Extracts From Writings
SOME APPRECIATIONS IN "LIGHT" AFTER HIS
"He was a natural nobleman. He had a quiet dignity of modesty that was by no
means the least of his lessons. His literary capacity, his full acquaintance
with the subject his life was devoted to, his rare spiritual gift might well
have made him arrogant, and produced impatience, even repulsion. But that was
never so. Always Stainton Moses was sympathetic, gentle, sweet, reasonably
His one-time pupil, Mr. Charlton Speer, writes of "the depth and warmth of
his nature, the kindliness of his disposition, the genuineness of his
sympathies, and his utter unselfishness, when he felt that, by a personal
sacrifice, he might be enabled to benefit others. His loss to the Cause cannot
as yet be fully appraised. He was, indeed, a burning and a shining light. In all
probability, we shall not look upon his like again."
Mrs. Speer writes:
"His great love of Nature and travelling with congenial companions, also his
quiet humour, helped to make him a charming companion; combined with a vast
knowledge of places, things and people, and, I may add, literature of every kind
But for his delicate health two years ago, he would have prepared and
published another volume of Spirit Teachings, and republished those of
his works that were out of print. This was the work he had set before himself,
had health and life lasted; and, doubtless, his wishes are still that those who
are left behind should carry on the work he has so nobly commenced."
"There was an intense spirituality about Stainton Moses’ Spiritualism. To him
the Summerland was nothing. There was the constant reaching forward to what was
higher and better. To him the next world and the next after, were not mere
reflexes of this, but states of progression, conditioned only at their outset
from this by the value of the education received here. Indeed, his objection to
the doctrine of re-incarnation was mainly founded on his belief that, if a
spirit’s course through this world had failed to educate once, it would fail
MUSICAL AND OTHER PHENOMENA THROUGH HIS
In an account of the fairy bells, introduced when Benjamin Franklin first
manifested at the circle, Mrs. Speer says:
"It was an exquisite manifestation, something like a musical-box, but more
ethereal and the notes sweeter. We used to hear it playing about us very often
at this time. Especially when out in the garden late at night." (They were at
Shanklin.) "It was our habit to open the casement window and step on to the lawn
after our seance was over, and I have often heard these fairy bells playing at
midnight among the trees, the effect being very beautiful and unearthly."
Another time she writes:
"Before meeting this evening we heard the fairy bells playing in different
parts of the garden where we were walking. At times they sounded far off,
seemingly playing at the top of some high elm-trees, music and stars mingling
together; then they would approach nearer to us, eventually following us into
the seance room, which opened on to the lawn.
After we were seated the music still lingered with us, playing in the corners
of the room, and then over the table round which we were sitting. They played
scales and chords by request with the greatest rapidity, and copied notes Dr.
Speer made with his voice. There was no instrument in the room. After Stainton
Moses was entranced the music became louder, and sounded like brilliant playing
on a piano."
A remarkable manifestation of spirit power to remove objects took place when
Stainton Moses was staying in the Isle of Wight. He writes:
"On returning from church I found on entering my bedroom (which adjoined the
drawing-room on the first floor), that certain objects had been removed from the
toilet-table, and placed on my bed in the rough form of a cross."
Later in the day other things were added from the dressing case and
absolutely symmetrically placed. Another time articles were laid out in the form
of a crown.
The remarkable production of jewels and of scent is described by Mr. F. W. P.
After dining with S. M. at his rooms a sitting was held. The gas was put out,
and after a few minutes was re-lit. S. M. at once walked up to a table, where a
strong light had previously been visible, and pointed out a small ruby lying on
it. The light was again put out, and Mentor controlled S. M. He stroked Mr. P’s
arm, took his hand, and, after putting something into it, went back to his seat.
Mentor then spoke, and said he had made a turquoise for Mr. P., which was his
special stone. He added that these stones were not "real" in our sense, as
spirits were not allowed to bring stones of value which could be sold. At the
next meeting of the circle they were told that spirits can crystallise from the
atmosphere objects which are formed in our world by natural processes.
On the occasion of Mr. Speer’s birthday, Mr. P. says they dined together, and
S. M. became entranced. Walking up to the sofa, he began to search for something
in an antimacassar. He soon found a small ruby, which he solemnly presented to
Mrs. Speer. He began to search again, and found a second one; and, finally,
after much searching, he found a third. He returned to his seat, came out of his
trance, knowing nothing at all of what had occurred.
On a former occasion, a ruby was found in a glass of soda-water which S. M.
was drinking after a seance at Dr. Speer’s house.
Describing a seance, Mr. P. says it commenced with a shower of bead pearls of
various sizes and they were told to strike a light in order to collect them.
After the seance S. M. walked round the circle, and put one of his hands on the
head of each sitter in turn; the result of which was that a stream of scent fell
on the head of each.
