First published in 1852.
This online edition was created and published by Global Grey on the 21st July 2021.
Download ebook instead
(in PDF, epub, and Kindle ebook formats)
We would recommend the following rules to persons desirous of becoming mediums:
I. Sit one hour each day where no noise will attract attention.
II. When sitting, concentrate the mind on the spirit from whom a communication is desired, until the hand is moved.
III. When the hand is moved, neither aid nor resist its movement.
IV. When the spirit desires to communicate, it will write without aid, to do which it is sometimes found necessary to impress on the mind of the medium, the word intended to be written.
V. When the impression is made, the hand will be moved to write the word as it is impressed on the mind.
VI. When the word is written as impressed on the mind, the medium should not doubt, because doubt is what makes resistance.
VII. When mediums resist, nothing reliable can be written.
VIII. Some will be moved to write without impressions, and they will write slower than others, until they can be impressed.
IX. Hold no controversy with any one on the subject of writing, and avoid all disputes.
X. When the medium is moved to write, one hour only in each day should be spent, until directed by spirits.
XI. When directions are given, the medium must be wise and obey.
XII. The wisdom of the wise should control the folly of the unwise. Therefore the medium would do well to concentrate the mind on spirits of that circle capable of instructing in the knowledge of God and the wisdom of heaven.
In offering this work to the public, the undersigned has no other motive than the disclosure of truth, and the welfare of mankind. I have never been anxious for public notoriety in any field of labor in which I have been engaged, and, the reader will pardon me if I say, had I sought for public applause, I would have chosen a theme more favorable to such purpose than I am apprehensive these new manifestations and revealments by spirits will be likely to secure. Yet the truth is truth, and the opinions of men can never make it otherwise. With this conviction I have pursued the investigation, of modern developments, resolved not to be deceived, nor deceive others.
My first convictions were produced by vibrations, or sounds, accompanied by such sensuous manifestations as scattered all doubt of there being any human agency or collusion in the matter. As these facts have been laid before the public, I will not repeat them here. Suffice it to say, that what others do not know, or have not seen, weighs nothing against what I do know, because my senses must determine for myself what is true and what is false. What others may say, they will say on their own responsibility, and, when they know what I know, the matter which now is open to some discussion among minds will be settled beyond a cavil or doubt.
In the month of August, 1850, peculiar manifestations of spirits were made at my house. And, in the autumn of the same year, (1850) the inner doors were frequently opened and shut without the aid of human hands, and when no other force than spirits could have done it. In the mouth of November my only child, a girl then between six and seven years of age, became a subject through whom spirits could manifest themselves.
She was exercised in so extraordinary a manner, that we were not without some apprehensions for her safety. The child was exercised by control of her limbs. Some manifestations of sounds were also given. At length, the violence with which she was exercised, induced us to visit a clairvoyant, to understand, if possible, the reason for these peculiar manifestations. We were without intelligent responses to inquiries, through the sounds at my house. During the interview, at Esq. Draper's, whose companion is regarded as a clairvoyant of more than ordinary development, it was made known to Mrs. H. and myself, that no harm was intended the little girl. We requested them to desist, to which they responded that no harm would be done. The object seemed to be to exercise the girl for the benefit of her health, and induce us to make that visit.
On the evening of the 20th of April, 1851, having retired to rest, I was surprised to find my right hand and arm move without any volition of my will. Being satisfied that spirits were present, I said mentally, will the spirit take my hand and throw it forward over the bed clothes. Gently my hand was carried to the position I asked. Various other manifestations were performed, until I gained a response, that they would control my hand so as to spell sentences by moving it along the alphabet. The next morning, I put the response to the test by taking the alphabet, when I found my finger drawn along the column until it reached the letter which was necessary to form a word, when it would suddenly stop. In this way spirits were able to communicate their thoughts and wishes to me. I was made acquainted with their designs, and what is still more strange to me their names; for I must confess, that no names would have surprised me more. The authors of this book were to be my counsellors. And who were they that I should be the subject of their solicitude? Names venerable it is true, yet obnoxious to my prepossessions. They were minds who had shared in the world's favors and frowns, but their writings were no commendation to me. But it was not until June, 1851, that I had advanced to the condition of writing with their aid very rapidly, or correctly; and then I found that oar chirography was very much unlike. Indeed, all varieties of hand writing were displayed. Exact counterfeits of writing by persons with whom I was wholly unacquainted, were every day occurrences.
With the subject matter of this book, I was wholly uninformed, formed, not knowing even the first word until my hand was moved and wrote it. When written I have often found the sentiment to contradict the convictions of my own mind. This has led me sometimes to suggest amendments, but I have uniformly been unfortunate in that respect. The book was written without any wilt or volition, except that I consented to sit, and let my hand write as it was controlled by spirits; and as it was written by them, so I have caused it to be published. Not a word, or sentence have I changed from the manuscript as they prepared it for the printer. The punctuation is partially my own. In the rapid manner in which it was written, being mostly written in the months of August and October, and often interrupted with visitors, it was not well punctuated. As, near as I can now estimate the time required to write this work, it was about equal to five weeks, and averaging tea hours each day. And even this portion of time has not been all occupied without obstructions. Visitors have broken up the communication in the middle of sentences and even words, but, on resuming my usual attitude, the hand has been moved, and the sentence or word completed! as though no interruption had taken place.
Whatever of merit or demerit this book possesses, the public must be judge. I claim nothing on my own account, save the credit to give it as it was written with my hand. And I may also add, that had I undertaken a work of this kind, I am quite sure it would have varied essentially in all its material parts; because I found myself confounded on every page as it was written. But what I would say is, that as it is written so it is published, and whether others are wholly satisfied or no; I will sky what is true, and that truth will not wrong itself.
The writers of this book are well satisfied, as they inform me; and what satisfies spirits I have no reason to complain of myself They are four in number, with two of whom I had the pleasure of an acquaintance when they were living. But the most part of the book was written by two spirits of a generation gone by, and whom I never knew, not having read their works, which are valued by many, and censured by others. Their names will appear in the pages of a second work, but their sentiments do not appear in this book, as I have understood them to have been held, while in the body. The reader will not even expect that they should, if the doctrine of progression be a truth.
I will advise the reader that another work is in contemplation. They have suggested a wish to prepare a work on a subject which cannot fail to interest all who have any confidence in the wisdom and power of spirits to communicate a knowledge of the truth to mankind. When it is written it will be published.
Rochester, October 31, 1851.
NOTE TO SECOND EDITION.
The unprecedented demand for the "Light" having exhausted the first Edition of 2000 copies, induces the proprietor to re-issue the work at an early period; and it gives him pleasure to add that the predictions set forth in the same have already been verified, though it may be not to the fall extent of the author's meaning. Abundant testimonials of miracles, and wonders are being presented in various parts of the United States, and so far as I am concerned the tests confirmatory of the truth of the work are ample and satisfactory. Disease has yielded to the touch of my baud in many cases where medical skill had failed. The same satisfactory results have been effected through other mediums in this city and in other places. But the most satisfactory evidence to the reader has been the movement of their own hands and the tests obtained thereby.
Miracles are of two kinds. Miracles are wonders. Miracles are signs. Miracles are works. Miracles were wrought in many places by Christ and his apostles. Miracles will be wrought by the apostles of a spiritual philosophy. Miracles, wonders, signs, and works, will be wrought to confound the wisdom of a caviling world, to establish the truth of communications made by spirits in the second sphere, and deliver men and women from the yoke of ignorance, in less than one year. Miracles will be wrought to deliver men and women from the power of intolerance, priestly rule, infidel scepticism, wrong and error of every form, as it now exists in all classes, and among all societies and churches. Miracles will be wrought, as they have been wrought in other ages, for the benefit of man. No one can withhold his convictions of a truth, established by miracles. Consequently, when miracles are wrought the truth will be established.
Miracles have two objects. First, the benefit of the subject on whom the power falls. Second, the good of those who witness the acts performed. When miracles shall be wrought, scepticism, intolerance, priestly rule, wrong and error, must yield, must bow, must give way to the overwhelming force of their destroyer. No one can doubt this. Let a miracle be wrought, such as the curing of the sick by the laying on of hands, such as the restoring of sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and strength to the decrepit, by which nature overcomes prejudice, truth overcomes error, right overcomes wrong, and freedom overcomes servitude; and, then, who will doubt the truth of spirit communications?
With miracles order will be restored, and, with miracles, disorder will be overcome. With miracles, wonders, and signs, which will appear in witness of the truth, the work of spirits will be vindicated. With miracles, apostacy from the primitive condition of nature and revelation will be rectified, and harmony reign instead of discord. With miracles, the vices, frauds, and wrongs of misguided men and women will be controlled. With miracles, the wonders of former ages will be repeated, and the repetition will convulse the minds of men with astonishment. With miracles, the ignorant will be saved from his ignorance, the errorist from his errors, the sinner from his sins, and the glory of God shall cover the earth with a new-born race, immersed in a philosophy which will sweeten the soul with everlasting fruition; yes, with a solace that will mitigate the asperities of life, plant the rose where grows the thorn, sow the seed of hope where withers the frown of despair, and wipe the tear of sorrow, which visits the house of bereavement, from the cheek of mourning friends and sympathizing associates.
We will make you a witness of wisdom from God; yes, we will pour out upon you a full measure of inspiration from heaven. You will be inspired to speak as Jesus felt moved to speak. You will have words which will be given you for utterance, from on high. You will be what others have been, a witness of the new philosophy. You will teach men how to live, how to act, and what to be to enter the kingdom of holiness, without which no man can gain an entrance. You will open a door through which men will be saved from a condition in which nothing will work a change adequate to the mind's immortal rising, but the tidings we bring. You will write and preach as you will be moved by the spirits, whose works will test their affinity with, God. You will proclaim liberty to the captives of ignorance and bondage, and unfold intelligence which will emancipate the wise and unwise, colored and uncolored of every clime, from control by influences at war with nature and human happiness.
When miracles shall be wrought by you as a medium of spirit power, the new dispensation will commence, the new era will begin, and when the new era begins, the old dispensation will vanish away. It will wax old. It will be consumed with a brighter day than ever dawned upon humanity—a day which will unfold the harmony of all conditions, all developments, all influences, all circumstances, all wills, desires, hopes, fears, anxieties, trials and disappointments—a day which will blend in union the primary and celestial spheres—a day when communion shall become universal between spirits in and out of the body—a day when peace shall flow like a mighty flood, and deluge the whole earth and heaven with its glory—a day consecrated to work, industry, and zeal for the good or all—a day when self and sin shall write their work no more on the temple of God—a day when mourning and sadness shall be changed into joy and gladness, and the wail of broken hearts be exchanged for the anthem of eternal union.
Then, spirits who have labored and toiled to bring men and women to a knowledge of the truth—spirits who have been decried as evil, because their works did not correspond with the wisdom of the world—spirits who have been untiring in their efforts to work a reform,—a change in the conditions of men and things, and who have experienced encouragements and discouragements at almost every step of their progress, will take the banner of wisdom, love, and liberty, and lead the great congregation onward and upward to the beautiful temple where the bright angels dwell. Then, the winter of ignorance, the mildew of discontent, the servitude of intolerance and tyranny, the degradation of vice and crime, the visitations of retributive justice, the convulsions of social revolutions, the disturbance of nature's harmony, the withered wants of the neglected, the wrongs of misguided ambition, the tears of sundered sympathy, and the malice of secret enmity, with secret works of shame, shall disappear before the sun of righteousness, like the morning mist before the rays of melting sunshine.
Miracles are what we want. Miracles are what you and men in the body require to confirm the truth. Miracles will do what argument, and reason, and science can not do. We know what is wanted, what is needed; and, knowing, we shall adapt our miracles to the consummation of our great object, the good of man, individually and collectively. We shall touch the sick, and wither disease; but, we shall not do this without a medium; nor shall we do this with a medium whose will is not entirely passive, whose mind is not in harmony with our desires, both in the intent and the means; so that the ratio of miracles, by different mediums, will always correspond with the conditions that are indispensably requisite. We shall work only miracles as we can, and as is necessary. All will not be qualified by us for this purpose. Some will in a very short time. But others will possess other gifts. Each will have his appointed mission, his qualified mind for a corresponding sphere of duty, and all will work for the good of all, when the revolution is complete. We say, revolution, for we mean to revolutionize the whole race of man; we mean to overturn, and turn over, till we change the whole face of worldly wisdom, till we work a reform on the basis of eternal justice and truth, till compacts and agreements with the prince of darkness shall be dissolved, till the sky brightens with sunbeams of light from the world of wisdom, and till humanity shall rejoice in the fullness of a spiritual dispensation. We mean to do more than this—we mean to clothe the race with garments that never soil—with works that never wring anguish from the soul—with charities that never think evil—with hopes that never perish—with unfoldings that never cease—with glories that never fade—with visions that never disturb—with consolations that eye, nor ear, nor heart has felt—and with comforts which no mind in the body can form any thing more than an imperfect calculation of their true value.
Prophetic inspiration is a clear sight of events which will occur; it is a gift of rare occurrence. We say it is a gift, because all conditions of mind are simply gifts, though varying in each step of progressive development. From infancy to manhood, and from manhood to old age, in all conditions we find what we term gifts; indeed, each condition, or stage of progress, is a gift.
When prophets wrote of future events, they were assisted by spirits of another sphere—they were impressed with the words which they wrote—they were moved, also, with power to write the words impressed on their minds. No impression is available, only as it facilitates that which is intended. Consequently, when spirits impressed the minds of men with the facts of future fulfillment, they moved them also to write those facts—they were moved, as they wrote, to write what they did write they were moved by spirits of capacity or power to move them, and move them as they would. There was no will, wish, or desire on their part to be moved, or to write any thing. If such will, wish, or desire had existed, then so many of the words as were induced by such will, wish, or desire, would have been the production of the men who wrote, and not of the spirit who controlled the writing. In such an event, inspiration would be out of the question. In such an event there would be no spirit exercising control, but his own spirit. When man is moved by the will, wish, or desire of his own spirit, he is not inspired; but when men are moved by the will of a superior spirit, to do that which they otherwise would not do, they are inspired by a power that controls the work performed.
Inspiration is, therefore, the work of a spirit acting through a medium, or upon a medium to attain a desirable result. In former ages, men spake and wrote as they were moved by a holy spirit. There was a movement associated with the inspiration. An inspiration, without a movement in word or deed, would be an anomaly in philosophy. No absurdity need be greater. It supposes what is an impossibility in the nature of things. To inspire is to do something. To do is what we call work, and work is what we call motion, action. Hence, inspiration is, and must always be, accompanied by a power to do, to move, to work, to act.
If men do, move, work, or act in obedience to their own will and wisdom, the work is theirs. It will not answer to call their work inspired, because it is the production of human will and wisdom. But if men be moved to do work, and to act in obedience to the will and wisdom of a spirit, then the work wrought is the production of inspiration, through whatever medium it may be brought forth and completed.
Inspiration is to imbue the mind with will, wisdom, and truth, to give effect to which motion, action and results follow. Now, inspired men "spake as they were moved," not without moving, but as "they were moved" by a holy and truthful spirit. There was a power exerted, a control exercised over the will and acts of those inspired. This proves that the ascendant power existed in the inspirer—in the spirit who cast thoughts, words, and facts into the minds of those who were qualified to discharge the office of a prophetic medium of truth to men.
When men are inspired by a spirit, they must be entirely passive to the will of him who inspires.
The least collision of wills would induce a convulsion sufficient to disturb the whole production contemplated. Now, when a medium of prophecy is required, such, and such only, are sought for, by the inspiring spirit, as are in a passive state, in such a condition as to preclude the possibility of the slightest antagonism of wills, and who act only as they are acted upon in the performance of the prophetic office. No other medium would answer the purpose of communicating a knowledge of future events to mankind.
Prophets are what inspiration makes them are what spirits make them; we will say, they are what God makes them. Hence, they are mediums of superior intelligence, mediums of what spirits give them for the benefit of themselves and others. There is no such thing as self-progression—a development of mind unaided by others. There is no such thing as self-made men, because a thing cannot make itself. To make a prophet of a mind, requires what is not original in the man, otherwise he would be a prophet as he is. To make, implies a: maker, and, when a man is made a prophet, he is made by a maker. That maker is not the man made, otherwise creation might have been made by itself—a doctrine too absurd to require argument for its overthrow with any philosophical mind. We say, then, when a prophet is made of a man, he is made of a spirit, and that spirit must be a superior. Nothing inferior can control a superior, all conditions being considered. Hence, the making of a prophet is a work of super-human wisdom. It is a work which can only be performed by one competent to a full realization of the design of him who controls the subject.
In all that prophets differ from other men, the difference is caused by a spirit who is as much superior, as the work is greater than what it otherwise would have been. If a prophet be a medium of truth, to predict with unerring accuracy future events, these events must be clearly before the mind of the spirit. And that the spirit who inspires the prophet may know the truth which he pours into the mind of a receiver, he must be in possession of all the intermediate circumstances and influences which make up the result predicted. Prophets, therefore, unaided by a knowledge commensurate with all the intervening causes and consequences, will most assuredly fail in their predictions, and establish their reputation, as wholly unworthy the confidence of honest men.
When men in the body receive, as they may in a qualified condition receive, the wisdom which spirits of elevated circles possess, they will be prepared to announce future events with all the accuracy of past occurrences. And it should be understood, that men may in the present age be what men in other ages have been, and even more, if under the control of more wisdom which will, in those conditions, be found accessible by them. The time is not far distant when old men shall prophecy, and young men shall learn wisdom. Those conditions requisite to the ushering in of a prophetic era are nearly consummated—the work is nearly complete—the mediums are chosen with wisdom, and the result is sure to follow, as cause is sure to precede an effect.
All spirits are not competent in wisdom to prepare mediums, much less predict the events of future generations. But some are qualified; and, being qualified, are able to say, with unerring wisdom, that this generation shall not pass away before prophets shall arise in the land, imbued with the knowledge requisite to unfold things of great interest to the world. And, among the events which will come to pass, is the complete subjection of human will to spiritual control, and the establishment of a kingdom on earth, based upon the immutable principles of nature. We shall see the fulfillment of this prediction, when wisdom exerts her sway over mind, and the light of superior spheres illumines the world with its effulgent beams. We shall see it when wisdom rules on earth as in heaven. We shall see it when the forces of mighty spirits interpose their authority for the welfare of earth's inhabitants. The day is not far distant. The morning light is breaking, whole armies are concentrating, and the great day of redemption advances with electric speed to consummate the will and pleasure of God, by controlling minds and working salvation in the condition of universal humanity.
Deceiving spirits are those who deceive. To deceive is to disappoint. To disappoint is often to produce wisdom. When disappointments occur, wisdom may be gained. When disappointments occur, the mind is sometimes corrected. It is only when they occur that men are reminded of their dependence on a superior power. A knowledge of such dependence, quickens the soul with gratitude for favors received and enjoyed. Minds will see that gratitude is what favors produce, but nothing will be considered a favor when the mind is insensible to its dependence on the giver.
Deceiving spirits in the body perform this office. They disappoint the expectations of those whom they allure. They cast discouragements in their pathway. They wound the aspirations of hope. They blight the prospect of the mind for good. They throw dejection over the soul. They scatter anticipations of promise to the wind. They wake up despondency where waters of consolation were expected. They weave a snare where birds of paradise light to feed the world with welcome tidings. They weave a net where the angel of mercy comes with news from heaven to chase away the wrongs of ignorance. They weave a web where comes the messenger of light to dissipate the gloom of the grave. They work a work where the weary lie down to rest, where the sorrowful seek repose, where the disconsolate wish for relief, and the widow and orphan pine in want. They work a wrong where wisdom is not. They work a wrong where truth is not. They work a wrong where the unfoldings of wisdom from heaven have found no abiding place, where the silver stream of divine mercy dissolves no favors in thankfulness, where the intelligence of spirits warms no heart with gratitude, where dependence is in self, and self is God, and where nothing is worshiped but the idols of human hands.
When deceiving spirits work, the conditions which will impart vitality to their operations must be accessible to them. No mind, all conditions being the same, will be accessible to the design of deceiving spirits, when under the control of that wisdom which is from above, which is pure, gentle, unselfish, impartial, and fall of good fruits, which is in harmony with nature and the workings of God in nature, which is consonant with the development and consequent happiness of the whole brotherhood of man. No mind will be deceived by any spirit, not under the control of worldly wisdom, not under the control of ignorance, not under the control of selfish motives. No mind in the body can establish the assumption, that any spirit out of the body is under the control of all, or any of these influences. No mind can prove by any sophistry, however ingenious, what is not true, without perjury on the part of the witness, or witnesses; and proof, such as perjury, establishes nothing in controversy; it settles no assumption, it controverts, successfully, no truth, because it is of no weight, in the result; and, therefore, all testimony, conflicting with truth, is perjury on the part of the witness. In whatever attitude the witness may offer his testimony, under whatever pretext he may seek to conceal the truth or pervert the facts, one thing is clear, what is truth is truth. The witness neither makes the truth true by his disclosure, nor can he make the truth untrue by prevarication or concealment.
Who, then, are deceiving spirits? We have said, they are those who deceive, and we have said, those who deceive are those who are controlled by influences not found in the second sphere. And we may repeat, that no one in the body can disprove this fact, which we offer from an experience of over fifty years in that sphere. No one will ever be able to contradict the fact which we have assumed to utter in the face of over one hundred mediums, through whom witnesses may be interrogated on this important statement, whose views, when in the body, were dissimilar to our own, and our own at variance with the eternal things of this sphere of existence.
Where, then, dwell deceiving spirits? In the body. The rudimental sphere is the residence of deceiving spirits. And it is the misfortune of many, that they are often deceived by their own spirits. We know of some, at least, who have deceived themselves with the witnesses before them. They have charged that upon the witness, which truthfully belonged to themselves. They have accused the witness of faults which were their own, and have tenaciously held the witness in durance for crimes that never emanate from this sphere. They have decried the wisest and purest as evil, because they deceived themselves by presuming to judge of things and circumstances too far removed from their wisdom to admit of a correct decision. They have speculated upon probabilities, and deduced conclusions unwarrantable by facts. They have not only deceived themselves, but being deceived, have deceived others. They have spoken of spirits, as they do who think evil—as they do who see a mote, because the beam is in their own eye—as they do who, are devoted to gods made with hands—as they do who need instruction but heed it not—and as they do who despise a wholesome philosophy—the wisdom of a superior sphere—because the light of truth is not in them. Being deceived, they deceive others.
No mind can work out a contradiction of these facts. They are as naked as they are public. From the day of spirit manifestations to the present hour, suspicion has rested on every effort made by messengers of this sphere; and we have come to the conclusion, that such as are blind can not see, such as are deaf can not hear, such as are decrepit can not walk, and such as are aided, as we aid, need not be mistaken. We have come to the conclusion, that they who will not see, must remain blind; they who will not hear, must remain deaf; they who cannot walk, must be assisted; but assistance must be, henceforth, acceptable, or it will not be offered. We have seen professions without practice. We have seen the beggar at the gate of the temple, and the priest without the gate. We have seen the rich and the destitute open their mouths for bread, and pray for the spirit to descend and give them that bread; and we have seen the spirit descend and carry the precious boon, and the mouth of the suppliant was closed to receive it not. And why? Alas! they know not why; but we shall venture to tell the why.
Vice is never without excuse, will is never without an apology, and justice is never without its necessity. We will expose the whole secret—men are slaves. Men are what conditions make them, and conditions, such as appertain to the body, are conditions of servitude to some selfish gratification, or some fear of disapprobation. Men are tyrants and slaves—tyrants in government and discipline, and slaves in obeying such government and discipline. When the liberty of this sphere shall overcome the tyranny of the rudimental, men will not control the wisdom which will be manifest for their good. They will not prejudge before they know, they will not presume to know when they are ignorant, nor will they assert that to be evil which seeks the good of all, individually and collectively. It is this passion of premature judgment of things not understood, which has involved the conclusion, or produced it, that every thing incompatible with the condition of minds in the body, must originate with evil spirits. And it does in one sense, but not in the one usually understood. The evil of ignorance is disciplined by spirits of this sphere to renovate and prepare the mind for greater usefulness, and such means, and such only are employed by us as will produce this desirable result. No spirit has ever employed any other means than those required by the condition they sought to change. And when the result shall be unfolded, the truth of this statement will be verified.
