Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

now."

had been adduced on behalf of anything many such, provided care is taken to diswhich falls within the limits of that ex. criminate between the fact and the matter tremely limited and conventional standard or quality of such communications, of which called probability, which is founded upon quality we shall have more to say subsecommon experience, it would have been quently. But what we more especially dedeemed superfluously replete, and altogether precate is the denial which some minds proprimâ facie and conclusive. “La Place says, ceed to give to any new, or apparently new, in his · Essay on Probabilities,' that “any thing which conflicts with their opinions or case, however apparently incredible, if it be prejudices, and in regard to which they a recurrent case, is as much entitled, under are wont to assume impossibility or extreme the laws of induction, to a fair valuation, as improbability, and so foreclose any investiif it had been more probable beforehand.' gation of the subject or evidence of the fact. Now no one will deny that the case in ques- That which we conceive to be wanting in tion possesses this claim to investigation. connexion with the amount and variety of Determined sceptics may, indeed, deny that the testimony on behalf of the fact of those there exists any well-authenticated instances spiritual communications for which we con

but that, at present, can only be tend, is a rational and consistent theory å mere matter of opinion; since many per- accounting for them on well-understood sons as competent to judge as themselves principles, or at least principles capable of maintain the contrary; and in the mean time being understood by the competent mind we arraign their right to make this objection making the necessary exertion, and consistent till they have qualified themselves to do so with itself, with the facts, and with divine by a long course of patient and honest revelation, which latter element, we have inquiry; always remembering that every in- seen, is certainly in favour of the possibility stance of error or imposition discovered and of such facts; and we are not aware that any adduced has no positive value whatever in arguments can be adduced from it to show the argument but as regards the single the improbability of their occurrence instance ; though it may enforce upon us the We purpose, therefore, to endeavour to submit necessity of strong evidence and careful in such a theory to our readers; and in order to vestigation." We would not, however, by do this it will be necessary to premise some these remarks be supposed to deny that in general information as to the constitution stinctive reserve the mind of man generally and nature of the spiritual universe --of its manifests towards new facts, the origin of connexion with the natural universe,--and which it cannot discover, and the bearings of of the relation in which man stands to both which it cannot at once foresee; on the con- | worlds. trary, we believe that this natural conser- First. We have scriptural authority for vatism of disposition subserves important the opinion that the spiritual universe is uses in his connexion, since it prevents the composed of three grand divisions, viz., sudden adoption of opinions which might heaven, the final abode of the blessed; hell

, result in the utter subversion of those prin- the final abode of the lost, and hades, or the ciples which are the mainstay of his moral spirit-world, the receptacle of recentlynature and influence his actions in life, and departed souls. As some of our readers so leave him at the mercy of all those elements may not be disposed, at first, to admit the which bring temptation and ruin of soul; not definite existence of this last-named division that we see that any danger could possibly of the spiritual universe, it may be necessary result from the full and free admission of the to vindicate its reality, especially as it is facts of spiritual communications, the pos- important to our theory, as being that part sibility and probability of which we might of the spiritual universe with which, we hold, reasonably expect would be conceded by a communications are made. This may be community in possession of and avowed sub- done both from scripture and reason.

1. We mission to the contents of such a book as the have evident intimations throughout scripBible, which is itself a divine or spiritual ture of a spiritual abode, or state, which is communication, and contains the record of neither heaven nor hell. Thus, throughout

the Old Testament the Hebrew word shrol, which in the English Bible is sometimes

*

• Mrs. Croie.

[ocr errors]

