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vol. 3, p. 209
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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< The Doctrine of Re-incarnation (continued from page 3-208) >

spheres of spiritual existence, the scenery, houses, occupation, and destiny of the human soul, the nature of God, See.

In all these descriptions, not one word of Re-incarnation is ever hinted at; on the contrary, when believers, or possibly mere questioners on that subject, asked the communicating spirits whether it was a truth, or if the soul was ever again reborn in mortal clay, the answer of every spirit through every somnambulist, was invariably and emphatically in the negative. Some spirits, and especially those who had been for centuries in the spheres, or “in Heaven,” (as the phrase went), laughed at the idea of Re-incarnation, argued against its possibility, and wondered why mortals would cherish such a ridiculous and unnatural theory. Like the great majority of the spirits who have subsequently communicated in the American outpouring, the intelligence, through Cahagnets’ Ecstatics, taught that all knowledge came from the spheres of spirit life through inspiration; that progress was amply provided for in the spheres, and could be far better ultimated there, than on earth.

Not to elaborate farther on this one point of testimony, let us recall the teachings of Dr. Justinus Kerner's Ecstatics and we shall find them exactly tb the sme purpose. Similar views are propounded through the inspirations of Madame Hauffe, the celebrated Seeress of Prevorst, and lastly, when the spirits in America gave their first communications, and that to the most receptive, unbiased, and therefore reliable media of the day,—they taught universally, one mortal life and death for all; progress through the spirit spheres even for the very lowest and most degraded of souls. They frequently brought spirits to circles for teaching, and with a view of aiding them to progress. They constantly related the results of these progressions, and gladdened our hearts with narratives of progressive lives in which the spirits were represented as having undergone ages of experience in the spirit spheres, before the consummation of purification and happiness could be attained.

Let it be remembered that in our first communications with spirits we were far more critical in demanding tests and analyzing evidence than we are at present. Without citing farther authority, therefore, we who are Spiritualists, have the right to assume that Modern Spiritualism in its purest, most demonstrable and reliable phases, is a complete refutation of the assumptions of the Re-incarnationists, and without applying the scalpel knife of criticism to the many fallacies they teach, it is enough to say they pretend that the spirits know nothing and can learn nothing in the spheres, and have to be born again on earth to gain knowledge no less than to achieve happiness, that their temporary residences in spirit life are passed in spheres of erracticity or wandering, where they only know enough to learn they must be horn again before they can advance one step farther. Comment on such a theory as this, in the light of our modern spiritual revelation is unnecessary.

It is almost humiliating to think that such stuff shall be put forth among our spiritual literature, enunciated from spiritual rostrums, and remain uncontradicted by writers on the spiritual philosophy, for fear of offending somebody, or stepping on some eminent Spiritualist's favorite corn. The history of civilization is the history of Inspiration. Poetry, painting, music, sculpture, the martyrs of religious history, the heroes of national history, all providential lives owe their genius, beauty, and strength to the light of Inspiration; and when inspiration comes from the earth to the spirit world, instead of from the spirit world to the earth, we may believe that the sun of our solar system derives his resplendent beams from the shimmer of our street gas lamps, and borrows the flicker of earth’s tallow candles to feed the immensity of his realms of flaming glory!

In some future article I shall revert to this subject as an additional evidence of the folly—nay, the manifest injury— which Spiritualists perpetrate when they suffer their great and glorious revelation to be drifted about by the winds of idle, theoretical speculation; and that for fear the sovereign individuality of some great I, should be hurt by the presumption that Spiritualism needs any other definition or limit than his or her opinion. Already we have seen every folly under the sun, even vice and rude obscenity, thrust before the community under the garb of that Spiritualism which should be synonymous with purity; and now we are to see it mistaken for a mass of stuff more abhorent in many of its teachings than the demonic theories of Calvinism. Is it not time that we should begin to understand what Spiritualism is not, as well as what it is? Hasten true Spiritualists to the rescue, if you would be found worthy of the high and exalted privilege of ranking as soldiers in that army which does battle against folly, fanatacism, vice, and error, with the sword of Truth forged in Heaven, and lent by angels to mortals in the shape of Spiritualism.

