoke the sacred names of God and Jesus, to make the sign of the cross on the subjects, and went so far as to sprinkle them with holy water, with the design of driving out the devil, should he have taken possession of them. However, as not one of these mediums lost, in my presence, the smallest part of their powers, I was led to infer that the devil had nothing to do with the phenomena.

1404. “The following fact should attract the attention of all observers holding the orthodox faith: A youth of thirteen, put to sleep by his mother, at my house, gave proof of the greatest clairvoyance, even so far as to be in communion with supermundane beings. Alarmed, as I acknowledge I was, at what passed under my eyes, and suspecting, as I did, that the devil might be the agent of those phenomena, I took my crucifix, and presenting it to the clairvoyant, conjured him in the holy name of Jesus. But in place of repelling it, as I expected, he seized the cross in the most affectionate manner, and, smiling, pressed it to his lips; as much to the edification of his mother as of myself. Should M. de Mirville desire the address of the parties, he can have it.

1405. “The means thus employed by me to discover if the evil spirit actuated mesmeric subjects, have been employed also by other persons with the same view, and with similar results. Should M. de Mirville desire to know some of these persons, I will be happy to facilitate the acquaintance. As to exorcism, it is known by the biography of the celebrated clairvoyant Prudence, that although exorcised on several occasions, the exorcisms failed to deprive him, in the smallest degree, of his great clairvoyance. To the facts which I have just reported in support of the non-intervention of the devil, some new facts of another kind will be adjoined, which in some measure confirm the first.

1406. “One of the models of sacred eloquence, the R. P. Lacordaire, speaking of mesmerism in 1846, far from qualifying it as satanical, as M. de Mirville has done, proclaimed from the pulpit of truth, in the church of Notre Dame of Paris, that this phenomenon belonged to the order of prophecy, and that it was a provision of the divinity to humble the pride of materialism. This language, descended from the summit of the sacred tribune, is known to have received the public approbation of Mgr. Affre, the centre of Catholicism of the diocese of Paris, who, addressing the276 faithful, said to them: ‘My brothers, it is God who speaks with the mouth of the illustrious Dominican.’

1407. A very pious female, abandoned by her medical adviser, being in a state of despair, was magnetized by one of her parents, and fell into the most complete trance. In one of her first sleeps, she said she saw a person who, according to the description she gave of him, appeared to be the clairvoyant’s great-grandfather, deceased several years before the birth of his grand-daughter. The latter was cured by the advice received during her trance condition from the said great-grandfather. This fact appeared to me so grave in its nature, and so interesting to science and religion, that I thought proper to publish it in number nineteen of the Magnetisme Spiritualiste, with an appeal to all those who, by their knowledge, might be able to explain this phenomenon.

1408. Among those to whom our appeal was made, figured the theologians, to whom, in speaking of the person who appeared to the clairvoyant, I said: ‘Should this not be considered the devil, who, assuming a fantastic personation, took that of the great-grandfather of M. R., and appearing thus to him, cured him of a disease which he himself had originated?’

1409. Some copies of the number of the journal in question were sent to the sovereign pontiff, through his apostolic nuncio at Paris, to Mgr. the archbishop of Paris, to the faculty of theology at Sorbonne, to RR. PP. Jesuits of the Rue des Postes, to R. P. Lacordaire, and to the Calvinistic Consistory of Paris, begging them to enlighten me on a fact of such grave importance. But to the present time, a period of three years, not one of these great personages has informed me that the phenomenon to which I invited their attention is the work of the devil, which proves that, in their opinion, the evil one is a stranger to this phenomenon; for otherwise they would not have failed to answer my inquiry, if only from interest for religion, or through charity to myself. Should M. de Mirville desire to know the clairvoyant I refer to, he can be conducted to his domicile.

1410. Mgr. Sibour, on mesmerism, and La Grandeur, if interrogated, will tell you that the thoughts expressed by clairvoyants are only reflections from their magnetizers, without saying a single word to you about the devil. But we have said enough on clairvoyants, and will pass to the tables.

1411. I have made a great many experiments in table-turning and table-talking with pious laymen and with ecclesiastics, men of prayer and serious habits, and even with a venerable bishop, and always in a very serious manner; desiring to know, for the sake of religion and our souls, if the devil is in reality the agent who conveys movement and language to the tables. Besides exorcism, we have employed all the means taught and prescribed in the Catholic Church to drive out the devil, and we have277 never obtained any results; for neither prayer, nor the sacred names of God and Jesus, nor the sign of the cross made on the tables, nor the crucifix, nor the chapelet, (the beads,) nor the Gospels, nor the image of Christ placed on the tables, nor holy water, could stop their turnings, knockings, and replying to our questions. But far from it, and much to our astonishment, we have seen the table turn over before the image of Christ crucified. I will say no more. In the experiments made with the bishop just named, and the person with whom I was boarding, it was the venerable bishop himself that made the sign of the cross on a stand, without in the least retarding the motion of that small piece of furniture. Monseigneur then asked the stand if it loved the cross, and it replying in the affirmative, it was with surprise that Monseigneur saw the stand turn over before his croix pastorale, and speak to him in orthodox language of a future life.

1412. If, according to all the facts which I have just reported, it be necessary to reason agreeably to M. de Mirville, behold what that reasoning must be. The teachings of the Catholic ritual give to prayer, to the sacred names of God and Jesus, to the sign of the cross, to the holy water, and the exorcisms, the virtue of driving the devil (le démon) out of the possessed. Now, as neither prayer, the sacred names, the sign of the cross, &c. are able to drive the spirit out of mediums, nor out of tables, which, according to M. de Mirville, are also victims, then the Catholic Instructor, which assigns these means for removing evil spirits, must be in error. Then the Scripture, the SS. PP., and the Church, authorities on which the Catholic teachings are based on the subject of possessions, and the manner of delivering the possessed of the evil spirit, (les démons,) are in error.[31] And what true Catholic dare entertain this language? It is then to avoid getting into so unfortunate a position, that I have thought proper to reject the opinion of M. de Mirville on the manifestations of spirits. I shall be told that if the prescribed means sometimes fail, it is from want of faith on the part of those who employ them. This is my reply to that objection. The peasants do not possess a large quantity of faith, and, notwithstanding, Origen says the name of God, pronounced even by a peasant, chases the demons.—Origines contra celsum.

1413. There are a great many people, and among them figure some pious ecclesiastics and laymen, who quite frequently partake of the sacrament, who have experimented with me, who have prayed with me, have278 invoked with me the sacred names of God and Jesus, &c.; is it then credible that among these persons, not one should be found possessing a portion of faith equal to that of a peasant, which is able, according to Origen, to drive out the devil in the name of God? I am unable to believe it. What! the venerable bishop, who experimented with me during four years, had sacrificed himself in propagating the faith in distant lands, should he not have as much faith as a peasant, in order to be able to remove an evil spirit in the name of God? This would be to insult the sacred labour of propagating the faith in the person of one of its most distinguished apostles.

1414. But this is not enough; notice how St. John teaches us to know if a spirit is of God or not. ‘My well beloved, this is how to know that a spirit is of God: all spirits who confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, are of God, and those who do not confess that he is come in the flesh, are not of God.’ (1 John ix.) Instructed by St. John in the manner of knowing the spirits of God, to assure myself further on the nature of spirits or occult forces, exhibited in the movement and language of tables, I have used the method indicated by St. John. It was with this view that, my little table being in motion, I addressed to it the following questions: Do you confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh? Yes, it replied. The same question, repeated several times, produced uniformly the same answer. Having this experiment alone at my house, I was desirous of seeing whether the same results would be obtained in company. With this design I went to the houses of persons acquainted with these phenomena, and begged a gentleman, a medium, to place his hands with mine on a stand. The movement of the stand being felt, the same question was answered in the same manner. And after this experience can I conscientiously believe in the intervention of the devil in the turning and speaking of the tables, without regarding the testimony of St. John as erroneous; and should I regard it as such? It is for M. de Mirville to answer.

1415. But I do not stop here. It is said in the ritual of Paris and others, in the chapter of the possessed, as follows: Signa energumenorum sunt. Ignota lingua liogni idque, maxima serie verborum quæ previderi non potuerunt velita loquentem intelligere distantia, et oculta patefacere et vires supra etatis suæ naturam ostendere. Very well, if demons, as the ritual says, speak all languages, even those unknown, after the great number of experiments which I have made, I am prepared to declare that tables do not speak all languages, even the known ones, nor do they understand them. Let some one who does not understand Greek, addressing a question to the table in French, request it to reply in Greek, and we will see if the table does it. Let a stranger give to an inquirer at the table a question in a language unknown to him, limiting himself to merely reading it, and we will see if the table respond; I defy all the tables in the world to do it. If M. de Mirville desires to make these experiments with me, I am entirely at his service.


1416. I have endeavoured to discover if tables have the faculty which, according to the ritual, is possessed by the devil (les démons) to penetrate the hidden and the future, and I have found in this direction more error than truth. As to the superior physical force which, according to the ritual, is possessed by the devil, (les démons,) there is not a single turning table in the world, whose movement cannot be arrested or retarded by enveloping the hands of the experimenters in silk; which proves that the tables have not a power supra naturam, and that of course it could not be the devil who furnishes the momentum. But what gives more force to the reasons on which I rest, for not referring the motive-power to an evil spirit, is this: that having made them separately known to four prelates of the church of France, three of whom are conspicuous in the religious investigation of these phenomena, begging a due examination and report if my opinion is in error, that I may retract and write against the tables, not one of these prelates has pronounced me wrong, nor in the least blamed my exposition of facts. And in case it may become necessary to establish this fact, I retain the letters of these prelates. Let us now pass to the consideration of the mediums.[32]

1417. Hearing that there were persons whose hands, without their will, were made to write some very extraordinary things, and that these persons were called ‘mediums,’ one day, in order to assure myself of the fact, I took a crayon in my hand, and placing it on paper, concentrated myself as much as possible. But a few minutes had passed, when I felt my hand controlled without my will, and saw it trace some lines, letters,280 and words. This experiment being repeated often with the same success, I have therefore become a medium, though of a secondary degree.

1418. Desiring to know whether, in this phenomenon, there might not be some diabolical agency, in order to satisfy my mind on that subject, I asked of the occult power, or the spirit that controlled my hand, if it was the devil; being answered in the negative, I requested to have proof of it. Scarcely were those words uttered, when my hand, moving with energy, drew a large cross. Seeing this, I put the same questions about J. C. that were put at my table, and the answers, being written, were the same; from which I concluded that the agency in the writing of mediums is the same as in moving the tables, which, in my opinion, is not that of the devil, as already said. However, in order to confirm my assurance of the non-intervention of the devil in the phenomena of mediums, I desired to add another experiment, which follows:

1419. As the devil speaks all languages, according to the ritual, even those unknown, to see whether the occult power or spirit which caused me to write possessed this satanic attribute, which, being so, would prove the intervention of the devil in the performance of mediums, I asked the invisible agent if it would cause the Lord’s prayer to be written in several languages, and was answered in the affirmative. Yielding my hand with a pen to the motive power, the Pater was written in two ways, which the same power, also by writing, said was in Valaque and in Russian. Then requesting the same to be written in French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin, it was immediately done; when requesting it to be written in English and German, was answered it could not be done. Why not? I inquired. Because you neither speak nor write those two languages, which is necessary.

1420. In what languages then, I asked, are you able to make me write? In the languages which I spoke on earth, as the Valaque and Russian, and those which you speak. The Pater, thus written, I had the honour to present it personally to Monseigneur the Archbishop of Paris, by his request. Having mentioned this, I was advised to request my spirit friend to write something in Valaque, and have it submitted to some one acquainted with that language, in order to determine the fact of its being so; which proposal I willingly accepted.