translated "the grave," and sometimes “hell,” | the spiritual world—is so wholly divested of is now generally allowed by the learned to good, derived from the knowledge of truth signify the state or abode of the recently- and of natural affections, as to be fit for departed spirit, prior to its consignment to immediate consignment to hell. Therefore its final destination; although it is imagined, we conclude to the existence of an interregardless of the high character of the mediate state, or common receptacle of descriptures as the word of God, that this parted spirits, where one class-viz., those might be an accommodation of language to principled in good—are prepared for heaven; the prejudices of the Jewish nation. The and the other class—viz., those principled in same signification primarily attached to the evil—for hell. It is in this world that the Greek word hades, which literally means the judgment is pronounced on the “servants” unseen world, but is always translated hellto whom “talents” are committed, which it in the New Testament, where, without doubt, is easy to see includes the whole human it usually signifies the ultimate destination race. “ Take from him the pound, and give of the wicked, although, as a common word it unto him who hath ten pounds in use at the time of the establishment of for I say unto you, that unto every one which Christianity, it certainly signified the imme- hath shall be given; and from him that hath diate receptacle of departed spirits in general, not, even that he hath shall be taken away and is used in this evident sense in many from him.” contemporaneous writings, as well secular as Secondly. We come to speak of the conreligious. A notorious instance is furnished nexion between the natural and spiritual in the passage of the Apostles' Creed, “ He spheres. The three postulates of the true descended into hell (hades),” where it is philosophy of created existence are:-1, admitted on all hands that the place of - Everything is derived from something prior punishment is not signified. But there are to itself;" 2, “ Existence is perpetual subseveral direct recognitions in the New Tes- sistence;" 3,“ Sustentation (or preservation) tament of a state or abode of departed spirits is perpetual creation.” To these we may which is both intermediate and transitory, as add two others, namely, “Motion is derived 1 Peter iii. 18, 19: Rev. vi. 9—11. Also primarily from life;" and “Creation is variety compare Acts ii. 31, with Psa. xvi. 10; Eph. in unity.” Whatever system ignores or denies iv. 9, with Psa. lxiii. 9. 2. Reason alone any of these primary principles of derived might lead us to conclude to an intermediate existence, is either idolatrous, as deifying sphere, situated, as it were, between heaven matter, or it is atheistical, as denying the and hell, and in a certain manner related to only true God, “in whom we live, and move, both. The soul of man is his life-principle- and have our being." The grand conclusion the real man, which is the subject of affec- from these postulata is, that the whole of tions and thoughts, from which result actions, creation is connected together, and with its the material body being merely the organ or divine Author, by relations analogous to those medium whereby he exists and operates on which exist between end, cause, and effect. the material world; hence nature or moral From this, again, we derive such principles character attaches to the soul, and is he ; as influx, correspondence, order, and use. nor does natural death destroy the identity, Influx is the inflowing of the creative and since it merely results in translating the operative energy of Deity. Correspondence soul, or man-spirit, into the spiritual world. is the adaption, or answering to, produced Now, we know that no man attains to so by this influx, on the principle that "like perfect a nature as to be wholly free from begets like.” But, since all emanation from errors imbibed, or evil habits contracted, the Deity must necessarily be into a sphere during his natural life, and we have seen beneath him, the likeness begotten will be that these results attach to the soul or spirit not of the same nature, but analogous thereto, as the real essential man; hence he is not fit and the sphere will constitute an order or to be immediately translated to that state of degree, which, coming to be the medium or perfect society we understand by heaven. instrumental cause for a still further outward On the other hand, no man while living in emanation of creative energy from the Deity, the world— hence, neither at the termination which results in the production of an ultimate of natural life, nor at his first entrance into sphere or degree, and that relation which the

ensues.

former degree sustains in regard to the ulti- | universal law, viz., that sensation should be mate, viz., as the medium or instrumental manifested in the ultimates of being. Thus cause is what we mean by use, which every the body is conscious of pain at its ultimate being or thing, from Deity down to the parts, although the brain, an internal part, smallest material atom, sustains, and this in is the seat of bodily sensation. If our finger threefold character or degree, viz., end, is pricked, we feel the pain in the finger, cause, and effect. Thus everything is a centre although, if the nerve which connects the of uses; being, in the first place, an effect of finger with the brain be divided, no sensation a prior cause; next, as cause in relation to a

Just so it is with man, who, while posterior effect; and, lastly, the end for which in the body, is sensible only of bodily existà posterior cause and a postreme effect is ence; but when he is divested of this body, called forth;—and thus creation is a chain and his spiritual body becomes the ultimate of uses, each in three degrees, which results of his existence, he is then aware of spiritual in correspondence or analogy throughout all presence. This explains the higher phenothe orders or degrees of creation, the Deity mena of mesmerism or clairvoyance, in which himself being the grand end and cause of all state the body is, as it were, partially sepathings, his emanation producing, in the first rated from the spirit and in a state of somplace, a spiritual sphere, and through this nambulism, whence ensues a sort of imperfect the natural sphere, which thus corresponds spiritual existence for the time being. This with its proximate cause, while the ultimate duality of existence is also necessary for the or most perfect effect of creation in both formation of moral character in connexion spheres is that in which the divine ends are with man. Moral character is the peculiar accomplished. This ultimate effect is MAN, attribute and predicate of the soul; and, in in whose nature and organization all the order to its evolution, apperception of, and orders of creation are collocated, and to whose freedom of determination to, moral good and use all things in the natural and spiritual evil, is necessary. Now, these desiderata spheres respectively, for his body and soul, can only exist by the influx of spiritual light are proximately or remotely subservient, and into the “mind's eye" and the influx of life who in his integrity is “ an image and like into the soul; but the latter influx-namely, ness” of Deity.

