Or, the Science of Soul (2)
SINCE it is your pleasure that the Discourse of last Monday night shall be continued, we propose to speak of that broader field of psychology which we assume to be occupied by the action of the spirit-world upon this earth. We must all have realized, in our investigations of modern Spiritualism, that there is a large amount of intelligence displayed at the spirit-circle which cannot be accounted for on the principle of human psychology, or the action of embodied “mind upon mind.” The experiments of which I spoke last Monday night- popularly called electro-biology-are clear and distinct; they connect the mind of the subject directly with that of the operator. You will scarcely find a well-marked instance of electro-biology in which the mind of the subject does not immediately and simply reflect that of the operator. Those who are familiar with experiments in mesmerism, or what I prefer to call psychology (as distinguished from those practised for mere amusement under the title of electro-biology), know that the psychology which first operates through magnetism, and then by the action of one mind upon another in psychology, will often render the subject intractable to the will of the operator — in fact that mesmeric subjects sometimes pass beyond the sphere of the human operator’s will. He loses control of his subject, who seems to wander off, either upon this earth, or in some distant sphere, where appearances of beings and scenes present themselves that the mind of the operator bas not conceived of. I believe that in many mesmeric experiments, these results (though not always inevitable) are still sufficiently well known to experienced magnetizers to excite much speculation, and challenge deep enquiry; in fact these puzzling phenomena occurred even m the experience of Mesmer and his immediate followers, and suggested attempts at explanation which cannot possibly come Within the range of electro-biology to cover, or the philosophy of mind upon mind to account for. In experiments resulting thus, it was soon perceived that the mind of the operator did not invariably suggest the scenes perceived, nor always bind that of the subject. Somnambulism was suggested as the possible explanation of this phenomenon. It was said that “the soul could possibly perceive, and act for itself in prepared conditions, outside of the mind of the operator,” but somnambulism did not entirely meet all the cases observed. Somnambulism is, it is true, a state of magnetism-that is, it is a sort of magnetic sleep. This may be a state induced by external causesz by disease, or by some special tendency of the subject; but wherever it exists, somnambulism is not a purely natural sleep. It is a state in which the body is saturated with an unusual charge of magnetism, and the spirit is wholly un- conscious of its connection with the physical system.
The somnambulist is unconscious of weight or density, and exhibits an exaltation of mental power analogous to that of the good clairvoyant. Still the somnambulist only conveys intelligence, which seems to be limited by the mind of the subject exalted to a high pitch, but does not enter upon the domain of what has been called the “supernatural.” Whatever be the intelligence manifested, it may display powers and attributes of mind of which, in the normal state, the subject appeared wholly incapable. Nevertheless, somnambulism only carries its subject up to a certain ‘point, but does not enter upon that description of intelligence which we are compelled to admit can only emanate from the “land of the dead.” Ordinary somnambulism, like electro-biology, does not carry the spirit into Hades, nor give revelations of those who have passed from earth, and are deemed lost to its mourning inhabitants. It does not describe spheres, scenery, and surroundings which belong not to earth, nor ‘discourse of those whom men call “aid away in the tomb.” In electro-biology, the revelations of the magnetized subject are almost always limited by the mind of the operator. In somnambulism the intelligence manifested is obviously the mental power of the somnambulist in a state of high exaltation. It is very different in nearly all the phenomena of modern Spiritualism, which exhibits a range of ideas and treats of subjects of a totally different character to either of the above known states. Take for instance the whole of the physical manifestations — allowing for the possibility that some “unknown force,” proceeding from the combined magnetisms of a circle of human beings, is able to produce the manifestations, granted that those who assemble at the spirit-circle charge the substances around with their own magnetisms, then that their own psychological powers, unconsciously operating upon matter, shapes the intelligence that is produced; still this does not account for the whole of the phenomena. Its very origin, in this age, was outside of the combined magnetisms of a circle. The history of modem Spiritualism discloses the fact of innumerable manifestations unsought for, and of innumerable subjects of the manifestations captured and controlled by them, rather than seeking for or influencing them.
