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constitution of our nature (says W. G. D.) one who should ridicule the simple to-and-fro we cannot receive this motive power (influx) motion of the piston-rod in the steam engine, without being aware of it,” (by the effect or which nevertheless actuates complicated, the cause?) " and as we were never aware of beautiful, and powerful machinery. Furit, we must infer to us it never came.” We, ther, he asks why the communications are however, ascribe those “motive powers” of not of a more decided character. This may our being-affection and thought, to the influx be satisfactorily accounted for. According of spiritual life and light, acting as the cause to his own saying, spirits are “immaterial;" principle, into the organic constitution of they are denaturalized; and we may conman, as the cause instrumental, whence re- clude, from analogy, that they are as incogsults volition and reflection. Our opponent nizant, in ordinary, of the whereabout of is more humble in the former part of his nature and the natural world, as we are of production. He there exclaims, “What spirits and the spiritual world. Now no one know we of the range of material agencies?" has attempted to deny that the communicaand professes to be aware “ how little it is tions under notice are of an exceptional and that man knows." Now, if there is one sub- abnormal character. We believe that they ject more than another which, by its occult- are permitted—not provided — by Proviness, has baffled the intellect, skill, and dence. Benjamin” has already submitted experience of man to explain, it is this very a reason why the communications should not “constitution of our nature,” in an assumed be of so obvious a nature as to force a conaccordance with which W. G. D. has so con- viction of their spiritual agency on "all fidently pronounced against our philosophy, doubters and deniers.” He has also shown with what probability of correctness we leave why a "medium” is necessary, in order to our readers to judge.
determine a spirit's cognizance and effectiveW. G. D. is merely tentative in regard to ness to the natural sphere. All these partithe main point at issue, as to the fact of culars point to the necessarily rudimentary "Communications being now made to Man character of communications made under the from a Spiritual World." He questions the circumstances; and W. G. D. ought to be manner and matter of the communications; satisfied in regard to the matter. That but leaves the facts unaccounted for. To " communication,” which“ Benjamin” has such an aspect we might oppose the “stub- 1 given, purporting to be the bona fide producborn” facts, resting confidently in the opinion tion of a “rapping spirit,” and accounting in that they will baffle the ingenuity of W. G.D.,, part for the “modus operandi of the rapor any of the same mind, to account for pings,” has also come under our own notice, them satisfactorily on any other theory than and we suspect our friend has only seen an that of spiritual agency:
It is easy to be a abridgment of the original, which is more questioner and a quibbler; and if we enter- ample in its details. We shall here give it in tain any of W. G. D.'s questionings, it will extenso, as it appears in an American periodibe more than the spirit in which they are cal now before us: The sounds are, to a made deserves.
certain extent, produced by the control which We may here remark, that we are saved invisible spiritual beings have over the elecany speculations as to the benefits which trical mediums of the nervous system. The may accrue from those spiritual communica- usual mode of producing the sounds is by the tions known as the “rappings.” It is now capacity which spirits have, by an effort of a matter of history that thousands have the will, to disturb the imponderable agents, been rescued from a state of doubt and which pervade the objects and the localities denial
, in regard to the first truths of reli- where the sounds are heard.” gion, by their agency; and who can estimate Benjamin” has said “the rappings' the benefits which may result from bringing alone of all other species of communications even a single soul into a state of recognizance presumed to be going on around us, profess in regard to those higher motives and inte- to be communications from spirits." To the rests implied in a belief in God and the spi- “ rappings,” however, we beg permission to ritual world. W.G. D. jeers at the “ rap-a- add the ringings” which characterize the tap” nature of the communications. Herein spiritual experience of Mary Elizabeth Squir
as much taste and judgment as rel. We have not space for a detailed
account of this case of spiritual commu- book.* The case takes first rank in the nication, and therefore beg to refer our "evidence to prove that communications are readers to the published account of the now made to man from a spiritual word.” † “Shottisham case,” as placed before the pub
* “Autobiography of Mary Elizabeth Squirrel, lic in a very interesting and instructive of Shottisham," by One of her Watchers.
cacy of truth.
THE stage of enlightenment to which | tural passage that would seem to support the world has now progressed seems to this hypothesis; and the word “ prison” in indicate a speedy termination of the reign this verse is, the Syriac version, rendered of error.
