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Spirit Teachings
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Section XVII


[ I think that all my friends were satisfied that I was too persistent in my objections. I, however, felt that I had no conscientious course open but to do my best to probe to the very depths this strange message that stirred me so violently. I could not satisfy myself: nor could I rest unsatisfied. I recurred to the strife. IMPERATOR'S argument being concluded, I pondered it carefully, and two days after (July 14th, 1873) made a rejoinder on the points which still seemed difficult to me. These referred to--

1, Identity
2, The nature and work of Jesus Christ
3, External evidence confirmatory of the claims made.

I requested that independent communications should be made through another medium, and expressed my intention of seeking out some medium with a view to getting such authentication. I also traversed the views put forward respecting the teachings in many ways which it is not now important to particularise. My answer expressed fairly my convictions at that time; but I see now that my rejoinders were based upon insufficient knowledge, and they have since been met in many ways; sufficiently, at any rate, to assure me that what remains unanswered will in due time receive a reply. But, at the time, I was very far from being satisfied, and expressed my dissent emphatically. In reply it was written as follows:--]

Friend, your statement has the merit of candour and perspicuity, which you allege that ours lacks. We have no difficulty in seeing your difficulty, though we find it impossible to supply it; and undesirable even if it were possible. If we fail at once to comply with all the conditions which you prescribe, we say again that it is from no lack of desire to afford you every satisfaction. We desire earnestly to bear conviction in upon your mind; but in so doing we must use our own means at our own time. It would be to us most sad, most deplorable, that our work should be marred or delayed by the failure of part of our plans. If it were so we should regret it both on your account and on our own; but we are unable to change the result. We are not omnipotent; and we cannot influence you save by the ordinary processes of argument and evidence which do not now reach your mind. That being so, we recognise the fact that you are not yet prepared to receive our words, and we wait in patience for the time when they shall find an entrance into your mind.

Into most of the questions which you have raised we do not follow you. They have been answered before, so far as it is now desirable to answer them. Nothing that we could now say would add any force to the replies which have been already given. Into matters of opinion it is idle for us to enter. Whether what we say seems to you consistent with what we do or have previously done is a very small matter. You are not now in the best condition to judge dispassionately on such a matter. Whether the eventual outcome of what you call Spiritualism is what we say, or what you think, is equally beside the point. We view the question from a more extended standpoint, one to which you are not yet able to mount. Your vision is circumscribed, and we see with clearer eye than yours. Whether you consider our teaching to be a legitimate development of Christianity is also of small moment. You admit its moral grandeur, and we need not discuss the meaning of development. Whether you believe it or not, it is teaching of which the world stands in sore need; teaching which it will sooner or later receive with thankfulness, whether you accept it or not; whether or not you receive us, and are prepared to aid us in disseminating it. We had hoped that we had found an instrument suited to our wants. We hope so still; for we know that the phase through which you are now passing is but a transient one, soon to give place to that assured conviction which is born of doubt. But even if it were not so, we must bow to the Almighty fiat, and seek anew for means of carrying on the work which we have in charge. No instrument is necessary to our end; though a good one is desirable. We should deplore greatly that you should put aside what is to you a means of enlightenment and progress. But over the issue we have no power. Should you, in the freedom of your will, decide to do so, we shall bow to the decision, and regret that your mind is not sufficiently developed to accept what we have presented to it.

Any attempt to prove identity by such imposed tests as you have put upon us would be worse than useless.

It would probably end in failure; and would certainly fail to ensure conviction. It may be possible for us to give collateral proofs from time to time. If it be so, we shall gladly avail ourselves of the opportunity; and if your connection with us is prolonged, you will find hereafter that many such proofs are accumulated. But the validity of our claims must rest on some more solid foundation than that. The evidence is not to be built on so shadowy a foundation. It would not stand the test of time. It is on moral grounds that we must appeal to you; and you yourself, we trust, will one day see that the physical is transient and unsatisfactory. For the present your mind is not sufficiently calm to weigh judicially the moral evidence. We are either of God or of the devil. If of God, as our words argue, then we shall not be likely to fabricate a story which, as you say, the world would receive with derision. But if we are, as you incline to think, of evil, then it rests with you to account for a story, which bears on its face the marks of a Divine origin, coming from an evil source. We do not trouble ourselves much on this score. We have no fear that what we have said will, in the end, when fairly weighed, be held to be attributable to an evil source. It is to the matter of the message rather than to the character of the messenger that we direct attention.

For ourselves it is a small matter. For God's work and God's truth it is serious. For you and for your future it is of most vital moment. It may be well that you should have time for thought and reflection. The growth of the revelation which has centred round you has been rapid and dazzling. It may be well that you should have time for serious and sober thought before we say more. We think that we may well withdraw for a time, and allow you to be at peace with your thoughts. We do not leave you alone; but rather with guardians more vigilant, and with guides more experienced. It is better, too, for us; for time may decide whether it be possible for us to continue the work begun; or whether precious time has been wasted, and the work must be begun anew. It must in any case be a grievous disappointment that the fruit of so many labours, of so many prayers, should drop untimely to the ground. But we and you must act according to that light which is in us as the guide of our actions. We are responsible in the sight of God for so much as that; and we must see to it that we weigh the issues aright. Our prayers shall be not less frequent nor less earnest than heretofore. We trust that they may be more effectual.

Farewell: and may the Great God guide and direct you.

+IMPERATOR.

