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ture and Art: that is, artificially prepared, and is the true Hermophrodite Adam and Microcosm.
Whosoever hath attained to the knowledge hereof, have adumbrated and shadowed the same, with various enigmatical Figures and deceitful similitudes and comparisons and Feigned Words, that the Matter thereof might remain occult to Posterity; so that little or no knowledge thereof might be found out.
To comprehend the true Fire and so render the meaning clear to would-be Cabalists, know that the Deity is the highest Fire of which our soul is a small portion, but as God is Love. His Love is voluntary and is expressed in His Will or Volition, as He ultimately draws all to Him. Even Material ists have to admit that man gravitates towards perfection, or the absolute good, so Evolution is not a bad name after all for the Deific principles in Man. Cabalists, however, having dived deeper into the decomposition and recomposition of the principle called Evolution in Man, so many thousands of years ago, they must be allowed the use of terms which can be made to convey a more comprehensive meaning to the outer world than our modern scientific savans are capable of communicating.
Love deifically expressed, is therefore Divine Will. But Man is created an independent agent, has also given to him as a separate spiritual being and Lord of Creation, a separate and distinct Will, as I elsewhere have expressed, through which he can elect to be either God or Devil in this world as he chooses. So Will must be his mover in all things, As God moves all things by His Love, (Fire) so man’s Will must be his centre Fire to move his universe of mind whether circularly or tangentially, that is, deifically or sensually. As such in the Cabalistic Art he must use it in a straight line without wavering to the right or left, for the highest possible good he is capable of and that is to effect the ultimate junction with his own soul.
The various operations concerned in this great work, are all governed by this central Fire, the human Will. Nothing can be done without it. It bends the eye of the spirit inwardly, upon self to Self examination or spiritual perception and recognition of one’s errors of omission and commission,—at least in a degree. The most perfect recognition comes at a more interesting and important part of our progress towards Transmutation; but this is the natural recognition as that is the artificial; seeing that it is a laboring or manipulating of our Will towards the All Good, thence the terms Art and Artist in contra-distrinction to God or Nature, unknown or unrecognized in us. Now as Will comprehends and must draw all things unto itself, consequently it is comprehended of nothing seeing it is Lord and sole mover of all things on earth as well as in heaven—that is, to do either good or evil; hence the “Celestial Heat by his Reflective and Continual Motion.” (the Will), bent upon the good, in continually reflecting or mediating, keeps moving towards perfection and thus to coagulate the heavenly Messenger, the soul within us. The “Separating Fire” means the same thing; willing away the sensual, and tacking to the heavenly or divine element of Fire,(the soul), and this must not be done rashly or violently, but steadily, soberly and perseveringly; keeping the thoughts linearly. During the progress of the work, the discerning mind will not be slow to observe the various promptings that will strike his mind. Sensual and scientific, whimsical and self-inter ested, all these must be taken quantum valeat. Cabalistically—every thought that does not bear the Absolute on the face of it as clear as one and one make two, must be discarded once and forever from the mind, as you would drive away a scorpion, brush dirt from your dress. By adhering to this simple rule, the world would be saved its troubles and annoyances, from their associations in this world as well as the next.
It is called a “corrosive Fire,” in allusion to its burning up or destroying the sensual world in man, which is the end of all things, and ushering in the “New Jerusalem" mentioned in scripture—the human Soul.
The gradations of Sol, Luna and Venus are to be understood as (1) the highest or direct Soul development; (2) the converse with higher intellectual spirits; and (3) those of a sensuous sphere, other grades of spirits being still lower, but all of which are at our bidding if we are so disposed and require them. He who goes in for and gets his own soul guidance never puts any extravagant value on anything got through these secondary sources, although much good is often done by these means; but it is mostly of a particular kind and seldom universal.
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The Scientific Aspect of Spiritualism
Every thoughtful mind is impressed with a sense of its own littleness. The incomprehensible problem of creation is ever unsolved. We are ushered into existence out of darkness, night, the unknown: we are surrounded by the stern elements swayed by forces, —the why and the wherefore we know not; and after the brief moment of existence, are pushed out again into the night. Our lives are like the flash of the lightnings, for a moment illuminating the abysm. We have time only to repeat the questions asked at the dawn of the race. Why? Wherefore? Whence?
There has been two answers: — The religious and the material. Religion gave an early reply, infinitely disastrous in its consequences. It was founded on the dreams of savages and has never outgrown its infant garments. At that time man was a child in a wonder-world, —of laws and order knowing nothing. The elements seemed to be animated with life. He peopled the void with invisible beings, in whose power he was held, and from whom there was no escape. Religion was born from the fear of these irresponsible beings, who out of caprice might save or destry. Its growth has been the concentration of the elements of fear, and projecting this life into the next, it yet traverses the battlements of hell with Satan inscribed on its banner.
