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vol. 1, p. 136
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 1 (1874-1876)


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< Supersensous Perception (continued from page 1-134) >

And yet how many absurdities are still believed in the world! In my fourteenth year I read the history of the Siege of Rochelle, by the Italian historian Benzoni, in which he states naively that “God was at length tired of the resistance of the Huguenots shut up in the place, and one fine morning he ordered the Atlantic to retire two miles further out, and to remain out two hours longer than usual, in order that the soldiers of his Catholic Majesty might enter the city from the sea-side, and put an end to those stiff-necked heretics."

What a Prominent Spiritualist says

To the Editor of The Spiritual Scientist:

Dear Sir: — I have received your paper weekly for nearly a year. I at first thought it was wholly uncalled for as there were a number of liberal papers in your city; besides, it appeared to me at first that you were attempting to expose and poll down a theory which to many was well established without offering a substitute, or in other words, you were attacking old established theories without advancing any theory of your own except to point out the faults of others.

Allow me to say to you that my mind has undergone somewhat of a change in relation to your paper and the object you have in taking the course you do. If I am not wonderfully mistaken, your course is the only safe one we can follow to do honor to ourselves and justice to our friends, and if the honest investigator will thoroughly weigh all the evidence which he can gain of the different theories and doctrines of the day, I have no doubt he will come to the conclusion that you ate on the right track. What right have we to denounce the old theories of Calvinism, and call our friends and neighbors bigots and sectarians, when we ourselves have a theory which we claim infallible, and deny the right of investigation. If we call our friends superstitious for believing in some old worn-out theory for which they have no positive evidence, shall we allow ourselves to fall into the same mistake?

Investigation is a sacred right to every earnest soul. More than thirty years ago my investigations compelled me to search for more evidence than I had been able to obtain from any former teachings. For nearly twenty years I had been in the school of Calvinism, and had drank in those doctrines to the full. The Bible was to me a holy book; although always a mystery, I attempted to draw such instruction as would back up my early teachings. I prayed, I exhorted, I magnetized as best I could, and all for the glory of God. Yet, never satisfied, I was at last driven to a closer examination. I began to think for myself; I did not care longer to trust my book to pilots that could give me no evidence of a life beyond except by tradition. My first experience in Spiritualism was in the Fox family at Hydesville, N.Y. Soon afterwards I became much interested in A. J. Davis’s writings. From that time to this I have claimed the right of investigation, and if what I once believed to be evidence of a certain theory proves not to be I am anxious to understand it. The result of my investigations have never brought out evidence which I dare to pronounce infallible, yet I get much evidence which to me appears as conclusive that man has a spirit and that spirit lives beyond and can, and does, communicate with and influence those who still remain in earth-life. Yet we only see through a glass darkly, and if we flatter ourselves we need no more evidence to prove the truth of what I call a beautiful philosophy we make a mistake, or if we refuse to state what purports to be evidence and make bare and expose all that is false and untruthful, we are no better than those bigots who lived in the days of the Salem witchcraft.

Hence I must say, let us submit our faith to the closest scrutiny; let us expose falsity and deception, which is practiced by thousands who have no higher motive than to obtain a name or some pecuniary advantage. It is high time the friends of free religious investigation and honest believers in spiritual philosophy should show their position and come up to the help of such journals as come out fearlessly and boldly defend truth, honesty and fair dealing. I am fairly disgusted at the attempt which some of our journalists are making to cover op deception and smother investigation, and even attempt to sustain those who are every day practicing fraud and deception. The thousands of honest and intelligent people in the country who are seeking for light and truth are entitled to a fair and open investigation; indeed, they are demanding the truth, — they ask that deception and falsehood should be thoroughly exposed We can no longer suffer the contempt which is throws upon those who believe in immortality of spirit power and communion with the departed.

