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vol. 3, p. 197
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)
Drift Wood 
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Swedenborg`s Philosophy of the Soul

In “Statement of Reasons for embracing the Doctrines and Disclosures of Emanuel Swedenborg,” Rev. George Bush says;—

“Here, then, is Swedenborg’s philosophy of the Soul. It is no other than the man himself, in the essential elements of his nature, to which the material body is a mere temporary appendage, designed to enable it to accomplish its appropriate uses in a material world. The soul lives as the pervading, animating principle, in every the minutest part of the body; and, to use a homely expression, is to it what the concealed man within is to the Automaton Chess-player. And what is there, I may ask, in this view, to which the most enlightened mind can object? Whether tried by the touch-stone of reason or revelation, does it not command itself by its intrinsic rationality and probability? Are we not conscious of a secret intuition that it must be so from the very laws of our being? When we think, without reference to a creed, of our departed friends and relatives, do we not instinctively think of them as existing as perfect men and women, and in the form which they wore on earth? And in this fact do we not read the triumph of inborn perception over outward dogmatic teaching? Death, according to this view, is merely the laying aside of the garment of flesh, from which man emerges to his true and only resurrection — the resurrection of the spirit into the world of spirits.

We should but ill requite them to constrain
Their unbound spirits into bonds again.

Of what conceivable use can be the mouldered fabric of dust to the emancipated soul? Why should its vesture of light ever be exchanged for the dull robe of quickened clay? It has a body suited to the sphere in which it dwells. Does it need another any more than the winged papilio needs the reptile tenement in which it grovelled on the earth? How dreary, compared with this, is the view which has obtained currency in Christendom, that man exists as a pure, formless spirit, in the invisible world for an indefinite tract of ages, till, at what is called the last day,—the final consummation, —the disembodied spirit is again to be united with the laid- off tabernacle of flesh, and in this body to abide forever? This is, doubtless, the prevalent idea of the resurrection and the future life, received from the apprehended import of the Scriptures, when yet the Scriptures are capable of an interpretation that fully accords with Swedenborg’s statements on these points. The process of fair exposition brings us to the same results with those of the actual asserted revelation made to him in that world where the truth is realized in existent facts. The phenomena which he beheld in that world, are the very ones which he ought to have beheld, provided the Scriptures in their true meaning are true.”

Testimonial to W.H. Harrison

We are glad to see that English Spiritualists are getting up a liberal testimonial as an expression of their sense of the services to Spiritualism of Mr. W. H. Harrison, the able and persevering editor of the London Spiritualist. This was the first weekly paper of any account issued in England in support of Spiritualism. Mr. Harrison relinquished profitable work on the “Engineer" newspaper, and other scientific publications in order to give the best part of his time to Spiritualism. No one has served it more faithfully, or at greater sacrifice of personal interests. It looks as if the proposed testimonial would be a grand success. The list of subscribers has been headed by several who have put down their names for fifty pounds each. We hope there may be those in America, who will be disposed to help on the good work. The Spiritualist is invaluable to the Cause, as it is not only conducted with great discretion, liberality, and care, but with every evidence of scholarship and scientific culture o« the part of the editor. The absence of all oppressive personalities from its columns, is one of its most commendable features.

<Untitled> (M. Aksakoff intends to visit England in September)

M. AksakofT intends to visit England in September, in company with Professor Butlerow. The latter gentleman will first visit Grata. M. AksakofT is now in the tillage of Krohofka, Government of Samara, Russia.

The Writing Mediumship of a Baby

I think it may interest you to be furnished with the particulars of the remarkable fact of writing by a medial child only nine days old. To me the corroborative evidence furnished by Baron Seymour Kirkup is of exceptional interest; for you may recollect that I published last year an account of what had happened in my own home, the writing medium being my little boy, then only five months and a few days old.

The letter to me from Baron Kirkup, of Leghorn, furnishing the interesting information, is accompanied by photographs of the writing, the proces verbal of the witnesses, seven in number, and a very beautiful photograph of the spirit-form of the baby’s grandmother, the well-known “Regina.” We have in this, instance medial powers descending from mother to daughter and grand-daughter—facts opposed to the theory which I ventured to suggest in the paper I read at the Dalston Institute of Spiritualists, that mediumship docs not belong to families, that it comes and goes, governed by laws we as yet but little understand. The letter of Baron Kirkup, so far as it bears upon the facts I am dealing with, is as follows:

“My daughter was a medium when two years old. and saw spirits; she is now twenty-one, and her daughter was a writing medium at nine days old. I have preserved her letter, and will send you a photograph. Four spirits had promised to make the infant write to enforce some advice they had given me. It was a seven-month's child, and smaller than usual. Her mother held it on a cushion on her arm, and in the other hand a large book, with a sheet of paper on it; a pencil was put into the child’s hand by an invisible agent, and Valentina (the child) held it dagger fashion. It first wrote the initials of the four spirits, namely, R. A. D. I., when the pencil was dropped, and I thought it was over. The spirits were Regina, Annias, Dante, and Isacco. My daughter Imogen (called Bibi) exclaimed “She has got the pencil again,” and she wrote in a rambling manner over the former writing these words, ‘Non mutare questa e buona prova fai cosa ti abbiamo detto addio.” You will distinguish it all in the photograph. I likewise made a proces verbal, which I send you. The child went into the country the next day, by advice of the spirits, to nurse, but we sent for her back again to try for a photograph, as I knew a medium photographist. We went to him, and I tried to make the child take the pencil, but she threw it away, and I send you the portrait as it is, with the child not writing, but it contains the figure of the child's grandmother, the famous Regina, who died twenty years ago at the age of nineteen, a perfect likeness, but too dark, owing to transparency over a dark ground. Bibi is very like, and the infant too.”

I cannot conceal that the particulars stated in the letter have given me unfeigned pleasure. Whenever new facts arise, startling in their nature, it is but natural that doubts should be suggested: the repetition only of them, under different circumstances, can lift the isolated fact into the nature of an accepted truth. Infantine writing is of so rare occurrence, that any well-authenticated record is of value. Apart, however, front the unusual character of these phenomena, they merit earnest attention. Certainly the brain cerebration and the psychic theories do not aid us in understanding the laws which regulate their productions. The thoughts of a child nine days, or even live months, old, could not be its thoughts, if possessed of faculties which only maturer age and a higher state of development can command. Who, then, influenced the hand of the baby child? No other theory indeed, solves the difficulty save that of a spiritual, intelligent being operating through the instrumentality of the hand and nervous system of the child, controlling the motor nerves of the infant, and producing the writing. If through the instrumentality of your valuable journal public attention was drawn- to the importance of other instances being known. I feed certain that valuable facts, corroborative of those I have not hesitated to place before the public, will be furnished to you.

<Untitled> (“Land and Water” says that)

Land and Water” says that the shrubs which supply the nobles of Japan with tea are reported to be five hundred years old, the tea grown on old plants being the best.

Editor's notes

  1. image by unknown author
  2. Swedenborg`s Philosophy of the Soul by Bush, George Rev., Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 24, August 19, 1875, p. 285
  3. Testimonial to W.H. Harrison by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 25, August 26, 1875, p. 291
  4. M. Aksakoff intends to visit England in September by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 25, August 26, 1875, p. 291
  5. The Writing Mediumship of a Baby by Jencken, Henry D., M.R.I., Barrister–at–Low, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 11, May 20, 1875, p. 123
  6. “Land and Water” says that by unknown author