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Spirit Teachings
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Section XXVI

[January 18, 1874. There had been a considerable lack of communication for some time past, and the work seemed to be passing into another phase, or being quenched by my inability to obtain conviction on matters respecting which I was in doubt. This retarded everything, and caused our sittings as well as these communications to be interrupted.

At this date various changes were made, fresh directions given, and a kind of retrospect written, from which I extract the least personal part.]

It may be well that we review the course of teaching by which we have endeavoured to influence your mind aright. We may at least urge you to go over in detail what has been said, and to survey the broad expanse to truth--such as is suited to your present needs--which we have mapped out for you. You will see that we have preached to you a nobler gospel revealing a diviner God that you had previously conceived. To your objections, again and again reiterated, demanding proofs and tests which it would have been vain to grant, we have replied step by step. And if we have not succeeded in effacing from your mind doubts that have lingered there, it is because the doubting habit of mind has become so natural that we have found only rare intervals during which we could penetrate through the fog. You have wrapped yourself in an impenetrable veil, and it is only now and then that it has been lifted.

We have dealt more successfully with other friends who have witnessed our dealings with you; and we thankfully look on that as proof of final success. We shall in the end prevail even over that sceptical frame of mind which is the hardest to approach. We are most hampered by the impossibility of bringing home evidence to the mind which, however honestly, is unable to accept the grounds on which we work: more especially since it is in almost all cases impossible for us to grant specified tests imposed by you with great force of will and in total ignorance of the conditions which beset us. This is a fact which you will do well to recognise and bear in mind. The spirit of mistrust and eager desire to entrap and ensnare us by a predetermined test is one which defeats its own end. If we be such as you suspect, it would be well that you have nothing further to do with such emissaries of evil. If that be to you a position you would not assume, then we counsel you to put aside mistrust, and cultivate a feeling of frankness and receptivity. A brief time spent with such a temper would enable us to do far more than many years of such intercourse as your present frame of mind necessitates. It is not, as you imagine, that we will not, but that we cannot help you now. We treasure up, indeed, the reasonable requests of our friends, and if we cannot comply with them literally, we do so in substance at another time. The history of our intercourse with you throughout will attest this. It is, indeed, a general law of spirit-communication.

Moreover, when your demand for a prescribed test, on which your mind is strongly fixed, takes the form of a request for some special information, the answer, if given as you wish, would in most cases be imperfect and unreliable, from the admixture of your own mental action and that of the circle, so that in any case your end would be frustrated. But we have cheerfully done so much as we could. The question on which your mind has been set, that of the identity of the spirits, has received more than one illustration of late, and you have been compelled to admit their strength.

We have not done more of late than we have always done, but we instance what has been done as an argument for the wisdom of our advice to you, that both in circle and in your private communion with us you seek to maintain an attitude of perfect passivity, accepting or rejecting what is offered according as reason dictates, and deferring to a convenient time your final judgment. Remember that there are degrees of proof, and that evidence very insignificant in itself may be vastly enhanced by preceding or succeding facts or arguments.

That which seems to you vague now may be rendered precise by some further point long after; and many proofs extended over long time have a daily added weight. More especially is this the case when the general and special results show unvarying truthfulness in us who speak to you. At least you are not able to allege that we deceive you. Our influence is not for evil; our words are words of truth and soberness. We are the preachers of a Divine gospel, suited to your needs, and elevating to your mind.

It is for you, then, to accept the individual responsibility, from which none may relieve you, of deciding whether, being what we are, we are deceivers in matters of vital and eternal import. Such a conclusion, in the face of all evidence and fair inference, is one which none could accept save a perverted and unbalanced mind, least of all one who knows us as you now do. Ponder our words, and may the All- wise guide us and you.


[From this time forward repeated evidence of individuality perpetuated after bodily death was brought home to me. I do not interrupt the course of the teachings to detail them. Some were written communications, in which the peculiarities of handwriting, spelling, and diction were accurately reproduced. Some were verbal communications made through my own guide. Some were laboriously rapped out in the circle. Some were corroborated by my clairvoyant vision. The ways used to convey the information were various, but all agreed in one particular. The facts given were invariably literally and exactly true. In most cases they related to persons not known to us except by name, sometimes not even by so much as that. In other cases they related to friends and acquaintances. This course of evidence continued for a long time; and collaterally I developed a power of clairvoyant vision which rapidly increased, until I was able to see and converse at length with my invisible friends. The inner faculties seemed to be opened, so that the information given received new confirmation from my clairvoyant sight. This power eventually developed to a very high degree. I had a number of extremely vivid visions in which my spirit appeared to act independently of the body. During some of them I was conscious of living and acting among scenes not of this earth; in others dramatic tableaux were enacted before me, the object evidently being to represent some spiritual truth or teaching to me. In two cases only was I able to satisfy myself by collateral evidence of the reality of my vision. I was in deep trance during each occasion, and could not distinguish between the subjective impressions of a dream and the real occurrence of what I so vividly saw before me, save that I could confirm in these two cases what I saw and heard in vision by what I afterwards discovered from external sources. The scene in these cases was real, and I do not doubt that it was so in all. This is not, however, the place to discuss such a point. I do but note these visions as a phase of the development of my spiritual education. It was always represented to me that what was shown to me had a real existence, and that my inner senses were opened for the purpose of instructing me and of confirming my faith in things unseen by the natural eye.

In the month of January, 1874, some communications were printed relative to spiritual influences which were round a son of Dr. Speer, and which, I was told, influenced his musical powers. These were written out April 14th and September 12th, 1873. Some questions which I put on February 1st, 1874, caused more information to be given on the same subject. After some personal information, it was written:--]

The conditions were bad last night for the music. You are yet to learn the conditions under which it may be had. Not until you hear the music of the spheres will you know the true poetry of sound. Music depends, far more than your wise men have dreamed, on these self-same spiritual conditions of which we say so much, the spiritual elements must be in harmonious arrangements before a good development of that which is attainable even on earth can be reached. Only then does the inspiration really flow in. The room in which the boy was rendering the thoughts of the Master was filled with an inharmonious atmosphere; hence we say that the result was inadequate. It is with the musician as with the orator. An harmonious rapport must exist with the audience before the words can make their mark. This the speaker feels, though frequently he knows not that his words fall dead because the spirit bond does not exist, and the inspiration cannot run on the mesmeric chain between the orator and his audience. The best results are had when the musician, the orator, is surrounded by a band of spirits who can so dispose his mind as to refine, harmonise, and spiritualise his thoughts, or the thoughts of which he is the interpreter.

Even as there is a vast difference between a word coldly slurred or heartlessly spoken, and the same when it syllables the utterance of heart emotion, so is it with music. The body of sound may be there, but the soul may be absent. And, though you know not why, you mark the difference and feel the want. It is cold and trivial, and thin--mere sound; you shudder, and are not content. Again it is full, rich, the soul's voice of melody, speaking thoughts that are born in fairer spheres and purer air than earth's--spirit uttering cry to spirit. The sounds are instinct with soul; they have a language for the most irresponsive. They breathe their message to the spirit, the while they subdue the bodily senses, and harmonise the discordant jarrings of the mind. The dead body of sound is animated with the soul of music. You hear, and are satisfied. It is the whole difference between the body of earth and the spirit that soars to heaven: the gap that separates the material and earthly from the heavenly and spiritual. Hence it is that conditions under which true music is evolved rarely occur, at least on occasions of great public gatherings. It is in more harmonious air that the inarticulate voice of spirit best unfolds its story.

[The communications was signed with the autographs (exact fac- similes) of two well-known composers, as well as by some other names known to me.]