At another seance they were given a wonderful manifestation of scent in which
they were told over fifty spirits were directly employed. Scent came in various
ways. First wafted in their faces, then blown as if in a strong gale by a pair
of bellows. Next sprinkled from the ceiling in gentle showers. Lastly (which
they were told was very difficult to manage), it was poured upon the hands,
which were joined and held palms upward. A stream of scent, as if poured from
the spout of a teapot, fell on Mr. P.’s hand, and ran down on to the table.
Stains were afterwards seen on the table.
WHILE ENTRANCED, STAINTON MOSES VISITS THE
He darkened the room, and, as there was no sofa, he put himself on his bed.
Musical sounds took place, and globes of light appeared. He then lost
consciousness, and when he awoke it was just midnight. He was impelled to get up
and write the following description.
"I have no recollection of losing consciousness, but the darkness seemed to
give place to a beautiful scene which gradually unfolded itself. I seemed to
stand on the margin of a lake, beyond which rose a chain of hills, verdant to
their tops, and shrouded in a soft haze. The atmosphere was like that of Italy,
translucent and soft. The water beside which I stood was unruffled, and the sky
overhead was of cloudless blue.
I strolled along the margin of the lake, meditating on the beauty of the
scene. I met a person coming towards me I knew it was Mentor. He was clad in a
robe of white of a thin texture, like very fine Indian muslin, and of a peculiar
pearly whiteness. On his shoulders was a mantle of deep sapphire blue; on his
head a coronet which seemed to me like a broad scarlet band, studded with bosses
of gold. His face was bearded, and wore an aspect of benevolence and wisdom. His
voice as he addressed me, was sharp and decisive in tone: ‘You are in
spirit-land, and we are going to show you a scene in the sphere’s.’ He turned
and walked with me along the margin of the lake till we came to a road which
branched along the foot of the mountain. A little brook flowed by its side, and
beyond was a lovely stretch of verdant meadow, not cut up into fields as with
us, but undulating as far as the eye could reach.
We approached a house, very like an Italian villa, situated in a nook, amidst
a grove of trees like nothing I ever saw before; more like gigantic ferns of the
most graceful and varied description. Before the door were plots of flowers of
the most lovely hues and varieties. My guide motioned me to enter, and we passed
into a large central hall, in the middle of which a fountain played among a bank
of flowers and ferns. A delicious scent filled the air, and the sound of sweet
music, soft and soothing, greeted the ear.
Round the hall ran a kind of balcony from which I could see doors that led to
the several apartments. The walls were painted in a sort of design, which was a
continuation of the scenery through which we had passed. There was no roof but
the cloudless azure of the sky. As I stood wondering at the beauty of everything
that met my eye, a door opened and a figure advanced towards me. It was
Imperator, as I have before seen him. On his head was the diadem with seven
points, each point tipped by a star of dazzling radiance and each of different
colour. The face was earnest, benevolent and noble in expression. It was not
aged, as I should have expected, but wore an aspect of devotion and
determination mingled with gentleness and dignity. The whole air and mien was
most dignified and commanding. The figure was draped in a long robe of brilliant
white. It seemed to be composed of dewdrops, lit up by the morning sun. The
whole effect was so dazzling that I could not look steadfastly at it. It
reminded me at once of the description of the Transfiguration, and of the angels
who stood at the sepulchre in shining raiment. I instinctively bowed my head,
and a voice soft and earnest, with a strange, melancholy cadence, fell on my
ear: ‘Come and you shall see your friend, and we will try to touch that heart of
disbelief.’ He held out his hand, and I noticed that it was jewelled, and seemed
to shine with an inner phosphorescent light.
I was astounded at the vision. The most solemn strain I ever heard fell on my
ear. A door at my side was thrown open, and the sound of music drew nearer, and
I saw the head of a long procession coming towards me. At the head marched one
clad, as all the rest were, in robes of pure white, girt with cincture of
crimson. The cinctures varied in colour, but the robes were all white. He bore
aloft a cross of gold, and round his head was a fillet on which was inscribed
‘Holiness.’ Behind him, two and two, came the white-robed choir, chanting a hymn
of praise. As they passed us, the procession paused, whilst each turned and
saluted Imperator, who stood a few paces in front of me."
Among the procession, S. M. noticed several he recongnised; his guides,
Mentor, Rector, Prudens, Philosophus and Swedenborg; his friend S. and Keble,
Neale and others. A long procession followed. Then six figures came out, who
advanced towards him. Five were those he had known on earth. The procession
filled the balcony of the large room, of which the walls and roof were formed of
the lovely flowers and a creeper which threw out tendrils in all directions. He
says : "They faced inwards, looking towards Imperator, who offered an elevated
prayer to the Supreme. The strain of praise burst forth again, and the
procession retired as it came."
Explanation given by spirit writing:
S. M. "Was that scene real?"
"As real as that on which you now gaze. Your spirit was separated from its
earthly body, connected only by the ray of light. That ray was the vital
S. M. says he was astonished at the wall being no
barrier the scene seemed to be unfolded instantly. At once he was in
"The spirit-world is around you, though you see it not. Your eyes being
opened, you saw the things of spirit-life, and no longer beheld the things of
"Then, are the spheres all round us?"