Out of the three thousand persons whom the statistics of the Western Continent shew to be now engaged as public or well-known mediums (an occupation that has only arisen in America during the last score of years), we may affirm that scarcely one per cent. of this number has courted the gift of mediumship or become its possessor through their own will. In almost every case the phenomena has been forced upon the subject, and the gift appeared to arise spontaneously; indeed a careful investigation of the subject shews that, in many of the most remarkable instances of mediumistic power, the gift has fallen upon subjects directly opposed to its exercise. Now these are facts that the scientists and the so-called leaders of public opinion may ignore, but which the modest and candid investigator of psychological phenomena cannot afford to overlook. The proud one-sided sectarian may choose to deny the entire action of a world of spiritual influence, save its revealment in one place, at one limited period, and .to one special people. Except in the openly avowed or tacitly received evidence afforded by dogmas of some sectarian belief, “the leaders of public opinion” have not even the first shadow of evidence wherewith to decide upon the questions of human and spiritual. psychology as the origin of the modem spiritual manifestations, because they repudiate the testimony of the only possible and reliable witnesses, the mediums and their experiences. These experiences, you will find by- careful investigation, place the possibility of human psychological influence upon the origin of quite one third the manifestations entirely out of the question. One of the most striking evidences of this assertion will be found in the consideration of that feature of the manifestations which is called the communications of undeveloped or “evil spirits.” Investigators at the spirit-circle are apt to repel the presence of this class of communicants. We pride ourselves upon being “seekers for truth,” and desire only the presence of the good and the exalted, and we claim generally that “our own purity and exaltation of mind” should, according to all known psychological law, attract only the good around us, and yet it is a fact that the good alone do not come. The undeveloped, evil, and false are Just as often present as the good; and this is some evidence that we do not, as yet, know all of God’s psychological laws, and that our own proud egotism stands in the way of thorough investigation; for, whilst we are driving back what we call the undeveloped and the false, we are not only repudiating our duty as guardian spirits to those beneath us, but we are also depriving ourselves of one of the strongest proofs we can receive, that our psychology and our will are not the authors of the false ·and deceitful manifestations we complain of. W e have too much faith in human nature to suppose that men habitually practise deception simply from the love of the false, or that they would wilfully, while seeking for truth — while courting at the spirit-circle the presence of ministering angels whom they feel to be the mysterious links that bind them to the Infinite Spirit, come deliberately into their presence, and while proposing to commune with a power whose extent for good or evil they know not of, yet practise such deception as reflects itself in the communications which are assumed to be the action of “mind upon mind.” And yet, if the psychologists are not the members of the spirit-circle, who then are they, and who are the authors of the folly and even the blasphemy and falsehoods which are sometimes given at such circles? Taking such communications as evidence of what the spirit-world is, and realizing that it consists of the evil as well as the good, they become phenomenal lights, enabling us to guide our way through the mysterious manifestations that have fallen upon us in this age. They prove, too, that we have waked up in this century in the midst of a world of cold, hackneyed, routine religion, with Sabbath-day observances and lip worship only, to find ourselves in the presence of a real living spirit-world; and instead of the doubtful testimony of the ages of antiquity and the beliefs of our fathers only, to find ourselves face to face with an actual reflex of this human world, and by the presence of the good and the bad alike, to realize for ourselves that the soul still lives, preserves its identity, continues its nature, proclivities, passions, and habits with its life beyond the grave: m a word, the infinite variety, as well as the strictly human character of the manifestations, proves by knowledge that which we have hitherto received by faith — the Immortality of the Soul.
It matters not that the press assails, the pulpit anathematizes, and the world scorns the manifestations of the spirit-circle; press, pulpit, and world cannot live for us, die for us, answer for us, or be responsible for the light which has come to us, bot fails to illuminate others. With us, then, the responsibility rests of how to use and interpret whatever is strange and suggestive in the facts of the spirit-circle; and to the vast mass of revelation which is extraneous to our own will in the phenomena, I point, to shew you that there is, if we seek carefully, ample evidence even in the communications of so-called “evil spirits” alone, of an unmistakable and disembodied intelligence, manifesting its presence amongst us, which is foreign to the experiences of this earth, or that of the circle investigating; and that, whilst many proofs of animal magnetism, and human psychology, are to be found, a vast mass of the phenomena transcends its power, and the limits of its intelligence to account for. But we must consider more in detail the broad foundations on which the philosophy of the relations of the spiritual and natural worlds subsist. Forget, if you can, for awhile your own special beliefs or special systems of religion. Assuming that none can be so specially favoured I\S to have all the truth, and none so utterly forgotten of God 88 to be immersed in entire error; remembering that your special form of belief depends much on where you were born, and where some special custom of opinion has been forced upon you; you may find in every religion something of truth and something of error, humanly speaking. Remember then only this night that every nation of the earth enjoys some religion, and worships God, “who is a Spirit,” at some shrine or other. In all religious systems we find the belief in the incarnation of Deity, or “the Word made flesh.” Question even of the earliest forms of worship-of those systems which in primitive ages must have been the inspiration of Deity to His untaught children. Ere gospels, creeds, books, edicts, councils, or priests existed, the soul itself witnessed of religion, acknowledged a spiritual cause and ultimate of being, and realized the action of a mighty though unseen God, permeating all life, and acting immediately by law through the grand phenomena of nature. To these ages I go, and I find there that the first feeble and faltering attempt of the human mind to conceive of Deity, represents Him as a Triune Rower, exhibited in nature. The Hindoo calls this Triune Being, ‘the Brahm,” which fills all space; the Egyptian, “the Father, the Mother, and the Child, product of all being,” whilst philosophy outworks infinite varieties of the metaphysical Trinity. And thus the nations whom we have branded with the offensive name of ” Pagans,” were the originators of the self-same idea, which, in our own fashion, we claim as a direct revelation of God’s truth, in the form of the Christian Trinity.