Witchcraft is always connected with deception. It can only be practiced by a deceiving spirit. It is selfish in its objects and aims. No spirit, in this sphere, is selfish; consequently, witchcraft belongs to a condition where selfishness reigns, where ignorance shields the performer from detection, where fill things conspire to work in a secret manner the design of the worker, and where the secret works of darkness admit of no exposure. Nothing secret can be done in this sphere. Nothing is hidden from the inspection of spirits, and nothing can be concealed from them which they desire to know. Deception, therefore, belongs to a sphere where circumstances prevent a disclosure of the work of deceivers.
When the tricks of imposters shall be exposed, the means by which they deceive shall be understood, and the credulity of the ignorant shall be overcome, then wisdom will assert her sway over mind, and truth be sought as the grand object of human industry. No good can accrue to any one from what is not wise, nor can any one gain wisdom from that which is not true. We will explain. Witchcraft is a deception. It is a cheat. It is a delusion. It is false. It is worse than false. It does no good. It does much harm. Therefore, it is an evil which should be destroyed.
When notions of witches and wizards prevailed, no man, or woman, or child was safe—all was in a state of jeopardy—all were every moment liable to penalties and pains. No one could escape the pains and penalties suspected of such possessions. He who was concerned in what others did not understand, was without a good spirit, and under the control of evil spirits. She who was in any way connected with operations which were inconsistent with the operations of popular understanding, must be subjected to penalties more unworthy of enlightened government than the barbarous cruelties of savage inhumanity. Such were the results of ignorance on the one hand, and such were the effects of superstition on the other, that they need not here be recited by us.
Instances of this once popular delusion surfeit the page of history. Even the Bible, venerated as a book of inspiration, contains allusions and warnings against witchcraft. It is there associated with the vilest crimes, which develope themselves in the work of minds. We find it classified with seditious, murders, drunkenness, and various other works of darkness. We will now answer our inquiry, What is witchcraft?
We have said, witchcraft is a deception, a cheat, and a delusion. It is a minister of misery, a work of an evil spirit, a war upon the happiness of man, a libel on the goodness of God, a wisdom that is devilish, a folly that is often unchecked, a craft that is worked by man. It is a work which is dark to the uninitiated, but clear to the performer. It is a work which has been attributed to spirits out of the body, but it belongs to those in the body. Spirits of this sphere have no connection with it; they do not aid it, neither will they permit the accusation to go unrebuked and undenied. We will expose the secret of the whole matter in due time.
Interested individuals are not wanting who wish for some scape-goat to conceal their own abominations. They have sometimes charged their follies upon those who are innocent, to excuse themselves from the censure of their own wrongs. They have sought a justification of their own misdeeds, when they could not find a better apology, by imputing their own iniquities to witches and wizards; and yet more frequently their own wrongs to the devil. It is a covering worse than fig leaves for a guilty conscience. It is a phantom through which spirits can gaze. It is a lie which is not half told. It is a work which may deceive the blind, but it can not deceive the revealer and judge of all works, and can find no approbation save in the chambers of superstition and credulity. But the witches and wizards of former days have not all vanished without a posterity. Their children have learned something from their father's experience, but their learning has not altogether finished its work.
What are the works of witchcraft? The witch of Endor is not alone in her achievements. We find witches who outvie her, who fairly eclipse her fame, who work into comparative insignificance the wonders of her extraordinary genius. We find what those in the body do not find men and women of high pretensions to respectability and refinement, canvassing all methods to force their works of deception into the minds of the credulous and unwary.
They compass sea and land to propagate their delusion. They make the unsuspecting victims of their miserable pretensions, two-fold more the children of deception than they were before. This is one species of witchcraft.
We find men and women deceived by pretensions of sincerity, in matters of everlasting moment to the welfare of souls. We find them lured by men and women who have no confidence in their own declarations, men and women who pay absolution for their hypocrisy on an altar, consecrating to God thereon the blood of the innocent for the crimes of the guilty, by making the end justify the means when there is nothing in the end but evil, by willing the means to another end than good—the selfishness of a deceived soul. We find men and women, doing works of shame when darkness reigns, as though the watchman willed enjoyment in wrong, as though the sentries of heaven could expose no chastity violated, no widow or orphan neglected, no misery unmitigated, no corner unvisited by their guardian protection. We find what we call witchcraft in the merchandise which is made of men's bodies and souls, in the traffic of a gospel which was given to men without money and without price, in the acts and doings of legislative assemblies, in the contempt and ridicule of heavenly things, connected with which are consequences of everlasting importance; and, especially, so far as the manifestations of this age of progress, in the knowledge of things eternal, is concerned. We will not stop here. Witchcraft moves in a mysterious way its wonders, to accomplish its ends. It visits no hovel but to plunder, no dwelling but to sack, no habitation but to deceive. It avoids scrutinizing investigation, and warns its votaries what to say and what to do. But has this any thing to do with witchcraft? It has nothing to do but to expose the work of witches and wizards. Witches are sane, but selfish. Witches are witches, under whatever guise they wear. It is not so much the machinery as the production, that requires our counsel. It is not so much the manufacturer as the fabric that demands inspection. We have nothing to do with the machinery or the machinist; it is the production we wish to change. And when men become wise enough to see the good from the bad, in the productions manufactured by the wisdom of witches and wizards in the great workshop of nature's machinery, they will be able to overcome the deception to which they are now exposed. It is the work, the fabric, exposed to decoy, or concealed to allow the craft to circulate the industry of the interested with which we have to do. We will do our duty. And, in the sequel of this work, we trust we shall not be complained of for want of specifications in our treatment of the disease. At this stage, we design only to write a synopsis of what we intend shall accompany the same more fully in detail, and without exciting the execration of those whose gain may be temporarily interested in concealment. We shall write only what concerns the everlasting well-being of man, regardless of the provoked indignation of those who have shared in the craft which we propose to investigate, and lay before the public. We will do good. We will do our duty. We will serve God, and we will serve him, acceptably by doing good to those who are under the control of witches and wizards, that bind upon them grievous burdens, laden with the curse of ignorance and deception.
Witchcraft in wizards is worse, if possible, than in witches. Wise men will do more harm than unwise. Wise women will do more evil than unwise. Hence, selfish wisdom is justified by her children, as worldly wisdom is justified by worldly minds. So, works, good and bad, are justified or condemned, as the conditions of wisdom or ignorance prevail among men. So, what one man calls good, another calls evil. The pagan calls his idolatrous worship good, but the Christian calls it evil; under what circumstances can a thing be good, which is evil under other circumstances? When conditions are wrong, the thing is wrong, and what is wrong is not right. A depends on the conditions; consequently, every thing has its appropriate time and place. And when the wisdom of God is seen, which wills both good and evil, which makes peace and creates evil, which makes darkness and creates light, which withholds and bestows, which confers and takes away, which inspires and withdraws, which makes alive and destroys, which writes with this hand and not with another, and which works miracles in one age, but not in another; when the wisdom of the world can understand, why the golden harvest smiles in one land, and the hungry famine devours in another, why the avalanche buries its acres, and why the upheaving volcanic fires inundate whole citys and countries with the wrath of their eruptions, while the same God rules in other climes, and the people live in worldly wealth and glory; when they can understand the wisdom of these apparently conflicting conditions; when they can reconcile what is apparently inconsistent, and perceive a glorious harmony, wisdom, and love, in each and all of the varied phenomena of nature, in each and all of the conflicting conditions and circumstances which accompany the pilgrims of earth; it will not be difficult to find an explanation of the doings of men and women who have charged evil upon spirits, because their communications have not all corresponded with their notions of truth and right. It will not be difficult, when the wisdom of God is understood, to understand why one is taken and another left, why one is satisfied with the bread of angels and another perishes, why one reaps and reaps what he has sown, and another sows not, and begs in harvest.
When wisdom is understood, the folly of men will appear. But when "cunningly devised fables" are taken for the wisdom of God, the wisdom of God will not be seen, nor will that wisdom be justified of men. Nothing inharmonious with the laws of God in nature, can be right or wise. Nothing conflicting with the good of man, can be good and wise. Nothing is wise and good, but what is adapted to the conditions of human welfare, to the soul's progress in the knowledge of wisdom and truth. Nothing will contribute to such a result but the philosophy of truth, which is the wisdom of God manifest in his works. Nothing will control but power. Knowledge is power, wisdom is power; and when knowledge, wisdom, and truth erect a temple, it will stand. It will stand, because nothing can overthrow wisdom, nothing can demolish fact; and a work begun and completed on this foundation will stand forever.
Wise men may wonder, ignorant men may cavil, and indolent men may rest, while we work to erect a temple without hammer or chisel, where wisdom may find an abiding place, where fools shall no longer hate knowledge, where wise men shall instruct the less wise, where the witchcraft of unholy things, made unholy by misguided mind, which has misplaced them, shall weave no snare to entrap the worthy, and worthy minds will not have sought in vain for redress; where wise men shall control what is best with prudence and moderation; where the wants of the suffering shall not go unheeded, nor the cries of distress unrelieved; where the voice of unkindness shall not grate as it rolls over the crushed affections of innocence, nor the groan of despair with the flowers of hope; where control is universal and its effects beneficial, and where the millions of earth shall worship God, by doing, not saying merely, but doing good; where the wide world shall be filled with wisdom, and wisdom shall rule in wisdom the witchcraft of wizards and witches, the ignorance and selfishness of men; and when all shall write what is wise is true to the design of him who builds, who constructs a temple of many mansions, eternal in the heavens.
Wisdom is what is wise, and what is wise is wisdom. Wisdom is not folly, and folly is not wisdom. Wisdom is not selfishness, and selfishness is not wisdom. Wisdom is not evil, and evil is not wisdom. Wisdom is not of earth, and what is not of earth is heavenly. Wisdom is not of man, we will say, not of worldly man, for worldly men are of the wisdom of earth. Wisdom is not of will of worldly men, because such will is the production of worldly circumstances and influences. Wisdom is what God manifests. It is what God does. It is what God says. It is what nature reveals. It is what good develops. It is what reason approves. It is what truth confirms. It is what common sense justifies.
But all is not wisdom which assumes the name. All is not reason which will approves. All is not truth which men believe. Allis not right which the world justifies. Some things are right, others are wrong. It is the duty of all to determine the one from the other. It is the duty of all to determine this question for themselves. Each should determine for himself, and not for another; because what one sees, another may not see; but the one who sees not, never should control the one who sees. He never can control the fact seen, and it is not wisdom to allow him.
Spirits see what men in the body do not see. They know what the pilgrims of earth do not know. They have enjoyed the experience of both spheres.
Who, then, is wise? The one who has experience, or the one who has it not? Nothing can be wise without knowledge; but where is knowledge? If men search in the rudimental, what experience do they find of the celestial? Where is the spirit who has reversed the order of progression, who has exchanged the celestial for the rudimental. And could such a spirit be found, where is the wisdom of that spirit? In the change? No; nor in the condition of the change. Change is alteration. Alteration contemplates improvement, and improvement denotes wisdom. All change, accompanied with wisdom, improves the thing changed—the reverse is folly.
When change does good—makes the thing changed better—more in harmony with the will of the occupant or possessor—more agreeable to desire—it is wise. Or, when change produces more enjoyment to individuals interested in the change, it is wise; and what is wise is a work of wisdom. All changes, however, are not wise. It was not wise for men to depart from the spirit and faith of the seers and prophets of eternal truth. It was not wise for men to be overcome by idolatry—the work of pagan and infidel hands. It was not wise for men to chancre a condition which was favorable to wisdom, by inversing that condition and subverting the mediums of communication with spirits—a position enjoyed by the primitive church of Jesus. Neither is it wise for men to dispute, that what has been done, may be done again. Hence, when men become wise, when conditions are the same, wisdom will appear, and gladden the earth with all the manifestations demanded by the change contemplated.
Wisdom is wise in the adaptation of means to ends. It never betrays its trust. It never conceals its object, when that object is sought. It never proffers assistance, when it is not needed. It never justifies what the voice of nature condemns; it never palliates what it censures—all of which wisdom constantly sanctions. It sanctions only good. It sanctions the means which are necessary to control the conditions for good. When means will not control a result, they are false, unwise, and useless; but when means work a result beneficial to the mind that is interested, no matter what they may be, it is wise to employ them. Thus, we learn what is folly, and what is wisdom.
Wise men seek wisdom, but fools bate knowledge. Who, then, are fools? Who are wise in this generation? Hear instruction, my son, and forsake not the counsel of a father. We are the fathers, the mothers, who speak from experience the wisdom of a superior sphere. We come to you in the light which you comprehend not. We come in the robe which you have not worn. We come in garments you have not made. We visit you in wisdom which is from heaven, in mercy not of earth, in love which mortals have never found with mortals. We come with glad tidings on our tongues, with the rainbow of promise over our heads, with the cup of salvation in our hands, with the wine of consolation to the mourner, and the balm of healing to the sorrow-stricken and despondent. How have you treated this message? How have you learned wisdom? Where have your hours of mirth, your days of vexation, your nights of discontent, been squandered or wasted to no profit? Wisdom asks, where? Where, we ask, have you sought and not found? Where have you gathered but where you have sown? and where have you found—where have you not found the object for which you toiled? Alas! vanity of vanities, all is vanity, but the wisdom of heaven. Vanity has been found, as it has been sought. Wisdom has been found only as it has been sought. Can men gather what they have not sown? We find men gather what they sow. If they sow to the flesh, they will reap what the flesh yields; but, if they listen to the spirit, they will receive the inspiration which is from heaven.
Who, then, are wise? Who are foolish? Judge ye. Ours is not a mission of judgment; for we find judgment rather than mercy where darkness reigns. But, we ask, who are wise? who are unwise? The man who seeks wisdom is wise. The man who hates knowledge, who shuns the light because his deeds are evil, who misimproves his opportunities without investigating the truth from wisdom's holy temple, who hears the voice of messengers from the Jerusalem which is above, but heeds it not; who spurns the message from his presence because it contradicts his ignorance, his selfishness, his popularity, his worldly-minded ambition, his dogmatical assumptions his official authority and power to rule those not under his supervision and watch-care, his voluntary contempt of things which he has not the courage to examine, nor the manhood to overthrow, his unfounded calumnies against the acts and doings of those whose benevolence and self-sacrifice he has reason to envy; and above all, and worse than all, his consorting with the vile to injure the innocent, is the unwise man who builds his house on the sand; and we verily know the day is not distant when the fall thereof shall be great. We know that "not every one who saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter" the holy city, but he who doeth the will of God, who bears instruction from the messengers of his mercy, who listen to the wisdom of a purer and holier life of godliness, shall gain what will fill his soul with delight, and chancre the well-springs of no water into fountains of joy.
We have seen the man, clothed in robes of official authority, leave the rudimental for the celestial sphere. We have seen his empty boasts of charity torn in fragments by the piercing ray of divine light and all his vain pretensions scattered to the oblivion of the past. We have seen the wise man come in the meekness of a lamb, with the robe of righteousness surrounding his whole soul; and the conducting messenger of pure wisdom escorting him to courts of collossal greatness and glory. Then, we said, behold the wise man who received instruction, and the unwise man who hated knowledge. Then, we said, who among us is wise? Who among us seeks knowledge? Who seeks for knowledge where it is not found? And we turned our eyes to the rudimental, and saw men, and women, yea, and little children, rioting on the decayed fragments of a half pagan theology, torturing their bodies for the good of their souls, and wasting their money for that which satisfieth not. And lo! we went to their relief.
Wisdom is not justified by the unwise. Men are what they are. Men are children. Men will be children, till they are made men. We gave Them instruction, but they hated our reproof. We offered them advice, but they rejected our counsel. We told them our mission but they spurned our offering. We gave them good counsel, but they despised the words of fathers. Then, we said, "vanity of vanities, all is vanity" but the wisdom of God.
Wisdom is wisdom. All is not wisdom. All is not folly. Wisdom wills good. Folly wills otherwise. One is right. One is wrong. Wisdom will do right. Folly will do wrong. He that is wise, let him take heed. He who is unwise, let him get wisdom. And let him get it where it is to be found. Let him not seek for it in the folly of fools, but in men of understanding, in spirits commissioned by God to give light to those who grope in darkness. Let him cast off the shackles, tear asunder the false robes, rend the galling chains, and burst the bonds that enslave his captive soul. Let him launch his mind into the stream of wisdom flowing from the mountain of God, and bathe in the limpid waters, that he may be healed.
Wisdom is not selfish. Wisdom is not partial. Human wisdom is both. Men are considered wise, but their wisdom is comparatively foolishness. Men are wise only as they gain knowledge. Men are unwise when they neglect what they need to make them wise. Men are wise when they do good—unwise when they do evil. Men are wise in what they know—unwise in what they do not know. Knowledge of God is wisdom. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is good. Knowledge will save. Knowledge will cure. Knowledge will do what ignorance can not do. Hence knowledge of God is the wisdom of God, the power of God, and the goodness of God. Neither could wisdom exist without God.
Wisdom is sometimes misunderstood. It is what wise men will see. It is what unwise men reject. When men do that which is a perversion of the laws of God, which govern mind and control matter, it is unwise. When they do that which is in harmony with the laws of God, it is wise. Harmony is union. Harmony is happiness. When, therefore, harmony shall prevail, disorder and unhappiness will be overcome. This is wise. This is our mission. This is our commission. This is our will, and the will of God. Hence, we are messengers of God to work a work which will ever redound to the glory of God, because it will fill the universe with his praise, all souls with his wisdom, all minds with his truth, and all hearts with his love. And yet the unwise bate knowledge.
But wisdom employs means. Wisdom seeks what is good. Wisdom justifies what will do good. Folly opposes it. Folly will oppose it, but wisdom must prevail, because it is the power of God. Folly must yield, because it is the power of fools.
Worldly wisdom is but another name for folly. It is but another name for ignorance. It is but another name for shame. It is but another name for perversion of what God and humanity require. It is but another manifestation of will. It is but another name for which no other name will give a correct vision. It is but another name for vice. It is but another name for evil. It is but another name for spiritual wickedness in high places, both in state and church. It is the will of man, undeveloped, unenlightened in spiritual knowledge.
This worldly wisdom exists. It rules. It governs. It controls nations and individuals. It seeks not other's good, but its own. It is interested only in works of self-interest. No mind can be under its control without abasing itself, without abusing others, without contradicting the wisdom of God, without speculating on the ignorance of the weak, without denying the relation of cause and effect, without vindicating the works of mischief and wrong; without disturbing the equality of impartial justice, without sowing the seed of misery where true happiness should grow. It is without excuse or apology. It is without shame or decency. It justifies what wisdom condemns. It is a work wholly of men. It is a condition wholly of earth. It is a will not found in heaven. It is a desire not coveted by spirits. It is a wisdom not consonant with nature. It is a wisdom which is not wisdom. But it is coveted. It is worshiped. It is idolized. It is worse. It is wisdom in wisdom of wisdom in selfishness.
Worldly wisdom is understood by spirits. It will be exposed by spirits. It will be uncovered that it may be seen of men. We shall give it no mercy. It will receive its clue—its just reward—a naked exposure, a true disclosure of its work among men. We will do with it as the good of man requires, and the salvation of the soul demands. We have seen men in the body selfish. We have seen this selfishness in many forms, some of which we shall lay before the public.
We have seen men operating in worldly wisdom, who were nothing better than they should be. We have seen them profess one thing and do another. We have seen all professions disgraced, men and women disgraced, religion disgraced, and virtue and truth outraged to gratify selfishness. We have seen men and women consorting together in matters of worldly sensuality, in things which would not bear a recital, in craft which would uncivilize a barbarian, in works which would tell the shame of the worker, in deeds which would disgrace a beast, in follies which would be more fitting the fool, in crimes which are revolting to minds of cultivation, and in seasons which acknowledge the error of their misguided reason. All for what? All for sense, or rather no sense, but the sense of self. And why this self—this partial one; alas! why? Because the wisdom of men is folly, because ignorance controls, because will is undisciplined, because nature is misunderstood, because law is powerless, and powerless because wisdom in darkness sheds no light, because interest is not understood, because duty is neglected, because will is subject to last, because integrity is bartered for witchcraft, because industry is purloined for wizards in mischief, and because the true relation and brotherhood of man are not appreciated.
To rectify the disorders of society, to purify the world of self, to control all things in harmony, we write independent of selfish wisdom. No one can molest us, no mortal arm can reach us, no want of subsistence can control us, no fear of displeasure can subvert our intentions, and no rack, nor prison, nor gibbet, nor fire, nor sword, nor worldly wisdom, can mingle their influences to change the workings of our high resolve. We will write as we will, and this medium has not the power to refuse what we will to be done. Such we intend shall be the condition of all men. And, when that condition shall be attained, the inhabitants of earth will no more say, "Know, the Lord," will no more say, "I am sick," will no more work the witchcraft of wizards, will no more be disturbed with the cries of distress unrelieved, of pains unmitigated, of crimes unpunished, of wills unsubdued, of minds undisciplined, of hearts unsatisfied; and wisdom will reign over wisdom of self, so that one God will be worshiped, one altar be consecrated, one house be undivided, one lesson be repeated, by men, women, and children of every clime and nation under the whole heaven.
We will work what we call self into wisdom. We will change its will into widened philanthropy, its desires into willing obedience, its work into willing rule from a sphere where no anarchy wills, no will moves, no movement works, no movement writes without wisdom to guide what wisdom designs for the benefit of mind. Men shall know what we know will do them good. Priest and layman shall not combine in secret to overthrow the house of many mansions. They shall not work upon the fears of the credulous to extort their savings from the mouths of hungry children. They shall not plunder the hand of honest industry to carry their tidings of damnation where the imposition can be extended and practiced with uncorrected impurity. They shall not, for a profession, make long and hypocritical prayers to cover their real intentions. They shall not go from house to house soliciting money and means from the destitute heathen, nor shall they speculate in matters of questionable integrity with those whose well being they have voluntarily assumed the guardianship. Neither shall lay-men or women contribute to the indolence of luxury. They shall not, because they will not, pay tithes to insure salvation, or rob widows to gain heaven. No: nor shall the widow wring her soul in hopeless despair at the gate of the church, neither will her orphan babes receive the inheritance of a mother's misfortunes, unpitied and relieved.
And is a change demanded? Are the cries of help to heaven in vain, which go up by night and by day? Are these conditions to remain where they are, forever unimproved, forever neglected? We tell you, nay. We tell you. God has sworn by himself, because he could swear by no greater, that heaven and earth shall pass away sooner than his promise shall fail—sooner than his word, his law, his truth, his wisdom shall be prostituted to the ignominious purposes disclosed to spirits by the works of selfishness among the children of his creation. Sooner shall stars and suns mingle in everlasting night, and worlds reel against worlds, than mind shall rebel against his authority without receiving a just recompense of reward. Sooner will his wisdom become folly, his justice become cruelty, his love become hate, than the condition which disgraces and degrades humanity be uncontrolled by the means ordained, for the destruction of selfishness or worldly wisdom, among men. Yea, sooner, will circles of earths and suns pass away, than one jot or tittle of the law of progression fail of its original design—the good of all, Worldly wisdom is not only selfish, but cruel. It is cruel in its designs, and cruel in its operations. It designs what it knows will produce misery in its effects on others. It steals the industry of other hands without rendering an equivalent therefor. It robs the sweat of labor from the brow of toiling millions, and appropriates it to its own selfish use, without a compensation consistent with right. It plunders the hard earnings of toil from the packets of the unsuspecting, under circumstances in which the robbed cannot vindicate their own will, because they are oppressed with wants that must be supplied. It sedulously studies what way will promote its own will of success, without regard to the injury it inflicts. It is cruel to men and women, and children, under the influence of its pernicious sway. It will suit itself to any condition to carry on its work successfully. It will do any thing to gain its object. It will murder, steal, lie, cheat, and deceive those whose misfortunes have placed them under such control. Wise in their own wisdom, all things within the sphere of their control are made subservient to self. Nothing is desired, nothing is done, but such as will sift the weak of the wheat which is remaining.
Under these circumstances, it is not strange that those who are relying on such craft for enjoyment, should be hostile to wisdom. It is not strange that they should oppose every thing, which will interrupt and overturn their schemes of mischief and wrong. It is not strange, when their real circumstances are understood, that they should operate in a way to overcome the disclosures which spirits have resolved to make. It is not strange that follies, and wrongs, which will not bear revealment, should be concealed by the doer. It is not strange, that men and women ridicule a development which hazards their concealed work from the observation of human eyes, but which, being known to spirits, can be revealed by them. It is not strange that when men will not be satisfied with the truth, they will affect to be satisfied with error, because error publishes no truth which jeopardizes their condition of popularity among men. It is not because of such spirits that it is strange our work is rejected, cast off, and treated with affected contempt. But what shall we say of those who profess to love the truth of spiritual communications, and yet call the spirits evil who make them? What shall we say of their profession, and their wisdom in calling us evil, who have given evidence which they admire, who have disclosed a truth which warms all souls who receive it with unspeakable joy, and which pours a flood of light on the dark path of human life? What shall we say of those who have been benefited by our labors, and who have not been injured by us, when they call us evil spirits? Can good come out of evil? Have they ever received any thing but good at our hands? Have they lost sight of the truth, so far as to wish a return to their first estate? We shall say nothing. It is for such to say, how far our labors have been requited, how far we have done them good, and how much opposition we have encountered to do even what has been done.