1421. But, returned to my house, the idea occurred to me to make an experiment to control my familiar spirit myself. I wrote on a piece of paper a phrase in French, and took a separate copy of it on another piece of paper. I read this phrase to my spirit, and requested him to render it in Valaque. The spirit, having made some lines, told me by writing that the translation was already made. I requested him to do the same with it in Spanish, Italian, and Latin, and it was done. Requesting him further to write the same in English, he replied it could not be done, as I did not speak that language. Allowing a few minutes to pass, I took the281 copy of the phrase, and requested the spirit to do the same with it that he had done with the original. The spirit having caused me to write, as he professed, the same phrase in the same languages as he had caused me to write it in previously, I hastened to compare the two translations; but what was my surprise when finding the Spanish, Italian, and Latin translations of the copy like those of the original; I found the Valaque translation of the original and that of the copy not at all alike!

1422. “Convinced, then, that my spirit did not understand the Valaque, which proved to me, according to the ritual, that it was not a devil, (un démon,) but that notwithstanding he had deceived me, I gave him a severe reprimand, treating him as an infamous cheat, and driving him from my presence. At this juncture, my hand was caused to tremble excessively, which terminated by writing in large characters: ‘I am the devil, and you are a bad preacher that seeks to find out the secrets of God!’ Very well, I said; your proclamation in large letters that you are the devil, is no reason why I should believe it. The devil, according to the ritual, speaks all languages, and you do not speak the Valaque nor English, and therefore you are not the devil. If I am a bad preacher, that does not concern you. It is God who will judge me, and I submit to his holy will. Could I see you as I feel you, I would fix you well; but as it is, I decline any further correspondence with you.

1423. “Scarcely had I expressed these words, when my hand, being influenced, wrote as follows: ‘Pardon! pardon! I am not the devil. If I said so, it was to frighten you, because you continued to plague me with your questions; but I see you are a man that fears nothing. You are not a bad preacher, but a great thinker. Continue then to experiment with me, and I will always tell you the truth!’

1424. “Very well, I pardon you, and request you to say, without deceiving me, what languages you do speak? ‘I speak no other languages than those which you speak, and if I did otherwise, it was for amusement.’ Then what are the languages which the spirits speak? ‘Those of the communing person, and no others.’[33] And this ended the meeting.

1425. “Wishing still to test what had been said to me by my spirit, I went to the house of a writing medium, like myself, and begged him to try some experiments in writing. In the midst of our experiments, I wrote the following words on a small piece of paper in Spanish: Como té llamos? and without making their signification known to the medium in French, requested him to read them to the spirit friend. This was done, but the spirit was silent. The medium, however, insisting on an answer, was impressed by the spirit to write the word malheur, (misfortune.) The282 reply not agreeing with the question, I told the medium to say to his spirit that he had badly replied. Then the spirit made the medium write as follows: ‘If I have not complied with your request, it is because I do not understand that language.’

1426. As the medium did not understand what had been read to the spirit, which in French would mean, Comment vous appelez-vous? (What is your name?) I perceived that if the spirit did not reply to the Spanish, it was because the medium neither spoke nor understood that tongue; which agreed with what my spirit had told me. Then I requested the medium to ask his spirit to make me write. On the affirmative response of the spirit, I took the pen, and addressing the same question to him: Como te llamos? he replied in Spanish—Benito. Answer me in French—Benoit. In Latin—Benedictus.

1427. This experiment confirming what my spirit had told me, that the spirits could produce only the language of those with whom they communed, was a new proof for me of the non-intervention of the devil; seeing, according to the ritual, that he is master of all languages, and that mediums only write those they understand, and have previously learnt.[34] If M. de Mirville desires to make some such experiments with me, it will afford me great pleasure to do so.

1428. Nota bene: What merits particular regard in the information received from my spirit friend as to the language used by spirits in communing with men is, that the same was said one hundred and five years since by the ecstatic Swedenborg. See No. 236 of his Treatise on Heaven and Hell, by Le Boys des Guays.

1429. This will suffice for the present for M. de Mirville. It remains for him to explain the facts we have reported, and to reconcile them with his Pneumatology: in expectation I proceed to notice the Supernatural in General of M. de Gasparin.”

Second Part.

1430. “All the prodigies of the mesmeric subjects of clairvoyants, the sorcery, haunting spirits, apparitions, visions, &c., owe their origin, according to M. de Gasparin, to nervous excitement, fluidic action, and some283times are hallucinations. As I do not design here to make a critical analysis of M. de Gasparin’s work, not considering myself capable, and leaving this honour to those who are in some scientific line, I design merely occupying myself with some facts which refer personally to me, and which appear to me to oppose some points in the doctrine of M. de Gasparin in his table-turning, or Supernatural in General, as already noticed in the introduction to the monograph, and I commence with the subject of ecstasy.

1431. “Speaking of ecstatics, M. de Gasparin explains himself as follows: ‘As to their intellectual faculties, they are capable in those cases of prodigious development. The ecstatics declare themselves that they have two souls; that a voice foreign to their own causes them to speak; that they suddenly receive ideas entirely unknown to them, and terms of expression entirely strange to them. It happens even that the peasant accustomed to patois, speaks French, and that illiterate men express themselves in Latin. Now, have we something here that is supernatural? Certainly not; it is a physiological state, or often the treasures of reminiscence, which the subject possessed, though in fact not aware of it. The peasant may have known how to speak French; she may not have known it, and still it may all have been engraved on the deep recesses of the memory, where nothing is ever really effaced. Exalted or sick, she finds herself in possession of the French language. A merchant, who has scarcely passed the first classes, and who never knew Latin, finds himself the possessor of the Latin language, and embarrasses his doctor, whom he addresses in that tongue.’

1432. “According to this ecstatic theory of M. de Gasparin, it follows that the ideas expressed by the subjects, and which were unknown to them in their normal state, are nothing more than reminiscences. I admit, with M. de Gasparin, that reminiscence is only the return of the soul to the recollection of a thing or an idea, which, though engraven on the memory, was forgotten. This return, however, does not happen without some remarks, which, from the recollection of some ideas or incidents, conduct the mind to the recollection of what was forgotten.

1433. “I am a medium: according to the received opinion, a medium is a waking magnetic subject. Now, every magnetic subject is in a degree ecstatic; therefore I, being a medium, am ecstatic. Well, I being ecstatic, take a pencil, and concentrating myself in that state, request the occult power that moves my hand without my volition to cause it to write, if it is possible, something on the creation. The last word is scarcely pronounced when my hand proceeds to write, without interruption, something true or false, on the creation, which surprises me.

1434. “This interview terminates, and desiring to know if these ideas on the creation come from reminiscences, I seek to discover if they could have been engraven on my memory, either from reading or hearing them284 related. With this view I commenced by reading religious and philosophic books that would be likely to discuss the question, but could find nothing like what I had written. I consulted the public libraries, and they contained nothing on the creation similar to what my hand had communicated. Not a professor, philosopher, naturalist, physiologist, theologian, or historian, with whom I had ever had any intercourse, could recollect any thing of the kind.

1435. “After this, I reason as follows: having examined all the means by which what was written by my hand on the creation could have been impressed on my memory, nothing appears to warrant that belief; therefore, these notions on the creation cannot be regarded as reminiscences.

1436. “But it is not enough, we have said, that in reminiscence, are necessary, which, by the recollection of an object, idea, or notion, we are led to the further recollection of something forgotten. That this should take place, some time is required, however little it may be. However, in the case related, not a moment was required, and this breaks up the required process, in order to respond to the theory of M. de Gasparin.

1437. “Now, if these ideas on the creation are not reminiscences—if they do not emanate from the devil, who, agreeably to our author, is an entire stranger to these phenomena—if it is not the soul of a deceased person that controlled my hand, as M. de Gasparin, being a Protestant, does not believe in returning spirits nor in communion with the dead, who then caused to be written by my hand such strange things, without my knowledge or assistance? And I beg M. de Gasparin to be so good as to explain this phenomenon, which appears to be in opposition with his theory on the prodigies of ecstatic subjects. Should M. de Gasparin desire to see what I have written, he can be gratified. But what will he say, when having requested my spirit to reply in writing on some subject familiar to my mind, he is unable to do it, or replies contrary to my thoughts and convictions? Can this be called reminiscence? I pass now to consider mesmerism.

1438. “In speaking on this subject, the Supernatural of M. de Gasparin says, ‘The clairvoyance of mesmerism appears in general to have only the character of an echo. Its wonders are those of reminiscence or perception of images and thoughts, which occupy the intelligence of the person with whom the clairvoyant is in rapport. This appears to be the balance-sheet of animal magnetism, and it has changed but little since its origin.’ (Tome ii. page 311.)

1439. “According to what M. de Gasparin has just told us, it follows, that when a clairvoyant tells us in his sleep that he sees the spirit of a deceased person, and gives us an exact description of his person, we are not to regard it as the deceased person that the clairvoyant sees, but his image impressed on the memory of that clairvoyant from acquaintance with the defunct when living, or in the memory of the consulting visitor in285 rapport; so that the clairvoyant, in these apparitions of the dead, is governed only by reminiscence or the reflection of images or of thoughts. Now, having allowed M. de Gasparin to speak, I desire in my turn to speak also.

1440. “In January, 1848, a work was published, entitled Les Arcanes de la Vie Future Révelée: The Arcana of a Future Life Revealed. My attention being attracted by the title of this work, it was procured, and proved to be nothing but a collection of the apparitions of deceased persons to clairvoyants.

1441. “On so delicate a question, I thought it best to consult the Scriptures, to see whether the appearance of the dead to the living was admitted by the sacred volumes. I opened, then, the Bible, and the first passage that met my eye was the chap. xxvii. of the first book of Kings, where it said that Samuel had appeared to the witch of Endor, and that, by the intermediation of the latter, the prophet spoke to Samuel; an apparition on which were sketched those reported by M. Cahagnet in his Arcana. I saw afterward in the second book of Maccabees, the high-priest Onias and the prophet Jeremiah appearing to Judas Maccabeus. I see in St. Matthew, chap. xvii., the apparition of Moses and Elias to Peter, John, and James on the Tabor. Finally, I read, in chap. xxviii. of the said St. Matthew, that at the death of our Saviour Jesus Christ, many of the dead appeared to a great number of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

1442. “Convinced by the holy volume of the possibility, or rather of the reality, of the apparition of the dead to the living, I put to myself this question: Can these apparitions of the dead to the living which, according to the Bible, took place in former times, be permitted to occur at the present time? In order to resolve that question, I desired again to consult the Bible, and found the Holy Spirit, in Ecclesiastes, holding the following language: ‘What has been, is what shall be; and what has been done, is what shall be done again.

1443. “Then, I said to myself, the appearance of the dead to the living has taken place, according to the Bible; therefore, agreeably to the same sacred volume, what has existed at one time may exist at another. Therefore, there is no reason for rejecting the doctrine of communion of spirits, God willing, at the present time.

1444. “But it is to be found out whether the apparitions reported in the Arcana were realities, or were only illusions, so called. The solution of this problem belongs to me. And with this view I found myself at the house of the author of the Arcana, where a very serious discussion took place between him and myself on his work, which ended with the apparition of my brother Joseph, the third one that figures in the second volume of the Arcana. In fact, I called for the apparition of my late brother, and scarcely had a few minutes passed when the clairvoyant,286 Adile, told me she saw a gentleman, and by the description she gave of the stature, costume, character, the cause and place of the death of the person appearing, I could not avoid recognising in the said person that of my brother Joseph.

1445. “This apparition had such an effect on me, as to keep me awake the whole night, seeking to explain the phenomenon. But becoming fatigued with researches, I thought, as a magnetizer, to be able to explain these apparitions by the same means as M. de Gasparin pretends to explain them at the present time. I said to myself that clairvoyants saw the image of things impressed on the memory of the persons with whom they were in rapport; the image of my late brother being engraved on my memory, it was enough for M. Cahagnet to put me, by an act of his will, in rapport with his clairvoyant, for the latter to have seen the image of my brother on the tablets of my memory.