of life-must not be of a determinate chaThis leads us, in the third place, to remark racter, such as would flow immediately from on the relations in which man stands to both God, or mediately through heaven or hell, spheres. Being composed of two natures— since in such a case man would be a mere spiritual and natural, soul and body, he machine, acting out good or evil according must necessarily, and in accordance with to the nature of the influent life. Hence the those laws of created existence we have necessity for his insertion in the spiritalready indicated, be a denizen of both world, or intermediate sphere and common spheres, and this simultaneously; for material receptacle of both good and bad spirits, elements cannot sustain a spiritual nature, through whom he can receive influx, and and “existence is perpetual subsistence;" where in virtue of the opposite spheres, hence he must derive his spiritual sustenance derived mediately from heaven and hell, he from the spiritual world, which can only be is in an equilibrium, and where, in virtue of by his being a denizen of that world. Nor this equilibrium, he possesses free determiis there anything to create astonishment in nation of volition and action. this dual existence, since we have seen that We will now present our readers with an the spiritual world is related to the natural extract, which in some measure confirms and as a cause to its effect. Now, the effect is developes our preceding remarks, and which in the cause, though out of it; just so the has the advantage of being conceived from a spiritual world is in the natural, though out scientific stand-point. Moreover, it will lead of it; and man's thoughts and affections, naturally to the conclusions we wish to which are in his body and affect it, occupy establish on the more immediate point at no space therein, and yet they are his spiri- issue:tual part, and the most real facts of his con- “As we find that the body is not a mere sciousness. Not to be conscious of this simple uncompounded substance, but a coldual existence is quite in accordance with a lection of innumerable parts and organs, o

[ocr errors]

by parity of reasoning we may conclude that rock, because more unchanging and more the mind or spiritual body, as the parent enduring. and director of the natural body, cannot be “Now, viewing the spiritual organism of that simple entity, that abstract nothingness, man as consisting of two distinct degrees, so generally represented by metaphysical called by the apostle the pneuma and psyche, writers; but rather that the controller of the or as possessing both a spiritual internal human organism must be itself organized, and external together, forming, while in this according to the laws of its own peculiar mortal life, the common internal of the nanature, and capable of manifesting those tural organism, the PSYCHE or ANIMUS will laws, under certain circumstances, through be the connecting medium between the pure those organs of the body, that is, of the brain human spirit and the nervous system of the and nervous system, which are united to it natural body. By its connexions, through by the law of correspondent activity and correspondence and natural affinity, with the connexion. St. Paul, therefore, spoke the body, it is placed in relations with outward language of the profoundest philosophy when nature; while as a spiritual entity, and by he declared that there were spiritual bodies its indissoluble union with the higher spiriand natural bodies, and that the natural tual principle, it has at the same time imbody was the first in its development, and mediate connexion with the spirit-world ; afterwards the spiritual body; and when, on and because it is a subject of the lower, and another occasion, he defined the human or possesses the properties of that world, which ganism, as existing here, to be compound of have nothing in common with time, space, or * spirit, soul, and body;' in this respect giving common matter, it displays those powers his apostolic sanction to the doctrine of the which can be explained by no merely natural ancient sages of Greece. The two first terms or physiological knowledge, but which receive used by the apostle to describe the spiritual easy, rational, and satisfactory solution when part of man are, in the original Greek, man is really seen to be that which revelaPneuma and Psyche ; and the latter term, tion, philosophy, and the statements of true which in our version of the scriptures is, in clairvoyants, declare him to be, namely, a the passage alluded to, translated soul, is by compound of spiritual and natural organisms, the Latin writers called "animus;' and this intimately related by the exactest corresponterm is always used to signify the animal dence or analogy; and that although the soul as distinguished from the pneuma, or lower or natural organism cannot act without more interior human spirit.

the continued influence of the higher or “And here it will be well to remark, that spiritual organism; nor can the spiritual no truth is more evident to sound, natural organism be developed without the medium inquiry, than that the Creator has given to of the natural one; yet when developed the every part of his handiwork specific cha- higher organism can act, not only by and racter; and that, from the Creator to the through the lower organism, but even indelowest inert matter, there exists a chain of pendently, and when disconnected with it."* DEGREES; and that each object of creation We have already said that we consider the can only be well and truly studied by view- higher phenomena of mesmerism as in some ing it in its own degree, and comparing it sort the converse of communication of spirits with objects in another degree.

