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    CHAPTER 23. Spiritualism

    IN the latter part of the month of March, 1848, the papers in Rochester, N.Y., came out one morning with sensational headings about certain mysterious noises and knockings which had been heard in the house of Mr. John D. Fox, in the village of Hydesville, near that city. At one bound the whole region round about rose to the highest pitch of excitement, and committees of investigation were appointed, who earnestly set about the work of trying to ascertain the source from which the raps proceeded. It was soon ascertained that there was some intelligence behind the manifestations; that certain questions would be answered, certain letters of the alphabet indicated, spelling out words, and thus imparting information. It was also ascertained that certain ones were particularly successful in calling forth these responses.SYNPT 232.1

    1. What happened in March, 1848?
    2. What was the effect?
    3. What was soon ascertained?
    4. What did the communicating intelligences proclaim themselves?
    5. What was the movement called?

    The communicating intelligences proclaimed themselves the spirits of departed human beings; and the movement was therefore named Spiritualism. Those to whom responses from the unseen world were vouchsafed, were called mediums. The agencies, spirits and mediums, through which a new revelation was to be given to the world, were now recognized. A sluice was opened through which a flood of teaching, whatever it might be, could be poured upon the community.SYNPT 232.2

    The movement spread like flame in the stubble. The teaching was named a new philosophy. The intelligences behind the curtain declared their object to be, to convince the world of the immortality of the soul. Multitudes offered to be the vehicles by which intelligence might be brought from the unseen world. Lecturers took the field to advocate and defend the system; and papers sprung up to work in its behalf. So marvelous was its progress, that, in only twenty-eight years from the time it first attracted the attention of the world through the so-called “Rochester knockings,” its adherents numbered, according to the estimates of its friends, from five to eight millions; according to those of its enemies, from three to eleven millions.SYNPT 233.1

    6. What name was given to the human agents?
    7. What was now attained?
    8. How did the movement spread?
    9. What was the avowed object of spiritualism?
    10. How many adherents did it gain in 28 years?
    11. What phenomena attended the movement?

    The phenomena attending the movement were marvelous. It showed itself from the the beginning a wonder-working power. That there has been in these later years a great amount of fraud, jugglery, and deception practiced in its name, we do not deny. But there is, notwithstanding, abundant evidence to show that real spiritualism possesses a supernatural power, accomplishing wonders beyond the range of human possibilities. Men of philosophy and culture, after the most careful and scrutinizing investigations, have been compelled to admit that various articles, some of them too heavy for any one man to lift, have been transported from place to place by spirit power alone; that beautiful music has been produced independently of human agency, with and without the aid of visible instruments; that many cases of healing have been presented; that persons have been carried through the air by spirits alone, in the presence of many other persons; that tables have been suspended in the air with several person upon them; and finally, that the spirits have produced many well-authenticated cases of what is called “materialization,” presenting themselves in bodily form, and talking with an audible voice.SYNPT 233.2

    12. Specify some of its achievements.
    13. What is Prof. Zollner’s testimony?
    14. What is the natural effect of such phenomena?

    Professor Zollner, the great German philosopher, a man whose name is ranked with the highest in the scientific world, conducted a long series of careful and conclusive experiments to test the question whether or not spirit power was involved in the manifestations. In a personal interview with Joseph Cook, during the late visit of the latter to Europe, Prof. Z. testified that the following strange occurrences had taken place under his own eye, by some power not human, or if human, not heretofore discovered: 1. Knots were tied in cords without moving the ends of said cords; 2. Messages were written between doubly and trebly sealed slates; 3. Coin passed through a table in a manner to illustrate the suspension of the laws of the impenetrability of matter; 4. Straps of leather were knotted under Prof. Zollner’s own hands; 5. The impression of two feet was given on sooted paper pasted inside two sealed slates; 6. Whole and uninjured wooden rings were placed around the standard of a card table, over either end of which they could by no possibility be slipped; and 7. Finally the table itself, a heavy beechen structure, wholly disappeared, and then fell down from the top of the room in which Prof. Z. and his friends were sitting.SYNPT 234.1

    Such wonders are calculated to make a profound impression upon the mind; and it is not strange that a movement in the interest of which they claim to be wrought, should make marvelous progress among men. A writer in the Spiritual Clarion has given us this description of its introduction, power, and progress:-SYNPT 235.1

    “This revelation has been with a power and a might, that, if divested of its almost universal benevolence, had been a terror to the very soul; the hair of the bravest had stood on end, and his chilled blood had crept back upon his heart at the sights and sounds of its inexplicable phenomena. It comes with foretokening, with warning. It has been from the very first its own best prophet, and step by step it has foretold the progress it would make. It comes, too, most triumphant. No faith before it ever took so victorious a stand in its infancy. It has swept like a hurricane of fire through the land, compelling faith from the baffled scoffer and the most determined doubter.”SYNPT 235.2

    15. How does a writer in the Spiritual Clarion describe it?

    Notwithstanding these protestations of innocence and benevolence, this movement, if viewed in its true light, might well be a terror to the soul, and chill the blood of the bravest, if not protected by the shield and buckler of truth from its unhallowed influence; for the whole development is from beneath, not from above; it is the work of the prince of darkness; its ultimate object is the ruin of souls; its apparent goodness is but a garb to cover its real character; its piety is a pretense, and its benevolence but a bait to lure the more into its snare. All this will clearly appear from an investigation of its character.SYNPT 235.3

    16. What is its true character?
    17. What do the Scriptures teach us respecting the dead?
    18. What is Spiritualism’s first claim?
    19. What does this determine as to is character?