"The spirit-world extends around and about you, and interpenetrates what you
call space. We wished to show you the reality of its existence. The spirits were
gathered by Mentor at my request in the second sphere. They came from various
spheres and conditions, and were assembled for a special purpose."
S. M. notices that his friend’s robes were violet,
shot with green, whereas the rest were in white.
"He wore the robes from which you would recognise him from his description.
The green typifies the earth condition which has not faded, and the violet
typified progress. All with us is symbolical. The house open to the sky shadows
forth the spirit’s dwelling with no bar to its upward aspirations. The flowers
and scenes of beauty show the alleviations and pleasures which divine love casts
round the lot of each. The procession of praise shows the onward march of the
progressive spirit, with praise to its God as the voice of the daily life. The
preceding cross typified purity, and the harps and music were symbols of
perpetual praise. The girdles of divers hues showed the special pursuits and
attributes of the wearers, and the crowns and fillets on their heads were
emblematical of their characters."
"Did I see you as you are seen always? I shall never
forget the dazzling robe you wore."
"You saw me there as others see me. But I do not always present the same
appearance. And you could not gaze upon the scene which the highest spheres
would present. Not in your present state."
OUT OF THE BODY, STAINTON MOSES WATCHED HIS
HAND BEING USED
"I wish we could impress on all that in proportion to the loftiness of their
aspirations is the character of the spirits who come to them. The mental
influences of a circle reach even to the world of spirit; and, according as they
are directed, so are the influences that gather round them."
He writes: "During the whole time this communication was written, my spirit
was separated from the body. I could see, from a short distance, the hand as it
wrote. In my own room I felt an impression to write, such as I have not felt for
nearly two months. I sat at my desk, and the first part was written. I presume I
then passed into a state of unconscious trance.
The next thing I remember was standing in spirit near to my body, which was
seated holding the pen before the table on which this book was placed. I looked
at it and the arrangements of the room with great interest. I saw that my body
was there, and that I was joined to it by a thin line of light. Everything
material in the room looked shadowy, and everything spiritual seemed solid and
Behind my body, with his own hand held over the head, and the other over the
right hand which held the pen, stood Rector. In the room, besides, were
Imperator and several of the spirits who have influenced me for long. Others
whom I did not know passed in and out, and appeared to regard the experiment
with interest. Through the ceiling streamed down a mild, pleasing light, and now
and again rays of bluish light were shot down on my body. When this was done, I
saw the body jerk and quiver. It was being charged, as I may say. I noticed,
moreover, that the daylight had faded; and the window seemed dark, and the light
by which I saw was spirit-light. I could hear perfectly well the voices of the
spirits who spoke to me. They sounded very much as human voices do, but were
more delicately modulated, and sounded as though from a distance.
Imperator explained to me that I was seeing an actual scene, which was
intended to show me how the spirits operated. Rector was writing; and it was not
done, as I had imagined, by guiding my hand nor impressing my mind; but was done
by directing on to the pen a ray which looked like blue light. The force so
directed caused the pen to move in obedience to the will of the directing
spirit. In order to show me that the hand was a mere instrument, not essential
to the experiment the pen was removed from the hand, and kept in position by the
ray of light which was directed upon it. To my great surprise, it moved over the
paper, and wrote as before. A great part of what is written above was really
done without the intervention of a human hand. I was told that it was not easy
to write without human aid, and that the spelling of the words was wrong. I find
that is actually the case in the part written as I describe.
I remember mentally wondering how such spirits spoke English; and, in reply
to my thought, several addressed me one after another in different languages.
They were not intelligible to me, but were interpreted by Imperator. He also
showed me how spirits commune with each other by transfusion of thought.
Imperator explained that the sounds could be made in the same way, without aid
from anything material. I heard the sound of fairy bells at the time, and the
air was pervaded by a subtle perfume. The spirits were dressed as I have seen
them before, and moved about quite independent of the material obstacles round
them. Some of the spirits formed a circle round the table at which my body sat.
I seemed to myself to be garbed in white, with a blue cincture. There was some
purple too, a sort of over-robe, I think. Every spirit was self-luminous,
apparently, and the room was very light. I was commanded to return and write
down what I saw. I do not remember the return to my body. I am perfectly certain
as to what occurred, and report it simply and without exaggeration."
EXTRACTS FROM OTHER WRITINGS BY STAINTON
Writing in Light of August, 1889, he says:
"Since I have published Spirit Teachings, I have heard a good deal
about the unconscious self, and have listened to many speculations as to the
extent of the knowledge that may be concealed somewhere deep down in my inner
consciousness, without my being aware of it. I must leave my readers to settle
for themselves the knotty question how far they think that the consecutive
series of communications made to me are explained by this recondite theory, or
are more simply and naturally accounted for by the account always put forward by
my instructors. Spirits these people call themselves, having an existence
independent of my life and consciousness; and as such, I accept them.