Worldly wisdom is fond of excuses. It is never wanting for an apology. It writes, publishes, preaches, and talks what seems necessary for its own justification. But there is one thing it never will do. It never will acknowledge its own wrongs, follies, or faults. It will never do what its own pride, wisdom, and self, require to be closeted in order to secure its will in other operations. It will never yield to the wisdom of God, so long as sin and ignorance govern the mind. It will not believe in immortality, because its nature is mortal. It will never do works meet for repentance because that would be death to itself. It will never do by others as it would have others do by it, because what others do is the rule which controls. It regards one law—the law of opportunity to get what it can, what it wants, what is selfish and earthly, and keep what it has obtained. No one need write what it will do for other's good, because a blank page only will be seen of such work. No one need weep when it dies, for what is death to worldly wisdom, is life to the human soul. It is a death which we work to effect. It is a work which spirits, in all spheres, desire to see accomplished, save the rudimental.
Wisdom will engage, wise spirits will engage to overcome the evil. Under the guidance of superior wisdom it will be destroyed, and peace, love, harmony, and truth, will pervade the minds of men. No selfish passion will disturb the conquered, the subdued, the death of worldly wisdom; yea, and it will be remembered no more.
Works are the doings of a worker. Indolence is not work. Industry is work. Industry, accompanied with wisdom, works a wise work. Wisdom works wisely, and the works of wisdom are not works of vanity. But who works in wisdom? Who works a foolish work? The man who builds on the sand, builds a work which must come to naught. But who builds on a rock? Who builds on the sand? These questions may be determined by the durability of the structure. When a work is eternal, it is durable. All works, enduring forever, evince a foundation in wisdom. When a work perishes, it perishes because the workman did not possess the wisdom or skill to make it eternal. When, therefore, God works a work, it is eternal because he makes a work only in wisdom. When God made the heavens and the earth, his work was wise, and wise because it was good. It was good, because it was fitted for man and beast. It was good, because it was adapted to the condition contemplated for all that live and move upon it. It was good, because all that live and move upon it, enjoy its productions. It was good, because what is productive of wisdom is productive of happiness.
All things were made in wisdom. All things were made by God, and without him was nothing made that is made. He made the world. It is his work. He made what man can not unmake. He made the creatures of earth, sea, and sky, and he made them all in wisdom. Folly is nowhere seen in his works. It is no where visible in any thing which he has made; and it is no where visible, because all his works are good; and they are good because good is enjoyed as the result of the work.
When God made man, he made a work that was the result of other works. All other works were necessary to man, and man could not have been wisely made without those works. Hence, when man was made, all other things were made, and made because they were necessary to what the Maker designed when he made man. No other condition would have subserved the purpose of the Maker. If, then, the conditions were necessary in order to make man as he was made, they manifest wisdom, because they harmonize with all which wisdom contemplated in making man. Nothing which was made, could have been left unmade without allowing the work to disappoint the Maker. Wisdom was employed in making the conditions, because, without the conditions, folly only could have made man. Hence, as man could only have been made as he was made, the conditions form a part of the work of God, and as all parts are indispensable to the whole, so the whole was a work of wisdom, because it resulted in the production of that which was good—an eternal good to the thing made.
When the worker made the world, it was made as a beginning of a work in contemplation. By world we mean the material world—the inanimate world of matter. That being done, he made what is called the primary orders of animal life. These were all links in the chain, stones in the edifice, means in the work, which were necessary to the construction of a thing which wisdom contemplated. Wisdom controlled the means to a good result—the everlasting good of an immortal work, a work, bearing the image of the Being who made it. What, then, are the works of God, but works of wisdom? What are the conditions connected with the creation of man, but conditions essential to the work itself? Strike out one link, omit one means, control what was done otherwise, and where would you push the result? Where would you find a work so complete and perfect, as now presents itself in the creation of an immortal soul—a soul wonderful in its powers, magnificent in its structure, beautiful in its proportions, and congenial in its condition, with the grand purpose of eternal progression.
Works will prove the wisdom of the worker. Works reveal God. Works show what words do not show. Words are representatives of ideas. Words may be used correctly, or incorrectly. Words may not be understood, but works never. Words will ensnare, but works never. Words may deceive, but works never. Words may be illy chosen, but works never. We mean works of wisdom. We mean the works of God. We mean the works manifest in nature. Heaven is true to himself. No work of God is made in ignorance. All his works praise his wisdom. The sun, and moon, and stars reveal his wisdom. Night unto night sheweth knowledge. Day unto day uttereth wisdom. There is no language where the wonders of God are not seen. There is no darkness where he can not see. There is no wealth not his own, no means not at his command, no power not under his control, no wisdom too great not to belong to him, and no reward but what is consonant with the eternal principles of his love. He is worthy, because he is good, and good because he doeth good.
Works are the representatives of his character. They are the beautiful unfoldings of his wisdom. And no work more satisfactorily establishes this fact than the creation of man. He is the apex of earth's inhabitants. He is the master-piece of all works. He is what no other work equals. He is what all other works represent. He is the work of other works, with the mind of immortality superadded. He is above all other works. He is above, because be will live forever—live when other works are no more—live when the visible forms of man and beast have perished—live when dust to dust shall return, when worldly wisdom and worldly folly shall mingle in wretched oblivion— wretched because ruin is what no one calls prosperous, wretched because wisdom is not there, and wretched because mercy will have no compassion on them. But this work of mind is not perfected. It is a building not furnished, or, if furnished, furnished with furniture that must be removed. The old must give place to the new. The dark chambers of the soul must be illuminated. The old candlestick must be taken away, and the lamp of wisdom supply its place. The rust of former ages, the fixtures of other generations, the wisdom of darker days, the poverty of human speculations, must no longer govern the temple made without hands. It is a work of God, and should not be desecrated to an unholy use. It should not be filled with wants which are not satisfied, with desires which wealth can not supply, with inmates which nature's law rejects, with toys which children will cast aside, with follies which weep tears without correction, with anguish that smites without mitigation, and burdens which weary without a reward.
The works of God are one thing; the works of man another. Wisdom rules the former; folly, in degree, the latter. Nothing is perfect which is the work of man. Nothing is eternal made with hands. The glory of man is like the fading flower. His works must perish, because the wisdom of God is not in them. Wise men are wise only when the wisdom of God inspires them. And they are wise in the same degree in which that wisdom developes the soul. We write, we preach, we do, as the wisdom of God permits. We are subordinates, not supreme. We are dependent, not independent. We are learners, not teachers of God. We are pensioners, not givers of good things, only as they are given for others' benefit.
Such is the work of God. Such is man. What, then, are works? Look up! See works! works which deck the cloudless evening with gems of silver brightness—stars which gaze with unblushing beauty on other stars in their mystic dance—circles encircling circles of suns in unlimited expansion, in order controlled, in wisdom made, as wisdom designed, for a purpose yet unbeheld by men on earth, or spirits in heaven. Works such as these, are works of God. Neither men nor angels have surveyed the boundlessness of infinity. It is a work which we wish to understand. It is a field which we wish to explore, and, wishing, we are permitted to gratify our wish.
We have seen what men have not seen. We have seen the works of God on other planets. We have seen spirits of a finer mould than earth affords. We have seen temples of God, where the wisdom of God shone sweetly in all their works, where the winter of ignorance was unknown to its inhabitants; because wisdom was an intuitive element of their existence, and because they were the citizens of a country where music warms into life the social harmonies of circles, and the dullness of stoic apathy is quickened in the blaze of divine glory, revealing the words of wisdom on every leaf of this paradise of the spirit. We have seen many planets where the corruptions of earth are unknown, where the inhabitants are never sick, where the cry of poverty is never heard, where the wail of sorrow never visits, and where the counselors are never deceived, nor the counseled betrayed. We have seen strangers of another clime, spirits of another planet; we have been welcomed to the banquet of their hospitality, and we have wondered why oar fathers had not taught us the lesson. All is wonder. What is man but a wonder? What are the conditions of human life but a wonder? What are the imaginings of the human soul, but a wonder? What are the teeming myriads of worlds on worlds but wonders—wonders of astonishment—wonders which none but a God of wisdom could unfold—wonders which wisdom alone could create—wonders which concern the soul in its wondrous development.
There is wonder where wisdom is found, and wisdom may be found everywhere. In the low caverns of earth, in the deeper caverns of the sea, in valleys, rocks, and rivers; in seas, mountains, and water-falls; in air, earth, and sky; wherever man has trod or spirit dwelt, the works of God proclaim his wisdom infinite. His temple is the universe, his universe without beginning or end, without centre or circle, without disorder or confusion, without parallel or unfoldings, and without measurement of wisdom of the Creator.
Works are wisdom in God. Works are vanity in men. They are vanity, because they are frail and perish. They are good or bad, as they work the good or bad of those who are affected. No work is good, unless it be productive of enjoyment. No work is bad, unless it be productive of unhappiness. Good and bad are the representatives of these two conditions. They are the exponents of both conditions. But when we say a work is good, we must first know its use and influence. What may be good for one, may be bad for another. What is sweet to one, is sour to another; or what is good to one, is evil to another. All are not alike. Difference in conditions require difference in treatment. Under wise treatment, wisdom works what is best for the good of those who ask her advice.
Works affect mind as well as matter. Matter is not mind, mind is not matter. Matter is matter, and mind is spirit. Mind is God, and God is mind, infinite and eternal. Spirit is mind, or rather spirit is mind in progress. It is work in progress. It is the work of God in progress. It is not the work of man. It is not the wisdom of man, but it is what God has made, and he has made it good. Mina wills, and will is power in action. When will is controlled, it is controlled by a superior. All things are superior which control. All things superior will control what is inferior to themselves. God is infinite, and therefore superior to all things. All things are controlled by him as he wills. He wills to create, and the creation comes forth. He wills to rule, and rule is over all. He wills to work by means, and means subserve his purpose. This is work. This is action. This is wisdom.
But what means does he employ? How does he work? As he wills, so does be work. As he is wise, so does he choose means in wisdom to execute his will. All things are but means chosen to advance the purpose of his will. What is it that wills, but the will of wisdom in love? What are earth, and seas, and skies, but the habitations of enjoyment? What are the disorders of society, but transitions in the scale of progress? What are the convulsions of civil war, but the growth of mind, bursting the shell which encloses and confines. What are the conflicting antagonisms of mind, but elements of will in will of God, working the elevation of wisdom from ignorance and folly? What are the chains which enslave, the fetters which bind, the prisons which confine, the halters which murder, the witchcraft which controls, the ignorance which prevails, but the expression of conditions, undeveloped and unimproved by the wisdom of God? What are all things, but the production of infinite wisdom, the work of an Almighty Power, and the conditions which are essential in the work of developing the mind of man?
"All are but parts of one 'infinite' whole, whose body nature is, and God the soul."
Works are parts. Works are many parts of wisdom. Works are manifestations of wisdom. No work of God is a part of a work. Works are parts, but work embraces all parts. It is the whole in parts. It is all in all. Man, then, is the work, and works are but parts. Without the parts, the work would be incomplete, and, without the work, the whole would be only parts. The deficiency would exist, and exist till supplied. Where a deficiency is found, there is folly; and where folly is found, the wisdom of God is not found. What, then, are works but the parts of a work? What, then, is work, but the doings of a worker? And what are the doings of a worker, but the results of wisdom?
Works will prove their value. Their value may be determined by the enjoyment they afford. Does God require works to consummate what is not complete in him? Nothing is incomplete in him. Who, then, is benefited by the work of God? We know not, unless it be the work? We know not unless it be man? How, then, is he benefited, unless he enjoys? and how can he enjoy, unless he is conscious? and how can he be conscious, unless he lives? and how can he live, unless he is immortal? That which is mortal dies. That which is immortal never dies. If man be mortal and die, who enjoys? For what then, were all the parts which are essential to the whole made? For what! Answer, ye who doubt, but answer in wisdom. Then, doubts will weigh nothing in the result. But they weigh! Alas! they weigh like rods upon a fool's back. They weigh like irons upon the feet of slaves, like shackles on the hands of victims, like mountains on the sides of streams, like famine on the mind of want, like curses on the brow of folly, like mildew on the face of despair, like darkness on the world of night, like peace on the world of hope, like joy on the soul of wisdom, like rainbows on the arch of heaven, like tears on the melting clouds, like light on the weary world of sorrow, chasing away the sadness of bereavement, and unfolding the doors of a building not made with hands, which no man can shut.
Works of men are works on the work of God. Works of men are men's works. They are parts of a work. Nothing is complete—all is unfinished. No work of man bears the wisdom of God; and yet much is wise—more unwise. Much that was once wise in men's wisdom, leaves no trace but folly on the page of history. Wise men have opened their fountains of wisdom, which ages have consecrated, and huge piles of musty records, filled with the speculations of undeveloped minds, have appeared. They were works on the work of God. They were the mystical productions of mystical minds—minds enshrouded with the pall of superstition—minds engulphed in the labyrinth of inexperience—minds overshadowed with the darkness of pagan idolatry— minds estranged from the relationship of brotherhood—minds imbued with the selfishness of uncultivated philanthropy—minds soured with the acidity of worldly wisdom—wisdom in measures withering to the soul, and destructive to the general good of man—wisdom artless as it was treacherous, villainous as it was cruel, vindictive as it was foolish—wisdom which sought out many inventions, but not for good—inventions whose object was to aggrandize the few at the expense of many—inventions cunningly devised, yet ignorantly managed—inventions for destruction of men's lives, but not to save them— inventions which placed crowns on the heads of fools, yet offered thorns to the face of philosophy—a philosophy, lean and hungry, but neglected and despised—a philosophy in infancy, but no mother to offer protection, no wisdom to counsel but the voice of nature, no religion but contempt of men and things, and no worship but the avarice of human passion, human glory, human fame, human plunder, riot and war.
Look at the works of industry and art. See Sodom and Gomorrah in ashes; Babylon in ruins; Pompeii submerged in lava; Rome, once the mistress of the world, the beggar in rags; Egypt, the patron of genius and the pyramid of art, the home of plenty and clime of glory, the habitation of barbarians, degraded and despised, and whole empires turned and overturned by the merciless hand of works, which conflict with the laws of God in nature. We have seen cities rise and fall. We have traversed over the battle field mid fury and slaughter. We have heard the wail of way dashing like a wave of murder on the shore of eternity. We have been where the storm of passion roared with grating discord. We have visited hamlets and dens, palaces and courts, tombs and hecatombs, the wise and the unwise of other days, and lo! we found only the glory of worldly wisdom. We found only the works of ignorance and vanity. We then said, what is man, with all his works, but a work of God in a state of wonder—in wisdom of worth—worth in the wisdom of God, yet folly in men of misunderstanding. Then, we said, how long will these things be, and what shall be the end thereof?
Works on work must perish. And, when they perish, the work of God will stand. When they moulder in dust, wither in sunshine, commingle in ashes, the day of wisdom will appear. We see works on works of worldly wisdom in all departments of human industry. We see works on war, and works on peace; works on fiction, and works on facts; works on folly, and works on wisdom; works on men, and works on the works of men; works of all kinds, and adapted to, as they were conceived in, the condition of human progress, which wills the image of itself, in all ages and in all countries. Indeed, works are but the image of the doer. Works are but the reflection of mind. They are the productions of mind, even as grain is the production of earth. In a barren soil, men reap a barren harvest. In cultivated vineyards, they gather an abundance. In other words, in an unwise mind there is a production; but it is unfit for use; or, if fit for use, it is of a coarser kind. And, besides, there are tares which must be burned, and burned on the soil where they grow; otherwise their reappearance may be expected. Now the tares and the grain grow on the same soil. The soil is good, but indolence suffers it to be uncultivated; and consequently, tares spring up and choke the good seed. So, with the soul. It is good. But ignorance of its value, and indolence in its wise cultivation, have scattered seeds which have overgrown the natural productions of refinement and want. Mind knows not itself; and, not knowing itself, it has dealt harshly with others like itself. Did it appreciate its own value, it would he less likely to abuse its own image in a brother. When man shall see himself in man, he will not quarrel with man, for no man ever yet hated himself. To see himself in another, and yet quarrel with him, is as impossible as it would be to quarrel with himself. Two things identical in their nature are harmonious. Two minds identical in their nature act in concert. Hence, when men shall see themselves in other men, they will mourn with those that mourn, and weep with those who weep. They will unite like two drops of water, like twin brothers in cordial fellowship, like two sounds in harmony, like myself and other spirits of this sphere; and, being united, there will be no wounds to heal, no sorrows to allay, no fears to dispel, no prisons to confine, no tyrants to rule, no murderer to bereave, no works but wise, and no will but love.
Works of darkness, works of evil, works of selfishness, works of ignorance, are works of men. Alas! they are the works of a misguided work of God. Man is misguided, reason is misguided, nature in man is misguided. With all the wisdom unfolded, with all the learning understood, with all the religion revealed, with all the faculties of mind employed, with all the schools, colleges, Bibles, papers, laws, governments, discipline, science, art, and refinement, worldly wisdom has vouchsafed to use as means of human progress, the mind is still misguided, wronged, abused, and cheated of mind; and wisdom is not practiced as God and nature require, to feed the soul with bread. And why? Who will tell? Who will overcome? Are our statements wrong? Are we misguided too? Then indeed hope is gone. Who will say, we are deceived? He who judges without knowledge, without evidence, without any thing but ignorance and mistaken assumption to justify. And suppose we are: who then comes with the needed relief? What can man expect which he has not enjoyed from the means which the last eighteen centuries have afforded? Are not the means all that they ever will be on which man has rested for deliverance? Do means gather strength with age? If so, why adopt new inventions? And why adopt new inventions when the old are better, or, at least, as good? And who shall decide which is best? If experience must decide the question, then the old must gain the preference, for new things are things of inexperience—they are experiments; yea, experiments of human wisdom. If the old must stand, it is not difficult to decide the result. Like causes, like conditions will produce, as they ever have produced, like results. And what are those results? Overcome evil with good is yet a stranger on earth. Mind is mind, misguided and abused. When will the world learn righteousness? When will the moral and social wrongs of society be rectified? And how! Works of men have been employed; have failed—not one instance of success. Shall man longer trust in failures for a remedy, or the wisdom which controlled, when failures succeeded failures? How can that be a remedy which fails in its mission? How can that succeed which has never succeeded? Ignorance, misguidance, sin, and misery, are no new things under the sun. They are conditions of mind confined to no era. Means, then, which fail to rectify the same conditions in one age, must fail in another age. Means which originate in the same source, however new, are equally distrustful; because a source can not impart what it does not possess. When man, therefore, calculates on deliverance by means originating in human wisdom, his expectations will be cut off. Human wisdom would be human folly in attempting to cast off itself. Indeed, how can a thing, of itself, destroy itself. How can that which is evil do good? How can mind, misguided, guide? How can the soul in ignorance enlighten? How can that in which there is no light, give light; in which there is no wisdom give wisdom; in which there is no truth, give truth? Misguided, it misguides; misdirected, it misdirects; uncorrected, it will not correct. Whence, then, comes the antidote? Is it found in the works of men, or in the wisdom of God? Whence, then, comes the hope of the world? Is it from earth or heaven? Whence came the inspiration of Revelation? Was it from earth or heaven? Whence came the power to work miracles? Was it from God or men? All from on high. No human hand was in the work; but the wisdom of God moved, and when it moved, the movement was felt and obeyed. Such is, and such will be, as it has been, the distinction between human and divine wisdom.
What, we ask, shall be done to afford the needed relief? We have seen that a disease can not cure itself. We have seen all modes of treatment adopted as remedies for the evils and ills of man, by the works of man, but without success. No man can tell why men should be compelled to languish and despair without relief. No man can tell how these evils can be overcome by man. No man can do what he can not tell how to do. Some men tell what God can do. Others tell what he can not do. Some men hope, and some despair of deliverance. Some will write, preach, and publish, what God will do to rectify the wrongs of men, but few expect those wrongs can be overcome where they exist. They can see no wisdom equal to the undertaking, which will interpose in the work of reform till the resurrection. When the resurrection is, or what it is, they do not know. Some believe it will commence when the body dies, others do not. Neither one nor the other know what they should know, on such an important subject. But they work; alas! and what work do they produce? Do their opinions rectify even their own wrongs? And, if they do not reform the believer from his wrongs, can it be reasonably expected that others will be overcome of their wrongs?
We find men not content under such a state of things. We see them groaning under the heavy burdens which are levied upon them to support opinions— opinions of men who need to go to school, and learn the first rudiments of religion in the school of wisdom as taught by Jesus, and as revealed in nature. Men who do not know what the resurrection is, nor when it is, certainly have some thing to learn before they can be very useful to others. They have a lesson to learn which will open their eyes and reveal their ignorance, when the whole truth of that subject shall be revealed to them. They have a lesson to learn which the will and wisdom of men, like themselves, can not teach. It is a lesson which their will and wisdom can not unfold? It is a lesson which even the Bible, however useful and true, does not satisfactorily disclose. It is a doctrine which has been revealed, but all the revelation is not in the hands of men. The whole subject was developed by Jesus, but the development is fragmentary in the Bible. Yes, it is darkness; and men of all professions are stumbling in that darkness, not being able to know what the resurrection is, or when it is, or how it is with the children of the resurrection.
Works on works have been written, preached, and published, to explain something which the workers did not understand, to throw light on revelation from heaven; as though revelation solicited light from those in whom there was no light, and where its light shone to, give light; as though the wisdom of God in that light needed more light to make men in the body see it; as though a professedly satisfactory revelation was unsatisfactory without the aid of human wisdom to solve its sayings, without the doings of man to unfold its unfoldings; as though wisdom required folly to commence sowing where it had sown the seed of truth; as though that sowing would encourage the growth of wisdom on earth; as though the earth would be productive of no harvest unless folly shared in its cultivation; as though that cultivation required something more than infinite wisdom and skill, and, consequently, demanded a share of folly to give bread and life to a hungry world.
Works of men have their objects. Has selfishness nothing to grain by its works? Does it work without money, without expectation of remuneration? Are all the works on the works of God disinterested? Are they written and published without any other motive than to do good is there no sect or party, no fame or honor, no worldly applause or glory, no secret hostility to wisdom, as unfolded in the Bible to gratify, no workings of strife or emulation to encourage, no discipline to enforce, no creed to cherish or demolish? We ask, where and to whom are the works of men dedicated? Where and by whom are the works of men consecrated? And by what wisdom are they approved? Is it from earth or heaven? No voice of approbation descends through the murky darkness to cheer children who love darkness rather than light, because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God. No voice but wonder, no echo but human, responds to the folly of works on the work of God.
Works of men sometimes contemplate what the law of God forbids. They contemplate selfishness. They contemplate their own as well as other's good; other's good remains the last to be served—other's good more frequently is not considered. Other's good is well. Self is well, when other's good is sought as is its own. Works are well, when other's participate in their advantages. Preaching is well, when it does other's good. Publishing is well, when the public are benefited. But when written works darken counsel, when they pour out their own shame on the wisdom of God, it is false to duty, it is treacherous to humanity, not to rebuke the ignorance, which casts its seed on ground where the wisdom of heaven has scattered an abundance of good things.
Works of men are deceptive. Books, sermons, essays, articles, written by man, are more or less deceptive. They corrupt the mind. They often engender a wisdom which is uncharitable, cruel, or destructive to the well being of man. They often speak of charity as "the bond of perfection," as the greatest of all virtues, but not adhering to what is good for others, the authors proceed to deny, practically, the duty of doing unto others as they would have them do unto them. They think evil so far as to dislike the practice of their endorsed bond. They think one thing for themselves, and another thing for others. The balances are well, but who made the scales, who touches the beam, who controls the weight? We shall not repeat what every mind knows'. And yet, their books tell men how to live, how to act, and what to do, to enter the kingdom of God. All this is well. It is not the book, it is not the author with whom we have to do; but it is his works. Has he demanded of others what he is unwilling to practice himself? Has be taught a lesson in which he has no confidence? Has be preached a sermon which he never obeyed? Has he preached against extortion, and yet extorted—if not money, yet what is worth more—extorted a blind acquiescence to all his dogmatical assumptions; if not of the widow, yet of her unimproved children; if not of the poor, yet of those who rob the poor of their honest industry to aid the works of hirelings, who bargain the treasure of heaven to promote their unworthy aggrandizement? Has he compromised what was not his own? His be sold what he never owned—the wisdom of God? Has he bartered away what belonged to others, and received a consideration? If such are his works, what are his books, his sermons, his preaching to others? All for what? We need not say.