    1. The Scriptures plainly inform us that the dead, after going into the grave, have no knowledge nor any part in anything that is done under the sun; that their thoughts are perished, and their love and hatred, and every emotion of the mind, have ceased to be; and that they remain in this unconscious condition, not awaking out of their sleep, till the second coming of Christ, when the heavens shall depart as a scroll, and those who are prepared for a part in the first resurrection shall rise out of their graves. Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10; Psalm 146:4, Job 14:12; Revelation 6:14-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; etc. But the very first claim put forth by these communicating intelligences was that they were the spirits of the dead; and in that claim they still persist. But that is a lie; for there are no such spirits in a condition thus to communicate. And this, to him who will guided by the Scriptures, reveals at once both the unseen agents and their character; for we are told of spiritual beings which have to do with the human family, - the angels, of which there are two classes, the fallen and the unfallen, the evil and the good. But these spirits cannot be the good angels; for good angels do not lie; they must be evil angels, who have been deceivers from the beginning. And more than this, a prophecy respecting the last days points out a series of wonders to be wrought by this very agency. The nations are to be gathered to the battle of the great day of God Almighty by “spirits of devils” working miracles (Revelation 16:14); and when Christ appears, it is to be when Satan has reached the very climax of a new development of his wonder-working powers. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.SYNPT 236.1

    20. What spiritual beings does the Bible inform us of?
    21. Are the agents of spiritualism good or evil, and why?
    22. What last-day prophecy speaks of this movement?
    23. What do spiritualists admit their work is called in the Bible?
    24. What is Webster’s definition of necromancy.
    25. How does the Bible speak of these things?

    2. Spiritualists do not deny that their communications with so-called departed spirits are what is termed in the Bible, “enchantment,” “sorcery,” “necromancy,” “divination,” “consulting with familiar spirits,” etc. Webster defines “necromancy” to mean, “The art of revealing future events by means of a pretended communication with the dead; the art of magic; conjuration; enchantment.” But every reader of the Bible knows that all these practices are denounced as “abominations,” and are strictly forbidden in both the Old and New Testaments. See Deuteronomy 18:9-12: Leviticus 19:31; 21:2, 6, 9, 11; Revelation 21:8; Galatians 5:19-21; Acts 16:16-18. Gesenius describes “sorcerers” as “those who profess to call up the dead;” and Webster says that “a familiar spirit is a demon, or evil spirit, supposed to attend at a call.” Those who embrace spiritualism are therefore obliged to give up the Bible. And such is invariably found to be true in its practical working.SYNPT 237.1

    3. They deny the existence of God, and blaspheme his name. We will not pain the ear of piety by quoting their fearful language, abundance of which might be given. An admission of the fact by one of their own number will be sufficient on this point. Joel Tiffany, a spiritualist lecturer and publisher, in his Monthly of June, 1858, said: “My experience has been, go among spiritualists where you will, and as a general thing they have no faith in a living, conscious, intelligent Deity.”SYNPT 238.1

    4. They deny Christ, declaring that any just and perfect being is Christ; that the story of the first advent is a fabulous tale, that the crucifixion of Christ is only the crucifixion of the spirit, and that all the second advent of Christ there is to be is the advent of spiritualism, as we now behold it.SYNPT 238.2

    26. What, according to Gesenius, is a sorcerer?
    27. How does Webster define a “familiar spirit?”
    28. How, then, must a spiritualist regard the Bible?
    29. How do they regard God?
    30. How do they treat Christ?
    31. What distinction do they make between right and wrong?
    32. Where do they place man?
    33. How do they treat marriage?

    5. They deny all distinction between right and wrong. A.B. Childs says (“Better Views of Living,” pp. 28,29,128), “The divine use of the ten commandments is in their violation, not in their observance.” J.S. Loveland, once a Methodist minister, declares, in the Banner of Light, that “with God there is no crime;” that “he is in the darkest crime and the highest holiness, and equally pleased with both.”SYNPT 238.3

    6. They deify mortal man. In a spiritualist work, “The Educator,” we read: “Man is God’s embodiment - his highest divinest outer elaboration. God, then, is man, and man is God.” Satan’s first lie to man was that he should be as God. No wonder he now tries to build up a reputation for veracity by making them believe that they are gods. Edmunds (Spiritualism, vol. 1, p. 10) says: “The soul is a god of itself.”SYNPT 239.1