All these messages were certainly written out without any conscious knowledge
on my part, and many of them after I had taken extraordinary precautions to
prevent my seeing what was being written."
In a letter he speaks of the various phases of his mediumship:
"I communicated with Imperator originally through automatic writing. I
communicate now by the voice. I hear the voice as of a distant person, borne on
a breeze, always calm and passionless, as of one not stirred by human gusts. I
can in special moods ‘sense him’ and his thoughts, and am conscious of a
transfusion of them direct. Imperator let me go through all the physical
mediumship, predicting its cessation when no longer required. Then the writing,
then the voice, then the face to face communing which I sometimes enjoy. Lastly,
what he calls normal as distinguished from abnormal mediumship, which I take it
is that sometimes called inspirational."
In a letter, published in the Theosophist, written, probably, to
Colonel Olcott, and quoted in Light, after his passing, he says:
"I do things one day, and especially say things, of which I have no
remembrance. I go to bed with no lecture prepared. In the morning I get up and
go about my work as usual, lecture a little more fluently than usual, do all my
business, converse with my friends, and yet know absolutely nothing of what I
have done. One person alone who knows me very intimately can tell, by a far-off
look in the eyes, that I am in an abnormal state. The notes of my lectures so
delivered, as I read them in the books of those who attend my lectures, read to
me precise, accurate, clear.
My friends find me absent, short in manner, brusque and rude of speech. Else,
there is no difference. When I come to myself, I know nothing of what has taken
place; but sometimes I gradually recollect. I am beginning to realise how
completely a man may be a ‘gas-pipe,’ a mere vehicle for another spirit. Is it
possible for a man, to ordinary eyes a common human being, to be a vehicle for
Intelligences from above, and to have no separate personality?"
(It is suggested that S. M. here meant "individuality.")
"Can it be that my spirit may be away learning, perhaps leading a separate
life, while my body is going about, and is animated by other Intelligences?
Once, lately, in the Isle of Wight, my interior dormant faculties awoke, and
I lost the external altogether. For a day and a night I lived in another world,
while dimly conscious of material surroundings. I saw my friends, the house, the
room, the landscape but dimly. I went about as usual, but through all, and far
more clearly, I saw my spiritual surroundings, the friends I know so well, and
many I had never seen before. The scene was clearer than the material landscape,
and yet blended with it in a certain way. I did not wish to talk. I was content
to look and live among such surroundings. It was as I have heard Swedenborg’s
On spiritual evolution, S. M. writes:
"There is, as I learn, a system of spiritual evolution akin to that known by
that name on earth. Manifestly, we do not arrive here on the same plane of
progression though we cannot remember the events which have trained and
developed us. Probably we are the result of various experiments; our characters
the outcome of different experiences in different states of existence."
His spirit photographed in Paris.
S. M. writes in Light of a letter received from a French gentleman
concerning the spirit photography of his sister and other relatives during their
sleep in America, the photo being taken by Buguet in Paris. Mentally, the
Frenchman had asked his sister for her family’s picture; and on one plate she
was there with three girls, and on the other with two boys. Another time she, in
answer to his request, brought her mother, who was living miles away from her.
There were also messages written on a card which she holds in the photo.
As a result, S. M. arranged to have a photo of a friend taken in Paris on a
Sunday morning at 11 o’clock, hoping to be there in spirit. He awoke late, heard
church bells, then became unconscious till 11.47. The experiment was successful.
On the second exposure there was a perfect likeness of S. M., with eyes closed
as in sleep. Also, on the plate, was an old man, a sage well-known to him as one
of his band, Prudens (Plotinus).
At a subsequent seance Imperator said that the medium’s spirit had been
carefully entranced, and was then transported by its guides from London to
Paris, the cord which unites body and soul being extended from one city to the
Do spirits talk twaddle? S. M. writes:
"A common objection of men of the Huxley type is that the ‘revenants’ talk
such twaddle. Well, they do not as a rule; unless the assembled company
invite and appreciate platitudes and little vapid jokes. I have conversed
frequently with spirits who enunciate great truths in a befitting manner; and I
have sat in wondering disgust and amazement at the stuff that educated ladies
and gentlemen, who ought to know better, will address by the hour to some poor
spirit, who, at any rate, is in evidence as proof of a tremendous fact -
perpetuated life after death. Never mind that such spirits talk twaddle. Like
consorts with like."
Careful conditions develop a wonderful medium.
In writing of the development by a Mr. Rees Lewis of the wonderful medium,
Mr. Spriggs, S. M. says: "One condition was that the seance-room should be set
apart consecrated to its own special use. Another was that medium and circle
should lead a life of abstinance from flesh-food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco.
The circle was selected and arranged with the utmost care, and the medium led a
simple plain, pure life. The circle never varied; no fresh elements were
introduced into it; and, as far as possible, regular attendance was enforced.
During the seances the light was always sufficient for accurate observation.
After four years of success, some members of the circle craved for publicity.