The Materialist, recognizing the futility of belief, yields passively to the claims of all! but to religion, belief is Every Thing, for it can prove nothing, and it actively thrusts itself forward into the affairs of life. Nursed on the breast of ignorance, taught by fanaticism to sneer at knowledge because blind trusting to consciousness, it has been one of the most disturbing elements, and the cause of more bloodshed and misery, than all other causes combined.
Religion met the question of existence by declaring man to be a miraculous creation; and not an integral part of the world in which he if placed. He was created and is constantly sustained, by a miracle. His being and happiness depends on the caprice of an irresponsible autocrat. Future life is not a part of the creative plan, but a fortuitous gift, bestowed by God, in order to lengthen happiness or tor ture.
Religion became so enwrapped in the future life that its existence may be said to depend upon it. Without a future Heaven of reward, and hell of punishment, orthodox religion would cease to be. I know I here tread on dangerous ground, and that our friends who advocate “free-religion’’ will be swift to criticise; but we ask them first to harmonize their own strange nomenclature of “free-religion.” which is quite as contradictory as cold-fire, hot-ice, or free-slavery. Religion, if it means anything, means man’s absolute dependence on God as the arbitrary autocrat of his destiny. It claims to be true, and being true, man has no choice, no freedom more than the triad-mill-slave.
The religion of the emancipated man is the product of intellectual growth: the sum of moral and intellectual attainment, and ceasing altogether to manifest the characteristics of religion, should not be fettered by that name even with the prefix of freedom.
The second method is ever the same, uttered in the gutteral of the brute savage or the pleasing scientific gloss of Carl Vogt, Herbert Spencer, or Buchner. It has one refrain— “cat, drink, and enjoy this life, for to-morrow is the unknow able.”
It is the reverse of the medal, and when we consider the slender base of assertion on which religion rests, its peremptory dismissal of knowledge, its black list of unutterable crimes, we cannot be astonished at the reaction which kept pace with the accumulation of accurate knowledge.
The phenomenon we call life, says religion, is a miraculous manifestation of God; the phenomenon we call life, says the materialist, is the aggregation of conditions; and its highest exhibition of intelligence results from the more advantageous surroundings of protoplasm. Disturb these conditions and protoplasm is resolved to its primary elements, and the intelligence to which it gave birth disappears. It is not the least mysterious or perplexing, —more than mixing an alkali and acid, gives foam, the coal in the grate, heat, the burning gas, light.
The problem, to the brute, has no significance from absence of thought; to the material philosopher it ceases to be a problem, for to him there is nothing to solve. He boasts of the knowable, and adroitly thrusts the doubtful into the Unknowable, behind which he as persistently entrenches himself as the orthodox behind an inscrutable Providence. Ah! philosopher, who is able to pronounce on the Knowable and Unknowable? Must not such an one have infinite knowledge? You, who, in the very start, admit your innocence of the beginning or the end, and that you have unraveled but a single loop of the tangled web of causation, unwittingly think you dethrone an arbitary Cod, while you only change his name.
Because matter and force have certain relations, man is evolved from protoplasm; and for the same reason he will to protoplasm return. Morality consists in reconciliation to the inevitable. The hope of a future is a pleasing illusion, and to the rightly constituted mind, death, a to-be-wished-for termination of a fortuitous wave.
The thinking mind cannot accept the dogmas of religion, and is more or less repelled by the stern aspect of materialism. The aspiring, insatiate spirit, the questioning I, repeats continually the sad refrain, —Is this the best? Is this the all—the END? Has creative energy toiled through these eons of ages, from cosmical sapor to rounded world, from glowing lava crust, to flower-decked fields,' from protoplasm to monad, from monad through the endless series of living forms to man; from the brute savage to the present civilized races, with the final result of the fading into the stream of time of her highest work, leaving no trace on the shore but the wreck and debris of the tide? Is the soul created with its infinite capabilities, its acute emotions, its intense longings, its undying affections, for no purpose but blight and misery?
If man is immortal should he not be conscious of his destiny? “Yes,” it is quickly answered, and that he doubts, is evidence that death is the end of his existence. But he doubts and be hopes, and from his hopes arises the intense reactions of Modern Spiritualism against materialism. It is because leaders like Buchner and Vogt, pause to question, those less firmly persuaded, grasp eagerly at the least shadow of evidence; because there never was a materialist who did not hope for, and who would not eagerly accept the evidence of immortality.
Spiritualism came to meet a demand of the age. The old religion is dying or dead. They who pretend it is alive, well know its contortions are the result of galvanic shocks imitative of living moments. Science proudly arrogates the sphere of thought, and delights in a purely sensuous method. Matter and its forces are the all in all. The balance and the crucible must decide everything. The priest, most ignorant of all, stands of a Sunday and gibbers over the corpse of faith, laboring in a vineyard of dead vines, sneering at learning he does not comprehend. The man of Science scorns the religion which seems only a bandage to blind the eyes of those who would see, and ranks any thing beyond the purely sensuous as the prattle of superstition.