1446. “With this impression, I wrote to M. Cahagnet, saying to him, that in spite of my assurance yesterday of the reality of the apparition of my brother, my knowledge of magnetism had caused me to-day to think otherwise, and that further evidence would be necessary to convince me of its reality. M. Cahagnet having complied, two spirits were evoked; one of my aforesaid brother Joseph, and the other of Antoinette Carré, the sister of my domestic; apparitions reported in the second volume of the Arcana, and the description given by the clairvoyant could not have been more correct. But as I still entertained the idea that these images could not be traced by the clairvoyant in my mind, this meeting produced no results. Curious, however, to know whether other clairvoyants possessed the same faculty as the clairvoyant of M. Cahagnet in regard to these apparitions, in the sense I understand them, I begged M. Lecocq, clockmaker of the navy, living at Argenteuil, to try some experiments with his sister, a very lucid clairvoyant.

1447. “Five apparitions appeared, of whom three were unknown to him or his clairvoyant, knowing only their names; and their identity was determined by the assistance of other persons present who had known them, as reported from two sources, the letter written me by M. Lecocq, which M. de Gasparin can see, and the report made by the former to M. Cahagnet, which was published in the second volume of the Arcana, page 244. In view of this fact, and others of the same nature come to my knowledge, my opinion as to the derivation of appearances and thoughts from the mind of communicants through the clairvoyant begins to be modified. However, to be entirely convinced of the reality of these apparitions, I should require similar facts to be presented to my own eyes.

1448. “Animated by these sentiments, I requested a person in whom I reposed entire confidence, to give me the name of a defunct, entirely unknown to me, and that of Joseph Moral was given. The young clairvoyant of thirteen years, whom I named at the beginning of this mono287graph, being one day put to sleep by his mother at my house, I used the opportunity to request the subject to invoke the spirit of Joseph Moral. Scarcely had two minutes elapsed, when the young clairvoyant announced the presence of a person, whom she described. Having never seen the said Joseph Moral, and therefore not able to say any thing about him, I was limited to writing down a faithful account of him as given by the clairvoyant.

1449. “The meeting ended, I sought the person who had furnished the name, and reading the description, and much surprised to find it correct, she said to me, ‘How, sir, were you able to give such an exact description of M. Joseph Moral, whom you never knew and have never seen?’

1450. “This fact was for me a positive conviction that clairvoyants, in their communion with the dead, do not simply see the image of the deceased in the memory of the consulting party, but that they see the veritable souls of the departed, as the witch of Endor saw the soul of Samuel, according to our creed, called the Holy Spirit of the Ecclesiastic. And should M. de Gasparin desire to know the person who gave me the name of M. Joseph Moral, it will give me pleasure to wait on him to her house.

1451. “Here is another fact like the preceding, but still more interesting. M. de Sarrio, of Alicant, in Spain, a cavalier of Malta, gave to my brother Joseph, of whom I have already spoken, fifteen thousand francs, to be distributed among the poor; for which sum my brother aforesaid gave a receipt to the benevolent donor. At the death of M. de Sarrio, his brother, the Marquis of Algolfa, becoming his heir, found this receipt among the papers of the deceased. At the death of my brother, the Marquis desiring to know if all the amount had been disbursed, addressed my sister, who became his heir, on the subject. But my sister, being unacquainted with his affairs, not having lived with him, submitted to the marquis the schedule of the deceased; which, showing only the distribution of half the amount, the other half was claimed by the marquis, and finally made the subject of a lawsuit.

1452. “My sister, much aggrieved, made me a party to her troubles, in a letter from Alicant. Discomforted by what had happened to my sister, I visited my young clairvoyant and demanded the presence of my brother, who, as she had said, had several times been with her. He was reported present, and I questioned him in relation to the money received from M. de Sarrio, reproaching him in regard to the reversion of the said balance, and the pain he had caused my sister.

1453. “My brother, astounded at my language, said, that he owed nothing to anybody; and as to the amount referred to, he had given it to Father Mario before dying, to be distributed to the poor; to prove which it would be necessary to call Father Mario. Scarcely had my brother said this, when the clairvoyant said she saw a man with my brother, and from the descrip288tion she gave of him, I thought I recognised a Capuchin friar, who, interrogated by my brother, confirmed what he had said.

1454. “Having never heard the name of Father Mario, as I had left Alicant thirty years before, I requested some particulars of his country and family, and was told he belonged to St. Vincent du Respect, one league from Alicant, &c., and I put the following questions to my sister, by letter: Was your brother Joseph visited in his sickness by a priest named Father Mario, having a sister at St. Vincent du Respect? and do you know if this Father Mario is dead? Following is the answer:

1455. “‘As to Father Mario, he left this country several years since, and it is not known if he is in France or America. He did not visit our brother in his last sickness, because he had left some years before. He has two sisters, one was in Algeria, and the other went with him.’ The letters written by me to my sister on this subject, and her replies, with other details, were published in the third volume of the Arcana. The originals are at the disposal of M. de Gasparin, and I would desire to ask that gentleman one question: Whether the apparition of Father Mario, as established by the letters of my sister, confirming the existence of Father Mario, is not a positive fact, and not an hallucination? Whether, as this monk had never been seen nor known by me, his image could possibly have been perceived by the clairvoyant through any impression made upon my mind? Of course, it could not have been the devil who personated Father Mario, if M. de Gasparin correctly repudiates the intervention of Satan in spiritual manifestations.

1456. “Can M. de Gasparin explain to me the appearance of Father Mario consistently with his Psychological hypothesis in General. These are the facts which I have at present to oppose to the Psychological Rationale of M. de Gasparin. At a future time I shall be prepared to say more to him as well as to M. de Mirville, both on mesmerism and table-turning, as well as in regard to mediums.

1457. “If the marquis and count do not respond to my call, their silence will do great injury to the cause of truth, science, and religion. It is, then, in order not to act against interests so sacred, that I take pleasure in hoping that these gentlemen will comply with my wishes.”

Mechanical Movements without Contact. By Mr. Isaac Rhen, President of the Harmonial Society of Philadelphia.[35]

1458. Among the most distinguished and eloquent advocates of Spiritualism in Philadelphia, is Mr. Isaac Rehn, President of the Harmonial Society. It is said that a good countenance is a constant letter of289 recommendation. The truth of this adage is conspicuously realized in the instance of this sensible and agreeable spiritualist. There is an air of good feeling and sincerity in Mr. Rehn’s tones and expression, which would cause him to be viewed as a reliable witness before any honest and intelligent jury.

1459. The fact of mechanical movements being induced without muscular contact, direct or indirect, is one of the phenomena which scarcely any one will believe without intuitive proof. It will be seen that on the third of February, 1854, after I had been engaged in the investigation of spiritual manifestations for more than two months, I was still so incredulous as to employ this language to Mr. Holcomb: “You believe fully that tables move without contact, because you have seen them thus moved; I am skeptical, because I have not seen them move without human contact, although I have been at several circles.”

1460. But one of the forms of this phenomenon, which has excited the most wonder and incredulity, is that of the carrying of Mr. Henry Gordon, a medium, through the air without the contact of any mundane body. Mr. Rehn having been among the witnesses of this fact, I requested him to give me a statement of it, as well as of others of a similar kind. Subjoined is a letter, written in consequence of my request:

Philadelphia, August 1, 1855.

Professor Robert Hare:

1461. Dear Sir: In obedience to your invitation, I will proceed to make a brief statement of the more prominent facts supporting the hypothesis, that the spirits of those who once dwelt with us do still hold intercourse with mortals.

1462. During the early part of the year 1850, some friends of mine, in whom I had full confidence, stated to me the result of several intercommunions had with these mysterious agents, by which I was led to a determination to test the matter for myself; and, accordingly, on the fifth day of July, in company with a friend, I visited New York, that being the only accessible point known to us at which to gain the object of our visit. The Fox family, consisting of Mrs. Fox, Mrs. Fish, (afterward Mrs. Brown,) Catherine and Margaret Fox were then at Barnum’s Hotel, giving to the public opportunities to test the reality or imposture of the so-called spiritual phenomena. We called at the rooms of the family, and obtained a sitting during the afternoon of the same day. A dozen or more persons were present at the sitting, the result of which was the conviction that the sounds were not a deception on the part of the mediums, but the result of some occult force and intelligence, independent of the ladies themselves.

1463. Without entering into any detail of the incidents of the visit above referred to, or speculations upon the general subject under consideration, I propose to cite incidents in my own experience, which go to establish the truth of spiritual intercourse.


1464. Shortly after the commencement of the sounds in the first circle instituted in this city, and of which I was, from the first, a member, demonstrations in the form of movements of tables, chairs, and other articles commenced. Many times they were very violent, but in most instances it was necessary that the hands of the company, and especially those of the medium, should be upon the table. During the session of a circle, however, held in the afternoon—and of course in daylight—these movements became unusually violent. Two card-tables, around which the company sat, having been drawn to the centre of the floor, were thrown backward and forward with great force. After moving thus for some minutes, one of the tables started toward some two or three of the company, and pressed heavily against them, causing them to recede until they had reached the wall; the table would then retreat to the centre of the floor, and, as it were, charge some two or three more, whom in like manner it would press back. Thus it continued retreating and attacking, until the entire company were seated around at the sides of the room.

1465. Having thus cleared the floor in the central part of the room, the table rose deliberately at the side next to myself, and so continued until it had turned some distance beyond the point of equilibrium, with the evident design of performing a revolution.

1466. These and other manifestations were at the time so wonderful and strange to that part of the company present which had never before met in a circle, as to cause great terror. One lady became so much alarmed during the performance of the spirits with the table as above described, that she screamed aloud, which interfering with the requisite conditions for success, the table fell heavily upon the floor, breaking off the top.

1467. During the rising of the table on the side toward myself, I reached my hand and pressed upon it, with the view of seeing what force was employed in raising it. Upon removing my hand, it would spring up as if it were suspended from the ceiling by an elastic cord.

1468. At the time this phenomenon was occurring, a friend of mine, Mr. J. A. Cutting, of Boston, Massachusetts, being seated by my side, found himself moved, as though some one had drawn the chair on which he was sitting. He then placed his feet upon the front round of the chair, so as to entirely insulate himself from the floor, and while in this position he was raised from the floor, chair and all. This gentleman was quite large and stout, weighing, I should think, not less than one hundred and seventy pounds.

1469. I would here state particularly and emphatically, that at the time of these most violent movements of the table, no hands were upon them, nor was there any physical contact with the objects moved.

1470. At the same session, a tumbler and pitcher being upon a washstand in a corner of the room, some five feet distant from any person present, suddenly a crash was heard in the direction in which those articles291 were situated. Upon examination, the tumbler was found to be broken into several hundred pieces, and what is still more strange, the pieces were not scattered around, but occupied a spot which did not exceed eight or ten inches in diameter! It seemed as if the tumbler had collapsed; even the bottom, thick as it was, was broken into many pieces. These facts occurred at the house of Mr. George D. Henck, dentist, in Arch street, who, with the other persons present on that occasion, will at any time corroborate these statements.

1471. On another occasion, at the house of Mr. J. Thompson, of this city, during a sitting, I requested, among other things, that the spirits would move the table without physical contact. Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. R-—-, and myself, the only persons in the room, drew back from the table, and it was then moved some six or eight inches. In addition to this, it moved from various points, and objects were retained on the table, when under ordinary circumstances, from the inclination of the table, they must have fallen off.

1472. At a sitting at my own residence, some two years since, some very strange phenomena occurred. At the close of the session, a young man, of slender frame and constitution, (Mr. H. C. Gordon,) had his hand thrown violently upon the centre of a large dining-table, weighing not less than eighty or ninety pounds. Some of the company were requested to raise Mr. Gordon’s hand from the table. This, after much effort, was accomplished, and, strange to relate, the table accompanied the hand until it was entirely isolated from the floor. This was a result which I would have doubted, had it not come under my own personal observation.

1473. About the same time, a company of persons, whose names, as far as I can recollect, I shall mention, were seated around two tables, joined together, in order to furnish room sufficient to seat the party. The house in which I then lived had two parlours, with folding doors. The two tables referred to occupied the entire length of the front parlour, leaving barely room enough for the chairs at the front end of the room; the other end of the table extended quite to the folding doors, leaving, of course, no passage on either end. It so happened that I was seated at that end of the table projecting into the doorway. The medium, Mr. Gordon, was seated about midway of the tables, on the left, the other seats being occupied by the rest of the company.