They wished to engage a hall, admit strangers, gain notoriety. As a consequence,
the phenomena deteriorated, and the flow of them was interrupted. The mediumship
of Mr. Spriggs suffered deterioration. The wonder-seekers had their day, and the
result was disastrous."
Of the danger of promiscuous circles, S. M. writes:
"It is the abuse, not use, that is dangerous. The psychic emanations of a
promiscuous circle, held under the conditions that too often obtain, are
poisonous to the sensitive, and harmful to all.
What care is exercised in promiscuous circles to secure conditions of health,
physical, mental and spiritual? Usually, none whatever. Men and women come to
see what is to be seen; to amuse themselves after dinner; for any and every sort
of reason. The atmosphere is loaded with impurity; the darkened room is closed
and oppressive to the outer sense; how much more to the inner spiritual sense?
Those who are sensitive to spirit influence go away wondering that they are
unstrung and nervous and ill at ease. They have been drained of vitality or have
imbibed a poison; or, possibly, subjected to the influence of some undeveloped
spirit that saps their life. No wonder they suffer."
Concerning spirit impostors, S. M. writes of a case of elaborated imposture
carried out by unseen agents giving, he says, "as good evidence as I know of the
existence of spirit disembodied, with power of communicating, and, apparently,
of reading human thought, and of getting up special facts so as to personate a
human being: the calculated falsehood of a personating spirit. Such spirits
there seem to be on the confines of the unseen world. Experience abundantly
proves that the borderland is haunted by a class of spirit that finds pleasure
in communicating with earth; probably on account of the tie that binds it being
unsevered, and because no magnetic attraction upward has yet been established.
Such spirits are in a state of desolation, vagrant, homeless, and, with the
affections (such as they are) still bent earthwards. They find their pleasure in
posturing as some great man, or in playing a part that they see to be desired.
These are the Shakespeares who cannot spell, etc. Few circles escape torment,
and, indeed, risk of being broken up, by their falsehood and vagaries.
I have frequently wondered whether such spirits be not the emissaries of
powers antagonistic to the higher spirits whose charge it is to disseminate
truth to this world of ours. There is no simpler way of breaking up a circle
where truth is being instilled into receptive minds, than to introduce falsehood
and fraud. Many are the warnings I have received from those with whom I have
been in communication. They have always spoken strongly of the machination of
those they call the adversaries, and warned me their efforts are most vigorous
at times of earthly disturbance and unrest.
How do these spirits gain access to a circle composed of elements with which
they have no affinity? It seems to be a question of the power as well as the
wisdom of the unseen guardians. I believe that to enter into close relations
with the unseen world without the protection of a powerful as well as wise
guardian, is an extremely dangerous and foolish thing. Curiosity is no suitable
excuse for meddling with unknown forces which may be deadly. We have been
preoccupied in attempts to force on an unwilling world recognition of plain
facts, of the phenomena objective to the senses, which Spiritualism offers for
investigation. It is time that we point to the dangers attendant upon playing
with that which, though spiritual, is not therefore always desirable; and to the
curse that too often lights on those who rashly expose themselves to the risk of
obsession by spirits whom, could they but see them as they are, they would avoid
with might and main. It is well that the enthusiastic Spiritualist who talks
glibly of angels and proofs of immortality should recognise the fact that there
are sometimes other agencies than angels at work. Suggestions of evil, incipient
traces of deception, should be repressed at once. The time has surely come when
the dangers and difficulties of spirit communion should be acknowledged. I by no
means regard Spiritualism as a general panacea for humanity: nor even as a
general plaything for the curious."
Of spirit foes, S. M. writes:
"My teachers have always spoken of the adversaries who contend against their
work and strive to thwart and ruin it. Personally, I have been for prolonged
periods brought face to face with spirit foes, with whom I have consciously
striven for the mastery.
The soul is, unquestionably, trained in such ways. Alone with itself, in its
Gethsemane, it learns to pray and to draw spiritual strength by communion with
Of the power of prayer to assist unhappy spirits, S. M. writes:
"I have had long personal experience of spirits who habitually came and asked
for prayer. I have heard of such cases from others. They have repeatedly
expressed themselves as benefited by prayer, and by association with spirits on
a higher plane of progression than themselves. They are elevated and blessed by
such intercourse. Who shall say that is not sufficient reward for any little
trouble we may take, or annoyance we may suffer, from the presence of these
Of indiscriminate proselytising, S. M. writes:
"Spiritualists, as a rule, are enthusiastic proselytisers. Their zeal is not
always, or even generally, guided by discretion. They are so possessed by a
sense of the reality and importance of their facts that they find it hard to
understand that these may be quite uninteresting to their neighbours. Or they
chafe at the general imputation of credulity under which they labour, and are
anxious to prove to the world that they are sane and sensible. Or, possibly,
they are animated by the missionary spirit, and would save the souls of the
ignorant by enlightening their darkness.
My habit has invariably been not to attempt to proselytise at all. I believe
the inner sense of want must precede the possibility of acceptance, or even, any
interest in the subject that is worth speaking of. Curiosity may be aroused, and
blaze up and go out. Antagonism of a very bitter kind may easily be excited in
certain minds. Any real interest must proceed from within, and spontaneously.
