Another popular Spiritualist paper is The Philosophical Journal. It continually urges that its gospel of Spiritism be tested, and declares it to be the one thing the world needs; and yet it also admits the frauds practiced by the "spirits" upon mediums. It will admit that when detected as "evil spirits," "lying spirits," by misrepresentation, fraud, wicked suggestions or works, arousing the victim to resistance or relief through prayer, evidently the same spirits return as moralists, with reproofs, professions of sympathy and promises of aid in resisting the evil spirits, etc., only to improve the first opportunity of weakness or temptation to break down all resistance of the will and obtain complete possession—obsession. We clip a statement in support of this from its issue of April 22, '97, signed by A. N. Waterman, one of the leading Spiritualist lights. Under the caption, "Real Authorship of Spirit Communications," he says:—
"It appears to me impossible that in this life we can know from whom a spiritual communication from the other world is made. We can have evidence, something like that which we possess in reference to the authorship of a telegram, but no more."
Would people of "sound mind" stake their all, risk an insanity which according to their own accounts is manifold worse in torture than ordinary dementia, and spend their lives trying to get other people to risk their all similarly, when for it all they have no more evidence than goes with a telegram? Would they do so when the bitter experiences of forty years testing had told them that the genuine are at most only as "one grain to a bushel," as one of them has just told us?
No, no; only desperately deluded people would pursue such a course. Evidently as the holy spirit in men produces "the spirit of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7; Prov. 2:6,7), so, on the other hand, the spirit of devils produces the spirit of an unsound mind.
Another letter received recently from Florida, from a brother in Christ, a WATCH TOWER reader, well educated in several languages, informs us concerning some peculiar experiences recently had with these "seducing spirits." He became aware of the presence of invisible spirit beings, and they seemed to manifest a curious interest in his work: he was translating MILLENNIAL DAWN into a foreign language.
Well informed along the Scriptural lines presented foregoing, as to who these "seducing spirits" are, he nevertheless forgot, or failed to heed the divine instruction,—that mankind should hold no communication whatever with these "lying spirits" and "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." The neglect of this instruction caused him serious trouble; and but for the interposition of divine mercy, in response to his and our prayers, it might have made shipwreck of him—soul and body.
He was allured to the conference by a mixture of curiosity with a benevolent desire to do them good by preaching to them the glorious gospel of divine love and mercy operating through Christ toward all mankind; and the eventual hope of a judgment (probationary trial) for the fallen angels, declared in the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 6:3.) At first they gave close attention and appeared to take a deep and reverent interest in the message; but before long they became very "familiar" spirits, intruding themselves and their questions and remarks at all times and places, disputing with him and with each other in a manner and upon topics far from edifying, so that he remonstrated: finally he demanded that they depart, but having gained his "inner ear" (having made of him what Spiritists would term a "clairaudient medium") they were not disposed to go, and only through earnest prayer was he finally delivered. He should have been on his guard against their seductive influences; he should have remembered that whatever message of grace the Lord may yet have for these fallen angels he has not yet sent it to them, and that none are authorized to speak for the Lord without authority. "How shall they preach except they be sent?" The message of salvation thus far is to mankind only; and even here it is limited, for altho all are to be counseled to repent of sin and to reform, yet the gospel of salvation is restricted to repentant "believers" only,—"the meek of the earth."
Joseph Hartman has published a book of 378 pages in which he recounts his experiences as a Spirit medium (led into it by Swedenborg's teachings), his debasement almost to the loss of reason by spirit obsession, and his final recovery from its ensnarement of his will; but strange to say, he is still a firm believer in Swedenborgianism and Spiritism, altho, like others, he cautions every one to be on guard against their wicked devices. Poor deluded man, he still believes that there are good spirits.
Mr. H. had come in contact with the "Planchette," a wooden device which holds a pencil and moves readily under the hands of certain mediums or "sensitives," even children, writing answers to questions propounded to it; and he had attended several tipping and rapping seances, and was convinced that they were not frauds, but the operations of invisible, intelligent spirits. He became actively interested while endeavoring to convince doubting friends of the genuineness of the manifestations. Next he tried it in his own family and developed the fact that his little son was a drawing and writing medium. Next he was curious to investigate the phenomena of spirit materialization. About this time his daughter "Dolly" died, and he was deeply interested in the apparitions or materializations which professed to be "Dolly." He, however, was incredulous, and, in his own words, "gave it up under a cloud, and a suspicion of fraud." But after five years of experience he says,—"Whatever doubts I may have entertained respecting the phenomena, I am clearly of the opinion that honest materializations are now of frequent occurrence. Who the forms are, or whence derived, is a mooted question." We have just seen that if the manifestations are "honest" so far as the mediumship is concerned, they are frauds so far as the persons represented are concerned—simulations of the dead, by the fallen angels.