The same universality of belief, manifesting itself in various forms, underlies other articles of religious belief, such as the mediation of spirits, the ministry of angels, the gifts of the Spirit to special individuals, the seal of “miracle” on certain systems of religion, and, above all, the presence of an Incarnate Deity manifested amongst men. When nations became the subjects of some great calamity — when human power seemed to fail, and super-mundane aid was deemed the only resort for weak suffering man, he prayed for the coming of God’s kingdom, and the direct presence of an all-powerful emanation from God to restore and redeem the race; whether in answer to such appeals, or as the order of God’s providence in nature, it matters not now to enquire, certain it is that amongst all peoples, and in all lands, there have from time to time arisen in ages of dark superstition or gross corruption men who appeared to move on earth as sublimely inspired teachers, seers, prophets, and sometimes even mystics, whose origin is lost in the dim night of antiquity;-beings who seemed to have stood between the heavens and the earth, bringing the precious influence of the one to the dark materialism and ignorance of the other;-men who in truth seemed to be “the Word made flesh.” Martyrs too they were, who, living before their age, or in rebuke of its wickedness, were sacrificed to their divine mission, and generally perished at the hands of insensate violence; and afterwards, in the revulsion of the mad populace, from gratitude or admiration, received Divine honours, became the founders of sects, and were regarded as incarnations of Deity. Can all these beliefs, obtaining as history proves amongst every nation of the earth, be utterly groundless-all founded in error, falsehood, or superstition, and engross the credulity of the whole race, without some origin in truth, or groundwork of probability? It is a libel on human nature to assert this. It is a falsification of the spiritual experiences of ninety-nine per cent of the race to gratify the egotism of one self-styled philosopher. Besides, that which we call “fancy, imagination, or hallucination,” is still the reflection of some substance. Our mind may be a prism through which the rays of truth become broken and refracted, but there must still be a source for the primal truth ere it can be broken and refracted. There is an origin therefore for every thought, every system, however gross, erroneous, and superstitious; and this universality of belief in a Divine Incarnation, a belief (not, as I have suggested, confined to Christians, but shared in by all peoples of the earth) maintained and cherished by all human worshippers, must have some foundation for its origin, some original text in history for the multitudinous theologies that have been built up upon it. And yet when you question the reason or intelligence of the present age you will find men manifesting a more violent spirit of partizanship on this point than on any other of religious belief. Some there are who totally reject the idea, others who accept it as the very linch-pin of religion, but only in their own peculiar sectarian form. Perhaps the truth lies in the realm of mediation between both opinions, and that one side believes too little, and the other too much, for the simple truth of all religions. The external forms of religion change, but their fundamental ideas never disappear or lose their hold on the human mind. Age after age rolls on; the arts change their form and fresh sciences are developed. Continents recede beneath the action of the lashing wave, and islands are born by the upheaval of central fires. Cities are destroyed, mountains levelled, vast rifts tear open the hearts of giant mountains, and valley gorges are formed; the surface of the earth is torn and rent with fire and flood, storm and tempest, and eternal change. Geology tells us of far mightier changes beneath its crust than any which its surface presents. But in the midst of all this vast panorama of change, there is no death or decay in the spiritual nature of man, no footprints of change in the solemn temple of his religious being. The world of super-naturalism keeps track ever with the world of naturalism. The primeval ideas of a triune God-the soul’s immortality — Divine inspiration from God in man making “His Word flesh and dwelling with men” — all these ideas, forming the fundamental basis of religion, never die. We call the old truths by new names, but the truths themselves change not. The variety is in our refracted vision, not in the eternal and ever-present spiritual ideas. Divine manifestations change their form, but never cease or die or fail, and ever come through a world of spiritual mediation, ever come through varying phenomena. We may wreathe around the phenomena of Spiritual communion fantastic myths and mystical figures, because it is of ancient origin, or comes with some claim of God’s special favour; but search into all times and places and history, and we shall find an unity in every spiritual idea, and an universality in all religious beliefs, that point conclusively to a common origin inherent in the relations that subsist between the spiritual and the human worlds. And thus the idea of a Spirit-God is universal; and thus his revelation to man, though by some called incarnation, is, in God’s inspiration to all his creatures, universal; and thus the eternal and unbroken harmonies that bind up the whole universe of being, from the souls of men to the highest angel and the Infinite Spirit Himself, unite all being in one continuous chain of spiritual dependencies and spiritual relations, known to us in ancient times as “magic,” in sectarian beliefs as “miracles,” in superstitious ignorance as “witchcraft,” in modem revelations of spiritual power and influence as “modem Spiritualism.”
