[ After a long trance address on the subjects dealt with
in the last communication, the writing was resumed on the following day, by the
same spirit, Imperator using the ordinary amanuensis, who was known as Rector.
After this was written, a seance was held in which some discussion took place on
what had been said. Something further was added, and especially an attempt was
made to refute the charges that I brought against the teaching given. From the
standpoint that I then occupied it seemed to me that such teachings might be
called by opponents atheistic or diabolic; I, at any rate, should call them
latitudinarian, and I maintained, at some length, views more nearly approaching
to orthodox teaching.
In order to follow the argument which I was now
entering upon, it is necessary for the reader to remember that I was trained in
strict accordance with Protestant Church principles: that I had spent much time
in reading the theologies of the Greek and Roman Churches, and that I had
accepted, as most nearly according with the views at which I had arrived, the
tenets of that portion of the Church of England called Anglican. I had seen
cause to revise some of my strong beliefs, but substantially I was what would be
called a sound High Churchman.
From this time commences that state, to which I shall
have often to refer, of great spiritual exaltation, during which I was
profoundly conscious of the presence and influence of one commanding
Intelligence, and of an action on my mind which eventuated in a development of
thought amounting to nothing short of spiritual regeneration.]
You have objected to our teachings that they are not consistent with the
received creed of orthodoxy. We have more to say on this subject.
Religion, the spirit's healthful life, has two aspects--the one pointing to
God, the other to man. What says the spirit-creed of God?
In place of an angry, jealous tyrant it reveals a loving Father who is not
loving in name alone, but in very deed and truth; into whose dealings naught but
love can enter; who is just and good and full of affection to the lowest of His
It does not recognise any need of propitiation towards this God. It rejects
as false any notion of this Divine Being vindictively punishing a transgressor,
or requiring a vicarious sacrifice for sin. Still less does it teach that this
omnipotent Being is enthroned in a heaven where His pleasure consists in the
homage of the elect, and in the view of the tortures of the lost, who are for
ever excluded in quenchless misery from light and hope.
No such anthropomorphism finds any place in our creed. God, as we know Him in
the operation of His laws, is perfect, pure, loving, and holy, incapable of
cruelty, tyranny, and other such human vices: viewing error with sorrow as
knowing that sin contains its own sting, but eager to alleviate the smart by any
means consistent with the immutable moral laws to which all alike are subject.
God, the centre of light and love! God, operating in strict accordance with
those laws which are a necessity of orderly existence! God, the grand object of
our adoration, never of our dread!
We know of Him as you cannot know, as you cannot even picture in imagination:
yet none has seen Him: nor are we content with the metaphysical sophistries with
which prying curiosity and over-subtle speculation have obscured the primary
conception of God amongst men. We pry not. The first conception with you even is
grander, nobler, more sublime. We wait for higher knowledge. You must wait too.
On relations between God and His creatures we speak at large. Yet here, too,
we clear off many of the minute points of human invention which have been from
age to age accumulated round and over the central truths. We know nothing of
election of a favoured few. The elect are they who work out for themselves a
salvation according to the laws which regulate their being.
We know nothing of the potency of blind faith or credulity. We know, indeed,
the value of a trustful, receptive spirit, free from the littleness of perpetual
suspicion. Such is God-like, and draws down angel guidance. But we abjure and
denounce that most destructive doctrine that faith, belief, assent to dogmatic
statements, have power to erase the traces of transgression; that an earth
lifetime of vice and sloth and sin can we wiped away, and the spirit stand
purified by a blind acceptance of a belief, of an idea, of a fancy, of a creed.
Such teaching has debased more souls than anything else to which we can point.
Nor do we teach that there is a special and potent efficacy in any one belief
to the exclusion of others. We do not believe that truth is the perquisite of
any creed. In all there is a germ of truth; in all an accretion of error. We
know, as you know not, the circumstances which decide to what special form of
faith a mortal shall give his adherence, and we value it accordingly. We know
exalted intelligences who stand high in spirit life, who were enabled to
progress in spite of the creed which they professed on earth. We value only the
earnest seeking after truth which may distinguish the professors of creeds the
most widely dissimilar. We care not for the minute discussions which men delight
in. We shrink from those curious pryings into mysteries transcending knowledge
which characterise your theologies. The theology of the spirit is simple and
confined to knowledge. We value at nothing mere speculation. We care not for
sectarianism, save that we know it to be a mischievous provoker of rancour, and
spite, and malice, and ill-will.