[After this I made several attempts at communication. I also went, as I had intimated, to a medium to whom I was not known. I tried to the best of my power to elicit some information as to my guides, and especially as to the identity of Imperator. The effort was vain. All I got was that the spirit with me was Zoud, a Russian historian. I inquired as soon as I got home by writing, and was told that the statement was false. It was said:--]

We are not able to advise you to place reliance on the statements made. They are not trustworthy. If, contrary to our advice, you place yourself in communication with strange spirits who do not know you, and who are not in harmony with us, you will receive communications which are perplexing and unreliable.

[I remonstrated energetically, and said that it would have been so easy to satisfy my reasonble desire.]

No. We wish to give you every satisfaction; but the chief ordered us not to attend, and we were unable to prevent you from going. You get more harm than you can know from such experiments in your present state. We urge you very earnestly to refrain from such sittings in your present state, lest evil ensue. You require only patience. Impatient attempts to force matters on do but cause annoyance and distress to all of us. Far better that you rest in peace, and await the issue. The chief will do what is right, and any premature steps are mistaken.

But (I remonstrated) you all seem leagued to bewilder us. Can you do nothing that I ask?

Friend, you cannot have the mathematical proof that you crave. Nor can we give you proof exactly when you wish for it. Nor would it be good for you if we were able. All is arranged wisely and well.

[The spirit who communicated thus is the same who gave earlier messages. I was fain to stop, for I could get no satisfaction. On July 24th, some questions were put on theological questions, one touching the passage, "I and my Father are one" (John x.30). I had insisted, in the course of conversation, that they were incompatible with Imperator's statements. A question was accordingly asked, and the explanation given was as follows:--]

The words which you have quoted must be taken in their context. Jesus was at Jerusalem at the Feast of the Dedication, and the old question was put by the Jews--"If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly?" They wished for a sign, as you wish for some resolution of your doubts. He referred them, as we have referred you, to the works and tenor of His teaching, as evidence of its Divine origin. Those, He said, who were prepared--His "Father's sheep"--heard and answered His voice. They accepted His mission. The questioners could not accept, because they could not understand, and were not prepared to believe. The prepared ones heard and followed Jesus to eternal life, to progress and happiness. Such was the Father's will, and no man had power to hinder it. They were kept in the Father's hand, and in the mission which was to regenerate them and mankind at large, the Father and the Teacher were One--"I and my Father are One."

Such were the claims put forward. The Jews understood them as an assumption of Divine honour, and stoned Him. But He justified Himself. How? By admitting His Divinity, and defending the claim--I am the Son of God, and I prove it? Nay, verily. But He, the pure, truthful Spirit, over whose transparent sincerity no shadow of duplicity ever passed, He asked, in amazement, for which of His miracles they were about to stone Him. For none, His accusers said, but for blasphemously claiming union with the undivided Godhead. Thus challenged, He distinctly put aside the claim. Why, He says, in your own sacred records, the term is applied to many on whom the Spirit was outpoured, "Ye are gods." How then can it be blashphemy to say of Him whom the Father Himself hath sanctified and separated for so special a work, He is the Son of God? If you doubt, regard the works I do. There is no claim of Divinity there, but the reverse.

[On July 25th, we had a sitting at which Imperator controlled, and some information was given; but nothing that touched my mental condition. The other members of the circle were not in sympathy with my difficulties, and during the control their questions were answered, and their difficulties solved. My spirit being in abeyance did not affect the conditions. Then a friend of mine, lately passed from earth, was brought, and strong proof of identity, by means of reference to events known only to me and him, was given. Though impressed, I was not satisfied. Then came the vacation, and I left London for Ireland. Then I had curious communications respecting a friend who lay sick in London, but nothing that bore upon the question now at issue. I then went on to Wales, and received on August 24th another message from Imperator, which it is necessary to transcribe. I had endeavoured to elicit answers, and was warned that it was not well for me to do so. My bodily condition was below par, and my mental state was disturbed. I was advised to review the past rather than to attempt to look further into the future.]

Employ yourself in meditating on the past. Think carefully over that which we have been permitted to do for you. Weigh again and again the total outcome of what is before you. Estimate its value, and watch the moral tendency of our words. We do not blame you for doubts which have been the natural outcome of your peculiar frame of mind. It is inevitable that you should weigh and test everything, and your impetuous nature hurries you along too fast, while a mind naturally inclined to doubt conflicts with the too eager impetuosity. Hence your distracted state of mind. Hence the difficulties in your way. We do not blame; we do but point out that such a frame of mind is not that which is best fitted for impartial judgment. It needs that you should curb your impetuous mind, and resist the tendency to form hasty conclusions on the one hand, while you put aside carping criticism, and allow weight to that which we may call the constructive side of our teaching. At present, you dwell too exclusively on the destructive.

And remember, friend, that your doubts and difficulties must, until they are removed, operate as a barrier to our further progress. They have already hindered us much, and caused us to withhold much. This is unavoidable. We urge you, then, to clear your mind once and for ever, by stern exercise of will, of all the mists which now becloud your judgment. This is what we hope for as the result of rest and isolation. It is all-important that the circle to whom we communicate should be in perfect harmony. Rising doubt are to us as the fogs of earth which bewilder the traveller, and hinder him on his way. We cannot work in the midst of them. They must be removed. And we do not doubt that an honest and unprejudiced survey of the past will clear them away: as the sun of truth rises on your horizon, they will disperse, and you will be astonished at the prospect that shall dawn upon you.

Be not too eager. If anything seems new and strange to you, do not therefore reject it. Estimate it according to your light, and, if need be, put it aside to wait for further enlightenment. To the honest and true heart all else will come in God's time. In the end you will arrive at a plane of knowledge, when much that now seems so new and strange will be revealed and explained. Only keep before you the fact that there is much that is new and true of which you now know nothing; many fresh truths to be learned; many old errors to be dissipated. Wait and pray.

+IMPERATOR.