Later the table-tipping and rapping and drawing and writing tests were revived at Mr. H.'s home, two of his children becoming adept mediums, and finally, he himself became a writing medium, to his own surprise and without expectation or solicitation. Now he could and did hold frequent converse supposedly with his daughter "Dolly," but really with demons who personated her, and others, he was caused to smell pleasant odors, etc. As a later development he became a speaking medium, and "under control" would speak and act without his own intention or volition; but with full power to refuse to be a medium to such "spirits" as he chose to refuse, because of their former rudeness or obscenity. Next he was granted the "inner ear," "Clairaudience," or ability to hear sounds not audible to others, and thus to hold converse with the "spirits" without any outward agency, such as writing, rapping, etc.
Of his "spirit friends" he says,—"They described to me that their controlling circle consisted of 'twelve spiritual gifts or virtues' which composed a 'band' of very great strength; and under their guidance, they declared, I would become one of the greatest mediums ever known. I revolted—had not the least ambition for fame of that sort.—They were the more determined."
Thus gradually was Mr. Hartman brought, against his wish, more and more under the "control" of the wicked spirits which finally obsessed him. The next experience was with a peculiar clairaudient "Voice" which represented itself to be the Lord and took full control of him, directing his every act. It pictured all his errors and weaknesses in darkest shades; and endeavored to destroy all hope. He was told to pray, and when he attempted to pray he was given such conflicting suggestions as to words as made it impossible. He was fast in the snare of the "wicked spirits;" "possessed," and controlled by "spirit-mesmerism," as he calls it.
But finally he escaped their bondage;—a once strong will reasserted itself, and he wrote the account to hinder others from being similarly entrapped. But [R2185 : page 210] he does not understand the matter, notwithstanding his remarkable experiences. His experiences had proved [R2186 : page 210] that all the "spirits" which he had come in contact with were "wicked," lying, profane, and a majority of them vulgarly and disgustingly obscene: Yet, believing these to be the spirits of dead men and women, he surmised that he had met a band of evil ones only, and that there were other bands of good, truthful and pure spirits of good people. If he had but known the Lord's testimony on this subject, it would have put the entire matter in another light.
After gaining will -control of himself he was still attended by these evil spirits whose character he now fully knew; and they tried repeatedly to bring his will power again under "control," but had no power that he would not grant. He did, however, grant them liberty to use his hand in writing communications, and in reply to his questions respecting how and why they had abused his confidence, lied to him, were obscene and sought to bind and injure him, they answered that they were constitutionally and thoroughly bad and that they were "devils;"—again contradicting this and declaring that they were spirits of dead human beings. But to confirm him in Swedenborgianism they told him that there were no Swedenborgians among them. And Hartman evidently believed these self-confessed "lying spirits," for he concludes his book by quoting proofs that Swedenborg had passed through experiences of obsession somewhat like his own. He quotes from Swedenborg's Diary 2957-2996 as follows:—
"Very often when any one spoke with me, spirits spoke through me....This occurred many times; for instance twice to-day. I cannot enumerate the times, they are so many....Moreover, they have laughed through me, and done many things....These are those who introduce these things into my thoughts, and while I am unconscious of it, lead my hand to write thus."
"It is a matter of history that Swedenborg's maligners, not understanding interior temptations or spirit control, published that he was crazy, and that he did several foolish and insane things while living in London. ...He was under control of spirits who acted through his body, speaking through him and moving his body as if it were their own....During a part of this transitional period he was unquestionably controlled by evil spirits. He says he had 'tremors and was shaken from head to foot, and thrown out of bed on his face' ...'I was in the temptation,' he says, thoughts invaded me that I could not control,...and full liberty was given them....While I had the most damnable thoughts, the worst that could possibly be, Jesus Christ was presented visibly before my internal sight.'"