1474. After a variety of manifestations had occurred, the medium was raised from his seat by an invisible power, and, after some apparent resistance on his part, was carried through the doorway between the parlours, directly over my head, and his head being bumped along the ceiling, he passed to the farther end of the back room, in which there was no one beside himself.

1475. Although all the individuals present had not equally good opportunity of ascertaining the facts in this case, the room having been some292what darkened, still his transit over the end of the table at which I was seated, and the utter impossibility of the medium passing out in other way than over our heads, his continued conversation while thus suspended, and his position, as indicated by the sound, with other facts in the case, leave no reasonable doubt of the performance of the feat.

1476. There were present on the occasion alluded to, the following persons, viz.: Aaron Comfort, George D. Henck, Rebecca Thomas, Naomi Thomas, Marianne Thomas, Esther Henck, Mrs. Rehn, J. S. Mintzer, M. D., and many others.

Respectfully, I. Rehn.

1477. The truth of the elevation and carriage of this medium aloft, by invisible agency, from one part of a room to another, does not depend on the testimony of one set of observers; several other respectable eye-witnesses have alleged the occurrence of a similar manifestation in their presence.

Communication from J. M. Kennedy, Esq.

1478. One of our most zealous and eloquent spiritualists, is my friend, J. M. Kennedy. He has done me the favour, out of many striking manifestations observed by him, to communicate two, which are among the most demonstrative of a physical power and mental intelligence, and which cannot be ascribed to mortal agency. That in which the magnetic needle was moved by his request, without physical contact, is, as I conceive, pre-eminently interesting.

Philadelphia, August, 1855.

Professor Hare:

1479. “Sir: You ask me to state some facts I have witnessed, which tended to convince my mind that the varied phenomena, occurring among us, are truly ascribable to the direct action of disembodied spirits. I will state two matters, remarking, however, that I have had other and different forms of evidence equally satisfactory to me.

1480. “About two years since, I was invited to meet a private circle to witness physical manifestations. I met them at the house of a near neighbour, whose lady is a medium. There were about ten persons present. The circle being seated, the movement of the table and tipping in answer to questions occurred. I now asked for a communication with myself, which was assented to. I then inquired if the spirits would move the table, despite of my power to hold it still, the company to withdraw from the table, excepting the medium and myself. The answer was, ‘We will!’ The company all arose, and removed their chairs; I stood up and took hold of the table, exercising my best judgment as to the use of my strength in the pending contest. The medium having placed her hand on the table, I promptly announced, ‘I am ready.’ At once, the movement of the table commenced, despite of my efforts to prevent it, and having slightly pushed me backward, it began to draw me in the opposite direc293tion. It moved entirely across the room, dragging me along with it, my feet sliding on the carpet. I resisted the motion of the table with all the power I could command, and no visible being but myself had any contact with it, excepting the medium, whose hand (not hands) was on the top of the table.

1481. “I then said, ‘If I sit on the table, will you throw me off?’ Answer. Yes. I at once sat on it, and the medium placing her hand as before, I said, ‘I am ready,’ and almost instantaneously the table was turned over on its side, of course, throwing me off. All this occurred at a private house; the room was light enough to read small print, and there was entire freedom to search for trick, machinery, &c. There was to me evidence of an intelligent, invisible power, giving us the tests we suggested and asked for, to prove its presence and power.

1482. “On another occasion, there were present, at the dwelling of another friend of mine, my friend and his lady, also a lad learning business with him, and myself, the apprentice lad being the medium. We sat in the parlour in the afternoon, windows open, room well lighted.

1483. “Among other manifestations which occurred was this: I placed on the centre of the large dining-table a glass tumbler, on which I placed a compass, the needle being one foot in length. On the periphery of the compass, the alphabet, as well as the various points, was painted, and at each letter there was a small metallic pin permanently fixed. After changing the compass freely, to see if the needle worked free and true, I left it so placed that the needle pointed due north, according to the points marked therefor. We then removed our chairs from the table some distance, no one being in contact with it. My friend was on the east, his lady on the south, the medium on the west, and myself on the north side of the table. I then requested that the spirits would move the compass needle to such points as we might designate; and naming north, south, east, west, north-east, south-west, &c., perhaps, in all, nearly twenty different points, I saw the needle promptly and quickly moved to each point, as and when designated by me, and there held steadily for a brief time; and on each occasion, after having been thus held, I saw it fly back to the north point. I also requested that they (the spirits) would spell John by moving the needle to the letters, and I saw the needle promptly moved to the several letters required to spell the name, stopping at each, tipping and touching the small pin opposite the letter, and then immediately returning to its position due north.

1484. “This manifestation I was compelled to regard as clearly proving the action of an invisible, intelligent power, present with us, and purporting to be a disembodied spirit once known among us as a man. There was here also perfect freedom to search for trick, machinery, &c.; and all these suggested explanations occurred as clearly to my mind as to men generally, and were duly cared for by me; for I was then an investigator294 of the truth of spirit manifestations, and did not wish to be humbugged. These cases, however, are but a sample of the chain of testimony that has satisfied my mind fully on this question.

John M. Kennedy.

Communication from Wm. West, Esq.

1485. As respects the communication which follows, I have only to say that I consider the author as quite reliable, both as to his capacity to observe accurately, and his disposition to exert that capacity faithfully. I believe him to have one of those minds which, like the scale-beam, allows every thing pro or con to have its due weight.

Philadelphia, September 6, 1855.

Professor R. Hare:

1486. “Dear Sir: At our last interview you wished a few facts from my experience.

1487. “About three years since I lectured in this city against the spiritual agency of ‘the modern manifestations,’ and advocated a nerve aura, obedient to the will. At that time I had the power to stop the physical movements. Subsequently, the agents in these phenomena refused to obey me. I have since been informed by the spirits, that they permitted me to control them for a time, in order ultimately to convince me by depriving me of said power.

1488. “Having read your statement of the message transmitted by you, through your spirit sister, from Cape May, in July last, to this city, I have thought that an account of a similar despatch from myself, through my spirit wife, to a circle in this city, might be acceptable.

1489. “On the evening of June 22, 1853, while sitting at the table at Mrs. Long’s, (a writing medium, living at No. 9 Thompson St., New York), my deceased wife purported to be communicating with me. At that time I had been appointed, by the spirits, dictator to a circle, which convened every Wednesday evening at the residence of H. C. Gordon, 103 North Fifth St., Philadelphia. I inquired of my wife if she could convey a message to the circle then assembled in Philadelphia. She answered, ‘I will try.’ I then requested her to take my respects to the circle, and inform them that I was succeeding admirably in my investigation, and becoming stronger in the glorious truth of spirit intercommunion. In the course of seventeen minutes, the spirit again announced her presence, and informed us she had delivered the message. On the next Wednesday evening, I was present at the circle in Philadelphia, and was informed by all the members present that my communication had been duly received. Another spirit, I was informed, had been communicating, when an interruption occurred, and my wife gave her name, and, in substance, the communication, through the hand of Mr. Gordon.

1490. “There were present about twelve persons of high respectability,295 among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Howell, Mr. and Mrs. Laird, Mr. Aaron Comfort, Mr. William Knapp, &c.

1491. “At Mrs. Long’s there were three or four persons present, among them, I think, Mr. Ira Davis.

1492. “I am not a medium, therefore the objection of medium sympathy is out of place.

Yours, &c. W. West.
“George St., 4th house west of Broad.”

Koons’s Establishment.

1493. Among the wonders of Spiritualism, none have excited so much astonishment as the manifestations which have occurred at the establishment of Mr. Koons, in Athens county, Ohio. The phenomena are so extraordinary, as to be difficult to be believed, even by Spiritualists; and yet there is far more evidence of their truth than of any of the miracles recorded in Scripture. In no instance has any of these been attested in due form by known spectators, and admitting that, in this respect, there is no deficiency, they were not of a nature to be repeated before a succession of observers. Those at Koons’s have been repeated, and are still being repeated. I first heard that there was such an establishment from my spirit brother, at least fifteen months ago. My spirit friends confirm the truth of the account received, and sanction the idea that there is something in the locality which favours mediumship. I subjoin the narratives of several visitors to the establishment in question:

Communication from Joseph Hazard, Esq.

1494. Joseph Hazard, Esq., of Narragansett, R. I., is very well known in Philadelphia, as well as in the vicinity of his residence. Mr. Hazard accompanied me, in some of my investigating visits, to spiritual circles, and was present, as I have mentioned, (139,) on the occasion when I first saw a table move without contact. There is no doubt but that he is a truthful witness. If he has overrated what he heard or saw, it must be from the enthusiasm with which he was inspired.

Athens Co., Ohio, May 4, 1855.

1495. My Dear Sir: I have been here these three days, witnessing the wonderful spirit manifestations of which we have heard so much. Allow me to assure you that the published account of them is no more to the reality than shadow is to substance. No pen can describe, and if it could, I believe no mind could believe that had not witnessed them. The spirits talk audibly through a trumpet, not with good articulation, but as if the process were mechanical. On the accordeon, however, the language is exquisitely articulated, being some beautiful air or catch, according to the number of words; the harmony being perfect, and every note forming a part or whole word. They frequently move overhead, next the ceiling,296 with a rapidity of motion inconceivably astounding, blowing a trumpet with deafening blasts at times, or beating a tamborine or some other instrument.

1496. One of the exhibitions represents a spirit hand during this circuit, beating a tamborine, there being a piece of sand-paper with phosphorus on it, which they use for illuminating the hand. I saw them begin the work and complete it. The hand was small and delicate, and flew all over the room with something like the rapidity of light on a broken surface of water, frequently snapping the fingers, and stopping often near to myself and others, that we might see it to full advantage.

1497. Another hand, which I could not see, touched me, but I took hold of it. It seemed as if covered with buckskin.

1498. The spirits are now contriving a plan to exhibit in the light. They say that light destroys the conditions necessary by their present system, even that evolved by the phosphorus rendering the operation very difficult.

1499. It appears evident that spirits to be seen with material eyes are obliged to materialize themselves, or else spiritualize our vision; and these things have been done repeatedly.

1500. I have not yet seen them write. I have heard them talk and play on many instruments by the hour. There is a base and tenor drum on which they perform with such violence, that it is almost deafening at times, and the whole house resounds till it shakes throughout. Some of the music is seraphic, especially when they speak with the harmonicon, when it is more unearthly in its character than I should have been able to imagine.

1501. The spirit houses are distinct buildings of one room, dark as Erebus, and rather lonesome places, in this wilderness. I have, nevertheless, obtained permission to sleep on the floor each night in one: and during two of those nights I have been favoured with faint music on the drums. Last night, from the moment I extinguished the light, drumming was continued throughout the night, accompanied by a few notes on the violin.

1502. The spirit said last night, “I can’t play a bit,” but, nevertheless, he played some things delightfully. This was a new performer, who had sent word he would perform this night, and that he was a German.

1503. One spirit attempted to sing through the trumpet, but could not make music; after each failure he would stop a minute, and then, very good-naturedly, say, “I will try again.” This he did several times, when he added “What shall I do for you, if I can’t sing?” He at length took up an accordeon, and succeeded better on that; but I presume did not suit himself, as he would exclaim every once in a while, “Oh, dear!” very despondingly.

1504. The effort the spirits make to manifest themselves is very great,297 evidently, and the amiability of their demeanour here is striking. However, I cannot tell you but a small portion of what I have seen, but believing you would be interested in this sketch, I have hastily made it, and hope you will excuse the rudeness of it. If I could not witness again what I have seen during the last seventy-two hours, I would not part with the consciousness of it for the whole State of Ohio.

I am very sincerely your friend,
Jos. P. Hazard.

To Prof. Robt. Hare, Philada.


Letter from John Gage.—The Home of the Mediums and the Haunts of the Spirits.—What they did, said, and wrote.


1505. The house of Mr. Koons is in Milford, Athens county, Ohio, twenty-five miles south-west of McConnelsville, forty-two miles from Lancaster, and sixty-seven miles from Columbus.