Some of the religionists of antiquity taught that there were three hierarchies of angels supreme and mighty, who maintained the integrity of, and ruled by, mediatorial degrees throughout the universe. The first of these three hierarchies included three powers, all subordinate to the Infinite, called” seraphim,” “cherubim, and thrones;” the next were “powers, virtues, and dominions;” and the next, “principalities, archangels, and angels.” This belief prevailed very widely, and took such deep root in the earliest of the world’s religious systems, that it extended from the philosophies of Paganism to some of the early theories of the Christian Fathers. The alchemists and mystics of the middle ages asserted that the last hierarchy included “the souls of dead men;” but in whatever form the opinions of religionists represented the realms of spiritual in- fluence that operated through the universe, all concurred in assigning this earth to its care and ministry, and included in its graduated spheres of active existences, the spirits of departed human beings. The Neo-Platonists-a sect renowned for the purity of their lives, and the spirituality of their teaching assumed a spiritual origin for all life and motion, and asserted that suns, stars, and systems, worlds and earths, were all “Divine animals,” endowed with souls and reasoning spirits. They argued thus: “Men are parts of this earth; all things upon this earth are parts. The most perfect body is only perfect by virtue of a soul; can, therefore, the large1 the vast, the whole, of which men and things are parts, be destitute of a soul?” Such are the broad views of psychology which these philosophical ancients took. We accept of their music, poetry, painting, sculpture, and classical lore; nay, in our profound admiration for the wisdom of antiquity, we sometimes claim that man has retrogressed from their attainments, and mourn that we have no one in our own time as virtuous as Socrates, as philosophical as Plato, or as wise as Pythagoras. But when it comes to questions of philosophy or religion, we brand them with the opprobrious name of ” Heathens,” and deem their wisdom folly, and their virtue blasphemy; and yet we have no system equal to theirs, in thus spiritualizing creation, and attributing to infinite spiritual perfection the existence of all things in being, from a dewdrop to a world I With them the psychology of an all-wise, all-powerful and intelligent spiritual universe, corresponding to our material realm, was the satisfactory and philosophical solvent of life, motion, and intelligence. Compare this with our religious mysticisms, whose venerable dust we dare not disturb for fear we encounter the view of a corrupting skeleton where life ought to be. Our modern religious systems seem very like the dry bones of a past age that need the Ezekiel breath of prophecy in the form of modern Spiritualism to put life into them, and make them an army of living truths.
But, save in the matter of our own special beliefs, the past seems to most men now more like idle fables than parts of one universal religion; and yet the question in true philosophy arises as to whether it can be possible that this natural world of ours can exist unvitalized by spirit in every part. I believe even from the very lowest clods of earth to the suns, stars, and systems about us, that all are full of spiritual life, and all harmonically related to each other by the fine but inevitable action of an eternally active and mutually related psychology. We know that on our own planet the force of the towering. mmd and mighty soul of man making all things subject to it, is the viewless spirit within. Surely, then, since man and his planet is not the last or highest form of being — and his earth must be the subjects of higher spiritual existences than his own soul! We know that soul is the motive power by which mind has risen from barbarism to civilisation. The history of the world and the records of the march of intellect prove to us that arts and sciences do not spontaneously grow up within us. We were not born with them, and only acquire them by painful and experimental struggles of intellect. What prompts us to struggle? — what suggests inquiry or stimulates us to search? We answer vaguely, “God’s inspiration;” but I claim that every living creature is a medium, a medium for the inspiration of some other living creature higher than the recipient, but yet not removed wholly from his sphere of action or sympathy with his nature. As the babe is the subject of the mother or nurse; as the young child learns of his teacher, the schoolboy of the professor and the man of the world; — so the totality of the race is the subject of the spiritual teachers of a higher and better world. .And thus the truth of God’s perpetual incarnation becomes manifest, and “the Word is ever made flesh, and dwelling amongst men;” and that not in one form only, but in all. I believe, moreover, that every creature that passes from this earth becomes in his condition, degree and capacity a ministering spirit to the being related in the scale of creation next to himself. Nature in all her moods teaches us this lesson of relation, and every tree becomes a gospel of ministration. Behold .~he root producing from the tiny germ the miracle of a full-grown tree, with its branches, leaves, blossoms and fruit, and all its growth, being reproduced again a thousandfold in its seed. Shall not the human soul, like the tender plant, not only perfect from a germ the mighty mind, but reproduce its powers and spiritual life from its physical death in its spiritual birth a thousand and a thousandfold? . And is it not ever so? Every child that passes from this earth is but a seedling sown in the mould of matter to germinate in a higher and better world. Whether for good or for evil, every soul repeats itself for ever on creation, and re-acts on the sphere of life below itself, whatever its nature may be, — and to the world of departed souls this earth is the next sphere of existence harmonically related to it.