To us it seems evident that Swedenborg was a Spirit-medium and was an advance agent for promulgating and establishing the "doctrines of devils" respecting "seven heavens and seven hells," etc., etc., ad nauseam. Yet Mr. Hartman closes his book with a eulogy of Swedenborg; who, altho admittedly possessed of devils at times, he thinks was sometimes possessed and controlled by good spirits: while Hartman's own experience corroborated the Scriptures, that they are all "wicked," "seducing," "lying" spirits.
"In my own case I know that the brain was not diseased at all; my whole nature seemed to be intensified by conflicting emotions raging within my breast. I was completely enveloped and pervaded by thought, or in other words thought came as something impinged upon me, seeking expression through me, without being coined or generated by the action of my own brain, altho fully conscious at the time, as I am now, that I possessed a strength within me not my own will and brain power so-called;—yet it was so blended with, and manifested through my own powers of action, that I felt great exhaustion of nerve force and mental prostration when the conditions subsided."
After detailing his own case and his release from the thraldom of evil spirits, whom he supposed to be the spirits of wicked dead men (apparently he also was a follower of Swedenborg), he quotes a letter from a Philadelphia physician, dated Nov. 12, 1884, as follows:—
"The young lady to whom you refer in your letter is a Miss S__________, who was once my patient and quite intimate in my family. Her father was a sea captain, and was lost at sea, no one knowing when or where. Her anxiety to learn something of his fate, led her to apply to a spirit medium. She was found to be very 'susceptible' and a remarkable medium. She did nothing to encourage the approach of spirits; but they came all the same. They almost tormented the life out of her for a long time—how long I do not remember. They often made her get out of bed at night and perform all sorts of grotesque antics. She finally drove them off by repeating the Lord's Prayer on their every approach. Your sincere friend, __________."
"Judge Edmonds of New York [a noted Spiritist and both a Clairvoyant and Clairaudient medium—now deceased], has recently expressed the opinion that many so-called lunatics in asylums are only under the influence of spirits." The Judge himself said,—'Some fifteen cases of insanity, or rather obsession, I have been instrumental in curing. This I said to the Academy of Science, in New York.'
"The Judge has had Catholic priests, after a thorough trial of their 'holy water and prayers,' send [to him] their mediumistic members when wickedly disordered, [R2186 : page 211] to be demagnetized and released from the grasp of obsessional spirits."
Few are aware to what extent Spiritism is now active; how it is gradually reviving. Here is an account of Dr. Peebles' visit to Melbourne, Australia, this year, 1897. He writes to The Philadelphia Journal as follows:—
"Altho I had come for a rest, I was immediately pressed into active service, and have been lecturing every Sunday evening either in the Masonic hall (which seats 1300) or the Lyceum (700), both of them being filled at times to overflowing. I have also spoken in the Unitarian and Swedenborgian churches, and the Australian (Presbyterian) church, on vegetarianism and other reform subjects.
"Several mediums speak about coming to Australia. Before leaving, let me tell you that the Melbourne press says there are already 500 mediums in the city and suburbs, while others say 200, but I see none who compare with Mrs. Freitag, and others. I cannot, conscientiously, encourage mediums to come to Australia, unless they are absolutely first-class test mediums. That's what the people clamor for—tests, tests, tests. Old, bald headed Spiritualists, who had tests years ago, want them renewed, and so seek for tests instead of going on to a higher plane of harmony, beauty and spiritual truth, becoming their own mediums."
Yes; the tests, rapping, writing, table tipping, and even materialization tests are only the beginnings of Spiritism, and not the desired ends sought by the spirits. The end sought is possession "obsession;" and those who by strong self-control constantly resist absolute spirit-control are used as "test mediums," to catch others, and to exhort others, as above, to go "on to a higher plane of harmony" with lying, seducing, enslaving and demonizing spirits.
An English journal called Black and White gives a detailed and illustrated account of recent apparitions at the town of Tilly-sur-Seulles, Normandy, France. It says that the apparitions are of the Virgin Mary and have continued for several months, and are thoroughly vouched for. It adds:—
"The appearances, which seldom or never resemble each other even to the same voyants, always either ascend from the earth, as in the case of those of the Witch of Endor, or appear gradually bit by bit, first a leg, then an arm, and so on, at a slight elevation. All this is very queer reading.