Long has human energy and in “ sepulchres, in the grave," or, according to progress been perverted and crushed be the Rev. Mr. Glen Moncrieff's interpretation, neath the blighting influence of supersti- |“ that the spirit of Christ, in Noah, preached tion and ignorance, and slowly and gradually to those who were in the grave (prison), has the experience and philosophy been when Peter wrote." Still we have the higher acquired which, in some measure, constitute authority of Christ, who distinctly taught man's protection against the snares of error, that there were but two future states of exby which he is so often beset. One of thé istence, separated by an impassable gulf. happy prospects of our age is its increasing The next passage, in Rev. vi. 9-11, repredesire for knowledge and free controversy, senting “ the souls under the altar crying to for by it error is dragged from its strongholds be avenged,” will no more admit of a literal into the light of free discussion, which must interpretation than the “ blood of Abel crying eventually exhibitits feebleness and deformity, to God," which simply means that the prinwhen contrasted with the excellence and efi- ciple of justice being violated, it demanded
that the equilibrium should be restored. In the opening of this question “Benja- The next passage that “Benjamin” refers to min” has described what he imagines to be only tends to disprove his theory-where the nature and the prevalence of scepticism Peter, repeating the prediction of David, viz., relative to spiritual manifestations. This “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor he especially deprecates ; but he after- suffer thine holy one to see corruption :” the wards admits the propriety and importance word here translated "hell” is in Hebrew of an instinctive reserve in the mind towards" sheol,” which signified the grave, or the new facts, the origin and bearings of which state of the dead. But the passage explains we cannot discover. Now, we presume that itself; as the two sentences are paralleled, the scepticism which“ Benjamin” so much implying to be left in hell would be to see complains of does not, as a rule, exceed this corruption, which evidently means the grave. which he has himself justified. We aver Therefore we presume that neither scripture that no conscientious friend of the truth will nor reason leads us to conclude that there is manifest an instinctive reserve towards new any sphere of probation beyond the present., facts, the origin and bearing of which can- And as the existence of this sphere is connot be at once discovered. He will, in such fessedly essential to the truth of the “comcases, suspend his opinions or belief until munications" referred to, it follows that they assume a perceptible form, upon which these communications are neither scriptural judgment can be legitimately exercised; but nor reasonable. fiction has so often been administered in the Benjamin" has further endeavoured to shape of fact-men have so often been de-establish his theory, by informing us that ceived by the marvellous--that the wise are man, when divested of this body, will be properly on guard against easy credulity, aware of spiritual presence; because, while which is more seductive and dangerous than he is in the body, he is only sensible of unbelief itself.
bodily existence.” He previously alludes to In endeavouring to prove from scripture the fact that nerves are essential to sensathe existence of a middle state, called hades, tion, which would be annihilated were these
Benjamin" has alluded to i Pet. iii. 18, nerves divided; and from this infers that 19. Now, this we conceive is the only scrip- man, separated from this nervous and phy
sical system, will be unconscious of material / simply consist in a sympathetic action or objects, but conscious of spiritual presence. influence going on betwixt two individuals, This mode of reasoning is altogether illogi- which is most effectually produced by two cal, being an unqualified attempt to draw a susceptible and similarly constituted minds; positive conclusion from purely negative some, however, are more capable of receiving grounds. Yet it is afterwards stated that these transmissions or impressions, others of this explains the higher phenomena of mes communicating them. But this no more merism, or clairvoyance, in which state the proves that the mind or consciousness of the body is partially separated from the spirit, one becomes blended with that of the other, causing an imperfect spiritual existence for than it proves that the body of the one is the time being. It will be observed, that blended with the body of the other. It is the phenomena here referred to is explained also asserted by “ Benjamin” that“ revelation, by the partial separation of the body from philosophy, and the statements of true clairthe spirit, which is an explanation that is voyants, prove the dual existence of man, or evidently useless, and more mystical in itself that he is a compound of spiritual and natuthan the phenomena to be explained. It is ral organisms.” Now, we are prepared to also ignored by the fact that clairvoyants show that this assertion, so far from being can still speak and hear, which could not proved, can be disproved from these various occur if the mind which operates, and is sources :operated upon, by these physical organs, First. We assert that revelation teaches were separated from them. This explana- us that man is not a compound of two sepation, it will also be found, is fatal to “Ben- rable organisms, but simply one individual jamin's” own theory; as he has stated that being or essence—that death is a total ces"separated spirits have no cognizance of sation of existence for the time being—the space, locality, or material objects, having no life hereafter a second bodily existence. If organs for this result, but are only aware of we establish this position we likewise estabspiritual presence.” Now, according to this lish the impossibility of “ spiritual rappings.” statement, it follows that if clairvoyants