1506. Persons going from the West can go to Lancaster, which is the nearest point by railroad, thence down the Hocking River by stage, which runs daily to Chauncey, thence on foot two miles to Koons. From the North persons would take the stage at Columbus, thence to Lancaster by the lines above described. From the East there are steamboats to McConnelsville, on the Muskingum, both from Zanesville and Marietta, but from these private carriages must be got; distance as above, twenty-five miles, but the miles bear no correspondence to the hours, for on every route they think they do well if they accomplish two and a half miles an hour. No man ever travelled over so hilly a country anywhere else, and when you finally get into Koons’s vicinity, you find the essence of hills personified; there is no such thing as a level spot large enough to put a house on.


1507. Koons’s house is located on the south-east angle of a sharp ridge, some few rods below the edge of the ledge, and where, when the native trees occupied the ground, the lightning was wont to make frolic among them; and where it still likes to sport. The stove-pipe above the spirit room was burst off, and a number of times during the sitting of the mediums, the electric sparks were seen to play over the wires of the spirit table.



1508. The spirit room is built of logs, as well as the house in which Mr. Koons resides; it is situated at the end of his dwelling-house, and six feet from it. It is twelve by sixteen feet square, and seven feet high inside; there is a tight floor, and the ceiling above is of rough boards, laid close edge to edge; in the garret above, there is less than three feet clear room to the peak of the roof, and up here are stowed old shoes and other old trumpery. There is a door in the front, near the centre of the building, and a small window on each side of it, and one window in the back side; the windows have each close shutters outside to exclude the light. Across the back end of the room are three rough board shelves. Two feet in front of these, stands the spirit table, three feet wide and six feet long. In front of this, and setting against it, is a common fall-leaf table, about three and a half feet square, which extends to within one foot of the stove; and across the back end of the room are two rough benches for spectators to sit upon, and the front one comes within one foot of the stove. Then, on each end of the table is room for three or four chairs, all of which fills the room so full that there is no room to get around. Mr. Koons’s seat is at the left of the table, where he sits and plays the fiddle. Nahum, his son, sits on the left of the table; he is a lad eighteen years old, and the principal medium; and his mother sits next to him.


1509. The spirit table has a frame or rack standing on it, and extended from one end to the other; this rack sustains a tenor drum at one end and a brass drum at the other, attached to it by means of wires; there are wires also passing in various directions about the rack, and sustaining some small bells, some images of birds cut out of copper plate, &c.; there are two fiddles, a guitar, banjo, accordeon, French harp, tin horn, tea bell, triangle, and tamborine, either hanging up or on the tables. The room will hold eighteen or twenty persons besides the mediums, and when filled, as it usually is, there is no room to pass around or between the people and the table or stove.

1510. Some phosphorus is always placed on the table between wet sheets of paper, for the exhibition of the hand.


Koons’s Room, June 19, 1855.

1511. Between eight and nine o’clock, Mr. Koons and his son Nahum went into the room and closed the doors and shutters, for the purpose, they said, of inquiring of King, the presiding spirit, whether he would attend that evening, and what time he would commence; this they always do,299 and they were told to get ready in twenty minutes. We went into the room. Mr. Koons took his seat with his fiddle and tuned it; I took my seat by his side, and my wife next to me, our chairs setting close to each other, and the chairs and benches in the room were all filled. The window-shutters and doors were now closed, and Mr. Koons put out the light, and immediately there came a startling blow upon the table that made the room jar, and almost brought me to my feet. “Well, King,” said Mr. Koons, “you are here,” and commenced playing a lively tune. As soon as Koons began to play the fiddle, the bass and tenor drums began to play with such power and energy as to frighten me; the whole house was on a jar and vibrating in perfect time with the music; and I know no mortal hands had hold of the drumsticks, and for the time the thought was irresistible and constant that spirits controlled them. After two or three tunes on the drums, the tamborine was taken up and beat with such violence, that I expected every moment it would be dashed to pieces, at the same time it was making rapid circles in the room and dashing from one place to another, and occasionally thrust almost in my face, so that I was afraid it would hit me. Then the French harp would be played, and then the drums, harp, and accordeon altogether; then a strange kind of unearthly noise would sing in concert with the music. Interspersed between the tunes upon the harp was talking through the horn, the horn frequently passing through the room, over and around us at the same time.


1512. At one time there was talking around the room, so as to disturb those that were anxious to hear every thing, when suddenly there came a shriek that was truly terrific; such a sound as Milton might suppose would be made by an imp of the infernal regions. The horn then said: “Keep silent.”

1513. Koons talked some time with the voice in the horn and harp; then asked him to write a communication for me. We then heard the rattling of paper, and the phosphorus began to show itself, was taken up in a hand, showed the hand. It then got a pencil, took some paper, and laid it on a table close before me, and wrote on it, making the same sound that a pencil always makes in rapid writing; then made some flourishes on the paper below the writing, threw down the pencil, handed the paper into my hand, and threw the phosphorus on the floor in front of Mr. Koons, who took it up and handed it to the hand again; it then threw it in the corner of the room, and said, “Good-night,” when Mr. Koons lighted a candle. I examined the paper that the hand had given me, and found it was my paper, which I had placed on the table, with a private mark on it. There were four lines written on it in a good legible hand, and following the ruled lines on the paper as follows:


1514. “Well, friend, we return our regards to you for the interest you have manifested in our presence and performance; we now take our leave. Farewell.


At Koons’s, Thursday, June 21.

1515. We have much more of a performance than usual, and one highly satisfactory. Among other things, after they had finished playing a tune, Mr. Schenick, who sat next to me, and who plays the violin very well, said, “King, won’t you hand me the other fiddle?” It was taken up and handed to him over my head, thumbing the strings as it passed. “Yes,” it said, “I will give you the fiddle; you do not want the bow, I suppose.” “Oh, yes,” said Schenick, “I want the bow, too.” The horn said, “Can’t you get along without it?” Schenick answered, “I can’t play very well with my fingers.” Then the bow was handed to him, the horn named a tune, and both fiddles began to play, accompanied by the drums and the accordeon, and a number of voices sang, something like human voices.

1516. Then the tamborine was played with much spirit, and passed rapidly around the room. At the same time it made stops in front of a person, touched them gently on the shoulder, head, or somewhere else, playing all the while; then passed to another, and so on. It passed me, and dropped into my wife’s lap. It then flew over Van Sickle’s head, made a great flourish, lit on it, and began to press down; and Van says, “Bear down; I can hold you up.” He then said there was the weight of a large man put on his head; it also passed to a number of others, and pressed down on their heads. Mr. Koons then asked him to lay the tamborine on my head, which it did immediately, bearing down, I should think, with a weight of twenty pounds: I raised up my hand and took hold of it, when it started up, and I held on as fast as I dared for fear of breaking the Tamborine; it then passed around and came to my wife, and pressed gently against her head. This, she said, she mentally requested it to do, as she did not want it to bear down hard on her.

1517. Mr. Koons then said, “King, it is very warm here; won’t you take Mrs. Gage’s fan and fan us?” But before he had finished speaking, the tamborine began to fly around the room like lightning, breathing a strong current of wind, and fanning all in the house. Then the phosphorus was taken up and darted around the room like flakes of lightning, and a hand began to develop. We talked with the voice while this process was going on, and tried to urge our spirit friends to write a communication for us. When the hand was formed, it passed around the room and shook hands or touched the hands of many of us. It took hold of my hand, and then of my wife’s. We both felt the shape of a hand distinctly. It then got some paper and a pencil, and laying the paper on the table, right in front of us, began to write with great rapidity; covered one side of the sheet; turned it over again, wrote five lines, signed it, filled the rest of the page with301 flourishes, folded it, and placed it in my wife’s hand. It then flew around the room, darting from the table up to the ceiling, there making three or four distinct knocks, and darting down and up, repeating the knocks a number of times in succession; it then passed all around the room, stopping and showing the hand to all that wanted to see it. It then commenced darting around the room again, and snapping its fingers as loud as a man could do. It then threw the phosphorus in the back corner of the room, said “Good night,” and was gone. Mr. Koons then lighted the candle, and my wife read the paper which was given her by the spirit hand, as follows:


1518. To the Friends of this Circle: After various inquiries made at this circle, we deem it highly necessary to reply by stated reasons, why our presiding spirit declines to give the names of the spirits present during our performances at this room:

1519. 1st. Let the inquirer conceive himself entering a congregated promiscuous assembly of persons, who are all anxiously awaiting his approach under the discharge of some important and general mission, in behalf of those in attendance. On entering the assembly, he looks around upon his anxious inquirers, and sees them attended with their respective safeguards, such as he never saw before. In the discharge of his official duty, however, he is necessitated to exclude himself from the direct view and intercourse of the safeguards, so as to be brought into a nearer relation to the corresponding parties. The interlocution accordingly takes place, when each one in turn begins to interrogate the speaker in his excluded position, on subjects relating to their excluded guard, of which the speaker knows but little or nothing, except the cognition of their presence on his arrival; and in order to acquaint himself with the circumstances and matters inquired after, so as to answer correctly, the speaker has to disencumber himself at every inquiry, and not only so, but would also fail to perform his devolved duty by submitting himself to the scrutiny and criticism of the corresponding parties. Which, then, of the two requirements would be of the most consequence—to discommode the general interest of the assembly and that of his own official duty, or to omit the latter and attend to the discharge of a more important and higher duty, by which the peace and consoling riches would be augmented to the fulness of their cup?

1520. Now, this is the position our presiding spirit occupies. When himself and band enter the room, he recognises, many bright guardian spirits interspersed among the promiscuous assembly, of whom he has no knowledge. And in the discharge of their manifesting performances, they necessarily must assume physical incumbrances, which shuts them from a direct view of the attending spirits; and as many questions that are led in relation to them so often, the corresponding spirit has to disrobe him302self so as to give a correct relation, to say nothing of the possibility of receiving and conveying wrong impressions from spirits who do not regard the truth.

1521. Given by Second King, at the council of the presiding band.


1522. After this communication had been read, a certificate, setting forth the above facts was drawn up and signed by all those present, as follows:

1523. Audience present.—Portia Gage, Gage’s Lake, Ill.; John Gage, Gage’s Lake, Lake county, Ill.; Solomon Bordon, Millfield, Athens county, Ohio; Thomas Morris and wife, Hyram Schenick, Selah Van Sickle, Delaware, Ohio.

1524. Mediums present.—Jonathan Koons, Abigail T. Koons, Nahum W. Koons.


1525. When a person comes here and sees the rooms, and finds them open all day for the children to run in and out of, and for visitors to examine, and sees there are no juggler’s tools about, and no place to keep them; the mediums and all engaged are of that artless stamp, and in their whole appearance, bearing, and conduct, so marked with honesty and sincerity of purpose, that the idea of their being imposters, or of their psychologizing their auditors, is simply ridiculous. That the music is not imaginary, is proved in another way, if further proof is necessary; it can be heard as well outside as inside of the houses, and is frequently heard by the neighbours for miles around. There is no question about the manifestations, and about their having all that superhuman or unaccountable character that the most sanguine writers have given them. They rather seem to be over-cautious about exaggerating any thing, and consequently fall far short of conveying an adequate idea of the phenomena. Therefore, all we have to do is to account for these existing facts, for the facts cannot be controverted. The intelligence displayed is sometimes of a high order, and they always claim to be spirits of men or women who have left the earthly form, and passed to that undiscovered country from whose bourne it has been said no travellers return. But of this every one can judge for themselves, though it is difficult to imagine what they can be, if they are not spirits.

John Gage.

An Evening at Koon’s Spirit Room. By Charles Partridge, Esq., New York.