Given that interest, I hold it to be a sacred duty to satisfy, as far as may be,
all reasonable enquiry. One of the truths that is clearest to my mind is the
absolute necessity for a prepared mind in the recipient before any proselytising
efforts can be successful. I expect nothing from the promiscuous introduction of
persons to seances for materialisation. In almost every case, no good can come
of such introduction."
On spiritual healing, S. M. writes:
"Spiritual power may be that of a spirit in or out of a body.
The influence may be that of the unaided human spirit; or it may be that those
unseen beings who impinge upon our lives in a way, and to a degree, of which
most of us have very little conception. We find the great motive power of spirit
in man is the Will. It is the great energising power. Another potent faculty is
the Imagination. Combine the will of the operator with the imagination of a
patient, and you set curative agency at work; nor is there any bounds to the
conceivable action of these potent principles.
Imagination, enthusiastically stirred, or influenced from without by will,
does demonstrably relieve, and sometimes cure, nervous ailments, and give more
or less permanent relief to chronic diseases, such as rheumatism and even
partial paralysis. Further, it is stated by various witnesses that cancers have
been treated psychopathically with complete success.
On such cases I am not competent to offer an opinion. Sergeant Cox considered
the cure is effected by directing the attention of the patient to the ailing
part. Passes, when used, serve to do this, and so increase the flow of
nerve-force or vital force to the effected part. As a result of this stimulated
flow of vital force, the restorative processes of Nature are set in action.
Again, we come upon the factors of faith. It seems that faith is a necessary
pre-requisite. What is this mysterious quality, and how does it operate? It
seems dimly probable that there is a connection traceable between the power of
faith and this same imagination that is so potent. The act of faith may exalt
and stimulate the imagination and set its power in action."
A bishop having attributed the vices of the age to scepticism, S. M. writes:
"Scepticism, if honest, is the outcome of mental processes which have nothing
to do with morality. A man may assent to every dogma, and lead a vile life. The
national Church is ceasing to be the Church of thoughtful men; therein its
condemnation is written broadly across its face. If it would gain the ear of
those who now hold aloof from it, it must be by abandoning claims on blind and
unreasoning faith, and by submitting to the experimental method of demonstration
those great problems of the future life and the best preparation for it in the
present, which can be reasonably approached in no other way. It is no longer any
use to cry with shrill iteration: ‘Believe this, or take the consequences.’ Men
have made their choice. They will take the consequences.
If the Church is wise, it will lose no time in approaching these matters from
the position - the impregnable position - of the Spiritualist."
Of a clergyman who refused to attend a circle, S. M. writes:
"He poses in a most extraordinary attitude for one who has entrusted to him a
cure of souls. He must know that all around him are men crying out for evidence
of a future life. He must have had addressed to him the earnest request for some
stable proof of continued existence. It is not men’s fault that they cannot
believe as he tells them they ought. They want evidence such as commends itself
to their minds; with Thomas, they would prove and test for themselves, and they
have a sacred right to do so. But the method of the Christ is not the method of
He condescended to say: ‘Reach hither thy hand.’ Mr. G. draws himself up,
and pharisaically replies: ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’"
In reply to attacks, S. M. writes:
"It may be worth while to say that Spiritualism is not necromancy, but that
it is, in its complete sense, the intervention of the spiritual with the
material world, of which intervention the Bible is one long record. It is no new
thing, and was known as well to the prophets and seers of Israel as to us."
On Spiritualism and religion, S. M. writes:
"Does not the average man get out of Spiritualism, assuming him to make
acquaintance with something more than its phenomena, a view of truth and duty,
and spiritual development, clearer and higher than an average man gets out of
his special, sectarian Christianity? In my opinion, the clear-cut, new and
impressive teachings enforced by a man’s personal experience of a spirit-world
near and above him, will be more potent than any glib familiarity with the
well-worn shibboleth of a hereditary faith. He will find his greatest helps to
personal religion from those who have preceded him, and returned to stretch out
a helping and guiding hand to those who need and can appreciate the help. As a
most valuable means of re-stating Eternal Truth in terms suited to present day
need; in the sense, it is in very truth a religion.
It appeals to the mind that has severed itself on intellectual grounds from
old religious beliefs. To such it offers scientific demonstration of perpetual
life after death. From various points of view, it is a science, a philosophy, a
It having been suggested that theosophists were an ally of spiritualism
against Christianity, S. M. writes:
"Heaven preserve us! We want no ally against Christianity. We need rather a
closer and more intimate alliance with a system which our philosophy could
greatly illuminate, and our facts abundantly illustrate. There is no talk of any
antagonism between Spiritualism and Christianity. Spiritualists are fully alive
to the moral excellence of the Christian code; they reverence the pure life of
the Christ. A few make the mistake of confounding the essential principles of
the system with the disfigurements which time and man’s meddling have put upon
No portion worth a thought is disposed to seek an alliance against what they
trust to see purified and purged of error, simplified and confirmed in its
essential elements of the Truth by the increasing spread of a pure, spiritual
philosophy. We have better work to do than to run amok against the religious
beliefs of any man."