were It may also be stated that this position is partially separated spirits (their physical held by many Christians, and not a few sight also being obscured), they must neces- ministers, both in Great Britain and America. sarily be unable to perceive anything but It was defended by Bishop Watson, the spiritual presence; the reverse of which is renowned apologist of the Bible, and by the fact, there being no record of any clair- Bishop Law, in his “ Theory of Religion," voyant having observed aught but material and also by the philosophic Locke and Paley. objects, localities, or persons. It might, also, But to the evidence. here be remarked, that if spirits have no When man was created, we are told that objective perception, their condition must be “ God formed man of the dust of the ground, a melancholy one. In order to explain the and breathed into his nostrils the breath of mode of the “spiritual rappings," " Benja- life, and man became a living soul.” It is min” has also attempted to put mesmerism obvious that the material structure is here under contribution. He says that a “spirit denominated man, and not the mere body, or comes into the use of the memory of his an inferior part of man, and contains no ‘medium' in a similar character to that of a allusions as to man being a compound of two mesmerizer and his patient, when the con- separable organisms, the one mortal and the sciousness of the one becomes blended with other immortal; on the contrary, it is stated the consciousness of the other.” But it un- that man became a living soul by the infufortunately happens for “ Benjamin” that the sion of breath; hence it follows— by implicaconsciousness of the one never does become tion—when man ceases to breathe, his soul blended with that of the other, any more will be again extinct. This is still more than that the sight or the eyes of the expressly stated after the fall
, when Adam one become blended with the eyes of the was addressed by God as follows" In the other. Everyone that is conversant with sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till the phenomena of mesmerism, or any sim- thou return unto the ground; for out of it ple reader of the Zoist will be aware that wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and what are called “ mesmeric transmissions” unto dust shalt thou return." Every unbi
assed mind will here perceive that the pro- plies, if found at all, must be sought for in
“ thou” implied the entire man; but some living subject—some organ or being although this be disputed there will be no- that has life, from which it can no more be thing gained, as "thou” must, in either separated than motion can be separated from case, imply the conscious part of man, as it a moving body, or the agility of an animal cannot be applied to that which is uncon- from the animal itself. scious. It is further stated that man was To assert, as “ Benjamin” has done, that sent out of the garden, lest he should eat of what he designates“ the controller of the the tree of life, and live for ever. Thus it human organism, must be itself organized," is evident that the Mosaic account of man's is equivalent to saying that it is a substance creation is totally irreconcilable with the —that it has parts-otherwise it is an orgasupposition that the conscious part of man nized nothing, which is a contradiction and escapes death, or that it is separable from an impossibility. Being, then, a substance, it the material organization. Hence, we find must be itself human, and part of the human it stated throughout the Bible, when kings organism; instead of two organisms there is, and patriarchs died, that they “ slept with then, but one individual organism. The their fathers;" obviously implying that death extinction of life produces no separation, but was a state of absolute unconsciousness. But simply an alteration; no organ is removed David, to put the question beyond doubt, from the body, neither can there be any says, Psa. clxvi. 4,"“His (man's) breath function, unless it be imagined that funcgoeth forth, he returneth to his earth: in tions are independent of their respective that very day his thoughts perish.” This organs—that effects are independent of their one passage, we presume, might suffice to causes, which would be to suppose chance, demonstrate the fallacy of the communica- and to annihilate the established principles tions" referred to. We shall now refer the of science and philosophy. To assume that reader to Job. xiv. 12; also xxi. 32, 33; life, when extinguished in the body, is not Psa. xlix. 19, 20; Eccles. ix. 5, 6; Dan. entirely extinct for the time being, but is xii. 2. These passages are but a few out of existing in another state or locality, is many that establish the position we have equally as unwarrantable and illogical as to here taken. Benjamin” says that “St. suppose that a candle, when put out, is not Paul spoke the language of the profoundest altogether extinguished, but that the same philosophy when he declared that there were identical light is shining somewhere else. spiritual bodies and natural bodies.” Yes: But as light, heat, electricity, and sound are but unfortunately it was a philosophy emi- exclusively the result of some material pronently fatal to our friend" Benjamin's” no- cess, so also are life, feeling, sensation, and tion. In 1 Cor. xv. 42, we read, “So also thought. Take away from the mind of man is the resurrection of the dead. It (the the operation of the five external senses, the body) is sown in corruption, it is raised in nervous system, and the functions of the incorruption;" ver. 44, "It is sown a natural brain, and all that will be left will be a mere body, it is raised a spiritual body.” It is, empty space-a void. And does “Benjatherefore, obvious that there are no spiritual min” mean to affirm that this is his spiritual bodies until they are raised at the resurrec- organism. It is afterwards asserted by our tion, which entirely ignores the theory of friend that “the spiritual organism is devespiritual rappings.”