1526. Sunday evening, 27th May last, I walked some three miles through a wood over a very poor road, in the direction of what is called the spirit rooms of Jonathan Koons. I noticed at the foot of a hill several carriages by the roadside, and horses tied to the fence and trees; and on reaching the place, I observed from thirty to fifty men sitting on stones,303 logs, and fences around a dilapidated log-cabin. The men looked respectable, and their deportment and conversation bore the impress of a religious meeting. I inquired who lived there, and was informed that Jonathan Koons lived in that house, (pointing to the cabin,) and that (pointing to a small one near by) is the spirits’ room. I inquired what spirits lived there, and was told that it was the room where people go in to talk with their spirit friends who have gone out of their earthly tabernacle. On inquiry as to what this gathering was for, I was informed that these people had come to talk with their spirit friends and to witness spirit manifestations. I was informed that I might go in—that everybody was free to enter and examine the room, and to attend the circle. I selected a good “soft” stone, and sat me down, a perfect stranger, with the other disciples. I scrutinized the people closely, and listened to their conversation without joining in it. I overheard one say that Mr. Koons was in his house. In the course of half an hour a man came out, whom several persons addressed as Mr. Koons; he glanced his eyes over the congregation; presently, two men drove up, who, as I subsequently learned, came from Amesville, some ten miles distant; they were entire strangers to me and I to them; they looked around, spoke with some persons, and then with Mr. Koons, asking whom he had there, &c., and finally asked him who I was, pointing me out to Mr. Koons. Mr. Koons observed that he had not learned my name, that I had just come; but he was impressed by spirits to say, “His name is Charles Partridge, of New York.” Soon after, one of these men approached me, and asked if I was Mr. Partridge, from New York. I answered in the affirmative. “Charles Partridge?” “Yes.” “Well,” said he, “the spirits told Mr. Koons who you were.” I had not overheard their conversation, but such was the result of one of my tests as to the spirit origin of these manifestations.

1527. Mr. Koons and one of his children (a medium) went into the spirit room alone, as is their custom before forming the public circle, to receive such instruction from the presiding spirit (King) as he might wish to communicate. There are often more persons present desiring to obtain admittance than the room will hold. In such cases the spirit directs Mr. Koons to especially invite those in who have come the longest distance, and such as cannot remain there for another opportunity, usually calling the names of the parties, and leaving out the neighbours and those who can make it convenient to be present on subsequent occasions. At one of these preliminary interviews, I was invited in by Mr. Koons. Immediately on closing the doors, the spirit took up the trumpet, (described in my last communication,) and spoke through it audibly and distinctly, saying, “Good evening, friends!” to which we responded in like manner. The spirit then addressed me by name, and observed, in substance, that although they were strangers to me, I was not a stranger to them: they had been cognizant of my thoughts, desires, and efforts in behalf of Spiritualism from304 the time my attention was first called to the subject. They spoke in very flattering terms of myself and others, who had been bold to testify to the spiritual manifestations witnessed in the early times, and during the severer trials and opposition. They had watched the TELEGRAPH with anxious solicitude, and with eminent satisfaction. They closed in a fervent benediction and consecration to further and greater good and uses. After which this spirit (King) said to Mr. Koons, that they could not hold a public circle that evening, as he was elsewhere engaged. Mr. Koons expressed much regret at this announcement, and said he felt much embarrassed and mortified, because several persons were there who had come a long way; some from New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Canada, and other distant places. The spirit said he was sorry, but he had engaged to attend a circle elsewhere, (naming the place a long distance away,) and he must be there in fifteen minutes. Mr. Koons would not be satisfied with any excuses, but insisted that he (King) had agreed to preside over his circle, and meet the company who came there; and rather than be made the instrument of apology to others for the disappointment in the performances, he would abandon it altogether, etc. King said, “Wait a few moments, and I will go and see if arrangements can be made.” He thereupon laid down the trumpet, and to all appearances left us, and we could get no further replies for four or five minutes, when the trumpet was again taken up, and King spoke through it, saying he had arranged the matter by deputizing a portion of his band to fill his engagement, and they would therefore hold a circle in that place, commencing the performance in fifteen minutes, but perhaps they would not be able to make so good music, or have the full complement of the manifestations. Thus ended this preliminary interview, which sufficiently indicates the character of all similar ones.

1528. I attended three public circles in the spirit house of Mr. Koons, and three in the spirit house of Mr. John Tippie; they are situated about three miles apart; the rooms and manifestations are very similar, although the electrical tables, so called, differ somewhat in their construction; the presiding spirits are of the same name, King; they claim to be father and son. These rooms will seat about twenty-five or thirty persons each, and are usually full. Many times, while I was there, more persons desired to go in than the house would hold, and some of them had to remain outside. They could hear the music and the spirits’ conversation just as well, and they only had to forego being touched by spirits and seeing them. The music is heard, under favourable circumstances, at the distance of one mile, or as far as any band of martial music can be heard. After the circle is formed, the door and windows are shut, the light is usually extinguished, and almost instantaneously, a tremendous blow by the large drumstick is struck on the table, when immediately the bass and tenor drums are beaten rapidly, like calling the roll on the muster-field, waking a thousand echoes. The rapid and tremulous blows on these drums are really frightful to many305 persons. This beating of the drums is continued five minutes or more, and when ended, King usually takes up the trumpet and salutes us with “Good evening, friends,” or something like it, and often asks what particular manifestations are desired. If none are specially asked for, King often asks Mr. Koons to play on the violin, the spirit band playing at the same time on the drums, triangle, tamborine, harp, accordeon, harmonica, etc. etc.; upon these the spirits perform scientifically, in very quick and perfect time. They commence upon each instrument at one instant, and in full blast, and stop suddenly after sounding the full note, showing that they have some more perfect method than we have of notifying each performer of the instant to start and stop. After the introductory piece on the instruments, the spirits often sing. I heard them sing. The spirits spoke to us, requesting us to remain perfectly silent. Presently, we heard human voices singing, apparently in the distance, so as to be scarcely distinguishable; the sounds gradually increased, each part relatively, until it appeared as if a full choir of human voices were in our small room, singing most exquisitely. I think I never heard such perfect harmony; each part was performed with strict attention to its relative degree of sound or force. There was none of that flopping, floundering, ranting, and shrieking which constitutes the staple of what is latterly called music; harmony, rather than noise, seemed to constitute the spirits’ song. So captivating was it, that the heartstrings seemed to relax or to increase their tension, to accord with the heavenly harmony. It seems to me that no person could sit in that sanctuary without feeling the song of “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good-will to man,” spontaneously rising in the bosom, and finding expression on the lip. I don’t know that the spirits attempted to utter words with their song; if they did, they succeeded in this particular no better than modern singers. But it was hardly necessary for the spirits to articulate, for every strain and modulation seemed pregnant with holy sentiments, and language could scarcely signify more. After this vocal performance, several pieces of quick music were performed by the spirits on the several instruments. They play faster than mortals usually do, and in most perfect time throughout. If any instrument gets out of chord, they tune it; they tuned the violin in my presence, and did it rapidly and skilfully.

1529. Spirits reconstruct their physical bodies, or portions of them, from similar elements, apparently, as those which constitute our mortal bodies. Spirits’ hands and arms were reorganized in our presence, on several of these occasions; and that we might see the more distinctly, they sometimes wet their hands with a weak solution of phosphorus, (which Mr. Koons prepared some time previous by their request,) which emits a light, so that their hands can be almost as distinctly seen in a dark room as they could be if the room were light. At one of these circles which I attended, there were three hands which had been covered with this solution of phosphorus,306 and we all saw them passing swiftly around the room, over our heads, carrying the instruments, and playing upon the violin, accordeon, triangle, harmonica, and tamborine, and all keeping perfect time. These instruments were moved so swiftly and near the faces of the audience,—our own among them,—that we felt the cool atmospheric current as distinctly as we do that produced by a fan. Several of the company in different parts of the room remarked that they not only felt this disturbance of the air, but heard it, and distinctly saw the hand and instrument pass close to their faces. Several of us requested the spirits to place these instruments in our hands, or touch us on our heads or other parts of our bodies; and in most cases it was instantly done. I held up my hands, and requested the spirits to beat time with the tamborine on my hands. They did so, and gave me more than I asked for, by striking my knees, hands, and head in a similar manner. I have seen the tamborine players in the minstrel bands of New York; I have seen the best performers in the country; but they cannot perform equal to these spirits. The perfect time and the rapidity with which they beat are truly surprising.

1530. Spirit hands with phosphorus upon them passed around the room, opening and shutting, and exhibiting them in various ways and positions which no mortal hand could assume or occupy—demonstrating them to be veritable spirit hands, physically organized. The phosphorescent illumination from these hands was so distinct, that it occurred to me I could see to read by it; and I took a pamphlet from my pocket, and asked the spirit to place the hand over it, that I might see if I could read by the light. The spirit did so, when I at once perceived that I held the pamphlet wrong end up. I turned it, and could read. The members of the circle remarked that they could see very plainly my hands, face, and the pamphlet I held, and as distinctly could see the spirit’s hand and a portion of the arm. I then put out my hands, and asked the spirits to shake hands with me; they did so almost instantly. I then asked them to let me examine their hands, and they placed them in mine, and I looked at them and felt them until I was entirely satisfied. Others asked the same favour, and it was readily granted them. These spirit hands appeared to be reorganized from the same elements that our hands are; and, except that they had a kind of tremulous motion, and some of them being cold and death-like, we could not by our senses distinguish them from hands of persons living in the form.

1531. This spirit hand took a pen, and we all distinctly saw it write on paper which was lying on the table; the writing was executed much more rapidly than I ever saw mortal hand perform; the paper was then handed to me by the spirit, and I still retain it in my possession. At the close of the session the spirit of King, as is his custom, took up the trumpet and gave us a short lecture through it—speaking audibly and distinctly, presenting the benefits to be derived, both in time and eternity, from intercourse307 with spirits, and exhorting us to be discreet and bold in speech, diligent in our investigations, faithful to the responsibilities which these privileges impose, charitable toward those who are in ignorance and error, tempering our zeal with wisdom; and finally closing with a benediction.

1532. I am aware that these facts so much transcend the ordinary experience of mortals, that few persons can accept them as true on any amount of human testimony. I obtained the addresses of the following named persons, and hope they will excuse me for the liberty I take in referring to them in this connection, for the confirmation of my statements. They were present at some or all the circles which I attended, when these manifestations occurred: R. I. Butterfield, Cleveland, Ohio; William D. Young, Covington, Ind.; George and David Brier, Rainsville, Ind.; David Edger and daughter, Mercer co., Pa.; S. Van Sickle, Delaware, O.; S. T. Dean, Andrew Ogg, and Geo. Walker and son, Amesville, O.; Azel Johnson, Millfield, O.; W. S. Watkins, New York; Thomas Morris and wife, Dover, O.; Dr. Geo. Carpenter, Athens, O.; Thomas White, Mount Pleasant, O. Many other persons were present, whose names I did not learn.

Charles Partridge.

Experience of the Hon. N. P. Tallmadge.

1533. The following communication from Governor Tallmadge to Mrs. Sarah H. Whitman, of Providence, R. I., has been in print for some time, and came out early, when Spiritualism had made too little impression to be duly appreciated. I for one, at the period of its first publication, could not realize it. But the public are now better prepared, and it may be repeated with advantage. Besides, this work is made for the uninformed and incredulous, rather than for those who have been heretofore converted, and who are familiar with the earliest manifestations.

Baltimore, Tuesday, April 12, 1853.

1534. Dear Madam: I seize a few leisure moments, while detained here a short time on business, to give you a more extended account of the “Physical Manifestations” to which I alluded in a former letter. In this account, I shall confine myself to those which purport to come from the spirit of John C. Calhoun.

1535. I have received numerous communications from him, from the commencement of my investigation of this subject down to the present time. Those communications have been received through rapping mediums, writing mediums, and speaking mediums. They are of the most extraordinary character. In style and sentiment, they would do honour to him in his best days on earth.

1536. After the arrival of the Misses Fox in Washington City, in February last, I called on them by appointment, and, at once, received a communication from Calhoun. I then wrote down and propounded mentally the following question:


1537. “Can you do any thing (meaning physical manifestations) to confirm me in the truth of these revelations, and to remove from my mind the least shadow of unbelief?” To which I received the following answer:

1538. “I will give you a communication on Monday, at half-past seven o’clock. Do not fail to be here. I will then give you an explanation.

John C. Calhoun.