Works are what they are. What they are is one thing; what they will be when the wisdom of God shall rule on earth as in heaven, is another thing. It is not for us to say, who will or who will not be a doer of the word. It is sufficient, in this place, to expose what is done, and how it is done. We see men anxious to know the truth, and yet they do not know where it can be found. Conflict reigns on earth. Party and selfishness share in the spoils of victory. When they are satisfied with what they have obtained, it would seem to some minds premature to disturb their contentment. But do they rest? Is not restlessness the energy, the activity of the world. All works are works for enjoyment or gratification? Mind does not labor for nothing, or without an object desirable. The whole energy, then, of a race, a multitude, has been in motion for enjoyment? It is now in motion. Spirits are not idle. They work for joy. They work for good, not of themselves alone, but others. The labors of this book are not on our account, but the good of our children, who need our assistance. And it is no new philosophy with us, that in doing good to men on earth, there is great joy in heaven. Spirits in the body are in motion. They seek, but they do not find. Why? Because they consult men who have no understanding, because they seek where wisdom is not, and because they labor for what is not bread to the soul.
We have seen the vineyard all grown over with nettles and thorns. We have seen souls wearied with work. We have seen briars and thorns which would choke the energy of endeavor to write their anguish, cursing the ground where wretchedness found no mitigation. We have seen wisdom descend on clouds of glory, but vainly was her mission. She came, but worldly wisdom shut the doors of investigation, and armed souls with prejudice, forbidding intrusion upon customs made venerable by age; on doctrines perpetuated by extortion; on forms sacred in the eye of idolatry; on creeds necessary to the servitude of slaves; on rituals suited only to menials; on platforms and establishments consecrated to party; on wisdom wonderful but unanswerable to the good of all; on wisdom exclusive, partial, unjust, vindictive, deceptive, and cruel; on wisdom selfish, debasing, oppressive, and devilish; on wisdom foolish, ignorant, and wretched; and on wisdom empty, vain and unsatisfactory to the posessor. Wisdom came— wisdom retired. Wisdom sought and found, but she was not heard in the streets, nor in the palaces, nor in the temples made with hands, nor in halls of legislation, nor in festival associations, nor in schools of art, nor in academies of science, nor in books, but she came in the brightness of angels, in the glory of heaven, and men wondered; but they fell down before the beast, and asked forgiveness for their wonder.
Works on works of charity will serve to show what need be shown. What is charity? What are the works of charity? Works on charity are not always charitable. Charity is love. It is the manifestation of love. It is the work of love. It thinks no evil. It is not selfish. It is not cruel. It is not blind. It is not indolent. But it is good—good to the needy—good conferred on the children of want. Want is the subject, love the donor. When the subject receives a good, without the expectation of a return, without promise of remuneration, it is a gift of charity. All gifts supplying a need—a necessary want, are charities. But nothing is a gift where conditions offer considerations of gain for the thing conferred. No matter what that gain is, it, being a gain, is equivalent to a remuneration. It is equivalent to a contract between two parties, made with a view to some selfish advantage. When such advantage is sought, the means by which it is obtained are neither gifts nor charities. Minds of charity see the enjoyment of a brother, or sister, or child of misfortune. They seek no praise or commendation of men. Love moves in the work, and the work is but the outpouring of a surcharged soul with philanthropy. They are deeds of kindness—kindness like rain on the thirsty ground—kindness like water where vegetation languishes—kindness like bread to the famishing, like manna from heaven, like streams in the desert, like smiles on tears, like light in darkness, and like love seeking no reward. They are where angels visit, where wisdom visits, where love visits, where righteousness visits, to water the plants of our heavenly Father's vineyard. They write no works but the work of doing unto others, as love, religion, humanity, justice, relationship, and duty, demand. They publish no papers, magazines, or books, lauding what has been done, neither do they suffer the left hand, or next door neighbors, to know what their Tight hands have done. They preach only as they practice, but not in high sounding words, not in tongues which men do not understand, not in frothy declamation without meaning, not in tinkling cymbals to please selfish ears, not in words that flatter to deceive, not in eloquence without a soul, not in motives to shield what is wanting in works, not in works to conceal what is wanting in duty, nor yet to cover what is omitted in the wisdom of cold and sinister minds which withhold the needed alms from the stranger within the gates of plenty. Minds of charity go not out of the way to gather praise of men, nor do they proclaim on the house-top to doings of their own hands. They are peaceable—not ostentatious. They seek no reward but the sweetness of relief bestowed on the needy. Alas! no reward! What greater can they seek, than the blessing which makes others blest? What other can they gain? Is heaven opened? To whom? To whom but the doer. To whom but the soul that seeks heaven in doing unto others, as it would have them do unto him? To whom but the mind which seeks, and never seeks in vain, to find a blessing in blessing the needy children of want. To whom, but the soul that doeth the will of God.
Will of God is the joy of the soul. Will of God is the will of right. Will of God is the work of angels. It is the positive mind which controls all nature. It is the law of harmony. It is the law which thinks no evil, which contemplates no wrong, and which destroys no joy. Works must harmonize with that law to be consonant with the will of God. Man can not share in its promised blessing, without the will of God is regarded and obeyed. To obey is to do, and to do is to make him happy who makes others happy. Good to others is a blessing to him who does good. He who receives and he who gives, are, mutually blessed. This is the law of God. Its beauties are seen in heaven. Its glory is our mission on earth. We come with the needed blessing. We come with precious ointment to heal the distress of disease, by curing the disease itself. We come with ointment which will heal the wounds which! sin has made, and give health to the weary of worldly sorrows, pains, and fears. To do what man can not do, is our work. And, when men shall work as we work in preparing mind for a mansion of charity, so that, in blessing others, it will itself be blest, works on social reform will become obsolete things, worthy only of a name amid the wreck of matter cast into the sea of oblivion. Then the poor will become rich, and the rich will become richer, because wisdom is of more value than riches. Then minds—the work of God—will not write, preach, or publish, tales which mercy forbids—tales which comfort no soul—tales which bind up no wound—tales which never control one misfortune, alleviate one pang, remove one pain, or chase away one wrong—tales that never pity one sufferer, or sympathizes it, the charity that works for the emancipation of all who are slaves to the tyranny and misrule of a craft matured in the folly of perverted humanity.
Minds of men are crafty. Crafts are hobbies on which men ride. Crafts sail with the aid of currents. They follow channels where currents run. They go downwards. They never seek the fountain. They move as currents move. They rise and fall with the current. They are made to float on the surface. They never dive to the bottom to rise. If they sink they sink to rise no more. Such is era ft. Works of craft are works of the surface, which maybe seen. We see craft in all professions, in all channels. We see craftsmen also. No mind can write, preach, or publish, without craft to answer the conveyance of his message. We have our craft, but we are the craftsmen. We manage the ship. It is not the ship, then, it is not the craft which we oppose, but the cargo—the goods that are contraband to law, which we shall seize and destroy. There are slaves on board. They must be set free. There are provisions unwholesome to the slave, which must be taken away. There are stores destructive to men's lives, which are not needed in time of peace. Peace is now proclaimed, and we intend to cast the destructive weapons of war into the sea. Though we have resolved to conquer, we can have no use for them in securing the victory. What we can not do by light to banish darkness, by truth to overcome error, by right to supplant wrong, by justice to undo injustice, by love to work out hate, and by mercy to control cruelty, we shall leave undone. The implements of war must perish. The goods of pirates must be confiscated, and the bread of the craftsmen must be exchanged for the bread of eternal life. They will not eat that which gives no life. They will not drink that which intoxicates and arouses the beast in the man. They will not contend against their friends; for we come to do them good. They will see peace on our banner, peace on our tongues, and peace in our works. We are the messengers of peace. We live in peace, our country is at peace with all nations. It is the asylum of all the world. And yet there are none who want, or wanting go unrelieved. There are none destitute, and destitute call in vain for help. Heaven is where we live, and heaven is heaven, because all citizens in heaven are co-workers in doing, the will of God. It is heaven, because the angry storm of contention overshadows not the plain of our repose. It is heaven because the red lightnings of war flash no more athwart the sky of celestial day. It is heaven, because all things conspire to develope the glory of God, and the eternal harmony of his works. It is heaven, because the visible things of earth and the invisible things of spirits, are understood and enjoyed. It is heaven, because the law of development affords encouragement for minds to bring, the plain of earth upward to the plain of heaven. It is heaven, because the armies of heaven are armies, not of aggression or defence, but of constant exercise, of untiring endeavor, to enlighten and save the world from the evils of the world. It is heaven, because God is our Helper, we are his servants, and the spheres the place of our habitation.
But how can we work, how can we labor without an object? What can we do which we have not done? We can only will to do what we can, and can only do what we will. This is our answer. Time must decide what we are not disposed to forestall by prediction.
Minds of charity are disinterested, so to speak, when the good of others is promoted by pecuniary sacrifice. Have spirits of this sphere any pecuniary sacrifice to make? No, but they have a sacrifice to offer. They have a lamb, not of flesh and, blood, to lay upon the altar. It is a free-will offering. It is without money and without price. It is a lamb without blemish. It is a lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It is a celestial lamb, whose strength is for the healing of the nations. It is a lamb whose strength all nations need, whose value all nations will cordially admit, when they see what we now see. It is a lamb whose garments men have not wisdom to imitate. It is a lamb whose wisdom men have scorned and derided, and they have scorned and derided because they have envied his compassion, his meekness, his humility, his gentleness, his forbearance, his forgiveness, his generosity, his liberality, his sacrifice, for the good of those who slew him, and slew him because he was good. This Lamb is the sun of Righteousness. This Lamb is the Son of God. This Lamb is the Saviour of the world. This Lamb is the doctrine we unfold, the tidings we bring, the repentance we counsel, the charity we admire, the purity we uphold, the crown we confer, the diadem we give, the wisdom we teach, the love we announce, the truth we proclaim, and the joy we realize. No martial trump of war, no murderous cannon's roar, no wonders in heaven or on earth, no cavalcades of worshipers, no shrines of ambition, no tears of sorrow, no wailings of despondency, no rivers of blood, no voices of disapprobation, no murmurs of discontent, no outbreaks of passion, no convulsions of nature, no follies of human wisdom, attend the witness of wisdom from God to men. He comes again in robes of righteousness, but who will admire? He comes with the banner of victory, but who will join the standard? He comes to rule, but who will obey? He comes to save, but who will turn to him? He comes to deliver, but who is thankful? who accepts the cross which he brings? Who takes the helmet he wears, the hope he encourages, the fruit he scatters? Alas! who seeks and finds? who knocks, and it is open unto him? who mourns, and is comforted? and who turns from his sins and errors, and is saved? We will answer, when the answer can be recorded without harm to "charity which thinketh no evil."
Men consult policy. They canvas effects. They determine results. They weigh circumstances, in doing which they prejudge, or rather control what is useful so that it will be acceptable to others. It is the condition of others—their will of approbation or disapprobation—which controls and determines what shall, and what shall not, be done. When policy rules the doer, he is but the wisdom of that which he consults. He seeks to do what will be acceptable to those whose approbation he desires, or whose disapprobation he fears. He is, therefore, but the exponent of them, and his doings will be as perfect a daguerreotype, as his skill and information can produce. He aims to do what will please them, and, if he fail, it is the result of his ignorance of their condition. He writes, preaches, acts, and publishes, what his wisdom calculates will receive public approbation. And when that object is gained, he is contented, as far as contentment can be expected from such a condition of mind—a mind dependent on others—on others, perhaps, less cultivated, less qualified to exert a good influence than himself—a mind hemmed in with vices and follies of works on works—a mind incapacitated to act as duty and truth require, because policy governs, because others rule—a mind seeking praise of men in commending what God has forbidden, what religion reproves, what infidelity to revelation sanctions, what treason to human progress justifies, and justifies because it seeks what is congenial to the supposed wish of men.
Have men intended harm by their artful policies? Policy makes war, and it makes peace. Policy governs countries, and controls armies. Policy commands fleets, and makes citadels. Policy makes and unmakes men. Nations rise and fall under the policy of rulers. But the policy of one age, or nation, or individual, is not the policy of all.
Policy is no settled principle of right. It can hold no claim to right, only as right is understood to be what is expedient. All things may be expedient under circumstances of what may be called adaptation, but are all things right? If circumstances make wrong right, then right is only what circumstances justify, and wrong what they do not justify. But if right be an immutable principle, applicable to all circumstances, the conduct of those who write, preach, act, and publish, what is welcome to the ear of popularity, may not find every thing they have done to be in accordance with the rule they consult. What is right, under this rule, has nothing, to do with circumstances, except to control them. When men say, it is right, they mean what they say. But what makes it right? Why is it right? As these questions are answered, so right or wrong is evolved. Will all answer them alike? Will all answer only correctly? We will say, no. But who answers wrong? Who right? That is the question which will most concern those who will write, preach, act, and publish, what the public will justify or condemn. We will write what we know, and we know that right is not wrong, nor wrong right. We will write what we know is right. But how do we will to write, or what do we will to write? As conditions require, or otherwise? If we will to write as conditions do not require, is it either good or wise? If we will to write as conditions require, is it not good and wise? Do not, then, conditions control our will? And does not our will control the conditions? Just so far as one is dependent, so is the other. Conditions call into exercise our will, and our will answers the call by consulting the best good we can do. But conditions are variable and various. Is it not evident, then, that as conditions vary will must vary, and as will varies so right and wrong vary—vary insomuch that what might be useful in one condition, might be useless in another, what would be best in one state would not be good in another, what would be a panacea for one disease would be no remedy for another, what would cure one man would kill another, and what would be right in one condition would be wrong in another.
Policy may be wise, or unwise? If wise, it is good; if good, it is right. Right is good, wrong is bad. Wise policy is good and right; unwise policy is evil and not right. Human policy varies, as human wisdom varies. When men consult the wisdom of men, they consult not the wisdom of God. When they write, preach, and publish, to gain the approbation of men; they gain a meagre reward they seldom gain the good of wisdom; they fail of securing what right demands; they write, preachy and publish the wisdom of the world, which is wisdom in selfishness. When they write, or do what is wise with men, they often write and do what is unwise with God. Is it right, then, to obey God, or men? If men, then it is right to do what will please men, without regard to their good or ill? If men are the standard of right, men-pleasers are righteous; but if God, then the question of policy, whether right or wrong, assumes a grave importance. Wisdom will not justify the flattery necessary to secure the approbation of men, which we see in men who act in reference to that object. What meets public approbation corrects no public wrong, and what corrects no wrong is not good; because for any thing to be good, it must do good; and doing good is not remaining idle, when the calls for relief ring in our ears from winter to summer, and summer to winter, from all conditions where the plague of ignorance scatters its mournful desolation, and where the awful wretchedness of worldly policy controls the works of man. We see what we will expose. We see men, women, and children, writhing under a policy which neither God nor angels can approve. We see them groaning under a system which withers every soul with evil, which no policy other than divine can cure; because two wrongs never make one right, and two evils never make one good. We see what no man in the body can see without our aid. We see one policy conflicting with another. We see wrong and evil disputing and wrangling with each other, and whole empires convulsed with the policy of worldly interest. We see anarchy and insubordination to laws, established on the basis of human policy, converting men into machines for mischief, and making machines of men to convert others to worse than mercenary outcasts. We see whole nations, writhing over the fire of jealousy, and burning over the coals of wretchedness. We understand the secret. Policy is what has done all this. Policy is what will cure all this. Policy is what we shall study and use, and policy is what we shall oppose and overcome. But when? When the world shall write, preach, and publish, as we write, preach, and publish. When writing, preaching, and publishing shall be subservient to our control, or to the wisdom which controls us. And not till then. How long that will be, progress, in the knowledge of the truth to the wisdom of God, must answer. We see only a gleam of light on the face of the earth. We see gross darkness baffling almost every effort to dissipate the gloom. We see the policy which closes the gates of entrance against us. We see the reason which men employ, the why and the wherefore of their opposition. We see some have concerns which need not be told, fears which should be commiserated, doings which solicit no revealment, wrongs which afford them subsistence, errors which are a monopoly in crime, evils which cover their souls like sores of leprosy, wounds which degrade and disgrace by exposure, minds which will what is congenial to no reform, hearts which spurn advice from angels, feelings which sympathize in word and deed with ulcers of corruption, festering on the back of slaves, and man wronging man without remedy or restoration. We have sympathized and relieved, while they have scorned and derided. We have toiled and labored, while they have wondered and abused. This is the policy of men. This is the gratitude of men. This is the folly of men. This is the wages of ignorance. This is the reward of mischief. This is the doing of policy—a policy which subverts the good of the world—a policy which stains the soul with blemish that weary years of repentance can not remove—a policy which time nor eternity can overcome, while the will of man is set in its favor; while the mind hugs it with the affection of a brother, and nurses it as a child whose good demands its everlasting protection. Yes: this is policy; but who admires, who adores, who loves, who obeys its mandates? Look over the history of the present era! Look over the history of angel visits to the sphere of man. Who writes, who preaches, who publishes, without consulting the ignorance and approbation of men? Alas! Who? We will answer. He who writes, preaches, and publishes, that which does good, that which does no evil, that which wrongs no man but benefits all. He is the man whose policy is governed by the wisdom of heaven. He seeks good, and his works prove it. He stands like an oasis in the desert, like a pillar in the temple of God, like a ship on the wave of waters, like a rock on columns of granite, like a planet on the circle of spheres, like a world on worlds of affinity, like a man who acknowledges a responsibility to God and a duty to others. His policy will stand when rolling years shall vanish away. It will not be moved when crumbling earths and wider seas shall sink to rise no more. It will be forever wise, and forever good as wise.
Minds will show wisdom or folly. The day will come when works will reveal their merit or demerit. The day has come when spirits see who seeks to please God, and who covets the approbation of worldly wisdom. The eyes of the upper world are on the lower. The works of iniquity, as the works of good, are all within our vision. No retreat can conceal crime from us. Its naked deformity overcomes the midnight. No wisdom of man can hide the sins which open to our view. No work or device escapes the inspection of God. All things written, preached, and published, never can, and never will, pass the judgment of his bar, without a just recompense of reward. He sits on the throne of the universe, and, that throne is the invisible presence of his infinite justice. He loves, but he rewards. He chastens, but he loves. He lays open the sores of disease, but he cures. He writes, but nature is the parchment. He preaches, but it is a still and sweet voice that breathes words of mercy on the noiseless air. He publishes, but his book is worlds on worlds with infinity superadded. No man can comprehend the wisdom of his writings. No man can soar to the brightness of his message of love—love which no imagination can survey—love which no mind can fathom—love without centre or circle, degree or limits, boundless as the immensity of his works, eternal as the durability of eternity, and unchanging as the structure of his mind is infinite. No mind need wish what is not his to give, nor hope what is not his will to grant; for vain must be the attempt to wish or hope for mercies beyond the measure of his wisdom to bestow, or love to grant to mind in the progress of its development.
Works produce changes—changes in men and things—changes in conditions and relation—changes in morals and religion—changes in duties and obligations—changes in social and civil contracts—changes in government and discipline—changes in rewards and punishments—changes in customs and habits—changes in means and measures—changes in every thing but what is unchangeable. Change is nothing new, as a change, but all changes develope new things. When change comes over mind or matter, the thing changed is different—it is not what it was before. Change is work, work is to change. Change is to change what is supposed requires a change. All suppositions, however, are not useful. All changes, wrought upon suppositions, are not beneficial. Suppositions are not always facts. Changes wrought not on facts are false to progress, false to happiness, false to the good of man. Supposition is often mischievous, and works of mischief are works of wrong. When men desire a change, they will be wise to consult the facts concerned in the change. If they overlook the facts, the change may be ruinous. When men consult facts, they can not be deceived; but when they reason from suppositions, mischief may ensue. When men suppose, they suppose upon probabilities. Probabilities are not always facts. When probabilities are not facts, disappointments must result. When men are disappointed, they will suffer the consequences of their folly. Their works provoke their own reward.
Changes concern all who are affected with them. They concern the worked, and the individual changed. They concern those interested in the good or ill done. Who is not interested? Who has no interest in the weal or woe of a brother? All will see what is truth, and when, they see the truth, they will acknowledge an interest in the welfare of all souls, on earth or in heaven. There is a tie which no mind can unite, binding the whole work of God together, binding all mankind with a cord of sympathy indissoluble as immortality, and which unites all in one, and one in all. When minds contemplate a disturbance of this work of God, they are faulty, and disappoint the good of all, and the one in all. They commence a work which they can never complete, a work they can never consummate. It is, therefore, the extreme of folly to attempt a dissolution of a tie which God has irrevocably made. No man can chancre it, nor can he change the relation, which he sustains toward God or man. He may seek what is incompatible with that relation, he may chancre what is right into wrong; but the relation and the obligation of that relation he cannot change. No supposition, no work predicated upon a supposition, denying that relation, can stand. It will fall with awful power on his own head.
Such has been, and such ever will be, the curse of all changes disagreeing with the obligation of universal brotherhood. Neither time nor distance, neither belief nor unbelief, neither weal nor woe, neither riches nor poverty, neither virtue nor vice, neither bond nor free, alter the immutable law of relation between mind and mind. As well might earth disown her offspring, as well might suns deny their circles, and moons their dependence, as well might day exclude the night and night the day, as well might all things work without a mover and move without a work, as for mind to deny its relation to mind, and God to all mind.
Change, then, either supposes something favorable or unfavorable to the relation subsisting as a bond of union between all souls. It designs a change. It sets in motion means equal to change one condition to another. When that condition is changed, it must be better or worse than when in the former condition. If better, it is wise, if not, unwise. When changes, therefore, are wrought by the wisdom of Heaven; they must be wise and good; for no unwise or evil thing can proceed from a good and wise fountain. When changes are made by the wisdom of man, it would surprise itself, if selfishness had no concern in the work. When selfishness enters into the change, it would surprise itself, if all men shared in the benefits of the change. Selfishness and relation, with the obligation of That relation, are antagonistical. With one, all is the interest of one, with the other the interests of all are included in one. When we say all, we mean all interests are subserved by individual sacrifice. When we say one is the interest of one, we mean, all other individual interests are considered as abandoned to selfish aggrandizement.
Change is seen in the face of the material world. Wonders have been performed on the ground you now rest. It is not what it was. You wonder at the change. You wonder at the wonder. You witness a change in all animal and vegetable forms. What was, is not. The transitory is written on the leaf of every flower. The wind of autumn blows, and the seared leaf falls. The winter comes, and death reigns. Contemplate the desolation. See what wind and storm have done. See what cold and ice have done. Not a flower, not a brook, not a work of smiling sunshine, not a man, nor beast, nor bird, nor insect, but what feels the awful visitation of wonder with mournful sadness. We see what will change this sadness into joy. The morning glory of spring revives what chilling autumn has made desolate. Under its genial influence the mourning winter of death, as it is called, passes into sweetness of victory. Who contemplates with us what wisdom sits enthroned on the bosom of decaying worlds on worlds of vegetable life? Who believes that life remains among the dead and buried of winter? Who supposes that whole empires of vegetable life will revive, and, reviving, adorn the land they will ever inhabit? We will say what wisdom has said. We will say what nature has said is true. And what nature is to flowers, God is to man. He wills what men call death.
Change is alteration. Nothing changed is the same. When wisdom changes, the change is good. When folly changes, it is evil. No change in nature makes the thing changed worse. All God does is wise, and wise because good. Alas! does the wisdom of man comprehend it? Does the perishing form of flower indicate wisdom? Does the seared leaf of autumn denote wisdom? Is nature true to wisdom? Why, the desolation of blossoming empires laid waste? Why, the ruthless hand of the destroying angel overcoming the innocence of smiling nature? Are these the works of wisdom—a wisdom true to good? No man can fathom the inscrutable purpose of wisdom, unless her voice be heard, and, her language understood. The wisdom of men sees gloom and desolation. The wisdom of God sees glory in the gloom, and beauty in death. The man of the body sees wisdom in self. The man of heaven sees wisdom in all things. The day of death is sweeter than the day of birth. The opening flower of an immortal mind blooms to die, and dies to live. Such is the aspect of nature to mind. But really wisdom sees no death. It sees a change. Death, apparently, dies to live. It dies to beauty in one form, to assume a glorious beauty in another form. It dies when disease works in changing death to life. It dies when colors fade to tints of rainbow hue. It dies when sweetness passes into fragrance sweeter still. It dies when weary summer fills gloomy autumn with the luxury of life. You wonder at the spectacle. Harps bang in mourning. The notes of song die on the lap of abundance. The wail of moaning minds vibrates the sadness of the disconsolate. The music of song wafts no solace to the heart of the bereaved. Wisdom sees the change. Wisdom works the change. The change is death—is life. The change is gloom—is glory. The change is mourning—is feasting. The change is sadness—is joy. The change is wise—is good. The change is decay—is progress. The change is of mind— is of God.
