« FöregåendeFortsätt »
more than that and to believe that God will help our helplessness, and inform our ignorant prayers, if we will let Him. “ Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” And now again, because of this age which we live in, does this text seem to need still further translation ? It means that there is direct action of God upon the soul, and which a man may yield to or resist; and that that operation is not merely such force as that by which the eagle lives, or the pulse beats, but rather is like the presence of a dear father on his son, in a time of trouble, by which the child feels himself fill with courage and grow strangely quick of apprehension.
In the next age, when men shall have learned how and where to find themselves; when they shall have escaped from the bewildering effects of human science imperfectly mastered and disproportionately esteemed; when they shall have come to see how this earth revolves, and may yet very well have been visited by angels at times; when science, in some great professor, shall have been baptised by the spirit, then will begin great and multitudinous effects to ensue; and because of the spirit of the times then, science will grow poetic with rainbow beauties, and poetry will grow towards prophecy, from the deeper strain which will be in it of spiritual and eternal truth. It will sing familiarly in a style which Milton reached only a few times, which (Eschylus just knew of, and which more exactly will be as though King David should have returned to chant from his heavenly experience fresh psalms for his friends on earth.
Also, under the influence of the Spirit from on high, social problems, which now seem to be hopeless, will become very easy of solution. For, when people shall wish to stand right before God, when they shall be willing to let their hearts be drawn and 'draw them, it will be wonderful in all righteousness how soon and naturally and easily they will find themselves standing towards one another very much as they ought to do. With a general experience of the spirit, yet no greater than there is to-day of scepticism,-but with such an experience of the spirit what is there socially which might not be hoped for? Since, because of the spirit in common, there will be a feeling,-of exactly the opposite origin, however, from communism,—there will be a feeling with the rich for letting their wealth run to common uses as far as prudence and political economy and the state of the world will allow; like the impulse for having all things in common which was felt by the first Christians during the first few days after Pentecost. And things which at present are continually being reformed, and always to no purpose; things invincible to reason and incapable of being corrected by utilitarian philanthropy, will yield at once to the sweet, subtle effects of that spirit, by which believers will feel themselves all “ baptized into one body," and by which they will know themselves for glory and shame, for joy and sorrow, to be really and vitally “members one of another.”
There are some special causes of scepticism to-day, which in perhaps the next age, will have ceased almost altogether. And, in that better temper of the times, Christianity as the work of Christ through the Spirit, will manifest itself still more distinctly than it does to-day. It is oddly characteristic of these times that, as regards the gospel, men are more dutiful than believing. They act out of a higher spirit than they are quite sure of. “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief !” This precisely is their state of mind. With their hearts they believe, but not quite, not altogether with their minds. They would believe wholly but for an accident in social progress,---a temporary humour,—the mere spirit of the age.
But already signs are visible of a new period, and with its arrival fresh purpose will be felt from “ the powers of the world to come ;” and God will be known more dearly as a mighty fatherly Presence about us and awaiting us; and by every believing heart Christ will be more tenderly felt as its personal friend ; and by every bereaved and suffering spirit more vividly still than now will be felt across the grave the communion of saints.
And, because there have been wonders in the past, they will not, perhaps, be wanting to the glory of the future; and again, it may be, will the gifts of the Spirit subserve the work of the Spirit in the Church ; and one man find himself preternaturally quickened in wisdom for the benefit of his fellows; and another, by the way of prophecy, become like the mouthpiece of thought from outside of this world ; and another, by reason, perhaps, of some personal and fitting peculiarity, be known as a channel of healing power for the afflicted; and still another from perhaps some special susceptibility, be remarkable for the faith that will possess him, and through him that will strengthen the brethren.
These are things which we may never see, perhaps, but yet as mere possibilities, they have some meaning for us. It is for human beings and not for any other creatures, that the order of nature is orderly. And when signs and wonders are vouchsafed on earth, it is only to men that they are significant at all.
And no doubt, if men could be the better for it, the heavens themselves would be bowed and brought down. The
Lord is willing to meet man as far as possibly He can, consistently with allowing man himself to stir at all.
Creatures, as we are, that have but just lately struggled out of the dust, that often we should feel as though the dust were everything, is very natural.
natural. But, beyond the realm of the natural, is the region of the supernatural, which we know of, and to which, as knowing of it, we must certainly belong. And reasonably and rightly may we trust those glimpses of it which have been caught and reported by previous voyagers across the sea of Time, and even though they may have been but as momentary as the observations at noon which sometimes have to suffice for a stormy passage across the Atlantic. For, even of ourselves, we can judge as to whither the current sets which carries us.
And, for comfort, we have faith given us by God himself, and as reliable therefore, as He himself is,-faith which, like the magnetic needle in a starless night, by its pointing is
the evidence of things not seen.”
THE HISTORY OF A SPIRITUALIST-ABRIDGED
FROM THE REVUE SPIRITUALISTE.