    7. They are at war with marriage. One of the notorious tendencies of spiritualism is to separate husbands and wives, and plunge them all into the maelstrom of free love. It takes every moral restraint from man, as regards either heaven or earth, and gives the freest rein to his most debasing passions. The author of “Spiritualism as It Is,” pp. 10,11,20, says: “After years of careful investigation, we are compelled, much against our inclination, to admit that more than one-half of our traveling media, speakers, and prominent spiritualists are guilty of immoral and licentious practices that have justly provoked the abhorrence of all right-thinking people.”SYNPT 239.2

    34. How do they recognize the devil?

    8. They acknowledge the devil as their God and Father, and pray to him. In the Banner of Light of Nov. 4, 1865, is published the following:- “Question: Do you know of any such spirit as a person we call the devil? - Answer: We certainly do. And yet this same devil is our God, our Father.” This was given through the celebrated medium, Mrs. Conant. Miss Lizzie Doten, a celebrated trance lecturer, addressed a formal prayer to “Lucifer” who “fell from his high estate, and whom mortals are prone to call the embodiment of evil.” An “Invocation,” found in the Banner of Light of April 18, 1871, opens in substantially the same manner.SYNPT 239.3

    9. The Bible speaks of them as “seducing spirits,” “deceivers,” “speaking lies in hypocrisy,” and working wonders to prove a lie. 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. Judge Edmunds (Broadway Tabernacle Lecture, Feb. 16, 1855) said:-SYNPT 240.1

    “I assure you from my own experience and observation that the fascination of this intercourse is so great that its tendency is to lead men away from their proper judgment, and instill a spirit of fanaticism most revolting to the calm and natural mind.”SYNPT 240.2

    Spiritual Telegraph, July 11, 1857: “Spirits unquestionably can, and often do, personate other spirits, and that, too, often with such perfection as for the time being to defy every effort to detect the deception.”SYNPT 240.3

    Dr. Child (Banner of Light, Oct. 6, 1864): “They will deceive us for their amusement.”SYNPT 240.4

    35. What does the Bible say of the deceptive character of the spirits?
    36. What do spiritualists admit on this point?

    10. It is impossible to identify the spirits. They perform their work by mesmeric power, causing the medium to see such images as they please. A.J. Davis (Herald of Progress, Feb. 1, 1862) says: “They can psychologize a medium to see them in the style to produce the deepest impression on the receiver. They can easily represent themselves as being old or young,” etc. A person who will yield himself to the control of such spirits must be very anxious to be deceived.SYNPT 240.5

    11. Of late years this movement is assuming a new phase. It is carefully concealing from public view its grosser features under the garb of Christianity. It can talk of sin, Christ, the atonement, and even of future punishment. In this more respectable attire, spiritualism well-nigh obliterates all marks of distinction between itself and the greater part of the professedly religious world; for the great majority in all the churches believe in its fundamental principles, - the conscious state of the dead, and their power to act as guardian spirits of the living. Spiritualism only insists upon more frequent and open intercourse, which the bereaved, made most susceptible in their tender grief to every offer of comfort, are only too glad to receive on any plausible evidence that it is from their departed friends. Virtually, the greater part of the religious world to-day are spiritualists after the new order.SYNPT 241.1

    37. Can spirits be identified?
    38. What is its more modern phase?
    39. what passage in Matthew does it fulfill?

    12. Spiritualism is one of the great crowning signs of the last days. It is the fulfillment of Matthew 24:11, which declares that, just before the end, “many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many.” Its mediums and ministers are the “false christs and false prophets” that should arise and “show great signs and wonders,” insomuch that if it were possible, they should “deceive the very elect,” just before Christ appears in the clouds of heaven. Matthew 24:24-27. It is that “working of Satan,“ which is finally to reach “all power and signs and lying wonders” just as the brightness of Christ’s coming bursts upon the world. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10. It is the “doctrine of devils” taught by “seducing spirits,” to which some in the last days would depart, as the Spirit of God has expressly declared. 1 Timothy 4:1, 2. It is that work which was to take place “in the last days,” corresponding to the work of Jannes and Jambres, who, by their wonders wrought in the presence of Pharaoh, withstood Moses. 2 Timothy 3:6-8. It is that anti-Christian work described in Hebrews 10:29, which was to be witnessed when the great day of the Lord was approaching. Verse 25. The same class is described by Peter (2 Peter 2), and by Jude (verse 13), who are to receive vengeance for their ungodly deeds at the coming of Christ. It is that wonder-working power brought to view in Revelation 13:13, 14, which is soon to gather the nations to the battle of the great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:13, 14), and is again brought to view in Revelation 19:20, in the last struggle against Christ, the King of kings, when it perishes in the lake of fire.SYNPT 241.2

    It it any wonder that Satan cherishes such venom against the word of God, which so fully exposes his deceptive work?SYNPT 242.1

    40. What are its mediums and ministers?
    41. What other passages does it fulfill?

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