loped by the natural one," and to elicit the Secondly. Let us inquire if philosophy whole truth, we add, from the same authodeclares man to be a compound of spiritual rity, that it also decays with the natural and natural organisms. The philosophy of one. If it be a fact that the mind has, froin this subject has amply demonstrated that youth to maturity, gradually developed itself, life, like motion, has no independent or ab- it is not less a fact that from maturity to stract existence; that it is merely a symbol, extreme old age the mind has been gradually representing a certain state or condition of decaying, until it finally becomes imbecile, some material existence, apart from which and unable to understand the simplest sylloneither life, motion, nor any other state or gism, enjoying more the prattle of children quality can have any significance or exist than the most intelligent reasoning. Is it
The condition, then, which life im- not also a fact that the mind becomes dis
eased, as in cases of insanity-or deranged , extract from the “Westminster Review," by intoxication—and that it is for a time page 268:destroyed by a blow on the head, by com- “ If it were true that our poor souls, inpression of the brain, or by apoplexy? And stead of retiring into their rest after the weary yet, in the face of these facts, it is asserted fight of this world, were to be at the beck without the shadow of an argument that and call of every tobacco-squirting ‘loafer' " the mind is more truly substantial than who chooses to constitute himself a medium, the granite-rock, because more unchanging would not those who had any self-respect and more enduring." We might here very sooner become dogs, and perish with our properly say, in the words of Job, “Who is bodies?” Also, page 270:he that darkeneth counsel by words without “Is the world always to be subject to a knowledge?”
recurrence of these mental epidemics or not? " Benjamin" has also stated" that the We believe there is one remedy, and one natural organism cannot act without the only,-early education; by which we mean, continued influence of the higher, or spiritual not mere learning, but discipline and training organism.” We shall here only allude to in the methods of the natural sciences, and one fact to prove the fallacy of this statement the inculcation of inductive babits of mind. --that it is exactly the reverse of the truth. The deductive habit is that which has This fact will also involve the immediate hitherto been almost exclusively cultivated point at issue. The following is related by in our schools and universities; but of what Sir Astley Cooper :
value is it, when we need to sift, not logical A sailor, during an engagement, by conclusions, but the data on which the falling from the yardarm to the deck of a founded. It is notorious that theologians, vessel, received a violent contusion on the lawyers, and mathematicians fall an easy head. All his mental operations were thereby prey to these epidemics; while there is not immediately obliterated. He existed in this the name of a single practical naturalist state (organically alive, but mentally dead) or a physiologist, not a chemist who has for thirteen months, when the ship arrived ever displayed higher faculties than logical at Portsmouth. He was then taken to the acuteness and a good memory, to be found hospital, where it was discovered that a por- amongst the deluded herd.” tion of the cranium was driven in, so as to Neither can it be presumed that these press upon the brain, which was carefully “rappings” are subserving any important raised, and immediately the suspended func- end; on the contrary, it is a fact that their tions of his mind came again into operation, tendency as yet has been to perplex and and the man opened his eyes, and exclaimed, abstract the minds of many from those ob* How goes the action? This case stri. jects that rationally claim their attention. kingly proves the entire dependence of mind They have also been a medium by which the upon physical conditions, and that the na- churches in America have already lost thoutural organism can act wholly independent of sands of their members, and the lunatic asythe influence of the mind, or (according to lums received a considerable accession to “ Benjamin”) the spiritual organism. More- theirs. Therefore, judging of them by their over, it logically proves the impossibility fruits, we are justified in saying that the of “spiritual rappings,” as it shows that tree must be evil and corrupt. And when the mind has no independent action of its mankind assiduously begin to study the
facts of science and the laws of their own Having
now seen that the arguments in internal—and also external-nature, they favour of the “ communications” referred to will then be armed against delusion, and will are fallacious and antenable, we will, in con- no longer be the sport of these distressing clusion, present the reader with the following and frivolous aberrations. HALKET.
Good temper is the philosophy of the heart; a gem in the treasury within, whose rays are reflected on all outward objects; a perpetual sunshine, imparting warmth, light, and life to all within the sphere of its influence.