The Spiritualist, who gives us his experiences in the mysterious regions of this extraordinary phase of human life, is no other than M. Leon Favre, the Consul-General of France. It is copied by M. Piérart from the Magnétiseur de Geneve, to which it has been contributed by the author himself. It is particularly satisfactory to have the authentic narrative of so distinguished a man; and more especially as the phenomena which he records occurred to him originally in a part of the world distant from Spiritualists in general. When we see the same manifestations with all their truths, their falsehoods, their singularities, contradictions and revealed verities, repeating themselves in every quarter of the globe, and to minds of every class, we are compelled to concede the reality of the dispensation itself; and, amid all its puzzles and discouraging bewilderments, to renew our convictions of its divine purpose, and of its ultimate and vast benefit to humanity.
“I arrived at the commencement of 1858 at Havana, and lodged at the Countess de Gaalon's.
Three days before my departure she asked me if I had ever seen a table turn. On replying in the negative, a small table on three legs was brov we placed our hands upon it, and in a few minutes I pere that one foot of the table was raised from the floor. I th
this must be the effect of its swaying to the pressure of the hands of my friend, and I pressed vigorously on my side to counterpoise the weight. But the effect continued in spite of my effort, and I was astonished immediately to find the table announce the Christian name, and then the full name of my father. A conversation with it commenced, and my amazement was augmented by finding the table utter questions and answers in perfect accord with the character of my father, and that he would not have spoken otherwise if he had been still living
“ The next day it was the daughter of Madame Gaalon, a child of from eight to nine years of age, who sate with me. Térésa was more of a medium than her mother, and I was able at my ease to observe the power which manifested itself under her hand, which no force of mine was able to counteract. Then came a spirit, “Who are you—a man?' 'No.' 'A woman?' "No.' What, then ?'' A child. And the name pronounced revealed to me the apparition of a sister who died at the age of three or four years, when I myself was only seven or eight; that is to say, more than forty years before. Certainly I was not thinking at all of this child, whom I had so little known, and who retained so small a place in my memory.
I continued my questions, but she could not answer them, alleging the early age of her departure. I asked her if she could find the spirit of my mother, which she promised to do at once, and in fact, in a few minutes afterwards, the table foot rose actively and announced
Then commenced a curious conversation; my mother speaking to me of things with which I alone was acquainted, and put questions and gave answers not only remarkable in themselves, but stamped with the impression of her own character. This double séance upset me. Such an emotion would perhaps appear puerile to those who are familiar with this species of phenomena, and probably would seem absurd to those who deny them; but all my ideas were confounded.
My hostess had no interest whatever in making a proselyte of me-her daughter still less. They acted only out of complaisance to satisfy my curiosity. Neither one nor the other knew my family, and did not understand the terms of the conversation with my father and mother, which were perfectly clear to me.
I had resisted the force which raised the foot of the table by an effort much superior to that which Térésa could have applied had she been playing the comedy. I had, therefore, the consciousness of a power acting outside of Térésa and myself, and that power must possess intelligence, since it put and answered questions. What could this phenomenon be?
“I am an enquirer and analyst: the unknown attracts me
powerfully—so much so, that the solution of the first mystery never satisfies me, and I never stop until I have reached the utmost limits of my comprehension. But at the same time I have been a magnetizer these thirty-five years, and I have thence acquired a tenacity of will and a force of concentration which prevents any discouragement. I resolved to sound the depth of this problem so irritating, which overturned my habitual ideas and half opened to me the portal of the infinite. For this purpose it was necessary that I should rely only on my own experiments, on the evidence of my own senses, and thence draw the inductions, which should appear to me relatively true, under the condition, which is the rule of all my belief, not to admit as definitive any solution, but always to reserve for my adoption a superior light, if it should appear to me.
2. It was in this disposition that I arrived at Tampico, and began to magnetize a light stand or work-table. Every day for three months, in solitude and concentration of spirit, I and a companion held our hands for half an hour on the table. Certainly our will was strong, and our desire immense. Notwithstanding which the result was only disappointment. Still we persevered, and three months after our first attempt, the foot of the little table raised itself slowly and pronounced the name of my mother. We then proceeded conscientiously to the examination of the force which revealed itself, and as, above all, we desired not to be the dupes of our fancies, we endeavoured sometimes to press simultaneously, yet differently, on the table so as to prevent its movement, at others only to touch it with the tips of our fingers, to convince ourselves that the movement was not our own. Quickly, however, the table performed somersaults, like something mad,--sudden, impetuous, irresistible,-showing us that something was at work beyond our will, and even in opposition to it. We could no longer doubt of the acting power, nor of the independence of the character belonging to that power.
" But what was the nature of this force? Was it magnetism, electricity, a disengagement of a Auid in conditions not yet understood ? We did not pause at the puerilities which represent these phenomena as those of an excited imagination, or of unconscious movement. These are childish objections, not worthy of the slightest notice.
“We began to read the works already published on this subject : The Revue Spiritualiste de la Nouvelle Orleans, edited by a good man, the lamented M. Barthet; Thé Revue Spiritualiste de Paris, conducted by M. Piérart, a conscientious and profoundly learned gentleman, — the only genuinely scientific treasury of such facts that you can recommend to the enquirers