The entire spiritual world, then, is the schoolmaster to this earth, and it is in the act of angelic ministry to this world, that the spirits progress from sphere to spherel and ascend to higher and yet higher realms of good and use. And these relations and results exist — first, on the basis of the laws of being; next, on the love and sympathy of souls in all spheres of being with each other; and next, on the principles of justice. And besides all this, the love which urges this system of harmonious ministry through all realms of being is the direct influx of the God of all being, who vitalizes the universe, and is in himself all love: and hence the love of soul is the God principle that shall never be quenched so long as souls exist, and God creates them. The love of every creature is God-like and holy; whatsoever love we bestow upon another is, in our feeble way, a representation of Him who loves his every creature; and, therefore, I conceive that the expression of this Godlike and Deific principle can never be quenched? that it finds expression in the universal relationship, influence and sympathy that exist in every realm of being, and manifests itself in that Divine psychology whereby spheres and worlds act and react on one another. Can the grave extinguish love? Oh! never, never! It is the Godlike spark that redeems the darkest of criminal hearts, — it is the lamp of hope that shines in the dungeon of the lowest despair; and if there be no expression for this love beyond the grave, either the soul is quenched in dea.th, or the life eternal is less Godlike and blest than the life temporal, of which Love is the sun.
We never find this dearth of love and sympathy on earth. Surely, then, we might in nature, justice and reason, hope that the love that binds up humanity into kindred ties, family relations, and the sweet associations of affection. I must not only be preserved in the immortal soul, but also find appropriate spheres of ministry, and opportunity for devoted and tenderest expression. They :pass from mortal sight, the loved and loving ones; but still, invisible as when it dwelt in earthly garments, the loved and loving soul is still the same, and its sphere of affections and ministry may be enlarged, but must subsist in heaven, or heaven is not its rest. It is in .this unending ministry of love, thon, that we know this earth is the subject of the spirit-world’s psychology. Hitherto, science has informed us only of the human fra.me in its physical proportions. Man has been studied only in his physiological being. We have considered only the atoms, and speculated upon the marvellous machinery of the casket only: but who has searched into the physiology of soul, and learned to comprehend the real spiritual man within? The changing atoms of our outward form are not the real man! And yet we grope in the midst of their phantasmagoric play to find out the motive powers of being and leave the grand volume of our souls unread, and the wondrous physiology of our spirits all unstudied!
Why do not our scientists search into this mighty page? Surely our spirits live for ever and for ever must we carry the: signs we have engraven on those spirits in this our earthly- career, unless 9. spiritual science can inform us of the spiritual system, and soul physicians minister to its necessities. .Animal instincts guide us far in the care and preservation of our mortal frames, while the hindrances of society and national laws will not permit us to stray very far from the paths of human duty without recall; but where are the instincts to guide us up to heaven? where the code of laws to legislate for eternity? Both are in operation, but all too vaguely known-too vaguely told. Painfully groping our way amongst rival sects, and ever warned off from scientific investigation of our spiritual natures and spiritual surroundings by the spectral finger of mystery, we are invited — to spend our lives in the study and care of the body that perishes, and are left wholly destitute of law, guidance, or science for the- soul that lives for ever! I have spoken in a former discourse of the perpetual exchange of psychological power that human. minds are exercising upon one another. Do you suppose that this· subtler influence is less active when the mind is disembodied, and- its force is operating from a world of spirits? Believe it not, or rather know, that the soul set free acts with a thousand times more power upon the realm of mind than when it was fettered — in the prison-house of matter. Consider the potent tyrannies which human opinions exercise upon us here. How powerful is the psychology of fashion! We imitate the gay butterflies about us because our psychological natures cannot endure to stand alone, opposed to the universal realm of opinion that prevails around us. All this we see, we know, and we can deal with, because- we know it. Recognizing the truth, we can even guard against the power of human psychology, but as we know not the existence of spiritual psychology, and its power is exercised upon us all unconsciously,-we can neither guard against, nor aspire to, the power that for evil or for good acts upon us. And yet con- sider the philosophy, the reason, justice, and naturalness of the- psychology of the spiritual world for ever operating upon this natural world! To know the relations subsisting between these worlds is to unlock the great mystery which has perplexed and distracted our minds concerning the subject of incarnation.