1539. It is proper here to remark, that all the communications referred to in this letter, were made by Calhoun after a call for the alphabet, and were rapped out, letter by letter, and taken down by me in the usual way. They were made in the presence of the Misses Fox and their mother. I called on Monday at the hour appointed, and received the following communication:

1540. “My friend, the question is often put to you, ‘What good can result from these manifestations?’ I will answer it. It is to draw mankind together in harmony, and convince skeptics of the immortality of the soul.

John C. Calhoun.

1541. This reminds me that, in 1850, at Bridgeport, in the presence of other mediums, among many questions put and answers received, were the following, the answer purporting to come from W. E. Channing:

1542. Q. What do spirits propose to accomplish by these new manifestations? A. To unite mankind, and to convince skeptical minds of the immortality of the soul.

1543. The coincidence in sentiment of the answer of J. C. Calhoun and W. E. Channing, in regard to the object of these manifestations, is remarkable, and worthy of particular notice. The concurrence of two such great minds, whether in or out of the body, on a subject so engrossing, cannot fail to command the attention of every admirer of exalted intellect and moral purity.

1544. During the above communication of Calhoun, the table moved occasionally, perhaps a foot, first one way and then the other. After the communication closed, we all moved back from the table, from two to four feet, so that no one touched the table. Suddenly the table moved from the position it occupied some three or four feet, rested a few moments, and then moved back to its original position. Then it again moved as far the other way, and returned to the place it started from. One side of the table was then raised, and stood for a few moments at an angle of about thirty-five degrees, and then again rested on the floor as usual.

1545. The table was a large, heavy, round table, at which ten or a dozen persons might be seated at dinner. During all these movements no person touched the table, nor was any one near it. After seeing it raised in the manner above mentioned, I had the curiosity to test its weight by raising it myself. I accordingly took my seat by it, placed my hands under the leaf, and exerted as much force as I was capable of in that sitting posture, and could not raise it a particle from the floor. I then309 stood up in the best possible position to exert the greatest force, took hold of the leaf, and still could not raise it with all the strength I could apply. I then requested the three ladies to take hold around the table, and try altogether to lift it. We lifted upon it until the leaf and top began to crack, and did not raise it a particle. We then desisted, fearing we should break the table. I then said, “Will the spirits permit me to raise the table?” I took hold alone and raised it without difficulty. After this, the following conversation ensued:

1546. Q. Can you raise the table entirely from the floor? A. Yes.

1547. Q. Will you raise me with it? A. Yes. Get me the square table.

1548. The square table was of cherry, with four legs—a large-sized tea-table. It was brought out and substituted for the round one, the leaves being raised. I took my seat on the centre; the three ladies sat at the sides and end, their hands and arms resting upon it. This, of course, added to the weight to be raised—namely, my own weight and the weight of the table. Two legs of the table were then raised about six inches from the floor, and then the other two were raised to a level of the first, so that the whole table was suspended in the air about six inches above the floor. While thus seated on it, I could feel a gentle vibratory motion, as if floating in the atmosphere. After being thus suspended in the air for a few moments, the table was gently let down again to the floor!

1549. Some pretend to say, that these physical manifestations are made by electricity! I should like to know by what laws of electricity known to us, a table is at one time riveted, as it were, to the floor, against all the force that could be exerted to raise it; and at another time raised entirely from the floor, with more than two hundred pounds weight upon it?

1550. At a subsequent meeting, Calhoun directed me to bring three bells and a guitar. I brought them accordingly. The bells were of different sizes—the largest like a small-sized dinner-bell. He directed a drawer to be put under the square table. I put under a bureau-drawer, bottom side up. He directed the bells to be placed on the drawer. The three ladies and myself were seated at the table with our hands and arms resting on it. The bells commenced ringing in a sort of chime. Numerous raps were made, as if beating time to a march. The bells continued to ring and to chime in with the beating of time. The time of the march was slow and solemn. It was beautiful and perfect. The most fastidious ear could not detect any discrepancy in it.

1551. The raps then ceased, and the bells rang violently for several minutes. A bell was then pressed on my foot, my ankle, and my knee. This was at different times repeated. Knocks were made most vehemently against the underside of the table, so that a large tin candlestick was, by every blow, raised completely from the table by the concussion.

1552. I afterward examined the underside of the table, (which, it will310 be recollected, was of cherry,) and found indentations in the wood, made by the end of the handle of the bell, which was tipped with brass. Could electricity make those violent knocks with the handle of the bell, causing indentations and raising the candlestick from the table at every blow? Or was it done by the same invisible power that riveted the table to the floor and again raised it, with all the weight upon it, entirely above the floor?

1553. Here the ringing of the bells ceased, and then I felt sensibly and distinctly the impression of a hand on my foot, ankle, and knee. These manifestations were several times repeated.

1554. I was then directed to put the guitar on the drawer. We were all seated as before, with our hands and arms resting on the table. The guitar was touched softly and gently, and gave forth sweet and delicious sounds, like the accompaniment to a beautiful and exquisite piece of music. It then played a sort of symphony, in much louder and bolder tones. And, as it played, these harmonious sounds becoming soft, and sweet, and low, began to recede, and grew fainter and fainter, till they died away on the ear in the distance. Then they returned and grew louder and nearer, till they were heard again in full and gushing volume, as when they commenced. I am utterly incapable of giving any adequate idea of the beauty and harmony of this music. I have heard the guitar touched by the most delicate and scientific hands, and heard from it, under such guidance, the most splendid performances. But never did I hear any thing that fastened upon the very soul like these prophetic strains drawn out by an invisible hand from the spirit-world. While listening to it, I was ready to exclaim, in the language of the Bard of Avon—

1555. “That strain again; it had a dying fall;
Oh, it came o’er my ear like the sweet south
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour.”

1556. After the music had ceased, the following communication was received:

1557. “This is my hand that touches you and the guitar.

John C. Calhoun.

1558. At another time, the following physical manifestation was made in the presence of General Hamilton, General Waddy Thompson, of South Carolina, and myself:

1559. We were directed to place the Bible on a drawer under the table. I placed it there, completely closed. It was a small pocket Bible, with very fine print. Numerous raps were then heard, beating time to “Hail Columbia,” which had been called for. Soon the sounds began to recede, and grew fainter and fainter, till, like the music of the guitar, they died away in the distance. The alphabet was then called for, and it was spelled out, “Look.” I looked on the drawer and found the Bible open. I took it up and carefully kept it open at the place as I found it. On bringing311 it to the light, I found it open at St. John’s Gospel, chapter ii. being on the left side, and chapter iii. being on the right side. I said, “Do you wish us to look at chapter ii.?” A. “No.” “Do you wish us to look at chapter iii.?” A. “Yes.” And it was then said, “Read.” I commenced reading the chapter, and significant and emphatic raps were given at many verses; and at verses 8, 11, 19, 34, most vehement raps were given. By looking at these verses, you will appreciate the significancy and intelligence of this emphatic demonstration. This manifestation purported to come from Calhoun, who had previously invited us three gentlemen to be present at a particular hour.

1560. In reflecting on the preceding manifestations, one cannot but marvel at the power by which they are made, and the intelligence by which that power is directed. And it would seem impossible for one to doubt the source of that intelligence. If, however, doubt should still remain on the mind of any one acquainted with similar manifestations, that doubt must be entirely dispelled by the account of the manifestation which follows:

1561. I was present, by Calhoun’s appointment, with the Misses Fox and their mother. We were seated at the table as heretofore, our hands and arms resting upon it. I was directed to put paper and pencil on the drawer. I placed several sheets of unruled letter-paper, together with a wood pencil, on it. I soon heard the sound of the pencil on the paper. It was then rapped out, “Get the pencil and sharpen it.” I looked under the table, but did not see the pencil. At length I found it lying diagonally from me, three or four feet from the table. The lead was broken off within the wood. I sharpened it, and again put it on the drawer. Again I heard the sound of the pencil on the paper. On being directed to look at the paper, I discovered pencil marks on each side of the outer sheet, but no writing. Then was received the following communication:

1562. “The power is not enough to write a sentence. This will show you that I can write. If you meet on Friday, precisely at seven, I will write a short sentence.

John C. Calhoun.

1563. We met, pursuant to appointment, took our seats at the table, our hands and arms resting on it as usual. I placed the paper with my silver-cased pencil on the drawer, and said:

1564. “My friend, I wish the sentence to be in your own handwriting, so that your friends will recognise it.” He replied, “You will know the writing.” He then said, “Have your minds on the spirit of John C. Calhoun.”

1565. I soon heard a rapid movement of the pencil on the paper, and a rustling of the paper, together with a movement of the drawer. I was then directed to look under the drawer. I looked, and found my pencil outside of the drawer, near my feet, but found no paper on the drawer where I placed it. On raising up the drawer, I discovered the paper all312 under it. The sheets were a little deranged, and on examining, I found on the outside sheet these words: “I’m with you still.”

1566. I afterward showed the “sentence” to General James Hamilton, former Governor of South Carolina, General Waddy Thompson, former Minister to Mexico, General Robert B. Campbell, late Consul at Havana, together with other intimate friends of Calhoun, and also to one of his sons, all of whom are as well acquainted with his handwriting as their own; and they all pronounced it to be a perfect fac simile of the handwriting of John C. Calhoun.

1567. General Hamilton stated a fact, in connection with this writing, of great significance. He says that Calhoun was in the habit of writing “I’m,” for “I am,” and that he has numerous letters from him where the abbreviation is thus used.

1568. Mrs. General Macomb has stated the same fact to me. She says that her husband, the late General Macomb, has shown to her Calhoun’s letters to him, where this abbreviation “I’m” was used for “I am,” and spoke of it as a peculiarity of Calhoun.

1569. How significant, then, does this fact become! We have not only the most unequivocal testimony to the handwriting itself, but, lest any skeptic should suggest the possibility of an imitation or a counterfeit, this abbreviation, peculiar to himself, and known only to his most intimate friends, and which no imitator or counterfeiter could know, is introduced by way of putting such a suggestion to flight forever.

1570. This “sentence” is perfectly characteristic of Calhoun. It contains his terseness of style, and his condensation of thought. It is a text from which volumes might be written. It proves—1. The immortality of the soul; 2. The power of spirits to revisit the earth; 3. Their ability to communicate with relatives and friends; and, 4. The identity of the spirit to all eternity.

1571. How one’s soul expands with these sublime connections! How resistless is this testimony of their truth! How surprising that men can doubt, when this flood of living light is poured upon them by spirits who, in the language of Webster, “revel in the glory of the eternal light of God.”

Very truly yours, N. P. Tallmadge.
Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, Providence, R. I.

Letter from Mr. D. H. Hume.—Spiritualism in London.

1572. The author of the letter which comes under this head has already been introduced to the readers of this work, in giving an account of the manifestations observed through his mediumship, (393.)

Ealing Villa, near London, July 26, 1855.

1573. * * * In London I found but a limited number, comparatively speaking, who possess any intelligent or rational idea of the spiritual313 philosophy. The subject has not made any great advance here; but those who are investigating include in their number some of the best minds of England. The first call I received was from Sir Charles E. Ischam, who has proved a most excellent friend to me. A day or two after this I received an invitation from Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton to visit him at his country-seat at Knebworth. I accepted his invitation, and had an interesting and delightful visit.

1574. I was deeply interested in Sir Edward, who is, by birth, education, and mind, a most superior person. His love of the beautiful, in nature and art, but especially in nature, is manifested at every part of his wide domain. Knebworth was originally built by a follower of the Conqueror, and was, in the year of the Armada, occupied by Queen Elizabeth. The state-room contains the bed upon which her majesty slept. It has rich velvet hangings—the same which shaded the slumbers of Queen Bess. The room of the extensive library contains the oak table at which Cromwell, Pym & Co. sat while planning the rebellion. * * * We had some manifestations at our seances almost as good as those we had at-—- ‘s in your place. The spirits showed their presence in the same palpable way, by presenting tangible hands, shaking hands, &c., and Sir Edward “acknowledges the corn,” to use a Yankee vulgarism. He is much interested in the subject, and has bestowed no small share of thought upon the matter.