Wisdom sees change in mind. It sees what mind does not see. It sees a stream—not a stream; an ocean—not an ocean; a world—not a world; a circle—not a circle; but worlds on worlds of life in death. It sees mind overcome mind, sees it as it weeps over the bier of a cherished form, pouring melting tears on the coffin that is soon to sink into the desolate chamber of worms—soon to pass away in dust to be known no more like the perishing flower. Alas! what havoc has death made? What wretchedness saddens the souls whose winter of bereavement has stilled the song of joy, and made desolate the widow, and her orphan children? What wisdom sees they do not see. They see the gloom of night resting over the grave. They see the dark curtain of worldly wisdom, smiting their minds with intense suffering, as it opens no window of hope, no world of joy, no wisdom but ashes, no solace but wretchedness, no consolation but grief, no beauty but dust, no glory but darkness, and no sun but sorrow, shedding tears hot with anguish, like melting drops of lead on the widowed and orphanized souls of mortality. What is the cup of one is the cup of many—of all in varied form. What has been will continue to be, until change shall come over the world of mind, and the dawning light of truth chase away the wretchedness of angry works of darkness. We would come to widows and orphans in their solitude, and bring the cup of salvation; we would take away the sting of death; we would unlock the gates of wealth; we would open the treasures of wisdom; we would change the gloom of bereavement; we would dry the widow's and orphan's tears; we would kindle the flame of glory, which burns brighter and brighter; and we would save their minds from the evil of the calamity; but who arrests our attempt? Who sacrifices the mind's dearest boon? Who writes, preaches, and publishes, fraud upon fraud, deception upon deception, scandal upon scandal, evil upon evil, to counteract what we intend for the good of all? Answer, all who oppose the tidings we bring. All who write, preach, and publish what wisdom in selfishness justifies? All who combat a philosophy they have not the wisdom to expose, or the common honesty to acknowledge. All who glory in their own shame, because their deeds are evil. All who riot in wrong, because wrong gains plunder from hands, bleeding with wrong to wipe away the ills of life. All who combine to undo a work commended by God, and consecrated by his eternal wisdom. All who hazard the interests of a world to gratify the ignorance of a world. All who gratify the ignorance of a world to vindicate the pride of wealth, popularity, and selfishness of individual poverty. All who wish to be kings, nobles, masters, rulers, and captains over the hosts of Israel, and are willing to bow down and do homage to the work of men's hands, that they may secure the worthlessness of their folly? Such are they who wonder at the disclosures from heaven, revealed in these days of spiritual famine. Such they who wonder, because honest and fearless souls have found a truth which they have not found. Such are they who wonder, because this truth has been revealed unto babes, and not unto those who are wise in their own conceit. Such are they who wonder, and tremble when they wonder, because the arm of God is made bare to write, preach, and publish his salvation, without the aid of fawning sycophants or hireling slaves; who make a merchandise of their own wisdom, who sell their own rags, to men, women, and children under the fraudulent pretence of saving their souls, when the wisdom of selfish gain is the real object. We wonder. We deplore. We weep. We come to change what is wrong, and work a change that will make all souls rejoice with everlasting joy.
Change is perpetual. Change is not confined to things temporal. The spirit world is full of change. All things change but God and his perfections. He alone is unchangeable. No change in his wisdom is necessary. No good could be attained by such change. He is forever and ever the unchanging cause of all changes. But when we say, heaven changes, it is not as matter changes. It is not as forms change on earth. It is not as mind sometimes changes in the body. No, nor yet as the flower, the insect, the shrub, and the face of nature undergo changes. But there is a change, and that change is glorious—that change is good—that change is progress; and that progress is the resurrection. It is a resurrection unto victory—a victory subduing to selfishness, subduing to ignorance of spirits, subduing to pain and death, subduing to worldly fame and honor, subduing to passion and revenge, subduing to all the evils which disgrace and degrade the minds of men in the rudimental sphere. It is a resurrection, so called, because it elevates mind from death and works of darkness. It is a resurrection, because the soul is free to explore the works of God, and admire the wonders of his glorious temple. It is a resurrection, because the same immortal, that dwelt in first sphere, rises new born into the second sphere. It is a resurrection, because the same spirit, which inhabited the body, inhabits a body not of earth. It is a resurrection, because the spiritual body is an exact miniature, or identical likeness of the human body. It is a resurrection, because this change is so called. We say, so called. By whom? By spirits instructed in the wisdom of God. We see as we are seen, we know as we are known. Such is change in the resurrection.
But it is not instantaneous. It is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, a year, or an age; it is the work of eternity. The resurrection is the progress of the immortal mind in the knowledge of the truth. It can never end, because eternal progress has no end. It begins, but ends not. It is unwise to say, after the resurrection, or beyond it, because a thing can not be after or beyond itself. What is, is not after is. After is an impossibility. Eternity has no after or beyond. We see no after the resurrection. Neither is there any thing beyond it. Hence, change, or the thing, changed, is a work of eternal progression. What we see we know, and what we know can never be untrue. It can never be overthrown.
Truth is one thing that never changes. It is like the wisdom of God immutable. It is what God reveals. And what he reveals nothing can change. All revelation of God is true. All things are not revealed to men. All things are not revealed to spirits. But revelation is progressive. All revelation is progressive. It will never end, because its ending would arrest the progress of mind, and limit the wisdom of God. It is unwise to say, that wisdom can be controlled, because no power exists which is competent to do it.
Weak minds concern themselves about what spirits should, or should not reveal. They profess to desire a change among men—a reform in society! But how is that reform to be effected? Can it be effected without a revelation? How is truth to be understood without a revealment to the mind? And what is revelation but a revealment of truth? We sympathize with revelation, but we do not sympathize with the hostility it receives. Men of high repute in the body, profess what they do not practice. We see them writing, preaching and publishing sermons, tracts, and essays, showing the advantages of revelation; and we see the same men writhing and gnashing their teeth against all disclosures of truth from heaven, not under the ban of their especial dictation. We see them signing death warrants against the spirits, and haranguing the populace with bewitching words not to believe the revealments made by spirits of God. We see them write books and sermons, we hear them eulogize the revelation of God as divine, and call upon men to observe its laws, which are made plain by the inspiration of spirits. All this is well. But who denounces revelation? Have we not revealed the truth? Have we not disclosed facts worthy of their regard? Have we contradicted the laws of God? Nay: but that is not the secret. We have contradicted the laws of usurpation, the laws which uphold men in wrong, the customs which glorify men, and debase the soul, the customs which pervert justice, and injure the mind, the habits which are wretched with shame and misery, and work oppressively, with burdens hard and severe, on the shoulders of brethren and sisters, whose salvation is dearer to us than the approbation of selfish ignorance.
Have we done what God has forbidden? Have we contradicted truth? Have we degenerated in morals? Have we abused our high calling? Have we disgraced our profession? Have we robbed widow's houses? Have we gainsayed the revelation of God? Have we distrusted that revelation? Have we commended revelation, and then signed resolutions declaratory of our opposition to revelation? Have we said revelation was complete and satisfactory, and then elaborated with our own hands such improvements, and extenuated such amendments, as would justify what we wanted to make that revelation conform to our creed, or our sectarian notions of right. If we have, then let him who is without sin cast the first stone. But, if we have not, who will justify himself before God in condemning what he knows not of. Change is what conciliates hostile minds. Change is productive of reconciliation. It is productive of works meet for repentance. It brings good out of evil. It never opposes its wisdom. It never quarrels with itself. If wise, it never shuts its eyes to its own interest. It never writes, preaches, or publishes, what it disapproves. It never spurns counsel in its experiments. It is adventurous. Not so, with stupidity. Not so, with dullness. Not so, with indolence. What is change but adventure? What is the spirit world to the world below, but coming to where we adventure upon what is before unknown? What is wisdom but adventure? Change is wise when good. When change is wise, wisdom is obtained by adventure upon works which are wise, and wise because good. When mind seeks knowledge, it seeks to change itself, it seeks to disperse ignorance. It seeks what is more valuable. It seeks to remove what is valueless. It seeks what is called progress, change, wisdom, good, happiness. Progress is not in idleness, but in industry, effort, zeal, wisdom, and knowledge of the truth. He who seeks wisdom, seeks to progress, and he who progresses is wise—wise because he is made happier. He who is made happier is changed. He is what the change has made him.
Changes are not always productive of enjoyment. We see changes, wise and unwise. We see men change men. We see mind controlling mind. We see selfishness and ignorance controlling selfishness and ignorance. We see wars, contentions, murders, strife, wrangling, controversy, mind opposing mind, force opposing force, and all for what? What, but to become masters, victors over the subject—the vanquished! What, but to govern, and make others do their will—make others do what they would not do without compulsion? What, but to rule, and rule as interest and selfishness demand? We see wonders where changes occur. We see men mocking over wretchedness, to make that wretchedness more perfect. We see warriors changed from men of noble and sympathizing hearts to demons of madness. We see minds nurtured in the art of killing men, as beasts would never kill, in a land where Christianity is taught to old and young—in a land where Bibles and Testaments are not needed to show the enormity of the wrong—in a land where peace and plenty reign, but hunger and crime abound—in a land where the Lord's day is made vocal with songs of praise, but words of rule and words of war, words of friendship and words of contention, words of hope and words of fear, words of wisdom and words of folly, attend the wondering of God's people. We see men immolated, sacrificed, scourged, tortured, stolen, whipped, stoned, persecuted, imprisoned, scorned, taunted, reviled, and abused, all where Christianity, in all its enlightened wisdom, is preached; and professors unite in wonder, because the work of reform, of progress, moves so tardily, so sluggishly. We see men willing, yet opposing reform, praying for, yet condemning the means of progress, believing in, yet opposing the resurrection unto life. Does not mercy wonder? Where are the tears of the penitent? Where are the altars, where the sacrifices, where the humanity, courage, and independence, equal to change the condition of men? Ask? Look! Where? Oh, where will earth's weary sons and daughters find the needed wisdom? Where the wisdom that changes words of strife into words of peace; words of contention into words of mercy; words of bitterness into words of sweetness; words of cruelty into words of love; words of hate into words of reconciliation; words of wrong into words of right; words of falsehood into words of truth? Where will you go? To whom will you go? Jesus has been with you; he is with you; but you heed him not. His voice rings in your ears, as you open the dusty lids of his history; but the sound dies on the page which unfolds the brightness of the land where the pure in heart live forever. His voice is heard—heard only—but not obeyed. Where, oh where, will the weary find rest? The resurrection is come, but where are the children? The world of progress is open, but who walks in her footsteps? The world of change is at your calling; but who changes for better? Alas! Who glorifies God by doing good to his brother, who visits the sick with works of assistance, who opens his soul to the widow and the fatherless? These are questions which the resurrection must lay before the world of mind, as they are now open to the eye of God. They are questions of more importance to the soul, than the wisdom of selfishness—of more importance to the mind, than wealth, luxury, fame, honor, or all that earth affords. They are of more importance than all else besides—we say, than all else; for no mind can enjoy the world below, or the brighter world above, who is destitute of the qualities essential to true joy. No mind can enter the sphere of the blessed, the circle of holiness, without wisdom, without love, without works. Vain is the boast of empty profession, vain are the pretensions of profession, without change, without works—works which. Jesus approved—works which God will approve before the throne of his judgment.
Who, then, opposes change? He who continues in wrong. He who walks in ways he should not go. He who disowns the religion be professes to love. He who derides the truth, lest the truth should be evil spoken of. He who bargains wisdom for selfish gain, who enters not into the sanctuary but to please men, who worships only with lip service, who warns but takes no warning, who adores the idol of mistaken dreams of heaven, who pays his oblations to windy words and senseless customs, who welcomes the tidings of a resurrection unto life, but operates where no resurrection will save him— operates as a beast, burdened with a load he can not control; for such, change is required, change must be had, and change will be had, before they can be as happy as the happiest.
Circles make spheres. Circles compose circles. When men say a circle of friends, what does a circle mean, but a gathering of kindred or friends to enjoy the society of each other? Circles are sometimes formed within a circle. All circles are within other circles. There is no boundary to infinity, and, therefore, the infinite circle surrounds and includes all other circles. We write what our circle knows. We write what other circles, perhaps, do not know. We write to instruct, not to receive instruction. We write to be useful to others, not to be useful to ourselves. Wisdom is neither increased nor diminished by communicating it to others. Instructing others is not progress, only as others become instructed.
Circles receive instruction. Some circles receive instruction, and progress faster than others. Some have better advantages, possess better facilities, have more industrious learners, and retain what they attain with greater ease and less difficulty than others. Circles are schools of learning. In each well regulated school a preceptor is necessary. He is the teacher. He controls the students. He aids the student in what will be useful to his success. He wills obedience to rules of government. All disobedience is punished. No school can prosper, no student can learn what is useful without order, and no order can be maintained without a governor. All disorder is insubordination to government. Where no control is manifest, disorder and confusion must exist. All nature vindicates this proposition. The world of matter and the world of mind, would be a world of disorder, and a world of wretchedness, without a governor to control. It is only by infinite authority— authority which can only exist in an infinite mind, that an infinite universe is obedient to his will. No mind can control all things but God. No mind can control what God controls, or any part of his control, without controlling God, and were it possible for any mind to control God, God would not be supreme—the controller would be his superior—would be God.
Hence, all circles, without a head, can not long maintain the body. They must perish. As well might the world of matter roll round its centre without a centre, as for a circle to move harmoniously without a head—a centre—a governor, a teacher. It is as impossible for any circle to gain wisdom without a teacher, a superior, one competent to instruct, as it is for the student of nature to learn what nature is without nature—without the lessons she affords in her works and wonders. But we see some minds who have resolved upon principles of action in circles to which they belong, at war with the science which they profess to love. They are subverting the professed objects which they seek. We see circles professing a love of order in nature, divested, or rather disinterested in any order for themselves. To them, order is well in the government of God, but order is not well for circles. And these are professed philosophers, but their philosophy is folly in the sight of angels. Indeed, what worth is there in any philosophy which may be practically discarded? How can truth be of any service to him who rejects it? Hold up your heads, ye circles who teach men to obey God, and the wisdom of God in nature, and yet refuse to obey yourselves.
We see you have—what? faith? No, not even as a grain of mustard, but you have—what? What you have—circles without progress—circles who believe in, progress, but progress not—circles who will to have freedom—abused word—freedom where the wheels of progress are all held in durance— freedom where no mind can be instructed, because all will not follow nature, and employ teachers of wisdom to set them free from the bondage of ignorance. Why, circles might as well say, I am sick, but I am well; I am unhappy, but I am happy; I am a student of nature, but I learn nothing; as to say I am for freedom, where freedom to improve the mind in the knowledge of the truth, is the freedom of a slave in chains, a prisoner in prison, a learner in walls, fortified with freedom on its terraces, but slavery within to control the prisoners; for there is no servitude more debasing than disorder, confusion, and misrule.
We have seen circles meeting for the ostensible object of learning what others had to say, who were no wiser than themselves. It was said, but who was the wiser, or better for the saying; it was told, but who was benefited by the tale? Who stepped aside to practice what he heard? Who went home not distrusting the story? Who observed the order which governed the communications made by spirits to citizens of another sphere? Who will answer, I love the communication? Who will say, I believe the spirits? Who will not say, spirits write what is false? Who will not accuse spirits of writing what is untrue? Circles will say what they will. What they will is human wisdom. What spirits say and write, is not human wisdom. Who, then, must decide? He who teaches, or he who is taught? Who will write what is opposed to his or her will? Who will control? If the medium controls, we do not. If the medium wills the communication, it is the will of the medium, and not ours. Circles ask spirits to advise. Spirits give their advice. But who obeys? Who consents to follow it? We see what circles do. We see they will to control. We see they work, in many instances, against us. We see others who work with us. We see circles armed with daggers to kill evil spirits, and we see that those who take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Circles will find that they are wise when they come to a knowledge of the truth; but we see not how they can get the truth, or advance one step in the way of its attainment, unless they will obey the directions, and follow the instruction of spirits. We say, follow the instruction, come what may. We say, come what will, obey. We must control, or we can not teach. We must write what we will, or we can not do what we design. There is no alternative. Circles will do as considerations of law and order require. Circles may do as we instruct; they may do otherwise. In one case, they will prosper; but in the other, they will perish. This is true to the law of mind. It is true to the good of man. It is true to nature, and there is no philosophy worth having, that will encourage the student to hope for progress without complying with the rules which are indispensably necessary to his success.
When circles would progress, we would aid them. But circles, like individuals, must not expect our aid, without they are willing to receive our wisdom. We can tell them what they are, and what they know, but who does this improve? What does this do toward advancing the mind? Nothing. It leaves where it finds. That is not our mission. We come to change. We come to beat men's swords into pruning books. We come to deliver minds from errors and wrongs—errors and wrongs which some circles justify—errors which, in our efforts to overthrow, induce many to call us evil spirits—errors which have been falsely called good, but which are practically productive of mischief—errors which men know are inconsistent with the laws of nature, but which they love with affected fondness, because sanctioned by popular customs, education, and habit— errors repulsive to the freedom of this sphere, but welcome to the inhabitants of earth, because ignorance prevails—errors which oppose needed reform, because needed reform is what some call evil—evil because the needed reform attacks what they love—“The loaves and fishes” of other's industry. We see what is demanded by impartial justice, but we see selfishness interposing her objections. We see circles watching with suspicion all communications made by spirits for their government and improvement, as though we were either incompetent to instruct them, or too malignant to seek their welfare. Some will write what is not written by spirits, and then others will seize upon writing which we have not written, to unlock the mystery. Their writing is not ours. They run with their writing against a wall, bruising their own heads; and then say, an evil spirit hath done all this work of mischief. They make a scapegoat of their profession of faith in spirits, to cover their own wrongs. We see circles induced to credit the mischief of human wisdom to spirits who are the chosen guardians of their souls. We see what we will not here reveal.
Circles will never advance, until they make up their minds to receive the instruction of spirits. We may labor; but it is labor in vain, when resistance to our advice is overwhelming all we can do. Soon, those who now give counsel to the inhabitants of earth will pass into a sphere where we can not reach the world below. Others will take our places, but they will then be like Unto us, as we are now. Nothing more of wisdom will they possess than we. What wisdom is to us, even so it will be to them. What wisdom is to them now, is folly to us. But wonders will be done. Human hands will not write what we never wrote, and then blame us for the folly. Circles will not always say, that the hand of correction is worse in us, than in evil men. Circles will not say what we now hear said, that the spirit world is full of evil spirits. Circles will never learn wisdom by rejecting counsel, nor progress in the truth by denouncing the communications laid before them. We will say, circles will see what we see; but they will not see what we see, until they learn to see. We will also say, that no circle should surrender a right to judge us by our works, but it is not right to prejudge a work before it is half completed. The defects of a machine, in an incomplete state, are not just witnesses of what it will be when finished.
Our work is only commenced. The incomplete fragments of written communications, designed as a work of progress on the part of mediums, have been torn from their intended connection, and bandied to the ear of prejudice, as relics of worse than barbarous inhumanity. Notwithstanding the fragments were true to their designed position in the temple, yet unskillful workmen have cast them away among the rubbish of their own hands. How long it will be before these fragments will be restored to their place of destination, will depend on the industry of those who seek to find what they have cast away, and yet it is certain, that the key stone is as essential as any other to the completion of the building, although the workman do not know where it belongs, or see its use.
Having sought and found other circles than those of the first sphere, it may awaken exertion and stimulate industry on the part of those whose good we seek, to widen what has been said on this subject. The object is not works on works of men but works on works of angels. All circles of the first sphere are only the works of mind in its rudimental state, assisted with occasional rays of light, or rather light mingled with darkness, to aid its development. But the circles of this sphere are aided by the developed wisdom of a higher sphere, among whom are the patriarchs and prophets of centuries gone by. We are in communion with them as earth's inhabitants are with us. But there is this difference. Men and women, in, the rudimental state, see us only through mediums, who are as the doors and windows of an edifice. It is only through these mediums that we are able to convey the intelligence of our existence, and make known such facts as will be serviceable to man. And, even in this effort to communicate the truth, we find many serious difficulties to overcome, before we can make ourselves understood! Such is the will of mind, that many spirits will not work with us, nor would they be able to assist us very materially, were their services at our command. We are, therefore, aided with wisdom from the third sphere, even as some on earth are with the wisdom of the second sphere. But when we say, we are aided by the wisdom of another and a higher sphere, it should not be understood, that all who inhabit this sphere are thus aided. Knowledge is not attained in any sphere without passiveness. Examinations and investigations of nature and the laws of the universe, are indispensably requisite to the progress of mind; and those examinations and investigations must be accompanied by no established will to prejudge the facts, which such investigations may disclose. The mind should not be willed by circumstances to reject the truth, but it should be passive to receive the light. No condition of the mind is so unfavorable to the soul as will—will that predetermines without knowledge—will that assumes, and then makes the assumption the basis of opposition, the ground of contention with facts—will in subjection to ignorance—will with folly to guide—will with selfishness to control, and will that labors to defeat the will of heavenly wisdom.
Circles in wisdom, with circles devoid of the same wisdom, exist in the second as in the first sphere. Men are not made wise, only as wisdom is received, on earth or in heaven. The removal of mind from the first to the second sphere, adds nothing to the stock of knowledge but the knowledge of its immortal existence. It sees life in conscious being, in its own being, which, perhaps, before its entrance into the second sphere, was only seen through a glass darkly, or symbolized by faith in revelation, or the works of God in nature. It forms an association with other spirits kindred in elevation and development. It seeks affinities like itself. It avoids others unlike itself. No arbitrary power is exercised over its will or wisdom. No influence is exerted by superior spirits to control the freedom of associates, or their right to associate with those like themselves. Passing from a sphere where congenial affections and affinities form circles of interest and pleasure it renews its attachments to circles with its accustomed avidity. But strange as it may seem, no other circle would so completely satisfy spirits, in their corresponding affinities and relations, as the one which nature has provided and qualified them to enjoy. The uncultivated find the uncultivated, and they mutually sympathize in each other's society. They are united because they are alike; and because they are alike there is no disturbance. In this respect, the spirits of all circles differ from the world below.
Harmony is the law of mind, which all spirits in this sphere obey, because they will to obey, and because they can not will what is contrary to their will. Hence, they are contented, because no power infringes upon their will, no will of others disturbs the will they exercise. Each spirit wills what it wants, and wants what it wills. If, being ignorant, it wills the society of ignorance, such society does not object, because that would be censuring itself; but, if cultivated, it wills the society of the cultivated, that society welcomes its own, because it can not deny itself. Such is the order of God in this sphere of life.
Circles, are, therefore, worlds or spirits harmoniously associated together, each world being governed by conditions corresponding to its will of improvement, and its knowledge of wisdom. The first circle of this sphere has its type, or anteype, on earth. What men call devilish, and what we call unwise, misguided, and ignorant mind, with corrupt and false views of God and duty, dwell in this circle. Murderers, liars, thieves, robbers, misers, winebibbers, gluttons, and many others, whose sympathies accord with ignorance of true wisdom, centre in the wilderness of the first circle, where the desolation is more complete than the deserts of Arabia. But still they have what they want, for wisdom has so organized mind, if we may so speak, that any other land would be unwelcome to their undeveloped souls. They resemble the wandering circles of Musselmen, who seem content with the burning sands under their feet, and the melting sun over their heads. We see whole nations in this circle. We see some of all nations but one. The poor Indian, as he is called, looks down in pity. He is not with them. He wills a higher position, and a purer circle he enjoys. With all his rude hands have done, with all nature has done, with all God has done, the first circle has no mind equal to the untutored inhabitant of the forest. We see men of professed refinement, we see women idolized for their beauty, we see works of both, and we full well know that men of the forest, into whose glades the light of civilization has never dawned, and over whose hills and mountains the arts and sciences have not traversed, have a circle that sends sympathy to circles below them in wisdom and knowledge of God and nature.