Thousands, aye, millions, of lives have been sacrificed upon the altars of superstition merely to defend or repudiate baseless opinions, founded on beliefs which were not established in the minds of the victims, on the mysteries of “incarnation.” Men hoped to make their fellow-creatures by torture and by terror, if by no other means, accept that which they could not them- selves explain, while the whole sublime truths of religion have been waiting for the advent of a spiritual science, which alone is sufficient to interpret its mysteries; and 80 men have gone on uselessly torturing and cruelly destroying each other, and all for the lack of that very knowledge whose study in human and spiritual psychology I am urging upon you this night. The philosophy of spiritual life, cause and ultimation, action and re-action, explains to us the whole mystery of incarnation, inspiration; divine and evil psychology, — the influences of mind upon mind, nation over nation, and spirit upon mortal. The Divine Word through inspiration ever dwelling amongst men, and manifest in their hour of need, as God, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, a Divine and subtle influence proceeding ever from the Infinite, and God, the Great Spirit, over all, through all, and with all.
We may not know in our present rudimental condition of spiritual knowledge how the Great Spirit operates upon us, or through what lengthened chains of mediation his inspiration visits us. We only know it come&-comes in an universal realm of spiritual psychology. Perhaps it comes direct from archangelic beings who act as missionaries from the Most High to us. Perhaps God speaks to us through the warm impulses of human hearts, and human love and kindness. But why not also through the precious ministry of those we have known and loved, who have lived as we have lived, felt, suffered and endured as we have; — dear “dead ones,” who have fainted by the way-side beneath the bitter cross of martyrdom, and who best know how to strengthen the dying martyr, and uphold the fainting feet in the same rough path they trod? Why may not our spirit-friends be still permitted by God’s wisest and most merciful of ordinances to be the same beloved ones to us, though acting through the shining veil too bright for our dull eyes to penetrate? What, if they have passed beyond that Hood, whose shining waters yet divide us from them? Can they not act 88 we do on each other by the ministry of psychology-by the power of mind, and the influence of magnetic rapport? Be assured these bright ones are not only permitted to bring us the sweet cup of affection, and the blessed ministry of kindness, but that they repeat again the mastery of mind that all can exercise upon each other, and inspire this earth with their views of those broader grander sciences which they have learned in the higher colleges of another world, and the. schools of a vast eternity. It is from those ever-widening vistas of power and knowledge, light and information, that the flow of inventive idea and brilliant inspiration comes. They are permitted, all of them, to be ministering spirits. They it is who in their totality are the ” Word made flesh,” and their thoughts as God’s ministers are ever incarnate with us. Be assured that spirits of all grades of mind, virtue, and vice, intelligence, and ignorance, minister to earth through that psychology which I call universal inspiration. W talk of inspiration derived from the flowers, the murmuring fountain, the booming of the waves of ocean, the roar of the tempest, the signing of the summer breeze; we gaze upon the solemn stars, and imagine we can study their shining sculptures by their “inspiration.” And in all this we forget there is a mind behind the breeze, the storm, the wave, and flower, and star; — a mind that is ever speaking to us in the low· sweet whispers of inspiration — and that mind is intelligence, and inspiration therefore is only the evidence of mind. It was mind that spoke to Newton as his abstracted eye gazed on the falling apple. It was mind that spoke to Galileo, as he turned from the scriptures of the skies to the mystery of falling bodies. It was mind that spoke through inspiration, even to the poor savage of primeval ages, and prompted him to search and investigate the world he had not tried, and of whose resources he was in ignorance.