Spiritualist Services in Churchyard

Spiritualist Services in Churchyard.—Mr. A. Klamborowski, of Tincleton, Dorchester, writes, in a recent number of The National Church, against the delivery in churchyards of funeral services by those who are not Episcopalians, and quotes in support of his view parts of a speech by Dr. Hitchman, of Liverpool, made soon after the death of a brother Spiritualist. Mr. Klamborowski says:—“Standing by the resting-place of the dead, this gentleman purposed to say, ‘Mr. Welch, the ‘ordained’ chaplain of Anfield Cemetery, now reading stereotyped prayers at the adjacent receptacle for dust and ashes, may reiterate his theological parables to the end of-time. Spiritualists, and Spiritualists alone, possess the key of their mysteries, or the ethereal instrument that unlocks the door of the ‘Spiritual Temple.’ Speaking in consecrated ground, Mr. Hitchman intended to pour out the vials of his bitter scorn upon the very notion of consecration. He would, had he had the opportunity, have cried, ‘Consecrated ground! Why not ask benediction of atmospheric elements? Angels and ministers of grace defend us! Are Spiritualists henceforth to believe that the Lord created the earth and then left man to consecrate it? I trow not.’ But the ‘Doctor’ can bless as well as denounce. The Spiritualist, like the materialist, seems to have his wiser and better moments, and this is one of the new and revised gospels for prohibiting the preaching of which in God’s acre churchmen are at once lovingly warned and fiercely threatened by Nonconformists, who are so much more pure and liberal than themselves, ‘I would rather say,’ shouts the ‘Doctor’ in the Medium, ‘instead of “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,” blessed are the living, either in the body of matter or that of spirit—who live in the truth of God, morally and scientifically, by acting in obedience to those laws of nature which are the Scriptures of Divine Philosophy, whether found in the works of Darwin, Huxley, and Tyndall, the Vedas revealed directly to Brahma, the Zendavesta of the Persians, the Koran of Mohammed, the Pentateuch of the Hebrews, or the sayings and doings of Zoroaster, Socrates, Plato, and Confucius — nay, the alleged “miracles” of Christ Himself.’ Which, Sir, of the numerous sects into which Nonconformity is split would tolerate such blasphemous balderdash within their own unconsecrated chapel-yards?”

Serious Danger Averted by a Spirit Message

To the Editor of “The Spiritualist.”

Sir,— As some proof of Spiritualism to the sceptic who would he more or less staggered by the extraordinary case now raging against Dr. Slade, will you give me a small space in your valuable paper for trustworthy circulation?

For the past month I have been very ill from bronchitis, and unable to leave my bed, when one evening my daughter (Lady L.) came to say good-night, with her baby in her arms, and, just as she kissed me, I heard distinctly the spirit voice of my husband say, “Tell her to wait, and you get up and go down first; do, do.” I, from postexperience, knowing that there was some danger imminent to this his favourite child, begged her to sit down and wait, which she most reluctantly consented to, as she feared the exposure to me in going through the cold air. But I got up, and being very weak I took rather longer to dress, and when I did go down, the moment I entered the bed-room a fearful crash sounded. On looking up there I saw more than twelve feet of the ceiling had fallen right on the bed. Any one piece of the mortar might have killed both mother and child. Now, I wonder if Mr. Maskelyne can do this; or can he explain where the voice came from uttering the same language used by one loved too dearly to be ever mistaken? No one can say “imagination,” for a severe bronchial cough leaves no room for stick pastime, and one would require an Eastern imagination to fancy the ceiling coming down; so, will the Lankesters, and Donkins, and Maskelynes explain this, and give their explanation publicly through your paper? If they succeed with this, I will promise to give them dozens of such experiences, which might somewhat dematerialize their self-confidence, and lack of courtesy to those so far progressed in their knowledge of the importance of the use and abuse of life here.

Charlotte Anderson.

Campbell House, Sandown, Isle of Wight, Oct. 30th, 1876.

Editor's notes

  1. Spiritualist Services in Churchyard by unknown author, London Spiritualist, No. 195, May 19, 1876, p. 239
  2. Serious Danger Averted by a Spirit Message by Anderson, Charlotte, London Spiritualist, No. 219, November 3, 1876, p. 166. To the Editor of The Spiritualist