"The trampled field of oats, the elm tree stripped of its branches by relic-hunters, the torn hedge protected by barbed wire and decorated with statues pictures, rosaries, pots of flowers and votive tapers, remain to testify to a belief in the supernatural not less strong than it was in mediaeval times." Black and White, after quoting from the Croix du Calvados (the official organ of the Roman Catholic Bishop of the diocese), that, "Altho it cannot doubt the fact of the appearances, it is inclined more and more to attribute them to diabolic intervention," adds:—
"If anything, this is calculated to lend them still greater interest in the eyes of the world which, at the end of the nineteenth century, shows itself especially ready to dabble in Satanism, crystal-gazing, astrology, theosophy, spiritualism and magic, both black and white. The chief points in favor of this clerical decision seem to be that one Vintras, who lived in an old mill, still standing on the banks of the Seulles, below the older village of Tilly, prophesied these apparitions about the year '30. Vintras was condemned as a sorcerer and incarcerated at Caen by request of Pope Gregory XVI. He claimed to have been 'inspired' by the Archangel Michael. Curiously enough, another 'prophet,' claiming to be inspired by another Archangel, Gabriel to wit,—namely Mlle. Cuedon, who has made a stir in Paris lately, and whom a certain Abbe [R2187 : page 211] declares to be 'possessed' rather than 'inspired,' prophesied these same apparitions at Tilly a fortnight before they began."
Satan's motto seems to be, Anything to deceive and bewilder humanity and to hinder the truth now due to them from reaching them. From an English Spiritist journal Light, we quote a recent statement of a seance, as follows:—
"At a sitting which was being held one evening at the invitation of a mother who had just lost a dearly loved son, amongst other phenomena a remarkable light was seen. It was in the form of a beautiful radiant globe, the center of which was a bright blue of great brilliancy. It was apparently an immeasurable distance away, the wall of the room offering no obstruction to those who watched it, and it remained for about half an hour, when it gradually faded from their sight.
"All present were filled with a sense of deep reverence and veneration. The control [i.e., the spirit controlling the medium] explained that this was indeed the Light of Christ, who, in verification of the belief which is now very generally held by Christians of every denomination, is gradually approaching this earth; and in fulfilment of His words, spoken nearly two thousand years ago, is coming to establish his Kingdom, the reign of universal love and brotherhood, amongst us.
"The control further said: 'Write thus to the editor of Light, Tell him that light is coming to all men. It grows brighter day by day. This light is the Light that should lighten all men that come into the world. Love is embodied in it. Truth is bringing it. Wisdom teaches it. Faith reveals it. Hope nourishes it. Justice craves for it. Glory attends it. Peace claims it. Power waits for it. This remarkable light is attended by hosts of angels; by dwellers in the spheres of the Blest; by mighty conquerors; by those whose sins, being scarlet, now shine radiant in this Light. Perfected good, perfected man, perfected light.
"Beautiful angels surrounded the medium. The Light appeared behind her; but she was pleased to know that the greatest glory shone when she spoke of Christ's power. Altho not herself viewing the greatest glory of the Light she saw it, far, far away, having a star-like radiance."
Just as at his first advent the evil spirits acknowledged Jesus, saying, "We know thee, who thou art." "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?" and as they testified of the apostles,—"These be the servants of the most high God which show unto us the way of eternal life; so to-day, as we have seen, some of them will testify occasionally to the truth, commend MILLENNIAL DAWN, etc.; but it is safe to assume that it is all for a purpose; as a "bait" for those who are interested or seeking light along these lines, to eventually lead them off into some gross darkness. Let us constantly remember that these deceptions will become so bold, and be apparently so backed by advanced truth that they will, "if it were possible, deceive the very elect."—Matt. 24:24-26.
Under such circumstances there is but one safe course. It is not to stand still with closed eyes, panic stricken: that will be impossible, very soon. It is to fully accept of Christ Jesus the redeemer, the ransomer of the race as your Savior and your Teacher, and to be controlled only by his spirit of truth expressed to man through his Word—the Bible. So doing you will be kept by the power of God from all the snares of the wicked one; for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that [obediently] believeth."
To what great dangers the people of Christendom are exposed we may judge when we remember that nearly all are laboring under the delusion of Satan, first enunciated to Mother Eve in Eden,—to her deception and fall. He then said, "Ye shall not surely die." He has kept up his side of the controversy since then, and the majority of God's people believe Satan's statement and disbelieve the Lord's word;—holding that no one really dies, but that when death apparently takes place the person is thereby made "more alive than ever." Believing that none are really dead, we cannot wonder that Christendom totally rejects the Bible doctrine that the only hope for a future life rests in God's promise of a "resurrection of the DEAD," and makes nonsense of it by claiming that it is merely a resurrection of the body that died—which the Apostle declares will never be resurrected—but a new body be substituted when the soul, the being is resurrected.—1 Cor. 15:12-18 and 36-38.