The age is ripe for change. The old is effete. The new ideas and methods of thought find no rest in the old temples. The. systems built on the dreams and fancies of early man, are in direct antagonism to the positive knowledge of to-day.
Because spiritual existence has fortuitously become woven into the web of religion, shall its fate be the same? Shall it pass with the tradition of dead gods? Has it no saving truth?
It is evident that biology has elevated metaphysics out of the frothy era of mere verbal controversy and placed it in the ranks of positive science. A similar process may elevate the superstitions, which shroud the realm of spirit, out of the trembling marsh lands traversed by a blind theology, to the firm heights of knowledge.
Of those who are prejudiced—and materialists may be rankest bigots—to those who sneer at everything spiritual as foolish superstition, we expect not an impartial hearing. Scientific thought should overcome narrowness, should broaden the mind until its Catholicity receives even the darkest superstitions, the wildest dreams of ignorance, as phenomena, significant in the history and destiny of man.
Directly, one statement cannot be gainsaid: If a belief in an immortal life is to gain a hearing and acceptance, it must come with its own demonstration. The resurrection of Christ two thousand years ago, nor the testimony of the ghosts stalking from the sepulchres of Jerusalem, nay, of a thousand Christs will not decide it. With present demonstrations these ancient traditions will have pith and meaning, without— and they are unbelievable.
Spiritualism must be the positive science of spirit or it is nothing.
If by the manifestations of spirit identity and power, it demonstrates the continued existence of our mortal lives then we have a ready key to unravel the marvelous stories of the past. We shall be able to trace the golden stream of spiritual intercourse upward to the earliest times, even to their aryan source in the soft climes of Asia, and be able to comprehend why they have been so sweet to the thirst of the countless generations. Because, although obscured with wild, grotesque, and cruel fantacies, they contained a germ of truth: Because the soul, struggling through the bondage of ignorance, saw gleams of light and was conscious of its own eternity.
It is not my design to introduce the evidence furnished by modern spiritual manifestations. I propose only to show the necessity and general aspect of what is unquestionably a great movement; a movement so great and momentous, few even of those who are identified with it, comprehend its bearings. It has been little more than a quarter of a century in receiving form, and while anathematized by its foes it has been curbed by its professed friends. Like a great flood it has born on its bosom the debris of its shores, the flood-wood of tributary streams, and the pestilent carcasses of countless "reformrs,” which have thus been given movement. The outside world has been deceived by appearances. They have judged the movement by the foam, the froth, the snags, the floating timbers, and bloated carcasses, rather than by the deep undercurrent which has borne all forward.
Is it strange that the montebank and charletan has taken advantage of credulity? That the genuine manifestations should be counterfeited by wholesale? That it is difficult to distinguish the true from the false? A great spiritual activity has been engendered, and with it the superstitious element aroused. In France, the dead doctrine of metempsychosis, under the name of re incarnation, is revived; and in this country, prominent leaders, infatuated with the mirage of a new horizon, brush the dust from the volumes of the occultists, and with avidity pronounce the wild fancies of the theurgist the concrete wisdom of the ages.
Perhaps, no cause has borne a greater burden for which it really had no responsibility; no cause carried such a dead weight of imposture and rascality, nor none called into activity more thoughtful and upright minds.
Two great, almost vital, mistakes were committed by those who accepted Spiritualism: First, that it was a religion; second, that it necessarily embraced all reforms.
The first vaguely sought to confine it within an organization. To them it was an extension of Christianity, as Christianity was an extension of Judaism.
We do not want Christianity extended. We do not want the new wine in the old goat-skin bottles. We are not sure that it is best to have it bottled.
What we demand of organizations, priests, mediators, and all go-betweens, is a repetition of the request of Diogenes to Alexander: “Stand out of my sunlight”
The utter and miserable failure of all such organizations demonstrates their unfitness. A religion cannot be made out of fact, or series of facts. These fall into the sphere of demonstration and become knowledge, while religion is “faith in things unseen.”
The second mistake of referring all reforms to Spiritualism was Politic in their advocates, untrue and unjust as it was in principle.
Against these various reforms we have no word of aspersion. The dietetic, dress, temperance, and social questions are excellent in their place, but the angels have not descended to regulate the diet, the manners, or the social relations of man, with a “thus saith the spirits.” Our food may be bad enough, our customs objectionable, our social life capable of great improvement; but it does not follow that the believer in the fact of spirit-communion must eat bran-bread, and accept the doctrines of a restless socialism.
Spiritualism is less responsible for the social theories, which have attached to its name than the churches.