with the natural world. The state of a By no process can matter be sublimed into clairvoyant may be aptly compared to partial spirit; and spirit having, according to apos- death, whereby there is a closing of the tolic authority and the general law of an vlogy natural external body, and a consequent observable in all things, its distinctions and transfer of the sensational perception from degrees, the properties of a lower degree the ultimate of the body to the ultimate of may not apply to a higher one. True phi- the spirit, and thence and simply from the losophy also teaches, that if spirit in no transfer of ultimates (according to what we degree is material—that is, does not possess have advanced as to the ultimates of being, those properties which we apply to ponder- the seat of sensation, though not its source) able matter-still it is no less on that account a truly real and substantial exist- Magnetism ; considered Physiologically and Phi

*“Somnolism and Psycheism, otherwise Vital ence; more truly substantial than the granite losophically." By Josh. W. Haddock.

66

arises an awakening of the conscious sensa- | agency. Yet, in accepting the recital of the tional perception of the inner man, or spirit. facts there given as true, which, from the In other words, the man is then partially in high character of the publication alone, we the spiritual world, and conscious of its phe- should have no hesitation in doing, it appears nomena; “but the connexion of the mind to us, as it appeared to a Rev. Mr. Hammond, and body is yet sufficient to enable the soul's whose testimony is given (p. 194), that it sight and feeling to be manifested to our would“ require a greater stretch of credulity" physical senses, by and through the natural to opine collusion, “than it would to believe organism of a clairvoyant.” Now, a disem- that it was the work of spirits.” bodied spirit bas, by its separation, no sen- We conclude this somewhat lengthy article sation or apperceptional knowledge of the with a few words as to the quality of the natural sphere, since it has no organs for this communications” we firmly believe are made result; but all that is required in its case is by spirits. We have seen that these spirits a subject, which, as a “medium,” may con- are the denizens of a world which is the join him for the time to the natural sphere, common receptacle of departed souls; as such whereby he can become cognizant of space, they may be either good or evil, and their time, locality, and objects, in this lower communications" true or false. This conworld. The unition of a spirit with its sideration alone is sufficient to put us on our "medium" we apprehend to be of a similar guard; but we suspect that these same spirits, character to that of a mesmerizer and his who display an evident complacency in their patient in some of the higher stages of mes- communicating functions, and require no merism, when the consciousness of the one very potent incantation to summons them to becomes blended with the consciousness of the presence of their interrogators, are by no the other; and thus a spirit comes into the means the highest of their class. Their tenuse of the memory of his “medium,” and so dency being worldward, it is probable that has facilities for understanding the language their affections are thitherward also; and of the circle among whom he is acting; and this, we take it, is no very recommendatory hence, too, the facility for communication by trait in a spirit's character. In short, while “rapping” out the letters of the alphabet. we think their “communications” might be As regards the modus operandi of the “rap- of service to science, in that department of it pings,” we have seen no more plausible or which has been named the “metaphysics of satisfactory explanation than that purported science,” we should strongly deprecate any to be a “communication" of a spirit itself in attempt either to form or confirm any system explanation of its presence:-"The sounds of doctrine from their authority. Principles are, to a certain extent, produced by the are ngs of the soul; and, once adopted control which invisible spiritual beings have and acted out in life, they are inherent, and over the electrical mediums of the nervous must accompany the soul as its qualifying system.”

characteristics after natural death has freed We apprehend it will be unnecessary for it from this lower sphere. Especially is this us to enter into any detail as to the facts of the case with religious principles, which “spirit rapping," since the numerous cases, affect the inmost nature of the soul; and the extensive spread, and the sameness of consequently religious persuasions must be, character of the “rappings,” render it ex- of all others, most permanent. What, then, tremely probable that all our readers are shall we look for in the perorations of the cognizant of instances in point. We would, “communicating” spirits but the doctrines however, direct their special attention to a of their own persuasions, enforced, it may be, series of papers in “ Chambers' Edinburgh with a more subtle mode of argumentation Journal;” they occur in Nos. 482, p. 193; 490, and an assumption of authoritative judgp. 321; 493, p. 383. The evidence there ment? Indeed, most of the sects have already detailed as to the “rappings" is valuable, had their creeds and principles confirmed since, although the facts are given with all from this source. This speaks for itself, and the fulness, candour, and freedom from lands us on the apostolic injunction, “Prove colouring, which we could wish or expect, all things, and hold fast that which is good; there is still an evident disinclination from “ Try the spirits, whether they be of God.” first to last to admit the spirituality of the

BENJAMIN.

« AnteriorContinuar »