It was the inspiration of mighty mind that compelled us to track our way across the pathless wastes of ocean, through which no human intelligence alone could guide us. No path was there — no man had laid down the map or charted the ocean depth — and yet onward man must go, for the whispering tones of inspiration said, ” There is land there; there are new worlds for discovery — islands for conquest — elemental powers ret to be revealed — a great new hemisphere to be man’s subject.” We know not who speaks, but we hear, comprehend, obediently follow the voice, and it ever leads onward. That voice is the voice of earth; that mind, the mind that understands the earth. The missionary — angels who have charge of earth are souls who grow bright, and good, and glorious, by leading other souls to Godt and guiding them through that earth whose thorny paths they have trod, whose sufferings they have experienced. Where now are all the bright and beautiful of ages past — the mighty hosts of souls who have passed the mystic gates, but still live on and move and have their being, with burning hearts of love and minds of richest wisdom? Can they be lost to us and earth, and all they loved and lived and suffered with? Oh, never! We feel the impress of their divine ‘psychology upon us. We know that they must still act out their every talent, and return it back to God with usury. We know that the spirit of impartation compels the poet to make sweet verses for the world — not for himself. We know that the musician is bound by the gift of his sweet melody to bestow it on his kind. The artist paint! for the race-not for himself. The writer is the world’s, and not his own. And we know that this necessity of impartation is the voice of God commanding us to give again as we have received. Shall the freed spirit be exempt from this Divine law? Be assured, its continuity is unbroken by death; and hence, the glorious psychology of the spirit-world is upon you, and from hence are derived your inventions discoveries, geniuses, and ever ascending spirit of progress. The master-minds of old are with you still; your patriots still labour for the land of their mortal birth. Nothing is lost that ever earth possessed. In .heaven, the amaranthine blossoms of eternity may unfold; the root is still here in its birthplace, Earth. And yet there is a psychology — dark baleful and pernicious — affecting man, that may not be overlooked, and as surely wells up from lower spheres as bright inspiration comes down from heaven.
As the bad man loves to tempt his companion to crime, so acts the bad spirit. The conditions of spirit life are still like mortal life, and the psychology of the undeveloped soul is as powerful for evil as the good and true for blessing. Our consolation is that, throughout eternity, progress still goes on; and hence, as the evil spirit can communicate and operate on earth as surely as the good, so, by our psychology for good, we may affect the spheres of darkness below ourselves as surely as those above can influence us. Hence, whilst we shrink .back from the idea of unseen tempters luring us on to ill, let us remember that we may be guardian angels to them, and by our psychology elevate those who fain would drag us down. We have before reminded you that no spirit can successfully tempt us to evil, unless there is a magnet within ourselves that sympathizes with him. We may not know it, but as the seeds of all good and all evil are within us, so there are latent crimes and wrongs which may be awakened by some unhappy being who has sinned on earth and, longing to repeat his earthly crimes, becomes attracted to us from some like tendencies within ourselves. But who shall be the conqueror? The question is, “Is our psychology stronger than his?” He or you must triumph over the other, and the law of psychology obtains between spirit and mortal as between mortals only. When we feel, then, mysterious promptings to do wrong, when the dark fiend of anger is upon us, or malice moves us, or the spirit of destruction is upon us — pause and beware! It is not alone of ourselves that we think or feel; a spirit is about us. We are surrounded by the psychology of another world, and moved upon by a whole spiritual universe.
Not in vain did ancient legends tell us of the “white and black robed angels” standing on either side of every human soul. Think well of this-that you may be armed alike to aspire to the good and trample down the bad. Here, on this earth, are the foundations of all science laid which belong to us to know. Here, on this earth, is the battle-ground of all life and effort. To study the soul we must commence with animal magnetism, the soul embodied, and its motive powers, until we end with spiritual magnetism and its more subtle action. We must .start with learning human psychology and end with the recognition of the same power acting on us from spirit life. If the soul lives it loves. Living and loving, hating and still in being] -it must still operate upon us, either from love of the good. or love of the bad that moves it. Even 80 then shall we find that the study of psychology carries us from the sphere of mortal life to that 0 spirit,-from the knowledge of the psyche within ourselves to the powers that enlarge their sphere of action in eternity. And thus may we realize that which is about us, and in our knowledge grow powerful to control it. The bright vision of the horsemen and chariots of fire guarding earth about ·were not only meant for the ages past, but still — reveal the ministering angels who ever protect us. Angelic beings, who held this world in charge and guarded mankind in days of yore, are still with us; but, above all, nearest to our hearts in this the rudimentary stage of spiritual philosophy, is the understanding that our own beloved dead, our friends, our lovers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters-all are with us still!
What though their forms lie mouldering in the grave?
What though their great heart-throbs are silent in the grave?
In heaven they are gathering — the great, the good, the brave;
And their souls are marching on.
Our patriots and heroes are soldiers of the Lord;
Our martyrs now are legions in the army of the Lord;
On to Armageddon with truth’s sun-bright sword,
Their souls are marching on.
Aye, they are marching on, the earth’s great dead;
On, on to glory: hear ye not their tread?
Loved ones, with angels at the bright host’s head,
For ever are marching on.
Foremost they file where life’s ranks of battle form-
Face with God’s angels, where life’s squares of battle form;
They tread in the thunder-cloud and charge in the storm,
Till they’re conquerors, marching on.