Spiritualism in its completeness means the scientific demonstration of these two propositions:
1. Man exists after death.
2. The spirit can return and communicate with earth.
To these attach the investigations of the nature and form of that existence, the origin and destiny of spirit, and the laws controling communion between the spheres—great problems, which the future years must solve.
There are certain fundamental principles at the basis of this philosophy.
Man is a duality, —a physical structure and a spirit. The spirit is an organized form, evolved by and out of the physical body, having corresponding organs and development.
This spiritual being is immortal.
Death is the separation of this duality and effects no change in the spirit, morally or intellectually.
The spirit holds the same relations to the Spirit-world that man holds to physical nature.
The spirit there, as here, works out its own salvation, receiving the reward oi well-doing, and suffering for wrongful actions.
Salvation is only attainable through growth.
There is no arbitrary decree, final judgment, or atonement for wrong, except through the suffering of the guilty.
The knowledge, attainment, and experience of the earth- life form the basis of the spirit-life.
Progressive evolution of intellectual and moral power is the endless destiny of individual spirits.
The departed, whatever may have been their moral or intellectual condition, may return and, under certain fixed conditions, communicate with man.
As law rules supreme in the spiritual as well as physical realm, there can be no miracle or supernatural event.
Spirit is the reality, and individualized spirit the highest type of creation. In this sense, mankind become brethren, commencing and continuing their progress, on the same plane of development. In this sense al' men are divine and endowed with infinite possibilities.
Spiritualism encourages the loftiest spiritual aspirations, energizes the soul by presenting only exalted motives, prompts to highest endeavors, and inculcates a noble self-reliance. It frees man from the bondage of authority of book and creed. Its only authority is truth; its interpreter reason.
It seeks for a whole and complete cultivation of man, — physically, morally and intellectually. Every individual must be a law unto himself and draft his own creed, and allow everyone the same privilege.
This statement of principles does not rest on faith, nor is it established by miracles. It must rise or fall with the advance of knowledge. The study of spirit cannot depend for its material on the Fast. Definitions once satisfactory have become obsolete.
The immortal spirit exists, not as religion has taught, a gift bestowed by God, not as a foreign element, but is an integral portion of man’s constitution.
The theory of evolution must apply to the spirit as well as the body. A new interpolation is given the facts of biology. As the monad evolved higher forms in successive series to man, in the latter, spirit is evolved in succession. There is no break in the continuity. Spirit cannot longer be regarded as the shadow of nothing as heretofore.
The wonderful doctrines of conservation and correlation of forces opens an infinite vista into a new realm. Matter is, no longer spoken of as mute, dead or inert, but as living moving, acting by its inherent, indestructible forces. Its elementary varieties fade, and eminent authorities regard it probable that in reality they are the same, varying only in the manner force is manifested through them. Thus slowly, inevitably, the scientists are arriving at the idea that force is the unit, all phenomena being manifestations of the same under varying conditions. Here rests the basis of the new science of Spiritualism. It must accept all known facts, and with them span the gulf between the material and spiritual worlds.
Do you say we grope in darkness? Aye, friends, we stand as yet on the threshold of this infinite domain. Thus far our teachers have been blinded by fog. Thus far they have made immortality a Promethical curse, of a vengeful Cod. They have taught us nothing definite or reliable. A new field untraversed by explorers, with a nomenclature to invent, and facts to classify, —we cannot expect at once-a Newton or a Darwin to arise, and with one mighty generalization illumine its remotest bounds. We have as yet only assumed that we have escaped from the marshlands to a firm shore, and that we are not'' following a will-o-wisp visible, because it is a starless night. We can as yet only mark the boundaries of the future investigation, and our words for the time must be those of negation. The threshold is burdened with the rubbish of milleniums of dead dogmas, and the iconoclast has full measure for his wrath. When the old ideas of matter spirit are eradicated, when faith has given place to knowledge, when the cherished dogmas, relating to immortal life, have disappeared, then on the cleared field the new temple will be reacted, its foundations, not figuratively but actually resting on the granite robes of the material world, and its spire piercing the ethereal sphere of spiritual forces.
In this light the doctrine of evolution has a new and significant meaning. The toil of nature through the past ages, her struggle for the best, cumulating in man as a centerstance of all elements and forces of the material world, has perfect fruitage. There is no termination to his progress, for where it ceases in the material being it commences in the spiritual, into which state is carried all the noble aims and purposes of mortal life for infinite unfoldment.
On this basis we rest our knowledge of the future. By investigation we shall arrive at the laws controlling communion with the departed, and have the blessed assurance of the presence of the dear ones who have passed beyond the shadow of death and the sweet consciousness of the immortality of their friendship and love.
- The Scientific Aspect of Spiritualism by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 9, November 4, 1875, p. 97