If believing in Spiritualism, which is to believe in immortality, will not elevate, then let the world all denounce the belief of an ever-ending progression and all turn Deists. With all due respect for old established journals, I utterly abhor any attempt on their part to cover up deception or debar investigation. Thanks to the truly liberal for what they have done to stay the tide of superstition and fanaticism which has so much disgraced our noble philosophy; well may we watch with suspicion the dark wave of bigotry which has so often threatened destruction to freedom and progress. Why do not some of our suspected media make some effort to exonorate themselves when charged with deception when they can so easily do it if they choose. Many of them claim the spirits will not let them: who believes it? What it the testimony!

Shall we ignore everything on one side and believe all of the other? Bible Spiritualism sets forth some strange incidents, but nothing compared to much of the shamming of the present age. O deception, what a cruel master. Spirits have to bear quite too much; the higher intelligences releived from the flesh are not more foolish than when in earth life. Go on, brother, give us light, and truth shall make us free.

I fear I have wearied your patience, for which I trust you will pardon me this once. I have written this as a confidential letter, wishing to help encourage one who has struggled so hard against fearful odds. My limited education forbids that I should appear in print.

Very truly yours,

E.***** C.***** F.T.S.

Soul and Spirit

We have received the following letter: —

To the Editor ofThe Spiritualist.”

Sir, —The letters of “M. A. Cantab,” and of M. A. Oxon,” on this topic are most interesting, and the definition of the latter is excellent. “Within this spirit body dwells the soul, that temporarily segregated portion of the divine mind, by virtue of the possession of which man is immortal, and is a potential sharer in the attributes of Deity. This soul is given at incarnation; and not till it becomes possessed of it is the spirit immortal."

But, I would ask, is the soul given at incarnation? We know that the body of the embryo infant is much developed before it is “quickened.” Is it not so with the intelligence, which has to be developed to some extent before the immortal soul can be quickened in it? As the intellectual faculties (which constitute a sensible child as compared with an idiot) are gradually grown and developed, and exercised after birth, so I understand that the infinitely more subtle immortal soul is gradually developed and born into the spirit body, which spirit body has been made, and to a certain degree developed, in the young material body.

The signs of the existence of this soul are an instinctive love of good, and hatred of evil, i.e., the possession of a moral sense, quite independent of that external law which even a dog can learn by the accompaniment of rewards and punishments. To feel the beauty of holiness, and to perceive an undying principle amid transitory life are proofs that we have been born the second time, and that we have passed from death to life; that we possess a sense which will not die with the body, and that we are “potential sharers in the attributes of Deity.”

But if, unfortunately, this germ is in some person either not implanted or not developed, or if conscience be killed, and with it the soul germ, then the spirit body contains not its destined immortal guest, and therefore becomes gradually extinguished after death, resolving itself back into the spirit elements, as the earth body does to its physical elements.

This natural psychic law seems to have been known to those who wrote of “the second death,” of “trees whose fruit withered, of wandering stars, to whom it reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” It is absolute extinction of individuality; it is not corrective pain; it is simple extinction; a less painful fate than that of the multitude who have had a conscience, whose immortal soul has been generated, but suppressed, during mortal life, and whose progressive destiny will take them through purifying fires, and who will suffer from “the worm that dieth not.”

Is it not probable that some of the elementary spirits of an evil type are those spirit bodies which, only recently disembodied, are on the eve of an eternal dissolution, and which continue their temporary existence only by vampiring those still in the flesh. They had existence; they never attained to being. I think our lunatic asylums furnish certain half-witted, yet cunning creatures, who possess only the elementary spirit within “a fluctuating mass of atoms,” and evidently have not even the germ of the higher and immortal soul.

<... continues on page 1-137 >

Editor's notes

  1. What a Prominent Spiritualist says by unknown author (signed as E***** C*****), Spiritual Scientist, v. 4, No. 9, May 4, 1876, p. 100
  2. Soul and Spirit by unknown author, London Spiritualist, v. 4, No. 182, February 18, 1876, pp. 74-6