On Biblical inspiration, S. M. writes to a friend:
"Anything can be got out of the Bible. It must be remembered that we have no
accurate report of the teaching of our Lord: only the interpretation of it which
some of His disciples carried away and wrote down long after it had circulated
orally among the faithful. The accretions and changes and developments
incidental to that process would be, and are, enormous. I do not accept any
theory of verbal inspiration. God does not so deal with us. Nor do I believe our
Bible to be our only revelation of Him. God had revealed Himself in many ways to
many minds. When minds trained in exact thought, come to apply to tabooed
subjects the processes they use logically in daily life, they find that many
ideas, current because crystallised into dogmas, will not bear examination."
On the devil theory, S. M. writes:
"Theology framed for itself long ago a devil which has been a convenient
lay-figure ever since. I do not see why such a devil as Calvanists, Puritans,
and narrow school of Evangelicals believe in should not account, on the most
comprehensive principles, for the whole mystery of evil.
He is practically an omnipotent god of evil, powerful for evil as the Supreme
for good, restrained by no laws, trammelled by no compunction from within . . .
a merciless, sleepless, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god of evil. No
power can exclude him from man’s most secret life, for he is lord of all man’s
passions. No power can fetter him until a mysterious, far-off day, when he is at
last to be disposed of for ever.
Our heart sickens at the notion that this personage is loose in the world,
malignantly trying to delude confiding folks. If this be so, then we are indeed
accursed. But we take heart of grace, and boldly strip the mask from this
gruesome fiend. He has been a steady growth. Oriental love of imagery and
personification crystallised him first into shape. He was furbished up, dressed
and rendered hideous, by the morbid fancies of mediaeval monks, whose minds,
from a long, unnatural course of fasting and maceration and loneliness, had
become warped. The creation was then taken in hand by such poets as Dante and
Milton, further embellishments and adorned by poetic fancy, until he has come
forth the convenient fetish of popular theology such as we hear of now in the
full-flavoured fire and brimstone theology of the Calvinist.
When the theory is taken to pieces and examined it simply evaporates, and the
Devil merges into one of the undeveloped spirits who abound, both in and out of
the flesh. And this is probably the truth. In the world to come, as in this, the
evil and good are mingled; change of condition works no magic change of nature.
"He that is holy is holy still, and he that is filthy is filthy still." Evil men
become in their turn evil spirits, and act accordingly.
Far be it from me to deny that undeveloped spirits may and do cause vast
mischief, both in the flesh and out of it. But we are now fighting against the
notion of an arch-fiend of evil, such as mediaevalism has pictured and modern
Christianity has adopted. While there are devils many in the sense of
undeveloped spirits in the body and out of it, there is no such arch-devil as
theology has evolved for itself."
On the value of Spiritualist teaching, S. M. writes:
"Spiritualism asserts far more than the two facts of continued existence and
communion with the departed. To them I would add the consentient teaching that
man is the arbiter of his own destiny, forms his own character, and makes his
future home. That is the most tremendous moral incentive, and I cannot conceive
any religious system possessing one stronger. If Spiritualism proves to a man
that he will live after death, just the man his life has made him; that his
friends, all whom he holds dear, can still watch and love him; that his sins and
errors must be atoned for by himself, and that no bribe can purchase immunity -
if it does this, and it does more, it has in it the germs of deep
religious influence on the age."
On the importance of the daily life, S. M. writes:
"Man is engaged ceaselessly, by the acts and habits of his daily life, in
building up a soul - a spiritual nature, rudimentary and imperfect now, but
indestructible, and susceptible of infinite development in the future. This is
the real man, the immortal being; and it is on himself that the responsibility
rests, primarily and principally, of his future state. He is the arbiter of his
own destiny, the architect of his own future, the final judge of his own life.
This is a truth too little heard from the pulpit; and yet how far-reaching is
its import, how necessary the knowledge of it for us all, how stringent its
effect in the whole domain of morals and of religion."
On Man’s Future Destiny, S. M. writes:
"The future life, differing from the present one only in degree, and, in the
states immediately succeeding this, only in a very slight degree, is a life of
continued progress, in which the sin-stained spirit will be compelled to remedy
in sorrow and shame the acts of conscious transgression done in the body . . .
The penalty must be paid somewhere and sometime, and by personal effort."
On the spirit creed, S. M. writes:
"The idea of a good God sacrificing His sinless son as a propitiation for man
is repudiated as monstrous. Equally strong is the rejection of the notion of a
store of merit laid up by the death of this incarnate God, on which the vilest
reprobate may draw at his death, and gain access to the society of God and the
perfected. In place of this it is said that man can have no saviour outside of
himself. That no second person can relieve him from the consequences of the
conscious transgression of known laws: that no transference of merit can wipe
out in a moment a state which is the result of a lifetime’s work, nor
counterbalance that which is indelible, save by slow process of obliteration,
even as it was built up: that man stands alone in his responsibility for his
deeds, and must work out his own salvation, and atone for his own sin. The
material resurrection and the material heaven and hell go too. The resurrection
of the body, long since given up by scientific men, is superseeded by the
resurrection of the spirit body, the real individual, from the dead matter with
which it has been temporarily clothed. Not in a far-off future, but at the
moment of dissolution.