We see all conditions of mind wondering what we mean by circles. And, when spirits reveal the truth, they wonder still more. But wonder as they will, the stern reality is nakedly before us, that no rude inhabitant of earth, educated only by nature as she instructs in the vast volume of her wisdom, will find a level, with the debased condition of many minds schooled in the wrongs of civilized society. And what is more wonderful, such are in the lowest circle on earth, in the sight of infinite Wisdom. We see works which an Indian would spurn with proud disdain to do, in the midst of what is called wisdom among men. And we see the hand of God removing those souls to a sphere, and to a circle in that sphere where corrupt wisdom may seek what corrupt works may merit—the congenial wisdom of darkness. We see men in the body passing along in their wild career of vice to the verge of the grave, not mindful of other's wants or woes, not caring how or in what way they wronged a help less, or friendless, brother or sister, only so that they might control his subsistence to their own will without a recompense; and we have seen such spirits associated with other spirits in a condition, which was the only one containing the wisdom most welcome to their souls.
This was wisdom in wisdom of God. It was a wisdom only in degree—degree which would be selfish in any other circle, in a degree which would be selfish where they are, were it not that others who are with them are like them, and what is the possession of one, must be the possession of all. We say, must be the possession of all—all in that circle—because no inequality of possession can exist where all conditions are the same. All conditions, then, being the same, each being like the other in the development and wisdom of mind, no selfishness can exist, because no will can be exercised to rob another of what he has no need—the wisdom in which all mutually participate.
We write what we see, not what we have experienced; for we find what we have not experienced in what others have related, as the only experience we have of the first circle. It is all the knowledge we can gain, because it is impossible for us to retrograde to the condition of the first circle; and because we have no will to will a thing which is impossible, and which is opposed to our will of progress. What we know, then, of the condition of the first circle, is what we have learned from those who have had some experience, and with it discipline. We will say, that what is seen by us is known, but we will say we are inexperienced in the works of those who inhabit this circle. It is true, we see them, see their conditions, but it is also true, we have never done what they have done. We know as we see, and we see that what is satisfactory to the first circle, would be misery to us. It would not meet what we want. It would not fill our minds with bread. It would not satiate our thirst for the water of life. We should famish in the desert. We should stumble in the darkness. We should work in tears. We should overcome works of opposition. But it is not so with them. They are at ease. They work but sluggishly. They cannot work otherwise. Their condition forbids it. They desire but feebly a change, and they desire a change only in a small degree. It is so small that we should marvel to call it a change. Long years are wasted with no perceptible improvement in wisdom. We say, perceptible, because it is so tardy, so slow, so impotent, that unless we survey a series of years, we can not realize any difference. We have seen a spirit who has emerged from this circle. He came with wonder. He was astonished at the advantages. He was surprised when the real difference was disclosed. He saw nothing higher when in the first circle than himself. He saw no glory above himself. All was as himself. No spirit was happier than he thought himself to be. But when long years had wasted away, when almost imperceptible changes had passed before him in multiplication, he awoke from his reverie. The long century had wrought deliverance. The tardy soul, immersed in the quiet of the midnight around him, saw the opening day of a brighter circle.
Such is the worst condition of which we have any knowledge. It is a condition unenvied and unenviable. But it is a condition many, very many of earth's children must share. We say, they must share it, unless a very great moral change—a change accompanied with wisdom, and wrought by wisdom shall interpose to save. Will is opposed. Will is in the way of reform. Who, then, shall change the will?
We will say, that all who will against wisdom are in the first circle. All who oppose the wisdom of a higher circle, must remain in the lower circle, until a change is wrought which will overcome the folly of ignorance. And it should be understood, that folly has no power to cure itself consequently, no circle can ever remove its own weaknesses, because not having the wisdom, it cannot remedy its own defects. As no mind can impart what it does not possess, and as each circle is of one mind only, so the change, when wrought, must be wrought by the wisdom of a superior. Such wisdom is only found in superior circles, or circles possessing more wisdom. When circles, therefore, competent to work a change, interpose their power to deliver the ignorant from their ignorance, and save them from a condition of spiritual blindness, the wisdom of their assistance is often opposed by the folly of those whose good is sought.
Circles in this sphere seek what other circles need to make them more wise and happy. But when we offer the gift to the blind, the blind refuse the offering. They welcome no assistance, because they do not appreciate their need of it. We work to enlighten, yet the light shines not on the darkness. We labor to instruct, yet instruction is disregarded, and disregarded because its advantages are not understood. In this condition all progress is retarded, because all means are disowned, which are essential to work deliverance. We see what evil is, but they do not see it; and, therefore they accept of no work to ameliorate their condition. They seem not to know the wisdom of progress, or the advantages of developed minds. Hence, the long lapse of weary years is wasted, before they come to the truth as unfolded in the second circle. Hence, circles are working the good of the needy; and, in doing others good, they have their reward.
When spirits do nothing, is when they are incapacitated to do. When they are incapacitated to do, they are not required to do, and when they are not required to do, they are not responsible for being idle. Now, we see spirits in this condition. In deed, all spirits of the first circle, are incapacitated to do good to others, and are irresponsible for their inability to do what they can not do. What one knows all know, and what all know affords, no opportunity to make others know. Wisdom, being good, and the only source of good to spirits, it will be seen that two equals cannot instruct each other. It will be seen that all, being equal, can not improve each other. It will be seen that unless each is improved by spirits of a superior wisdom, no improvement can take place. When improvement is made in their condition, it is not their condition which improves itself. With these facts admitted, we will say, that the spirit improved, has no credit for the improvement. The improvement is not the work of his will or wisdom. It is work of a will and wisdom of another circle. Hence, the spirit has no claim on which to demand a recompense for the reform, and all progress, all developments, are produced, not by the spirit acted upon, but by the one who acts. As the first circle has no power to impart wisdom above what it possesses, and as what it possesses is incapable of increasing wisdom in the possessor, so the development of mind in that circle, is not of the will or wisdom, worth or merit, of itself; but of the will and wisdom, worth and merit of others. By this rule, we see spirits advancing, step by step, through the misty works of darkness. But what is their reward? Selfishness calls for a reward, and it calls not unfrequently for a reward on account of what others have done. Have spirits of the first circle worked their own uprising in wisdom? No. Have they instructed others in wisdom?
We see wisdom can only be imparted where wisdom is possessed by the actor. The actor does not possess, and, consequently, can not impart wisdom to those like himself. Hence, no recompense is shared by the first circle, because they are incapacitated to do good to others.
Circles of spirits, in this sphere, have what they want. When they want nothing, they make no effort to obtain any thing. This condition is more unfortunate than criminal. It is unfortunate, because it is wisdom to become wise. It is wisdom to become wise, because wisdom is the bliss of heaven. No spirit can be happy without it, and none can be wretched with it. Where there is only a small degree of wisdom, there can be only a corresponding degree of happiness. Hence, spirits in the first circle share the bliss which their wisdom furnishes, and no more. This is true of men in the rudimental sphere. Where the wisdom of men is confined to works of selfishness, which is the lowest degree of wisdom, they share the reward of their works, as it is generally termed. They share the folly which is done by them. If men seem to be wise, and do no good to others, it is wisdom in selfishness. It is a wisdom that cheats the possessor. No matter what appearances may seem to indicate, one law exists, and one fact is clear, which such minds would do well to consider. We see spirits of that degree of wisdom among the lowest of circles. And, if they expect to be happier in the second sphere than they are in the first, without a change for the better, their expectation must perish. The heaven they enjoy in the body, is the heaven which awaits them in the spirit world. Death unlocks no wisdom to the spirit; neither is there any advantage, where nothing is changed by it. We see the deception which prevails on this subject among men. We see large numbers anticipating a change by death which will unlock the portals of wisdom, and deluge their minds in the infinite flood. We see men calculating on wisdom, as though the whole world of life would be concentrated upon them the moment death consummates its work. Mistaken souls! It is a dream. Nothing can be farther from the reality. Wisdom is wisdom, in all spheres. Wisdom is a pearl of great price. It is what wise men have found, but found only as they have become wise. It will never be found without labor—labor with those who have it, to impart it to those who have it not.
Death is not wisdom. It is not the gate to wisdom. Otherwise, why do not men press into it. Men profess to seek wisdom. Men profess to believe that death is the gate whose opening admits the pilgrim to a world where wisdom comes down, like a flood, unasked upon the mind. But some men dread to enter it. They do not seek death to find wisdom, neither do they seek death as a door to life in wisdom. Alas! what is profession without practice? What is faith without works? Death wills no wisdom—it wills nothing. It is a transition from one sphere to another. It is wisdom in God to change his plants from one garden to another. But does the change facilitate the growth of the plant? Is the plant matured by the progress alone of transplanting it! As well might the work say to him who performed it, I am the workman. As well might the spirit of man say, I am God. The change is wise in him who changes; but what is wise in God must be understood by him who is willing to make that wisdom his own. Wisdom is one thing, but to understand wisdom is what we call progress. Wisdom is now, as it ever will be; but to understand it is not now as it will be.
When spirits enter the second sphere, they understand neither more nor less of the wisdom of God by the transition than immediately before. All spirits who will see, may see with equal success in one sphere as in the other. No additional stimulus exists in the second sphere which is not manifest in the first. We live in the same world as ever. There is nothing new which is not always new, and nothing old which is not always old. Forms change, wisdom changes not. Spirits change by progress the condition of spirits. We mean the wisdom of spirits—the furniture not the building; that is immortal, and changes not. We see the men who intend to be instructed when they get to heaven. They will to postpone instruction in the body, until they are transplanted into another sphere. And why? Because they are in darkness. They are deceived. They know what rules are established by God for the improvement of mind in the body. But who has told them of other rules—rules which flatter to deceive, and deceive to wrong—rules which God has made for the government of spirits in their reception of knowledge—rules which belong to, and control one department of his empire, but not another; we ask who has told men to their injury this tale of the imagination? They who knew not the truth. They who have received a compensation for the flattery—for the mischief—which lies concealed from the deceived. Who makes rules suited to encourage the indolence of men? Who trades in wisdom worse than folly, and wills a law of progress for earth unfitted for heaven? Who wills for heaven a law of progress more advantageous with security to spirits than what is on earth, thus inviting mind to recognize a partiality in an impartial God? Who orders wisdom, corresponding with works of men, to write what wisdom hath not written? Who wills wisdom in heaven, and folly on earth? Are there Lords many, that spirits should have laws many? To us, there is but one Lord, and one law of progress in the wisdom of God, whether in heaven or on earth? All mind is subject to that law. All progress is controlled by that law. All reform is dependant on that law, and no mind can change it in earth or heaven. Is it not vain, then, for spirits in the body to calculate on receiving in heaven what would be a violation of law on earth? And is it necessary for us to show what men know to be true in regard to human progress? Is it necessary for us to say, that no spontaneous deluge of wisdom overwhelms mind in the body? By what law, then, do they calculate upon an uprising in the knowledge of the truth, overleaping in an instant the progress of centuries upon centuries of mind, who have received instruction from nature's qualified, instructors? We see who calculates, and the wisdom of that calculation. We see mind palsied with the work. We see mind neglectful of instruction—mind procrastinating advancement—mind writhing in superstition and ignorance— mind made wretched by mind; and we see the minds who contribute with their influence to fasten these convictions upon mind, lashing mind for the delinquencies which their own folly has occasioned. We hear them complain of the ignorance and folly of men. All this is human wisdom, but is it the wisdom of God to inculcate a sentiment which overlooks the law essential to its reception? Is it wise to tell men what worlds of wisdom they will instantaneously possess, when death shall unlock the portals of eternity— when the avenues of earth and heaven shall be opened; and, at the same time, work the conviction upon their minds, that this wisdom is inaccessible to them while in the body? Is it just to fault men who are delinquent under such circumstances, or is it the prerogative of one mind to condemn another for what it has encouraged, if not created? We see who has done all this? We see more. We see men casting with their words, whole empires of mind into a world which has no hope, no light, no progress, no pity, no consolation, because those spirits have believed their report? Who wonders that mind becomes stupid, stultified with the awful mockery? Who wonders that the low circle advances no faster in wisdom on earth, and who wonders that wisdom is scorned? Have spirits in the second sphere no obstacle to overcome? Have they lost sight of influences which check progress in the body, because they have entered another sphere of continued life?
We see who occupy the first circle in the body. They will occupy the same circle in this sphere, unless a change be wrought in their condition. This can not be wrought in opposition to their will. It is will which opposes wisdom. It is will which opposes spirits. It opposes light with darkness—the darkness of self conceit. We see men opposing their own and other's good—opposing the work of spirits to enlighten them, calumniating and abusing their best friends—working with mediums to dissuade them from their duty—telling them falsehoods to accomplish their purposes—inviting them to desist under penalty of rain to their temporal prospects—warning them of consequences which they know can never occur—and wishing them to give up a profession of the facts which they know, to accomplish the end of their wicked designs. We see men who profess to be ministers of Jesus engaged in this work—men whose character is in our hands—men whose welfare would be in disrepute were wisdom to utter her voice in the streets and publish their wrongs—men whom the people adore with their praise and worship with their offerings of gold—men who write sermons defending spiritual intercourse, and yet write what they do not believe men who write what will please those whose support they crave—men who preach in their desks what they denounce out of it—men, such as these, will occupy a circle where selfish wisdom riots on policy, and expediency is regarded only as the minister of their own wants. They have learning, but their learning is not the wisdom of heaven. It is learning; but it is a learning which will only qualify them for the lowest circles in this sphere it is a learning which they must unlearn, before they can enjoy the bliss of even the second circle. It is what will place them in the lowest circle. Their learning is what directs them to works of wrong. We see much learning, but very little wisdom among many who write sermons with words of honey and words of worldly wisdom, wrangling with words of the same wisdom, about which wisdom from above, has no communication.
We will say what will shortly be done. We shall make bare men's hearts. We have resolved to rebuke sharply. We have under our inspection more than one whose inducements have been such with mediums, that we shall not write without writing the truth. We shall write what they have done in other matters, and what we disclose will be justified by witnesses whose reputation for truth will not be questioned. We see what will make some men tremble, when revealed. We will them good, and when we see what will is doing to oppose the good we intend, we must write what will remove the obstacle—what is necessary to quiet the resistance which the will of others has thrown in our path—what will be useful to the individual and to the public—useful because imposition is productive of no good to community, and useful because the individual needs exposure to save him from the misfortune of his own sins. We will write as we intend. We are spirits. We will what is good. We will no evil. But we will to remove evil, that good may be enjoyed.
Men who have thrown off the works of iniquity, men who have abandoned their crimes, men who have disabused themselves of their wrongs by works of repentance, will write no works against spirits. They will not engage in warning mediums concerning the good or ill which devotion to spirit communications will occasion; no, nor will they be afraid of our revealments. It is not the misfortune of an honest mind to fear spirits, or oppose others who have a desire to know the truth. It is a will in wisdom of selfishness which makes them oppose what others wish to do. It is a will of corrupt motives. It is a will which would will a servitude congenial with African slavery—a will to control honest inquiry with dishonest and mercenary motives—a will that aspires for dominion over the liberty of private individuals—a will which would monopolise the inalienable rights of man to works of individual wrong—a will that wishes to control the work of others, when others wish what is good for all—a will which is unmannerly in its exercise, as it is fraudulent in its pretensions and contemptible in wisdom of wisdom in words to ruin. We will to write an expose without a shudder, without a fear; and we are willing what will not be mistaken by those who will to write and preach without aid from heaven—without aid from circles whose light they never will see tilt their money-seeking industry shall be swallowed up with what they now affect to contemn. It is worse than folly. It is a defilement which water cannot cleanse—which fire can not purify—which anodynes cannot heal—which words can not cure; but which exposure alone must aid to works of repentance. We will expose. We will write names. We will say what will shake worldly policy, worldly wisdom, with its abominable conceit, its miserable voluptuousness, its wordy vaporings, its agonizing dread, its moaning concern about what others will to do, without the consent of their will. We will shake with words which no human policy can evade, no selfish wisdom can control, no will of man can withstand. We will write their names in letters of wonder on the doors of wrong, which overshadow wrong in the opening revelation of wisdom from heaven. We will write their names on the church, and the worshipers shall read the deed with the blush of shame. We will write what we have seen over their names, and the congregation shall know that spirits write the truth. We will write it on their windows, and their wives, and their children, and their servants shall read it, and understand when they read it. We will write it on their works of gain, which will be read in wonder by others. No wisdom shall hide the mischief of men, no policy shall cover the wrongs of men, and no selfish work of shame shall go unrebuked. The day when the secret works of darkness shall be made known has come. The day of retributive mercy will show what good the philosophy of progress can do. The day is dawning when men shall know what will do them good, when they shall see the wrongs of men, and when they shall repent. The day will declare it. No means of human wisdom can conceal what will be disclosed. The mercy of heaven will write the truth. The truth will do no harm. The truth will not be despised, nor will its effects be works of agreement with wrong. Men will not say, it is bad policy to publish the truth. They will not connive with evil-minded, misguided men. They will not sanction, by their smooth words and fair speeches, the known injustice of those whose stipendary benefactions they covet. They will not link arms with debauchery, and hug the viper that stings. They will not covenant with evil-doers, when the works of wrong shall be understood; nor will they concern themselves with a wisdom which mocks all revealments of truth. The day of worldly wrong asks, what?—what but a little more wrong? Already, the cry is heard, Spare, oh, spare! the boon of my indulgence. Spare, oh, spare! the possession! Let me have the pottage of my brother! Let my indolence receive the industry of other hands! Let not my calculations of gain from the sweat of other brows be disappointed. Let my love of ease never be disturbed; and above all, let my dear people whom I have served with the crumbs of wisdom, and from whom I have gained my daily bread as my reward; oh, let them not come to the table of their Master where there is bread enough and to spare, without money, and without price, lest the good I have done be crowned with no fat things, and I and my family become as one of the hired servants in, the vineyard of truth.
We will make wise. Folly is mad. She is alarmed. She is working to prevent the good of all, lest all should not contribute to support her. She is concerned, lest her dear people should be served better than they ever have been. She is plotting means to destroy the bread of angels, lest her crumbs of human wisdom perish without a purchaser. She is bartering for a compromise, so that she may continue the sale of her merchandise. She wants to rule her dear people, lest they go astray. She seems conscious that if they go away from her fold, they will find what will induce them to keep away—what will prevent them from ever returning. She seems to acknowledge that there is danger— danger from a survey of other fields of wisdom—danger to be apprehended in the survey, lest other pastures will be found more inviting, and lest the desolation of her own fields should be appreciated and forsaken. Oh! the dilemma of craft. We can have no mercy. We can offer no counsel, but to advise the controller to seek the truth. We will say what he will find true, and the truth will extinguish his fears; yea, it will swallow up his selfishness in the abundance which has no limit. We write what worldly circles will find true. They will find that circles in this sphere correspond with circles in the body. They will find no wisdom in the grave, no wisdom in death, to save. They will find no wisdom in this sphere to save with their wills to oppose. They will find that circles in both spheres are alike, that facilities are alike, that minds are alike, and that the wizards who have cheated minds with the delusion that God would interpose his infinite power, and violate his own law of progress to change minds, by submerging them in the vast flood of his knowledge, have cheated themselves into the lower circle of spirits.
The first circle is consorting together. Men have announced their intention. They have commanded, threatened, abused, and slandered wiser minds and purer hearts. They have wronged the revelation of God to man, by perverting and diverting mind from investigation—wronged it with unjust works, with unjust words, and with unjust feelings—feelings in harmony with will of self—feelings at war with nature—feelings welcome only to spirits who love darkness and not light, because conscious of their own shame.
Such is the condition of the first circle. Is it a wonder? Is it not what men choose? Have they sought for any thing else? Have they not opposed every thing else? Have they wanted what they have not sought? Alas! works show. Circles wonder on earth. They wonder who is wise. They wonder who is in the first circle, who is in the second, who is in the third, who is in the fourth. We will tell them. We will tell them that wisdom is not in wonder of the mind, neither are those who wonder, and wonder without progress, what they may be by receiving wisdom from heaven. It is a wonder with some minds what is necessary to get wisdom. Distrust never advances mind. Confidence never improves mind. It is wisdom. Wisdom is the only thing. Confidence may aid, or it may oppose. We see mind confiding in mind. Both being alike, no advance is made. To ask minds to confide in minds unlike themselves, would be considered unreasonable; and, in many cases among men, it would be dangerous.
We must write a remedy. When minds can not confide, when distrust forbids confidence, something is required. Who shall believe our report? He who is wise. He shall not only believe what we teach, but he shall know that what we teach is true. We have said, he who believes shall know, and who believes? Who will write only with our aid? He who confides in what we teach. But he who does not confide in what we teach, it is unnecessary for us to aid, unless we overcome his doubts. When mediums ask us to aid, we will not refuse. But when they do not write as we will, we will to let them aid themselves. We see some who will aid themselves. We see some who write what they will, and then we let them write. It is not our mission to violate the individual rights of human will. It is not our mission to control what is, and should be, the property of the owner. Hence, mediums, who write without our aid to move the hand as we wish, are mediums of their own will and wisdom, and not ours. We shall leave such to reap the reward of their folly. We will them no harm. It is a sufficient reward that they must reap what they sow. It will bring forth the grain sown. The harvest will show what they have sown, and who has cultivated the vineyard. We will not write what they have done. We will write only that what is written by some who claim to be mediums, is not written with our aid. And, it is sufficient to say, we are not responsible for the evil communications which they receive, nor the inconsistencies with which their writings abound.
We will now write something about the worlds of spirits of the second sphere. We will say, that what men call the first circle, is what we call a circle, or world, of ignorance. It is what men call low, but it is what some ignorantly call high in the body. What men call high, as belonging to themselves, they will write low in this sphere. It is works which concern spirits. No other rule determines the circle to which they belong. It is not here, as in the body. Men are wise in their own conceits. They think themselves wise, when they are foolish. They indulge vanity. They flatter their own minds. They judge with a covering over their own defects. They see not as we see. We see without partiality. We see without a covering. All is naked. We see what rule they adopt to judge themselves. It is a rule which spirits do not use. It is a rule that deceives. It is a rule that never should be. It is a rule that should be destroyed. It is our mission to write what will change this rule of judgment.
Men act with regard to private interest. Spirits act with a design for universal good. We have no favorites. All souls are equally precious in the eight of God. What we would do for one, we would do for all. But our power is not infinite. Oar knowledge is infinite. We do what we can, and what we can not do, is not done. When we act upon one mind, so as to control it, we act for the good of all, because all are members of one body. We take such members as we can affect. We do not take them because our love is greater toward them than other members; but because we can control them, and make them useful to others. We take what are called the weak things of the first sphere, to confound what are called the mighty among men. The battle is not to the strong, but to those of understanding.
The rule is to do good. The rule is to work what will do good. Spirits see this rule observed in what the do. Spirits see other rules in the rudimental sphere. They see faith without works. They see a rule that wills to justify by faith in creeds and commandments of worldly wisdom, without works of righteousness. They see whole circles expecting happiness because they believe. They see congregations expending their industry to make men, and women, and children believe their profession of faith. They do believe; but do they work? If they work, what are their works? Are their works good? Are they good to others? Are others benefited by their works? Are the needy aided? Are the most miserable made comfortable? Are the most vile corrected, reformed, and instructed in wisdom? Does their faith inspire works of good, or are their works, which they do, works of wrong, works of deceit, works of selfishness? We see faith among men. We see they believe. But what do they believe? They believe what others require them to believe. They believe more. They believe the idol of gold. They believe wisdom is with them. They believe their way is best. They believe self is best. They believe that works of selfish gain are right. They believe the creed. They will what is in the creed. They work to sustain it. They work to overthrow what is opposed to it. But who is made wiser or happier? Who shares in the work they have wrought? Who eats the substance of their toil? Who drinks the water they have drawn? They work, but who is benefited? Are the needy? If so, well; if not so, works will show. The needy will tell, and the needy will not be needy when works are wise, and other's good is sought as self. We will a rule. We will to work for other's good. Do men will other's good? Do they bless and curse not? Do they bless as Jesus blest? Is there no apostacy to be rectified, no will to change, no works to alter, no correction to be made, and no, good work to do to others?