In evidence of the dangers along this line we note the fact that in a very recent issue of "The Ram's Horn," a radical orthodox journal of Chicago published on its outside cover a colored engraving representing a Christian mother with clasped hands, praying beside a little grave decorated with flowers, while just before her is shown the shadowy outline of her child approaching her. The editor of The Ram's Horn and his readers are like all other nominal Christians who neglect the teachings of God's Word on this subject;—just ready for Satan's delusions to ensnare them.
Note also the following, clipped from the Jan. 2, '97, issue of The Philosophical Journal (Spiritualist). Under the caption "Progressive Thought, the editor quotes from Rev. T. De Witt Talmage's discourse of Dec. 6, '96, as follows:—
"Even Talmage has progressed from the old faith, and now believes in the return of the spirit to this world of ours after death. On December 6 he preached a Sermon at Washington on the 'Celestial World,' showing the employment of 'the departed' in that state of existence. In answer to the question: 'What are the departed doing now?' he said: 'That question is more easily answered than you might suppose,' and adds:—
"'Their hand has forgotten its cunning, but the spirit has faculties as far superior to four fingers and a thumb as the supernatural is superior to the human. The reason that God took away their eye and their hand and their brain, was that he might give them something more limber, more wieldy, more skillful, more multipliant.'
"'Have you any idea that that affluence of faculty at death, collapsed and perished? Why so, when there is more for them to look at, and they have keener appreciation of the beautiful, and they stand amid the very looms where the sunsets and the rainbows and the spring mornings are woven.
"'Are you so obtuse as to suppose that because the painter drops his easel and the sculptor his chisel, and the engraver his knife, that therefore that taste, which he was enlarging or intensifying for forty or fifty years, is entirely obliterated?
"'These artists, or friends of art, on earth worked in coarse material and with imperfect brain and with frail hand. Now they have carried their art into larger liberties and into wider circumferences.
"'No sickness in heaven, but plenty of sickness on earth, plenty of wounds in the different parts of God's dominion to be healed and to be medicated. Those glorious souls are coming down, not in lazy doctor's gig, but with lightning locomotion.
"'You cannot understand why that patient got well after all the skillful doctors had said he must die. Perhaps Abercrombie touched him. I should not wonder if he had been back again to see some of his old patients. Those who had their joy in healing the sickness and the woes of earth, gone up to heaven are come forth again for benignant medicament.'
"Then he propounds another question, as to what all the departed are doing now—who in earth life were 'busy, and found their chief joy in doing good.' He replies: They are 'going right on with the work.'
"John Howard visiting dungeons; the dead women of Northern and Southern battlefields still abroad looking for the wounded; George Peabody still watching the poor; Thomas Clarkson still looking after the enslaved—all of those who did good on earth, busier since death than before. The tombstone is not the terminus, but the starting-post.'
"Without the slightest doubt then, Dr. DeWitt Talmage is a Spiritualist. He does not claim that cognomen, but he teaches the grand tenets of our philosophy and admits the consequent phenomena of the return of the spirit to visit mortals—spirit physicians to touch those given up to die by mortal physicians, and to heal them—to visit those in dungeons in order to relieve their distress—to watch the poor—to look after the enslaved—and in this work to be 'busier since death than before!'
"If 'the departed are more alive than they ever were'—as Dr. Talmage affirms in his closing remarks—then it is evident that he was correct in saying that 'the tombstone is not the terminus, but the starting [R2188 : page 213] post"—the 'door' to the higher life, the entrance to the state of endless labor, grand possibilities, and eternal progression.
"All the churches are rapidly becoming permeated with Spiritual philosophy, and soon must either add to their structural confession these grand and inspiring verities, or sink into oblivion in the twentieth century, when the cycle of evolution shall be completely rounded out."
Who can deny the logic of the Spiritualist editor in claiming Dr. Talmage as a Spiritualist, who refrains from fully acknowledging his identity? Who can doubt that the hundreds of thousands who read that discourse in the many journals which publish Dr. Talmage's discourses regularly, accepted every item of its poisonous, unscriptural suggestion as gospel; because in full accord with what they had been taught from other pulpits, and especially at funeral services? Alas! the millions of Christendom are ready, ripe, for the evil work of these seducing spirits.