This body goes to the place for which it has fitted itself. Its heaven is a
state of development and consciousness of duty done, knowledge gained and
progress made. Its hell is the remorse of cleared perceptions, of knowledge of
opportunities wasted and graces lost; the awful, terrible state wherein the
spirit is led to see itself, its foul sins, its sensual lusts and
disfigurements, as the Pure and Holy see them; the lonely sense of wasted life;
the sight of loved ones soaring away and leaving it alone with the depraved; the
feeling that the great work has yet to be done; the burning flame which shall
eat out the past, and leave a future of renewed, helpful effort to be begun
anew. Material fire and brimstone are gone, but does no hell remain?"
On changed conditions after death, S. M. writes:
"The man is unchanged. The character laboriously built up by the acts
and habits of a lifetime, suffers no alteration from the fact that that lifetime
is over. But the state of the man, the condition in which he finds himself, his
surroundings - these are infinitely changed; so much so, indeed, that those who
find themselves in communion with spirits able to instruct and inform them, are
fain to confess that but little idea can be gathered of that land from the
language of allegory and parable in which the inhabitants convey their thoughts
It may be we have no power of grasping a state of life we are unable to
imagine. Few Spiritualists will deny that the change which death makes is one
that cannot be translated into the exact language which accurately conveys human
thought, though we gain some faint and fanciful idea of it from symbolical and
allegorical spirit teaching.
No doubt the life is one of energy and effort for long after this state of
existence is quitted, and till the spirit, purged from dross, is fitted for the
Heaven of contemplation."
On the God Idea, S. M. writes:
"Spirits who return to earth have little to tell, apparently, of God. The
general drift of spirit teaching is curiously in the direction of a refined and
spiritualised Pantheism. We hear little of the Great Judge, the King of Heaven.
We hear much of the tender care of the guardians, of their benevolent
interference with this world, of the educational methods they employ. To their
listening ear comes the cry that brings willing aid and loving sympathy. Not as
it seems, and is indeed, probable enough, to the ear of the Supreme. Yet they
say much of the blessing that comes of earnest prayer and inculcate that duty
upon us. The reflex benefits, as well as its direct blessings, are uniformly
insisted on. But it is the intermediary agent that hears and responds."
Quoting from Tennyson’s "Despair," S. M. writes:
"What is to be done with one who has come to scorn a God whose infinite love
has made an eternal hell? He must be won back to a sound mind by demonstrating
to him that these ideas, against which his inmost soul rebels with passionate
fury, are figments of man’s invention; by proving to his mind, by scientific
methods of demonstration, that this life is not the end of all; that mind,
intelligence, can exist apart from the body; that men live on after they are
said to be dead; and that these facts can be proven to demonstration.
This is the Mission of Spiritualism, and a blessed work it is
that it has to do. Purged of all that defiles it and holds it back from this
sublime work, it will take its place as the great religious, purifying element
in our modern thought, doing that which can be done in no other way, uniting
Science and religion as exponents of Truth."
In reviewing a book by Epes Sargent, S. M. writes:
"In bringing to light the blessings stored up by a life of purity, sincerity,
simplicity and love, Spiritualism points out the excellent way which blesses
alike the life and the community which it adorns, and which will do honour to
the God of its worship and adoration.
In demonstrating man’s absolute accountability for his acts, and his
formative power in moulding his character and preparing for himself his place in
the life to come, it enunciates a principle which is inferior to none in its
binding and corrective and essentially religious power.
And in preaching the gospel of hope of union and communion now, and of
re-union hereafter, with those so dearly loved that without them life, whatever
other boons it had to offer would assuredly be not worth living, it
lightens the weary load of the present, and gilds the prospect of the future."
Rejoicing that Truth is now being revealed to many, S. M. writes:
"It is indeed, cheering to find efforts at the promulgation of Truth from the
world of spirit so frequently now. It leads to the conviction that the Unseen
teachers are finding vehicles for their messages in the most unlikely and
divergent quarters. Through no one medium can the whole message be transmitted.
To no one mind is it given to grasp the many-sided truth. He will get most who
lends a listening ear to most that comes through these various channels. He will
learn who thinks that he knows most already.
Broken lights of the Sun of Truth are flashing all around us. The time is
ripe for a philosophy of our complex subject, and efforts are being made in
nearly all lands to supply it from all points of view.
It is because I believe that the religion of the future will be founded on
the science which is now being demonstrated by occultists and Spiritualists, and
that so Science and Religion will meet together, and walk hand in hand, that I
am hopeful and trustful as to the future."