1575. I have also had the pleasure of being presented to the Marchioness of H-—-s, Baroness G-—-y R-—-n. She is a highly intellectual and altogether charming lady, who possesses much native refinement and a fearless desire to learn and follow the TRUTH. I met, too, the Earl of E-—-e and the Marquis of C-—-e, at one of our circles a few evenings since. A most kind friend I also found in the Vicomte de St. Amirro, Chargé d’Affaires from Brazil, who has given me valuable letters to France. I am to meet him and his lady (both investigators) the coming autumn at the Neapolitan court.

1576. I enclose a paragraph from one of the London journals, giving a sketch of an interview I had with Lord Brougham and Sir David Brewster. The latter, as you are well aware, wrote that article in the Edinburgh Review, some months ago, in which he argued against the existence of spirit agency in the production of the manifestations, and in which he denounced the whole matter, in the bitterest terms, as a delusion and an imposition. His article has been eagerly and widely quoted by the opponents of Spiritualism on both sides of the Atlantic, and its statements are doubtless believed by those who are incapable of appreciating or comprehending the truths which they assail.

1577. Sir David, however, has for once met with a “stumper,” for he has seen and felt such manifestations of his spirit friends as to completely upset his philosophy. He frankly confessed that he is “sorely puzzled”314 at what he has witnessed, and Lord Brougham acknowledges himself to be thoroughly nonplussed. Both of these noted men brought the whole force of their keen discernment to bear upon the solution of the phenomena; but the presence of substantial, actual hands, and the demonstrative strength of the spirits who thus clothed themselves for the time and moved material objects about the room, proved to be too much of a question for them to master.

1578. Time will not allow me to mention the various interesting sittings I have had, nor the many distinguished personages who have been in our circles during my short stay in London. I am at present enjoying the quiet of an English country home. The gentleman with whom I am stopping (Mr. Rymer) is one of the most distinguished solicitors in London. He has been a materialist, or disbeliever in a future state, all his life previous to witnessing these demonstrations of spirit existence. He is now a believer (or rather a knower) of the future life. The manifestations, so often scoffed at by professing Christians, have done for him, as they have for upward of twenty-five thousand infidels and atheists in America, what no power of the pulpit or doctrine of evangelical religion could ever have effected.

1579. Is not this one fact alone a sufficient reply to the oft-repeated question of “What good does it all do?” There is many a broad-loving soul that, failing in the effort to narrow itself down to the limits of a dogmatical creed, has ended in infidelity or blank atheism; but the number of these is becoming steadily less by the influence of the spirit manifestations, which are to them what the placing of the hand in the spear-wound was to Thomas. Mr. R., since his conversion, has given a lecture on the subject, and will give another.

1580. One thing I will not omit. Mrs. Trollope, whom Americans will be apt to remember, came, with her son, from Florence to London for the express purpose of seeing the manifestations. They were accordingly invited to spend a few days with me at my village home; and, I must say, I was agreeably disappointed in her. My previous ideas of her had not been such as to prepossess me in her favour, but I have become an admirer of her private character. She has none of the stiffness of the author about her, nor any of the “blue-stocking.” She enjoys the realities of existence more fully than any one I have ever met in a circle.

1581. The seance with her was one of strange interest. Her son was an unbeliever, and his mother was very desirous that he should be “brought to a knowledge of the truth.” When at length the light did beam upon his soul, and the chords of his spirit vibrated in unison with the celestial harmonies that ushered in the birth of faith through the shadows of his old unbelief, the result was too much for his stoicism, and the tears of holy joy coursed down his manly cheeks. Her joy was too great for utterance, and her rapturous emotions seemingly too great to be315 endured. It was an impressive scene, and an occasion of deep interest. There are many such in the life of a spirit medium.

1582. In a few weeks I leave England for the Continent, in company with my friend, Mr. Rymer. We intend to reach Rome in November, where we purpose to spend a few months, if his holiness will let us. You shall hear from me again.

Yours truly, D. H. Hume.

The following is the article referred to as having appeared in the London Journal:

Lord Brougham with the Spirits.

1583. “A circumstance which has excited the most extraordinary sensation among the privileged few who have been admitted within the sphere of its operations, has taken place at Ealing, a village on the Uxbridge road. A young gentleman, named Hume, a native of Scotland, but who has resided for many years in America, is now on a visit at the house of Mr. Rymer, a highly respectable solicitor. Mr. Hume is what the Americans term a ‘medium,’ and through his instrumentality some extraordinary and, if true, miraculous, occurrences have taken place.

1584. “The spirits of deceased persons have been heard and felt in Mr. Rymer’s house, and a variety of circumstances have taken place, which the persons who were present affirm could not have been produced except by supernatural agency. One of the spirits is supposed to be that of a son of Mr. Rymer, a little boy about eleven or twelve years of age, who has been induced to write to his parents under the cover of the table, and the writing is, to all appearances, precisely similar to that of the child when alive. Mr. Rymer, who is thoroughly convinced of the bonâ fides of the affair, has invited several persons to witness the manifestations, and among them the Rev. Mr. Lambert, the incumbent, who has become a devout believer in the existence of these communicative spirits.

1585. “Some rumours of the spirit manifestations having reached Lord Brougham, the medium had an interview with the noble and learned lord in the presence of Sir David Brewster, when several unaccountable revelations were made, and even Lord Brougham has confessed himself amazed and sorely bothered to comprehend the description of agency by which an accordeon is forced into his hands and made to play, or his watch taken out of his pocket and found in the hands of some other persons in the room; for such are among the vagaries performed by the Ealing spirits. The house of Mr. Rymer is, of course, besieged by persons anxious to witness the manifestations, and scarcely a night passes that some scoffer is not converted into a true believer in the mystery of spiritual manifestations.”


Evidence afforded by the Rev. J. B. Ferguson.

1586. The following is the summary of the result of the investigation of spiritual manifestations by the Rev. Mr. Ferguson, of the Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee.

1587. His sentiments are of a nature to need no recommendation, as they appeal to the head and the heart. He is one of the advocates of Spiritualism of whom we have reason to be proud. It is from his work, entitled “A Record of Communications from the Spirit Spheres,” that this summary is quoted:

1588. “You will now allow me to sum up briefly the phenomena I have witnessed since my investigations began:

1589. “First. I have seen tables and other furniture moved, with and without hands; heard distinct and sometimes loud raps on the ceiling, floor, and furniture of various rooms, which were changed from one locality to another, as doubts arose as to any unobserved causes, to which we would have attributed them but for the transition; have heard them upon my person, clothing, pillow, pulpit, and still have them in almost every serious hour of thought and meditation, and have them near me as I write; and I find this experience to be that of hundreds who, with me and others, believers and skeptics, have witnessed or realized all I here state to be true.

1590. “Second. I have heard, in the presence of scores, whose names are at any man’s command who may desire them for an honest reference, native Americans, who never spoke a word of German, discourse for hours in that tongue, in prose and poetry, in the presence of native Germans, who pronounced their addresses pure specimens of the power of their language. I see, daily, lengthy essays and books written under what claims to be spirit intelligence, above, far above, the capacity and culture of the instruments through whom they are written. There is scarcely a day in which I do not receive such communications; and if a day passes without it, it is my neglect, not that of the intelligence, that seems ever ready to speak when a proper medium can be secured. At home and abroad, in the houses of strangers and acquaintances, such mediums have described the age, appearance, time of death, and the peculiarities of character of the deceased relatives of persons present, and where they could have had no acquaintance with them, and, in many instances, could not have known of their existence or death. I have had meetings of mediums who knew nothing of each other occur at my house and elsewhere, without their knowledge, and to which they were brought from a distance of miles, and which seemed as inexplicable to them as to me, until after some effect for their benefit was secured by their meeting, and explained by their spirit monitors. To prove the identity of spirit intelligences, communicating to me through others, they have detailed private conversations held with me317 during their earth life; referred to incidents and events of which the mediums could have known nothing; described, accurately, occurrences taking place at a distance of hundreds of miles; answered questions that had been written in my private records for future investigation, months after they had passed from my active memory; stated the state of my investigations of various subjects, with the folly or wisdom, as they regarded it, of my difficulties; leaving me, on the whole, no choice as to whether I would regard them as what they claimed to be, save that of honest conviction or the most shameless hypocrisy. Allow me to say, therefore, that there is no event of history, no fact in mental philosophy, no conclusions in logical dialectics, more fully and forcibly established, in my convictions, than the following:

1591. “I believe, I know, that I have held, and now frequently hold, communion, intelligible and improving, with kindred and elevated spirits, who have passed from fleshly sight.

1592. “You will not be surprised, therefore, at my willingness to risk reputation, the dearest ties of friendship, and prospects of earthly gain and honour, if need be, in the avowal and propagation of this faith, and the results to which it must inevitably lead. God knows, and every intimate friend on earth knows, that I would hesitate, long and seriously, to avow a faith that was doubtful in my own mind, or of doubtful influence for good in my dim foresight, where so much is apparently at stake. I think I may safely appeal to my past life as proof that the dearest personal and earthly considerations have often been sacrificed, where it was thought my action would affect the interests or happiness of others. Know, then, that it is from the maturest consideration of duty, and the obligation that every man owes to truth and right, and especially when truth and right are ridiculed and denounced, that I detail to you these results of a long experience and the most serious and solemn investigations of my life. Willingly, I cannot find it in my heart to disappoint a friend or injure an enemy. And with such friends as in the providence of God have surrounded me, who have proved themselves true and enduring when every form of bigotry and animosity were aroused against my position, reputation, and influence,—with all this pressure of enmity and friendship upon me, you must know, and all will hereafter know, that nothing but loyalty to conviction and a desire to preserve privileges I have learned to esteem above what men call life or death, could induce me to lay these facts before the world.

1593. “If it be asked what good we expect to effect by the statement of these facts, we answer, the spread of truth upon the dearest, purest, and holiest relations of man, and the breaking away of the clouds that gather around the mind of man in view of death and futurity, the darkness of which can nowhere be more distinctly felt than in the asking of suc318h a question. The purity, angelic loveliness, and divine holiness that such a faith, if firmly based, must secure, inspires the loyal soul as with heavenly beatitudes in the contemplation. Its power to restrain and reform; to soften the hard heart of evil indulgence; to expose the still harder heart of bigotry and religious denunciation; to moisten the eye of criminal effrontery, which the hypocrisies of the world have made stern and fixed; to bring the strong man of selfish apathy, as a child once more in company with his brother-children, at the feet of maternal or sisterly tenderness, whose earthly bodies have long since been entombed; to keep down the unnatural separations of families beneath the manly wisdom and fatherly affection of one who claims all as his, and still needing his care; to turn the scoff of godless ribaldry into loving faith, and the shame of pulpit curses pronounced upon human brethren and by human beings, of eternal doom, into blessings of eternal help; to make all, yes all, realize an inner religion, which worships at the altar of eternal truth and unchangeable love. With such aims and prospects before us, to ask what is the good of general, tangible spirit intercourse, is to ask the good of immortality, of heaven, and of God.”

An Exposition of views respecting the principal facts, causes, and peculiarities involved in Spiritual Manifestations; together with interesting phenomenal statements and communications. By Adin Ballou.

1594. The preceding is the title of a work by the Rev. Adin Ballou, of Hopedale, Massachusetts. It is among those which give what appears to me available, well-considered facts and opinions respecting Spiritualism. Mr. Ballou judiciously, as I think, disposes the spirit manifestations under the following heads:

1595. “I. Those in which all the important demonstrations were most evidently caused by departed spirits. II. Those in which some of the important demonstrations were probably caused or greatly affected by undeparted spirits. III. Those in which the demonstrations were of a heterogeneous, incongruous, or derogatory character.

1596. “The following is a statement of Mr. Ballou’s experience taken from the work in question:

1597. “In this chapter I shall conclude what I have to say under my first general head, by referring to a few particulars connected with cases within my personal knowledge, and then stating the principal points of doctrine taught by the spirits.

1598. “I will not go into minute narration or description, but simply mention the more important phenomena I have witnessed. I have heard multiform sounds in the presence of spirit media, purporting to be made by departed spirits; some like the tickings of a small watch, others like the clicking of a common clock, others like the loud knocking of a labouring man on the door of his neighbour with his knuckles, others like the