Note the following hand-bill announcement of Spiritist performances and tests, given at Muskegon, Michigan, recently: it is in display type and illustrated etchings showing shadowy forms, etc.—and was sent to us through the Lord's providence just in time for a notice here. It reads thus:—
"Spirit materializations, marvelous superhuman visions, Spiritualistic rappings, slate writing, floating tables and chairs, remarkable tests of the human mind, a human being isolated from surrounding objects floating in mid air. Behold the marvels of to-day! Reflect on the one great question of the hour: Is there a spirit land? and what is the destiny of man? Do you want to be convinced that there is a hereafter? Do you believe in immortality? Do you believe in a soul world? or do you believe that death ends all?
"Dr. Loyd Cooke, preeminently peer of spirit mediums, assisted by a number of mediums of note, on the open stage, will produce some of the most wonderful materializations ever witnessed in this country.
"The following are some of the tests that usually take place in the presence of these mediums: A table rises 4 to 5 feet and floats in mid-air. Spirit hands and faces are plainly seen and recognized by their friends. A guitar is played and passed around the room by the invisible power. Flowers are brought and passed to the audience by hands plainly seen. Bells are rung, harps are played, and other tests of a startling nature take place in the presence of these wonderful mediums, if the conditions are strictly complied with.
"The clergy, the press, learned synods and councils, sage philosophers and scientists, in fact, the whole world has proclaimed these philosophical idealisms to be an astounding fact. You are brought face to face with the spirits. A large piano is played upon without a living soul touching it. And many spirit forms upon the stage—sometimes eight or ten at a time—are proof positive of the genuineness of these mediums. They have been three years developing for the special purpose of demonstrating the facts of spirit power in full gas light!
"The invisible powers are constantly producing new and startling manifestations to convert the skeptical and strengthen the believer. Come and see for yourself. Take no one's word. Investigate and believe your own eyes. Be guided by your own reason. Believe nothing you hear! Every man and woman has a right to see and think.
"Many ask: 'Is there any truth in Spiritualism?' If you should attend this seance with these new mediums, you would never doubt again that the spirits do re-visit the earth, and can be seen and recognized by their friends. They will stand beside you and shake hands with any one who will ask them. Remember, this seance is not like others you have attended. The forms seen here are not afraid of you, but will come so close to you that you cannot doubt their identity, and will satisfy you that they are not flesh of this earth. No [R2188 : page 214] one who has ever attended these seances can doubt the genuineness of these mediums. Remember, these are newly developed mediums, just arrived at this place, and are recognized by all that have seen them to have the most powerful circle that has ever been brought to this country. Not in darkness, but in open light. You feel their touch. You see their disembodied forms. In plain, open light! Every possible means will be used to enlighten the auditors as to whether these so called wonders are enacted through the aid of spirits or are the result of natural agencies.
"Committees will be selected by the audience to assist, and to report their views as to the why and wherefore of the many very strange things that will be shown during the evening. This is done so that every person attending may learn the truth regarding the tests, whether they are genuine or caused by expert trickery. Doors open at 7:15. Commences at 8. A small admission will be charged.
Finding that Churchianity is popular, and a certain amount of formalism demanded by the people they seek to ensnare, Spiritists are organizing "churches" for the "worship" and "praise" of the "All Good,"—the name they use instead of God. But since advanced Spiritists do not believe in a personal God this name merely represents to them—all good spirits, among whom they reckon Thomas Paine, Shakespeare, Judas and Nero, as well as Christ, Confucius and Buddha. In these "churches"—"Spiritualist," "Theosophical" and "Christian Scientist," all of the same cult, and all guided (unknown to many of their votaries) by the same master spirit—Satan—the preachers and evangelists are generally women: in marked contrast (whatever the explanation) with the course pursued by the true Head of the one and only true Church, our Lord Jesus,—who appointed twelve apostles and seventy evangelists, all of them men.
"When the babies' parents and godmothers had been assembled, deacons of the church brought out a long flower decked rope, which they tied about the participants in the ceremony. Mrs. Whitlock gave each baby a small bunch of carnations, handing them from a silver bowl. Having completed this ceremony, Mrs. Whitlock took another silver bowl, and, advancing to each baby, she dipped into the bowl a rose and sprinkled the faces of those to be baptized, saying as she did so, 'I, Ida Whitlock, by a power commissioned to me, do baptize thee, Anna Marie Klotz, in the name of the All Good' Alderman Klotz, of Allegheny, is the father of this child."