Are men justified by faith? If so, what faith? What degree of faith? Works? Faith in works of good to others justifies the soul. It is work that justifies the faith. It is work that condemns the faith. When faith consults other's good it justifies; but when faith consults self, at the expense of other's good, it justifies self in wrong. Faith justifies whatever it seeks. Works justify works of righteousness. Works do not justify works of righteousness. They justify themselves, or they contradict the works of others. We see works of faith. We see the workman sow his grain in the expectation of reward. We see the sluggard. He sows not. He reaps not, unless he reaps what other hands have sown. If he reap, he works. He works as others work. When he works, he is not idle; and, when he works it is just he should receive a reward. He should receive a reward as his work may be. He is justified in receiving it. The reward is his. What is his, is not another's. He works for the reward. He works for himself, or for what will benefit himself This is wisdom in degree. It is better than no wisdom. It is better than idleness, because idleness does no one any good. Not even self is benefited by it. It produces nothing; and, when nothing is produced, nothing is gained. The first circle, in the rudimental as in this sphere, is composed of men and women who have worked for themselves. They are those who have worked for themselves, and against the good of others. They have works. They have many works. They have some good works—good for themselves. They have some evil works—evil to others. Evil to others is what they will for their own supposed advantage. They will their own advantage, because they will their own good, without regarding the good of others. Wisdom of higher circles sees good in doing others good. Wisdom in self sees it not. Who then belongs to the first circle? Who? but the man, or woman, whose wisdom is so far undeveloped as to regard self, without regard to others. If men do good to themselves, what reward have they? Must it not be the reward they have earned—the work of their own hands? And what is the reward of their own hands, but the reward of wisdom in self. The wisdom of others it has not sought. No reward of works, devoid of self, is their reward. It is wholly of self, and self will justify itself. It is a righteous judgment. No one can complain of his own judgment. It is right with him. We will say it is right with us. It is right, because what one has gained by his works, is his own. By works of selfishness, one gains what is selfish, and to gain what is selfish, is wisdom in selfishness; or, in other words, it is the fruit or reward, of the first circle.
We write. We work. We will to do good—good to others. The first circle wills our good to their own will of self. It would make our good to the world subject to their pleasure. Their pleasure is self. We see the minds of this circle. They will our good to man, as they will their own work. They work to pervert our wisdom to some selfish, or sectarian purpose. They will to limit what has no bounds—to control what they can not control. They will to make our labor coincide with wisdom from beneath. In other words, minds in the body will to make spirits just like themselves. They would have spirits write what accords with their wisdom. When spirits do write what accords with their wisdom, it will be because they are like them. It will be because wisdom in self controls. Wisdom in self controls what it can control. It can not control that which is above itself. It can not control its equal, but it can unite with an equal, and they can both work together. Hence, when spirits in the body would control spirits in this sphere, so as to write what will accord with the wisdom of mind in self, it should seek spirits who are in an inferior circle; but as there is nothing lower in the scale of wisdom than self, it must be content to receive an equal. When a man seeks and finds wisdom, so as to do him good in an equal, it will weary no mind to understand why some men seek it in that channel. Those who wish to control spirits are in the first circle. No spirit can be controlled by them; but all spirits, in the first circle of this sphere, will cooperate with them in what they will. The will of one is the will of the other. They can work together.
Some spirits in this sphere—spirits of the first circle are co-operating with like spirits in the body. They will to do as they will. Both spheres will alike— circles of both spheres will alike. If the first circle in the body will to find what industry does not furnish, we see spirits united in their will in this sphere. They will to gratify the will of others whose wisdom is an exact parallel. We see money diggers. Money diggers are misers. Money diggers are wise in wisdom of their own. They work with their own wisdom. They sometimes seek wisdom, but never of circles capable of imparting what is more needful than silver or gold. They employ their own means to work their own gain.
They do work their own gain. They gain a knowledge of their own folly. They gain what their own folly procures—disappointment. Their disappointments are the reward of their own will and works of will. The works of will, by disappointment, work their own cure. Men should learn wisdom. Money diggers should learn wisdom. They should learn that will to spirits in the first circle, is their will. The sympathy is mutual. We see who wills wisdom among men. We see who seeks their own will in making money without industry. We see spirits ready to acquiesce in a wisdom blind to its own folly. We see such spirits consulted. We hear them respond. We can answer why they respond. They mutually confide in each other. Being alike, they sympathize alike, and, as one is wise, so is the other. One in wisdom, one in folly, one in blindness, they are one in work. We will say, they are one circle in the body and in heaven. How can they be otherwise? If otherwise, the seeker would not be satisfied, and where dissatisfaction is will, other will retires. No spirit in this circle contends against will. When the will of a money digger is to find what is not his own, spirits of that circle are not wanting to will with him. They will as he wills. Both will as their ignorance, or wisdom in ignorance, directs. And what is the result? Both wills are disappointed. Both wills are instructed in their disappointment—instructed that they are not wise. Hence, wisdom controls the disappointment, for good, to teach wisdom to those who cannot learn it without discipline. The only successful way to dig for money is to engage in useful industry. Useful industry is that which is a blessing to self and others. Mind should be employed—it will be employed, either as wisdom or folly directs. Mind is will. Mind is spirit. Mind is wisdom. Mind in man is will in wisdom, which is limited. The limit expresses the circle to which it belongs. Hence, mind seeking for treasure where it is not, is mind directed by ignorance. It is directed by a will not controlled by wisdom. Wisdom never disappoints. Ignorance always, deceives. We see mind pursuing the path of ignorance. Disappointments do not work the cure. They follow on. They follow on to disappoint again. One rebuke is not sufficient—one failure is not a remedy for the disease. Hope in a failure must be satisfied. When it is satisfied, will is overcome; the remedy is abandoned, and some thing else is sought. Mind wishes itself well, but it does not see what is well. It supposes, but the supposition is not well. The supposition is false, and the result corresponds.
Remedies are sought, and physicians are employed to cure disease. But remedies and physicians are sometimes worse than the disease. They are worse because they make the disease worse—make the patient worse to heal. Why so? Because ignorance controls. Ignorance has no power to heal. Wisdom only has power. The physician prescribes. His prescriptions are observed, but they fail. The patient passes into this sphere. At length, another member is sick, and sick as was the first. The physician prescribes, and prescribes the same as before. It will not do in his wisdom to contradict what he has done. It would be bad policy. It would not serve his profession to deny it. No, he must be consistent, he must follow the same rule, he must approve the same remedy, and he must witness the same result—failure. Why does he not change the prescription? Alas! that would be acknowledging his error. To acknowledge an error would be to invite distrust, and distrust would be fatal to his business. He is satisfied with his business—with his profession. It is his subsistence—the means which his wisdom employs to do good. But he fails. Does the failure instruct him? No. But why? Because he wills what agrees with his wisdom. He wills what is in harmony with his supposed interest. So, with the patient. So, with all his friends. So, with man. The rule is with them good— with other circles of wisdom it is unwise.
We see remedies fail. The same remedies will always fail to heal the same disease. Like diseases, with like remedies, must always produce like results. The conditions being the same, results must be the same. We will say, they can not be otherwise. No wisdom will change this fact. Hence, men may see that what fails to do good, in removing a disease, must always fail. Nature is true to herself. And what heals will always heal, when the conditions are equal. Is it wise, then, to pursue a path which must terminate in defeat? Is it prudent to encourage others to do so? And, yet men employ men to do what they know is a violation of this rule. They employ them to practice what has been contradicted by defeat, times without number. Who is to blame? Who is worthy of blame? The physician, or the employer? Neither. But why? Because both worked as well as they knew how. Both employed means consistent with their wisdom. Are they to be censured for doing all they could? Who, then, would escape censure? But there is one who is to blame. There is one whom we censure. We will give his name. We will write it. It is IGNORANCE. It is what we write to destroy. It is what entails misfortunes to man. It is what we have resolved to slay, that others may be saved from its works of mischief and wrong.
The second circle of this sphere corresponds with the second circle in the body. Mind, in this circle, is capacitated to do good to others. It can do good, to those who are in the first circle. It can aid them by imparting the wisdom it possesses. But it can not aid them in opposition to their will. It can do them good when they are willing to receive instruction. When they are unwilling, it cannot control their will, without controlling the conditions on which the will is dependent. And besides, there is such a vast disproportion of numbers between the two circles, that wisdom is compelled to resort to measures, which would otherwise be avoided, to advance the wisdom of the lower. Mind wills its own, in all circles. Hence, when circles will to do good to other circles, the will of the lower must be come passive to the will of the higher. When it becomes passive, it is susceptible to impression, and when it is susceptible to impression, it will advance in the knowledge of the truth. In this way, spirits of the second circle do good to those of the first circle.
But spirits of the second circle are not perfect. They work as they can. They do good as they can, and good to others. It is wisdom in them, but their wisdom is mingled with much ignorance. It will write, and preach what it writes, but it is cowardly. It is fearful of results. It wants confidence in itself. The mind of the second circle is as honest as it dares to be in the body. But it is distressed with fear. It fears even the truth. It fears the consequences of truth. It distrusts its own power. It lacks energy and perseverance. It slackens its force in the face of opposition. It yields to others what belongs to itself it is accommodating in its views of right—accommodating because it is unstable. It winks at evil. It looks with watchful eyes on the current of popular approbation. It smiles on the wrong of society. It moves cautiously in its investigations. It acknowledges facts to friends, but trembles to do so before enemies. It conceals its light, when concealment is deemed expedient for its safety. It wishes well to all, but will not exert itself id opposition to others to save. It warns timidly, reproves sweetly, and smiles complacently. It is fashionable, vain, weak, and pleased with childish things. It wears well where nothing interferes. It wills well when no will opposes. It looks beautiful when compared with the first circle.
Minds of this description never accomplish what is wanted. They are surface deep in wisdom. They appear well outwardly, but righteous judgment scans the whole work. They write as wisdom in their circle requires. It is seldom more than fanciful—fanciful with the gay, the musical, and the aristocratic— fanciful in its words, diction, and flowers—and fanciful in words of no profit, no force, and no application. It can describe what it has seen, read, and heard. It is well versed in tales, romances, and works of pleasure. It writes about landscapes, mountains, valleys, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, streams, flowers, shrubs, and tornadoes. The whirlpool of popularity sweeps over the whole mind. Its continent is some sunny isle, where wild birds flutter among the flowers, and notes of song vibrate on the soul, with no awakenings of duty undone, and of no work disregarded. It wishes much, but does not execute its wish. It delights in pleasure—in words to please, in works to please, in appearances to please. It seeks to please all, but not to correct all, not to reprove all, not to humble all, not to expose all, lest the favor of all should be abridged, and its object lost.
The second circle has means, but neglects duty. It neglects what other circles require and do aspires to do, but works often die with aspiring. It sees distress and, pities, but when works pity, there is relief—relief in deeds—relief in aid that reaches and overcomes want. Society has its charms, fancy its taste, fashion its form, beauty its grace, love its attachments, pride its follies, and wisdom its admirers. The circle of spirits which you call the second, is what we call the circle of wisdom in others. It is a circle dependent on the will and wisdom of others. It is what others are, without descending to their worst vices. It is concerned about what others may think and say of them. What others may think and say, influences them. If others think and approve of truth or error, they do the same. Its ignorance is will, and its will is its wisdom. One will balance the other.
In the body, we see who are members of this circle—the men who write what will correct no wrong, because it may give offence to minds who indulge in the wrong. There are many men of this description. They seek what will please men. They flatter them with such words as will overcome no folly, no ignorance, no crime, and no wrong. They write as they know is welcome to those whose patronage they seek. In political manoeuvering they work for party, right or wrong. They love the party—they love its gifts more. They love what will bring its gifts, and lay them at their feet. They are politicians in all they say or do. No matter who, is injured or benefited by the measure, party is the watchword. Hold! All parties are by turns their patrons. No mind can turn them from the majority. When contests are doubtful, they are doubtful. They work with the greatest number. They are always on the popular side, if they know it; and when they do not know where to go to find it, they stand still. Minds will write minds. When work is important, they can be bought and sold in the election market. They will vote as interest, pecuniary interest, requires. They write as pecuniary interest demands. Whatever is the will of the party they endorse. If the party will war, they encourage it; if it will peace, they will peace also. We see minds writing the glory of war, the honor of war, the success of war, the evils of war, the slain of war. All is glory—all is evil. All is honor—all is misery; as though glory had a sanctuary in evil, and as though honor dwelt in misery. Who are the victims? Who are the slain? Who are the widows, the orphans, the mourners? All members of one body. All partakers of one spirit. All heirs of one world. Glory, in their destruction? Glory, in their woes? Glory, in their distress? Honor! Where is it? We ask, where? Is it on the battle field, strewed with the bodies of men? Is it in the camp where gore rushes from mangled brothers? Is it where the mothers weep, where sisters lament, where fathers mourn? Alas! honor and shame are wedded. Works are mockery. Language is meaningless. Tears, groans, sighs, bereavements, all are nothing in the sight of honor. The immortal ties of brotherhood, are not ties of regard. No: Honor is murder, and murder is honorable. Who, then, is not honorable? Wisdom is not. God is not. Man is not. Society is not. No one is honorable but murderers in the sight of such honor.
The policy of way is the policy of cowards. It is the policy of wrong. It is a policy wisdom never sanctions, nor will in wisdom of heaven. But men sanction the cruelty. Honor among men is murder among men in the sight of angels. It is murder in, the sight of God. Who wills murder? He who wills war. He who contributes by his influence to war is a murderer of his brother. Whole nations do this. Whole nations have done this. Who rebels against it? Who cries peace? The whole nation is silent. The tomb must be filled. The lone mother with her orphans must sigh in solitude. The nation has declared war. The army has gone to the slaughter house. Governments have provided the instruments of butchery. The glory of arms against arms must be unfolded. Brother must slay brother, and glory is satisfied. Honor must see who is honorable in the bloody strife. Honor must have its victim, and honor is world-wide. Oh, honor! what hast thou done? Where is thy work? Where the gift? Where the sacrifice? Alas! the memory of war tells the work. The sacrifice lies in his gory bed, and the moaning night-breeze sighs over his grave. And is this all? Who made the sacrifice? Who kindled the fire on the altar? Who smites the unoffending brother? He who legislates, and he who makes the legislator. He who writes, publishes, and defends a system of war with the life and happiness of man. He who works arm in arm, and shoulder to shoulder in works with others, which induce war. He who utters no word of discouragement, no word of rebuke, no word of disapprobation, and no word of reform, is a co-doer of war. He is with evil-doers in society and government, and is responsible for the position of his influence. He is responsible to law. The law of God demands his action to prevent war. It has a claim on all men to live in peace, one with the other. It makes that claim by the lie of affinity, and all men are concerned in its duties. When men violate the law, which gives peace to the world, the world is interested in the disturbance. The world suffers by the disturbance. The world is not sustained by war, but by harmony. When harmony is broken, confusion reigns. When confusion reigns, wisdom does not reign. And where wisdom does not reign, ignorance and its evils will reign. How will men write with wisdom to guide, and write without peace to man? How will men excuse themselves, who write to excite mind against mind? How will they justify what reason, religion, and nature condemn? Are they superior? Are they above law, order, and harmony? If not, why write what is inconsistent with them? Why act inconsistent? Why will what they know is wrong? Wrong in all cases, and wrong under all circumstances? Is it not better to suffer wrong than to do it? Is it not wiser to do what is best, than what is worst? How will mind and mind act when they reach this sphere, or the second circle of this sphere?
Circles of mind are what we mean by degrees of wisdom. The second circle is in a wisdom of wisdom of others. It is interested in what others with whom it has an affinity are interested. No mind of this circle seeks what its associates oppose. It is the mind of most men, who wish to succeed in their profession. It is the mind of doctors, lawyers, and clergymen. They wish to please those who employ them. They ask what is wanted? The wisdom of the employer is consulted, and they act accordingly. The employer counsels for wisdom, and the counselor gives him what is most agreeable—advice agreeing with his own mind. He is content. He pays for it. He pays for his own wisdom. Had the counselor told him his wisdom, and had that wisdom contradicted his own, he would have spurned his counsel. He would not have employed him. He would not have paid him. He must have his own wisdom, and then he is willing to pay for it. So, with the doctor, and so, with the clergyman. He must give such medicine, or he must preach such sermons as his employers wish. If he does not, he must be dismissed. When the employer, who professes to seek instruction, is told to take what he does not understand, what is more advanced than his wisdom approves, he disdains compliance, rebels against advice, and refuses to support only what agrees with his notions of right. The clergyman who would write and preach the truth in words of wisdom from above, is prohibited by the voice of men, who compose the body of his church or society. The man who battles vice and wrong must look to others for encouragement, than those who are guilty. He will not meet with success in exposing wrongs, from the approbation of those whom he exposes. They will not pay money to be opposed with right. They will not support a man who will reveal their own shame. No: they choose to support one whom they can mould into a secret wrong by bribery—one whom they can control by their purse, as is suited to their works of iniquity—one whom they can hear preach, and not face the withering rebuke their sins deserve—one whom they can meet as a yoke fellow in wisdom of selfishness—one whom they can pay to keep secret what he knows is a violation of the law of heaven—one whose own works forbid what we will disclose—the hypocrisy of professing to be a minister of Jesus Christ.
We will not say what we know of some, who labor with a different motive— who seek the truth and, fearlessly proclaim it. They will not worship mammon They will not worship popularity. They will not barter the truth for money, nor will they conceal crime to gratify a little more indulgence. What they know they communicate, that others may not be deceived and wronged. They speak the truth in Christ, and lie not. They are disapproved of men, but approved of God. They write and preach wisdom. No mind of the second circle can turn them from doing right. They are controlled by higher influences, holier motives, purer desires, stronger attachments, and more wisdom. They will not bow their knees to the idols of men, nor will they worship money as their God. All who do not serve money with words to men, will not find their position in the second circle of this sphere.
The mind, coveting others' possessions, is willing to write, and preach, and publish what will secure his wish. It studies public opinion to learn what will gratify it; and, having obtained the requisite information, it conceals what will be offensive to corrupt minds through fear of their displeasure. We will illustrate. A minister of a society knows that a general wrong exists among his employers. He knows the same wrong exists among other societies. Suppose he reproves by exposing the guilty actors, what will they do? Will they sustain the truth? Will they come up to works of repentance? Will they practice the wrong no more? What does the history of the world say? What have churches and societies said? Who, among the guilty, will not say, we will not support a man who does not support us in what we desire for our own pleasure or profit? Who will bear the light of revealment? Who will patronize the revealer? Is it wrong to expose? Must the minister of truth and light make a covenant with evil-doers, favorable to error and darkness? Where, then, the truth and the light? Assuredly, they are not disclosed, when he conceals both; neither does the light shine where all is darkness. No such covenant can be entered into by a minister of truth and light, because, where such wisdom prevails, no man is a minister of truth and light to others. The mind may profess what is untrue. It may profess to be a light to others, when all is dark as midnight in its mind. It may profess to be a minister of light; but its profession is hypocrisy, as its works show. Light can not make a covenant with darkness, neither can a minister of truth, as it is in righteousness, conceal the wrongs of men. He can not uphold unrighteousness by making a covenant with evil-doers, at the same time, and be a minister of light and truth. The very bond is wrong, and what is wrong can not be right. What, then, shall he do? Shall he expose? If he expose, who will support? If no support be given, who will hear? If no one hear, where the minister? The man may be there, but the hearer not. Where the salary? Where the means of subsistence? Must his wife and family suffer? These are questions which weigh with an influence that answers our illustration.
Society, as it is organized among men in the body, forbids the ministration of truth and light. The body is made the controller of the head. The members govern the head. There is no head to the body, but the body. As is the body, so is the head, or the body itself. The minister is but the minister of the body. What the body wills he wills. What the body wants he wants, and nothing more; because he is the mere echo of the body. In some bodies, we see men controlling others who would not otherwise do wrong. The mind writes what individual wisdom dictates. It decides with regard to the patronage of that mind. We mean with regard to the amount of his patronage. If he will largely of his means to the support of the minister, he must be more indulged in his follies. He controls what others do not expect. He measures his influence by his means, and expects an indulgence commensurate with the sacrifice. Is it denied? When and where? We answer, only when and where the fraud is too naked to admit of concealment, or when the mind that sways control is above the mercenary influence of worldly wisdom. We see what wisdom controls in too many cases of corruption and crime among circles of men. We see mind influenced by conditions that nothing but self-sacrifice can overcome. We see mind canvassing mind, for the purpose of calculating what will be acceptable to it? We see it writing timidly, lest some truth should be uttered that might offend the sinner—that might awaken some emotion of shame for his licentiousness—that might reveal works of mischief with works of concealment, and aid men in the knowledge of his real character. Ah! afraid of the truth? We say, yes, afraid of the truth; for what is the truth which most concerns the evil-doer? What, but his works? Works are facts, and facts are not fictions. What are the facts? Will they justify a revealment? Will the truth bear inspection? Why not? We survey it. We see it. We see the naked truth. God sees it. Who is injured by it? We are not. Works are not. Truth is not. Who then? Is the man who reveals? How? We see how. His money is not won. His will is not the controller of wretchedness, nor the master of other's wealth. He speaks, and the monster closes his teeth to destroy. But who wills the wisdom? Has he not been taught the work of control? Has he had no lessons where others cowered at his revenge? Has he wielded no authority before to choke the utterance of truth? We see who need wisdom in such crisis. We see that both he who smites, and he who is smitten, need it. The man who smites deserves the rod which corrects, because he never should accept a position in society, that will wrong away his right to speak the truth. He never should volunteer to be the slave of other's vices. He never should assume a post that would hazard the subsistence of himself and family. The good of man does not require it. God does not require it. Heaven and earth forbid it. Law and religion forbid it. He has no business to make himself a slave. He has no right to place himself in a condition where he must do wrong or starve. No, neither has he a right to become a partner in the concealment of vices that injure the whole body. The man who is smitten deserves to know the truth. He deserves his own rights, and among those rights is a just recompense of reward. He deserves to have his rights, and so do others. He deserves to be exposed; it is his own right and the right of others, lest they be ensnared by his wrongs. And what is the right of all, no one has a right to withhold. What is the right of one, the many should grant; and what is the right of many, one should not conceal for his own personal gain. The concealment is a wrong. It is a wrong to withhold from mind what is its own—what is important to its happiness. Hence, to withhold the truth is to withhold what belongs to another. It is what men may call concealment; but it shadows forth to spirits a wrong over which wisdom in the second circle will write the name of condemnation. The second circle is above the wrong of mind in works that conceal the truth from men. It is not with such wisdom that they write, and preach, and publish their works to the world.
No mind controlled by such circumstances is in a condition to instruct those who need instruction. It writes the wisdom already in the possession of others. That wisdom seeks to justify itself. It seeks to oppose whatever is opposed to itself. In this work mind strives with mind. Harmony is disturbed. The war of antagonisms is begun—is never ended while the antagonisms remain. The wild rage of conflict sheds no ray of wisdom. The strife advances no mind in the path of progress. It sweeps over the soul with the scourge of desolation. It consumes the social charities and generous emotions of the mind. The worst vices are encouraged. Man is more unkind to man. And worse than all, worse than ever, mind is not satisfied. It curses its own remedy. It wills nothing to remedy its own ills. The mind asks what it receives. It provokes its own wrath. The two meet. The fire is kindled. How will it end? By whom? They are alike—two wrongs, each wronging the other—each wronging without reforming the other; for no wrong can make another wrong right, otherwise good can proceed from bad, and a corrupt tree can bring forth good fruit—otherwise evil is as good, and good as is evil—otherwise wisdom is as folly, and folly is as wisdom.