We deal with religion as it affects us and you in simpler sort. Man--an
immortal spirit, so we believe,--placed in earth-life as a school of training,
has simple duties to perform, and in performing them is prepared for more
advanced and progressive work. He is governed by immutable laws, which, if he
transgresses them, work for him misery and loss; which, also, if respected,
secure for him advancement and satisfaction.
He is the recipient of guidance from spirits who have trod the path before
him, and who are commissioned to guide him if he will avail himself of their
guidance. He has within him a standard of right which will direct him to the
truth, if he will allow himself to be guided to keep it and protect it from
injury. If he refuse these helps, he falls into transgression and deterioration.
He is thrown back and finds misery in place of joy. His sins punish themselves.
Of his duties he knows by the instinct of his spirit as well as by the teaching
of his guardians. The performance of those duties brings progress and happiness.
The spirit grows and gains newer and fuller views of that which makes for
perfect, satisfying joy and peace.
This mortal existence is but a fragment of life. Its deeds and their results
remain when the body is dead. The ramifications of wilful sin have to be
followed out, and its results remedied in sorrow and shame.
The consequences of deeds of good are similarly permanent, and precede the
pure soul and draw around it influences which welcome and aid it in the spheres.
Life, we teach you, is one and indivisible. One in its progressive
development; and one in the effect on all alike of the eternal and immutable
laws by which it is regulated. None are excused as favourites; none are punished
mercilessly for error which they were unable to avoid. Eternal justice is the
correlative of eternal love. Mercy is no divine attribute. It is needless; for
mercy involves remission of a penalty inflicted, and no such remission can be
made save where the results have been purged away. Pity is Godlike. Mercy is
We know naught of that sensational piety which is wholly wrapped up in
contemplation, to neglect duty. We know that God is not so glorified. We preach
the religion of work, of prayer, of adoration. We tell you of your duty to God,
to your brother, and to yourself--soul and body alike. We leave to foolish men,
groping blindly in the dark, their curious quibbles about theological figments.
We deal with the practical life; and our creed may be briefly written:--
Honour and love your Father, God.
(Worship)..................................................Duty to God
Help your brother onward in the path of progress. (Brotherly
Love)..................Duty to Neighbour
Tend and guard your own body. (Bodily
culture)...............................................Duty to Self
Cultivate every means of extending knowledge. (Mental
progress).....................Duty to Self
Seek for fuller views of progressive truths. (Spiritual
growth)..............................Duty to Self
Do ever the right and good in accordance with your knowledge.
(Integrity).........Duty to Self
Cultivate communion with the spirit-land by prayer and frequent
Within these rules is roughly indicated most that concerns you here. Yield no
obedience to any sectarian dogmas. Give no blind adherence to any teaching that
is not commended by reason. Put no unquestioning faith in communications which
were made at a special time, and which are of private application. You will
learn hereafter that the revelation of God is progressive, bounded by no time,
confined to no people. It has never ceased. God reveals Himself as truly now as
of old He was revealed on Sinai. God does not shut off the progressive revealing
of Himself in measure as man can bear it.
You will learn also that all revelation is made through a human channel: and
consequently cannot but be tinctured in some measure with human error. No
revelation is of plenary inspiration. None can demand credence on any other than
rational grounds. Therefore to say of a statement that it is not in accord with
what was given through a human medium at any stated time is no derogation
necessarily from the truth of that statement. Both may in their kind be true;
yet each of different application. Set up no human standard of judgment other
than that of right reason. Weigh what is said. If it be commended by reason,
receive it; if not, reject it. If what is put before you be prematurely said,
and you are unable to accept it, then in the name of God put it aside, and cling
to aught that satisfies your soul and helps its onward progress. The time will
come when what we lay before you of divine truth will be valued amongst men. We
are content to wait, and our prayers shall join with yours to the Supreme and
All-wise God that He will guide the seekers after truth, wherever they may be,
to higher and more progressive knowledge, to richer and fuller insight into
truth. May His blessing rest on you!