The power commissioned to Mrs. Whitlock was certainly not from the Father, nor from the Son, nor by the holy spirit; and we feel confident it was from the one who backs all the tests and tricks and lies and obsessions:—"Your Adversary the Devil."—1 Pet. 5:8.
Brother Thori of St. Paul, Minn., sends us the card of a Dr. Snyder of that city, who styles himself a Christian Spiritualist and claims that he and others there hold regular seances in which the Lord as a spirit being shows himself to their mortal eyes. He says that about forty persons there have seen these manifestations. Three of them received "the communion" direct from the Lord's hand. The card received bears sixteen texts from the Bible, among which are the following:—
"He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."—John 14:21.
Brother Thori remarks that the Doctor appears to be very pious, and professes faith in the ransom and in restitution. The incident at once reminded Brother T. of the statement of MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., page 158, which reads as follows:—
"Among other such things some of them even teach that Christ is present, and we doubt not ere long they will give seances at which they will claim to show him 'in the secret chamber.'" (Matt. 24:26.) Brother T. called the Doctor's attention to this Scripture and this application of it; but he was so enamored by the seducing spirits that he could make no application of it to his own experiences. He declared that it referred to such preposterous frauds as Schweinfurth.
Here we see more of Satan's policy: he works one fraud against another. A few weak-minded people are deluded into thinking and claiming that they are "some great one"—Christs, etc.,—and by hypnotic powers deluding a few into their "heavens," thus disgust more sensible people, who, believing that these frauds [R2189 : page 214] fulfil the scope of our Lord's warning, are off guard against the much more subtle deceptions of Spiritism which draw nearer and nearer daily. Then again, true to his character as a deceiver, Satan begins all such performances with the outwardly devout. He puts a bait on his hook when he fishes for men. It will be found that self-willed Christians, no matter what their morals or faith, will be subject to snares of the great enemy. The full submission of the will to the will of God as expressed in his Word is absolutely necessary to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil.
We will no doubt surprise some when we state that to our understanding "Christian Science," "Theosophy," "Mesmerism," "Clairvoyance" and "Hypnotism," as well as "Swedenborgianism," are all related to Spiritism, and designed by the "seducing spirits" to enthral and "pass along" the various classes of mankind who are now awakening out of mental lethargy; and to blind their eyes to the truth respecting the Lord and his Word.—2 Cor. 4:4.
"Christian Science" by its attractive but deceptive name, no less than by its lying proposition that there is no pain, no sickness, no death, no sin, no devil, no Savior—nor need of any—by the very absurdity of its claims attracts the curious; and by its seeming harmlessness and "good works" ensnares the unguarded and uninstructed, who do not know "the depths of Satan." (Rev. 2:24.) Their processes for treatment of "imagined" diseases seem harmless, but are their cures therefore less of the demons and more of God than those of Spiritualists? While a pure faith in the first principles of the doctrines of Christ is not to be accepted as instead of good morals, the latter are nevertheless to be considered as concomitants to every manifestation of divine favor and power. All, therefore, who deny our Lord Jesus as the Redeemer of mankind "who gave his life a ransom price for many," are not of God, and their "wonderful works," whether good or bad, are not to be credited to divine power.*
It may be questioned by some whether Satan and his associates can be charged on the one hand with causing sickness and death (Heb. 2:14), and on the other hand with healing the sick and casting out devils. Would not this seem to be an opposition to his own kingdom not supposable of any intelligent being. "If Satan cast out Satan he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?"—Matt. 12:25,26; Mark 3:24-26.
Very true; and this shows to what straits "the prince of this world" is reduced by the great increase of intelligence shining in upon the world during the past century. The demons must sham to be "angels of light," teachers of advanced truths and good physicians, both of souls and bodies, in order to reensnare those who are feeling after God, if haply they might find him. (Acts 17:27.) The words of inspiration give us to understand that Satan's struggles to retain control of mankind will be specially desperate at its close—before he is "bound" for the thousand years that he may deceive the nations no more.—Rev. 20:2.