On, till the freedom of humanity is won;
On, till the reign of truth and Justice has begun;
On, till the warfare of earth-lift! is done,
And in heaven our souls march on.
Question. — What is the philosophy of spiritual possession?
Answer. — The philosophy of spiritual possession belongs to the subject of which we have been treating. On the last occasion when we met for answering questions, we alluded to this subject and remarked that the possession by any spirit of a human organism, and the subjugation of the will for any length of time can only take place in a subject who is mentally unbalanced or physically diseased. We believe it is not possible for any spirit permanently to possess itself of a human organism, subdue the will, and substitute its own for that of its subject, unless that subject be in the receptive condition of physical or mental weakness which I have indicated. In all cases of possession the operator must be positive, the subject negative; and, to maintain possession, the subject must be in such a highly negative condition as to render reaction difficult or impossible. Even in the most passive medium, or one whose mentality is least individualized, permanent possession cannot be maintained by a spirit unless the subject is in some highly abnormal and’ unnatural state. For one mind to maintain permanent control of another is for one spirit to incarnate itself in that form, remove the will, and operate through the body as its own. Such a state is unnatural, abnormal, and a monstrous usurpation and abuse of psychological power on the part of the spirit. And we believe that it can never take place, until the mental and physical condition of the suffering subject is prepared for it. We would urge therefore that investigators should consider carefully, first, the physical condition of the persons said to be possessed, and next their former mental state. As a psychological effect is evidently produced, and the will of a spirit is operating through the subject, it is clear that the cure must be effected in part at least by psychological action; in attempting this, the laws of which we have spoken must be brought to bear1 and philosophy requires that the higher psychology of the mmd that wills to restore the subject to health and its normal state, shall be stronger than that which has for the time being possessed it. In this connection animal magnetism as well as psychology must be employed. It is impossible that any human psychologist or powerful magnetizer can fail to operate successfully upon a subject so diseased, provided the magnetism of the operator is strong, and the will for good pure and powerful. A vast number of lunatic asylums are populated with cases of possession, rather than those of physical or even mental disease. In some cases, lack of individuality, or some slight disorganization of the system, has created a condition of receptivity to the psychological power of a bad spirit, and this state is mistaken for lunacy. The whole subject is included in, the philosophy of psychology, and is one requiring a far more elaborate explanation, study and investigation, than our limits will now permit us to enter upon.
Question. — The lady has referred to good and bad beings, or good and bad principles, in her lecture. Does she refer to them logically, or predicate them of individuals? Because, if individuals are continually dominating good and evil cannot be predicated of them. We can only speak of good and evil logically as they influence others.
Answer. — Pardon me for saying that you fail to comprehend one portion of this discourse, wherein we claim that good and evil may not only be relative but absolute. Whilst we admit the dominance of mind both from the spiritual and the natural worlds over mind, we claim that the mind of the bad, or the undeveloped, or (to use the phrase in most common acceptation) “the evil,” cannot operate upon the pure and good without a certain amount of consent within the individual. We have claimed that though latent, perhaps undiscovered within us, the germ of evil is there, or the tempter could not operate upon it. Whilst we believe that we are all, more or less, the subjects of the psychology of others, we do not assume that man is a mere machine, nor forget that the spirit is itself an entity and a psychological power acting upon others, and therefore must have some relative position in the realm of good and evil. We are always changing, growing, perhaps, in one direction, or swerving towards another; but there is always a certain definite amount of good or evil in us which can be swayed so as to yield to the attraction of good or evil, according to our strength of resistance or attraction m ‘either direction. From what we are, and from the point where we standt we are to be measured, not from the point where another stands.
We know there is a great deal of sophistry broad about evil being in reality only “undeveloped good;” but when we consider its results, and know that it is whatever is pernicious to mankind or occasions pain and sorrow, and that good, on the contrary, is absolutely its opposite, is that which is valuable to humanity and produces pleasure and happiness, we may venture to style these two different states or motive powers of the mind, “good and evil.” It is best to do so. We shall learn better how to cultivate the good and how to avoid the evil, when we understand the terms and what they signify. In the sense of right and wrong, then, each one is developed to a certain point, and, according to that, he is operated upon or impressed by good or evil spirits; but himself at last is the battle-ground on which the struggle endures, and himself at last decides his own part in the war. We cannot except the war from the human mind itself, nor suppose that bright and dark angels combat thereon independently of the action of our own spirits. Therefore, we refer you once again to the assertion that inspiration acts upon us according to our receptivity to receive the good; and temptation to evil can only operate successfully on a mind predisposed to yield to it.
Source: The Spiritual Magazine, October 1, 1866, pp. 433-450.