Here will be one of the "strong delusions" mentioned by the Apostle Paul, to cope with which God's people will have need of "the whole armor of God" that they "may be able to stand in this evil day." (2 Thes. 2:9-12; Eph. 6:11-13.) We are now in the period of which he cautions us to be specially on guard against "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." (1 Tim. 4:1.) Here the Apostle Peter tells us to "beware lest ye also being led away [seduced] by the error of the wicked [one] fall from your own steadfastness." (2 Pet. 3:17.) Hence the Lord tells us to watch and pray to escape the delusions which will be so strong as to "deceive if it were possible the very elect." (Matt. 24:24.) Shall we, in view of these warnings, expect no "strong delusions," deceptions from the wicked spirits? Nay; we expect far more during the next few years than even Spiritists have dreamed of hitherto.
But if Satan and his faithful have a knowledge of curative agencies and skill in their application let us not forget that he has great malific power also. This has already been demonstrated. Take the case of Jannes and Jambres, the celebrated mediums and magicians of Egypt, who in the presence of Pharaoh duplicated many of the miracles performed by divine power through Moses and Aaron. They could transform their rods into serpents; they also turned water into blood; they also produced frogs, altho they could not duplicate the plagues of lice, etc.—Exod. 7:11,22; 8:7.
We have every reason to believe that the fallen spirits have learned considerable during the past four thousand years and that they have a much wider range of power to-day. We are inclined to believe that the grasshopper plagues and the multitudinous farmer-pests and the spores and microbes of disease that are afflicting human and animal life in recent times, may be manifestations of the same power for evil. Similarly Satan is "the prince of the power of the air," and is malevolent enough to exercise his powers to the extent of divine permission. This might account in part for the great floods, cyclones and tornados of recent years.
Not entirely;—most assuredly not; otherwise we may doubt if the world would be at all habitable. Take the case of Job: as soon as divine restraints upon Satan were released, he moved the Sabeans to steal Job's cattle and to kill his servants; he caused fire to come down from heaven, which not only killed but burned up Job's flocks of sheep; he sent the Chaldeans who stole Job's camels, and finally produced a cyclone which [R2189 : page 216] smote the house in which Job's children were feasting together, and destroyed the house and killed its occupants; and he attacked Job's person with disease as soon as granted permission.—Job 1:9-2:7.
There is no question that Satan and his legions are as able and as willing as ever to do all the mischief that divine wisdom may see fit to permit them to do. It only remains, therefore, to notice that God has not only foretold that he will permit them to have great power in the end of this age, but also why he does so. He tells us that he is about to "pour out his indignation, even all his fierce anger," upon the world of mankind, as a chastisement for sin and for a correction toward righteousness; to humble mankind and to prepare them for the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom. All are familiar with the plagues foretold in the book of Revelation about to be poured upon the world in the end and judgment of this age. Of these the plagues upon Egypt were illustrations,—even tho the coming plagues be described in symbols. But let us always remember God's care over his people to preserve them from every calamity which would not under divine supervision work out for them some valuable lesson or experience; and let us remember that he is able and willing to overrule the wrath of men and of devils and to restrain the remainder that would hinder his grand purposes.
"The healing of diseases is also said to follow the practices of Spiritualism, and Animal Magnetism, Clairvoyance, etc. We will not deny that while some of the manifestations of Spiritualism are undoubted frauds, there are many that are unquestionably supernatural, and are produced by forces for which Physical Science has no explanation. It is no use to try to meet this terrific monster of Spiritualism, in which, as Joseph Cook says, is, perhaps, the great IF of our immediate future in England and America, with the hasty and shallow denial of the facts, or their explanation as tricks of legerdemain. They are often undoubtedly real and superhuman. They are the spirits of devils working miracles,' gathering men for Armageddon. They are the revived forces of the Egyptian magicians, the Grecian oracles, the Roman haruspices, the Indian medicine-men. They are not divine, they are less than omnipotent, but they are more than human. Our Lord has expressly warned us of them, and told us to test them, not by their power, but by their fruits, their holiness, humility and homage to the name of Jesus and the Word of God; and their very existence renders it the more imperative that we should be able to present against them—like the rod of Moses which swallowed the magicians', and at last silenced their limited power,—the living forces of a holy Christianity."
"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shall not learn to do after THE ABOMINATIONS OF THOSE NATIONS. There shall not be found among you any one that...USETH DIVINATION, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord; and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee."—Deut. 18:9-12.
"When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter: Should not a people SEEK UNTO THEIR GOD? on behalf of the LIVING should they seek unto the DEAD? To the law and the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."—Isa. 8:19-20.