By whom is the strife with men to be overcome? Must it always prevail? Are not the long centuries gone by a sufficient period to test the wisdom of men? Indeed, when men write, they write peace to the world, but war rages without ceasing. It will rage, because, under such guidance, mind is incensed against mind, and because what controls to ignite the material, is incapable of quenching the flame. Who writes what will extinguish? Have not all their means been tried? Have they the fountain of wisdom from heaven to cast upon the devouring element? Who answers? Who looks to that source for the remedy? We see who sits in judgment, who watches the world with jealous eyes, lest some angel voice should overcome the selfish wisdom which riots on the wretchedness of others. Must this wisdom always riot on wrong? Who will answer? Mind may say, yea, or it may say, nay. Minds do say both. Does that quell the disturbance? Are they more united because the question has been decided by their own judgment? Are men told that the Bible must settle that question? But has the Bible done this? Why not? Is more time wanted? How much more? Calculate, by the progress mind has made on this question, and answer, how much more time will be required for the Bible to settle the conflict? And how can the Bible settle what men unsettle? Many will not submit to the wisdom of the Bible to determine this question. Others will demur at the evidence. Others will adhere, and adhering from a party to overcome their opponents. The Bible settles nothing with the mind that rejects it. It does not settle many things with minds who profess to be guided by it. It gives what it has to give, and nothing more. It preaches peace on earth, and has for the last eighteen centuries, but war reigns—the strife is not ended by its decision. The Bible is settled, but mind is not. The Bible is well, but who is controlled by it? Who, when a man smites him on one cheek, turns to him the other also? We ask who? Answer me, ye, who turn the peace of the world upside down? Ye who contend with your brethren, and who write to overthrow what you never will accomplish, the wisdom of men like your own. We write what we see and know. The forces of worldly wisdom never can overthrow themselves. The more parties, or coals it makes, the more divisions and subdivisions it creates; the more works opposed to works are written and read, the more sects and creeds will prosper, and mind will work against mind with no abatement of vehemence, no relaxation of zeal, no inducement to reform without wisdom from heaven to induce, and there is no hope of union and harmony, without hope in messengers of superior wisdom. Who then shall aid? Who shall write, and preach, and publish what will overcome minds and reconcile them with each other? Who? We can see who will not do it! We can see who will do it. But who will do it? The answer is written. God has written it. Nature is the page. Nature is the answer. But what is nature? Hold! What is mind? Is it without nature? Is it not a work of God in harmony with nature? Are not all his works in harmony with each other? Has he made any mind without nature? What has nature not, then, to do with it? Harmony of mind with nature is the great secret of human enjoyment. Harmony with nature is harmony with God. Harmony with nature is harmony with mind. Harmony with mind is reconciliation with mind. Reconciliation with mind is reconciliation with God, and what is reconciliation with God is the unity of the divine wisdom is his works. The unity is one. It is one in wisdom, one in love, one in happiness. Happiness is what mind craves. It is not satisfied without it. It is never dissatisfied with it, we say, it is never dissatisfied with its abundance. Its abundance is infinite. What is infinite, no progress can swallow. No mind can ever grasp infinite wisdom and infinite happiness. But who will progress? The second circle is willing, if others will. They will as others do. Who wills as others do not? They who are not of the second circle. They are either opposed to progress in wisdom, or in favor of advancing in it. If they are opposed, they are members of the first circle. If they will what others will of wisdom, they are members of the second, or sympathetic, circle. If they will to progress, independent of others, they are members of the third circle. Is wisdom sought where it is not found? Let the first circle answer. Is wisdom sought in others like itself? So judges the second circle. Is wisdom sought of superiors, is it sought of angels, whose wisdom has been cultivated by experience,? The third circle have found it. They have not searched in vain.
The second circle is what men call wonderful—wonderful in its conceit— wonderful in its knowledge of men—wonderful in its rules by which it judges of truth and error, right and wrong—wonderful in its display of words without practice—wonderful in its caution and care of self—wonderful in its operations to gratify discordant opinions—wonderful in its condescension to minds, diseased with leprosy of guilt—wonderful in its palliatives—wonderful in its concealments— wonderful in its approbation and disapprobation—and wonderful in its means and measures to correct and improve itself in wisdom. It wonders, and still it wonders at its wonder. It wonders why men do not do as it does. It wonders why others venture to dissent with others. It wonders why minds sacrifice time and money for other's good. It wonders how minds can content themselves in search of new developments—new revealments from heaven. It wonders what good these revealments can do. It wonders how spirits can communicate to minds in the body. It wonders what use there can be in these communications. It wonders why men and women are not crazy, who receive communications from spirits, and why mediums are not insane with the tidings revealed. It wonders why men and women are not selected in accordance with the rules which it has established. It wonders why others have not been selected from other circles of wisdom. And we shall tell them. Because their circle of wisdom is not the circle which spirits can employ to do good to the world. It is not a circle in harmony with the welfare of man. It is not a circle befitting the cause of human progress. It is not a circle which can be made serviceable to our designs, without a change which would deliver it from a condition that distinguishes it as the second circle in the sight of good men and angels. It is a circle so low as to warrant no work of reform among men, so worldly as to forbid the sacrifice necessary to other's improvement, and so much of all things in common with all things, as to be nearly useless in the work of human redemption. It is a circle devoid of independence, devoid of sincerity, devoid of will without selfish gain, devoid of industry without worldly applause, and devoid of the essentials of true wisdom. It can only be employed by spirits who sympathise in its debasement. It will not be employed by spirits who will to correct the vices of society, by spirits who will to overcome the evils of men, and who are interested in what is necessary to secure a permanent reform. Wisdom will not select such votaries of folly to advance its cause. It will not ask such cowards to put on the armor of service. It will not offer pearls of wealth to minds in the mire of worldly wisdom. It will not move hands to write what will do no good. It will not move minds to act without controlling the action. It will not write what will please the fancy and folly of weakness, the ignorance and wrong of misguided minds, or the superstition and partiality of sectarian wisdom. It will write what will instruct, what will make wise, what will do good, what will not do harm, what will not destroy the soul. It will write the truth; and to write the truth, it must have a medium who is not ashamed to bear witness to it, who is not afraid of it, who is not controlled by its enemies; but who is independent in the right, and fearless of human frowns. Such is the reason why spirits select the mediums they have chosen to be co-workers with them in the progress of mind. Such is the reason why they do not select the circle whose works are wisdom in others, and who are the mere machines of corrupt wisdom, without the independence to defend it, or the courage to forsake it.
The wisdom to defend wisdom is not with the second circle. The independence is not with it. Independence is not with it to aid in wisdom. Nothing is philosophically independent. All things are dependent on God, dependent on each other, dependent on conditions, dependent on law, dependent on works of nature, dependent on the will or superiors, dependent on the wisdom of others, and dependent on the use of wisdom as disclosed to them. Independent mind is not the possession of any dependent being. But we mean, that mind should be independent of others, when others do not possess the power and wisdom to do it good. Independent mind is independent of inferiors, and is independent of the wisdom of inferiors to guide and control them. Independent mind is that which admits of control by superiors, but disdains control by inferiors, or even equals. It is as ready to face an error as the truth, as willing to uphold what is right as to deny what is wrong without respect to persons. It scorns no mind because others scorn. It neglects no person because others neglect. It obeys no will because others obey. It vindicates no opinion because others vindicate it. It writes nothing because others will be pleased to read it. It condescends to no mean acts because others wish it. It is not the servant of iniquity, nor the vile companion of wrong. It works because others need. It works because others work without wisdom to instruct them in the path of right.
We see who is independent. We see who are dependent. The mind that is independent will discharge its duty, let others say what they will. If the widow and orphan need, it is neither afraid nor ashamed to visit the ragged room, and disarm poverty of its sting. It is not ashamed of right. It is not ashamed of Jesus. It is not afraid of what others will say. It knows the wisdom unknown to the second circle. It is prepared to do good to those who need. No condition of mind is so depraved as to forbid the work of blessing. No lone hovel is so wretched as to prevent the ministration of mercy. No victim of wrong is beneath the notice of an independent spirit. Shame on the coward who is afraid of contamination in the path of righteousness. Pity on the weakness that excuses right to cover some real blemish of its own. Where are the apostles of other days? Where are the men who went about doing good, not minding what the Scribes and Pharisees said? Where are the men who will visit dens of vice—who visit to heal the backslidden daughters of shame, who walk boldly in the light of day over the threshhold of infamy, and aid the unhappy wretches to abandon the crime of which they are guilty? Who, who comes to the house of famine with bread for the needy, and clothing for the naked? Who writes well, who preaches well, and who talks well on the duty of mind to mind, and yet touches not a burden, nor lifts a finger to remove it? They who will scarcely find a place in the second circle. They who need to know what they will most assuredly find true, that heaven is not ashamed to do work for mind, independent of the worth of those whose condition demands a reform. And what angels do not scorn to do, who, among men, need the wise man fear? Who? more than the works of neglect witnessed by angels? And who are these poor, wretched, neglected victims of folly? And who are you, ye men of the world, who have made them what they are— scorned by yourselves and hated by others? We see who you are—the partners and companions of the very wrong you so loudly condemn. We say this to you, ye men who write, and ye who preach, ye men who scorn, and ye men who deride, the evil is yours. You are responsible for its existence, for its continuance, and on you will rest the responsibility of its removal. You write well, you write to suit the public ear, but what have you done? What have you not done to cherish the evil? Yea have done nothing to overcome it. You write, but what? what? alas! what? Can you answer? We can not. You write. Words are sounds. They die. No victim of shame is worded to reform. The vice rages. Society aids no repentance. The sin increases. Who will write it out of being? Who will preach it out of existence? Who advances, when all things are as they were? What is progress? It is not saying. It is not writing. It is not preaching. We ask, what is it? We will write—that is not progress. We will preach—that is not progress. We will act, we will do, we will go where the victim of wretchedness lies in the den of pollution and shame, and we will say, "come with us, and we will do thee good." They will come. That is progress. That is progress begun—not ended—for progress never ends. It stops, sometimes, but when it stops, the end is not there. It has stopped. No mind can do what Jesus did, and then write some work of wrong to excuse the injustice committed by others.
We say, no mind in the body can write the truth, and act consistently with that truth, without an independence which we want to establish among men. It is an independence which will do right, without fear or favor of men. It is an independence which will not disgrace the soul in the sight of God and angels. It is an independence which will do by the unfortunate and unwise of earth, as good men and women would have others do unto them—take them, clothe them, feed them, bless them, and they will not forsake you; yea: They will do you good. They will aid you, and bless you with the blessing, of God for their deliverance. They will do by you—by others—as you will have done unto them. They are your brothers, your sisters, your flesh and your spirit, who call, and no reform comes to their relief. No sweet voice of hope ministers strength to the worn wretches of misfortune. Why? Because the mind of the second circle controls, because the second circle has no wisdom to see a remedy, and no courage to pursue the counsel of wisdom from heaven, so as to aid the miserable in paths of virtue and truth; because their wisdom is selfishness, and their selfishness is blind to other's necessities, wants, and woes.
We said, minds who scorned and derided minds—they who wrote, they who preached, were responsible for the vices of the forsaken. They have no right to forsake. No condition, however degraded, can give them that right. There is no condition of mind that can annul the law of God. No mind can change its claims. It is a law not made by man. It connects all minds with an immutable relation. It imposes duties by virtue of that relation, which none but God can control. He has impressed his image on the work of his hands. That image he loves; that image he commands all souls to love; that image he will bless; but he will bless as he sees fit, and he sees fit to bless that image by such means as he has provided; and the means are the works of his care—the souls he has made; so that mind is the means, in the wisdom of God, to aid and bless mind—to succor and defend—to counsel and relieve—to say and to do—to live and to let live, and to work with wisdom to promote and advance each the other in the knowledge of goodness and heaven.
Conditions neither make nor unmake law. They have nothing to do, but to obey haw. And there is no condition of mind that can destroy the relation of mind. It is a relation which change does not effect. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, the virtuous and the vicious, the happy and the unhappy, are bound by one law, so that mind does not possess the power to absolve itself from the claims of a law, which requires of the subject duties compatible with universal good. The duties imposed by the law require each member to aid and assist the other members. They require The strong to support the weak. No mind is without some strength.
No mind is valueless. No mind can neglect what is valuable, and withhold what is wanting to make it more valuable, without contempt of what we call economy. Economy is regardful of rigid expenditure. It is not profligate. It detests profligacy. Hence, economy and profligacy are antagonistical. Whatever is antagonistical is at war. Whatever is at war is expensive to the parties concerned. It is, therefore, the economy of true wisdom, that antagonisms should cease. To aid in this work is economy. It is a wise economy to destroy profligacy—to destroy the roots of vice with works of righteousness. It is bad economy to suffer them to exist. It is not wise to allow them to remain. Consequently, he who works for the removal of degrading wrongs, is a benefactor of the world. He is a workman that need not be ashamed of his work. He is independent of circles, that neither work nor let others, because some unfortunate brother or sister needs aid—needs a helping hand—needs an independent mind to act and do what is necessary for the benefit of that soul—what angels rejoice to behold, the salvation of the mind from error's ways.
We see the wisdom of the second circle. It acts with caution—caution lest others be offended, because it exercises the right to act independently— caution through fear of offending the wisdom of others. It writes cautiously, regarding not the facts so much as the opinions of men—regarding the opinions of men more than the facts, wisdom of men more than the wisdom of God. It writes with words of words what men and women should do, but it writes without correcting the evils of which it complains. It asks for a remedy, but not to use. It complains, but it volunteers no assistance. It scolds the unfortunate and misguided, but it does no work of mercy. They are too degraded, too miserable, too forsaken, too despised, in their wisdom to receive help. They must be neglected, because they are neglected. They must be degraded, because they are degraded. No help must be given, because they need help. No guidance, no control, no assistance must be extended, because it is disgraceful to aid such wretches to be worthy members of society. Is this the religion of the Son of God? It is worse than Indian cruelty! It is worse, because it is not found in their native condition. No Indian would neglect a misery of such magnitude. And is it Christianity? If it be Christianity, a new religion is demanded? If it be not, who shall rectify the wrong? Will ministers do it? Will they disgrace themselves by doing good? Disgrace, yes, disgrace themselves by aiding the miserable men and women, who have disgraced themselves by their licentiousness, and model them into useful and virtuous citizens? We ask, will they do it? Who answers? Who dare answer? Who goes? Who interests himself, as a brother, to reclaim the mind from the haunts of wretchedness? We see who does not. And we see the reason. Public opinion is in the way. Public suspicion would be aroused. The fear of that opinion melts no mind into the sweetness of virtue. It withers no disease with the touch of its power. The noble sermon is words; words save no wretch in his den, no harlot in her shame; but works may save both. Words are well, but works are what is needed. Words suit the ear, when fashionably spoken; but works demand sacrifice. Who will offer the lamb? We ask the priest. We ask who will offer the gift to God? Will he put forth the blessing? Will he consecrate the sacrifice on the altar of reform? He will, if others will. Yes, he will, because if he will not, others will not employ him. They will not support him. He will, when he can not help it without pecuniary disadvantage to himself. He will, when conditions do not demand it. He will, when all conditions are right. No: He will not, because when all conditions are right, no wrong will remain to be rectified, and no sacrifice will be necessary for the sins of the wretched.
Public suspicion is concerned when a mind seeks to benefit mind. Who says this? We know. We hear. Public suspicion is public wrong, when it assumes to control right—when it assumes to prevent right. Who is the servant of wrong? Is he who does right? Is he who seeks by works to reform the vicious? Is he who being afraid to do right, neglects the obligation of righteousness? We see it is right to do good. We see it is wrong to neglect doing good. We see many who are the wretched victims of deception. They are needy. They need what money cannot give. They need wisdom. They need wisdom to correct their wrongs. They need wisdom to gain circles of high and elevated mind. They need a helping hand. They need what the minister refuses to do. They need a mind not afraid to do right because it is unpopular, because what? public suspicion—tender sensibility—ask, what? Ask mind what will a wise mind suspect, when mind neglects its duty to law, religion, and mind? Who suspects evil? Who will suspect the mind engaged in doing a work of philanthropy—a work demanded by the law of God and the good of mind in darkness and shame? Who? We see who. They who need a repentance themselves. They who will need a repentance to gain even the second circle of spirits. Public suspicion is worse than cowardice. It is jealous, because it thinks others are as weak and as wicked as itself. It thinks evil because it is evil. It fears to do right, because it is wrong. It suspects others, because it is itself suspicious. It most wishes to be respected, because it is the least deserving. It covers its own wretchedness by frowning upon the wretchedness of others. It conceals its own shame by concealing what is wrong in wrong of others. It writes what mind should do for mind, but it writes not what it should do to write as the good of sufferers require. It minds what others do, but it does not mind what it has omitted to do. Alas! Suspicion! What hast thou done? What hast thou not done to arrest the progress of reform? We will write what is done. Hold! We will write what is not done. The mind is not above suspicion that suspicion casts. The soul is not above reform that abuses the reformer. The will of such is will of debasement, which needs the refiner's fire to purify. It is a will more merciless than wise in the sight of spirits. It is more wretched than the unfortunate mind it spurns. It is not wise with the wisdom of heaven.
Suspicion has too sides. It suspects others—never itself. It has too faces, one to see other's wrong, another to conceal its own defects. It has two tongues; one to speak for others, and remind them how they should act and what they should do, another to excuse its own crimes and delinquencies. It is content with its supposed wisdom. It is not well satisfied with disclosures of its hypocrisy. It begs to be respected. It works to gain respect. It flatters to steal the good opinion of men. It neglects other's necessities to publish other's faults. It writes what will please, to secure the pleasure of a good name—a name—a name in wisdom of nothing worthy the name of a wise mind. Who controls wretchedness? The man who scorns duty, or the man who loves it? Who is he? He who goes where wretchedness is, who goes with the integrity of wisdom, and washes in streams of tenderness the impurities of the sinner. He who never neglects a mind because it is needy, because it has not the in dependence to do good when others neglect. He who writes, and writes with works that go where the coward in his wrong dare not go. He is suspected of works that do what words can not accomplish. He is more than suspected; he is known to be a lover of his brother and sister in the day of adversity. When cold and icy hearts, wrapt in the mantle of snow, commiserate with no child of misfortune, he goes where need calls for aid; and no mind in this circle suspects him of wrong in doing right. No mind will suspect what it has no evidence to establish, unless it judges what others are by its own weakness.
We suspect. We more than suspect that the real difficulty is not what concerns others so much as self. The suspicion of weak minds is not because it is so deeply interested in the good name of others. It is not because it loves the mind as tenderly as itself. There is another motive. There is another influence within the covering. It is mere affected sympathy, that scorns to do good, because suspicion will be indulged. The scorn is a work of scorn. They who scorn to visit and bless the wretched, scorn the work required. They affect to scorn those who would do it, because they wish to excuse themselves by scorn. They would not scorn what is good to others, if they were the recipients of the blessing. It is not, therefore, the work they scorn in reality; but the work demanded of them by, the condition of others. They affect to scorn so that what wisdom demands of all, may be content with scorn. They neglect, and excuse their neglect by such apologies as will serve to vindicate the affected dignity of their professed virtue. It is a dignity that scorns right, that scorns duty of right, scorns Jesus, scorns wisdom, scorns religion, and scorns heaven and heavenly things. It is a dignity that will be humbled. It is a scorn that must be rooted up. It is a tare which the serpent of selfishness has sown. It is worse. It is a shame that permits shame to riot unremedied in cities. It riots elsewhere. The land is in mourning, the mother is in tears; the sister, the brother, in disgrace, while the spirit-father looks down with no sympathizing soul to aid him in relief of mind. It is so. It will be so, without help. It may be removed. It may be overcome. It is not a natural evil. It is artificial. Nature justifies no works of shame. It never will justify those who refuse to remove it. There is no justification in its continuance, and there can be no justification to those who continue it, by their neglect to remove it.
But what can remove the shame? Who can change the scorn of neglect? What mind is equal to overcome the wrong? No mind is willing to act—to do—as our wretched sister requires, nor should he. No mind is willing she should control, because she is incapable. That would afford no remedy. The wisdom is not there, otherwise it would lead her in the path of virtue. The wisdom is not in those who continue her vice by excusing and withholding the necessary aid. No remedy is in their hands. No remedy will ever be in the hands of those who refuse to work, because work is the remedy. But what work? Not saying, not complaining, not scorning, not deriding, not in making what is bad worse; but work—work such as you would have others do unto you—work, such as Jesus commanded, such as Jesus performed—work, such as men and women scorn—scorn because they have not the religion of Jesus to inspire them— work, such as human weakness needs, but human folly derides; such as fidelity to nature and nature's God requires, but such as infidelity to both— infidelity to mind in sin and error—infidelity to law, reason, and obligation, spurn from its dignified sanctuary.
Infidelity! what is it, but treason to human good? What is it but treachery to law, religion, and justice? What is it, but a name, a jeer, a cant, a word pregnant with bitterness in mouths which condemn even their own wrongs? What is it, but a craft which swims on the stream of error, to overtake what it has not the skill or wisdom to pursue? What is it, but infidelity to mercy, infidelity to reform, infidelity to duty, infidelity to righteousness, and infidelity to all that most concerns the welfare of mind? Has mind that spurns the obligation of natural justice, no infidelity to overcome? Has mind that neglects the reform of others no infidelity to duty, unfulfilled to cure? Who is the infidel. Is he who does good, or he who does it not? Is he who obeys the law of God, or he who is faithless and disobedient? What is infidelity, but the want of fidelity to God's law? And what is God's law, but a law which imposes the obligation to do unto others as their good and other's good require?
We see infidels berating infidels. We see mind infidel to good upbraiding mind. We see what infidels do not see. We see infidelity among all professions. We see the minister as he is, declaiming against infidelity, portraying the awfulness of the evil, and warning his chosen people to beware of its snare. This may seem very well to him. It is well. But has be examined himself? Is there no beam in his own eye? He sees the mote in his brother's. He sees when men are infidel to his creed. He sees when they neglect the injunctions he has imposed. He knows when they disobey his sayings? Does he suppose spirits are blind to his delinquencies? Has be no infidelity to God, no infidelity to mind, that needs correction? Where are the needy? Have they no claim on his care? Where are the vile? Are they neglected, and neglected because he is too good to do good? Hold, neglected because he is too infidel to do right, too infidel to obey God rather than men, too infidel to sacrifice the offering of righteousness unto the Lord, and too infidel to abandon his fidelity for the good of those whose souls are as precious in the sight of Heaven as his own. The infidel is in the church, and the professed servant of God is the man. He scorns as mind in harmony with the living God never scorns. He neglects as mind in communion with the spirit of Jesus never neglects. What will he say? What, when he reads these pages? He will not say, they are infidel to duty. He will not say, they are infidel to religion; but he may say, if he choose, they are true to him, and true to the witness who writes what he sees.
He may ask what we mean. We mean what we say. We mean to reform the man out of the church who serves the devil in it. As he is the head of his own church, we propose to begin the work of correction there. We propose to lay the axe at the root of the tree. We propose to sift the grain from the chaff The grain is well. The chaff is in the way. Will he object? He will not object with success. We will write what will not harm him, if he will practice it. It will harm no one. But will he practice it? Not without a reform. Will he reform? Not without a corrector. Do we assume to correct? We assume to do good. We assume that no good can be expected from a corrupt fountain. We assume to correct the fountain for the benefit of those who drink of its water. We assume more. We will expose the unhealthy element when in a polluted state. The mind is thirsty. The water is impure. The mind drinks. It languishes and thirsts again. Have spirits no wisdom? Do we drink of the filthy current? Are our minds subject to the control of selfishness? Have we wisdom to gain or lose by writing the truth?
Who is our master? Are we hirelings of men in the body? One is our Master. One is our Lord. Him we serve. Him we serve, not as slaves, but its willing servants—servants of truth and righteousness. Him we shall serve; because, as is the Lord, so is the servant in the vineyard of his holiness; and as is the Master, so is the subject in the ministration of good to the world.
The infidelity of mind to mind is witnessed by works of mind operating against mind. Mind is in default. It is default to mind, because it is ignorant of the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God disowns partiality. All his works proclaim his wisdom impartial. When the mind sees the wisdom of God, when it acknowledges that wisdom by works corresponding with it, it will see no mind forsaken in need, nor will the cry of distress go up to heaven unpitied and unrelieved. Shame of doing the work of wisdom, will not then wish to control right, nor will it be a shame to aid the degraded to do better. But while mind is embarrassed with the ignorance that makes the duty of doing good a shame, mind in need will be forsaken, infidelity will have its votaries, and wretchedness its victims. Infidelity will war with infidelity, mind will complain of mind, but the mind remains unimproved by the complaining. Words make words, anger makes anger, folly arouses folly; but, when works reform works, a good is done which words can never alone accomplish. Talk as mind will, scold as it has done, the misery of wretchedness realizes no solace, and the soul feels no high resolve to get wisdom, or pursue righteousness. It learns to hate when it is hated, to scorn when it is scorned, to do wrong when it is wronged, and to do welt when others do right. Hence, the conditions and relations of society, being established upon an immutable law of affinity, are not to be disregarded without incurring the wretchedness that confusion brings. The harmony of each member is essential to the health of the body. Whatever disturbs the health of one member, disturbs the enjoyment of the whole body. So intimate is the relation, that all the members must unite in one harmonious work, or disease will prostrate the system. When disease attacks one member, the other members suffer by it, or when one member is benefited, all the other members are rewarded. Spirits are all members of one body. They all form one body. When sin and sorrow overcome a weak member, all the other members must suffer. If many members are diseased, so much greater is the difficulty.
What, then, is the duty of each member? Is it the duty of each member to lacerate, bruise, and cast off the diseased member? Is it the duty of the body to disown itself? Will it say to the lower members, the feet, I have no need of you, because you have walked in the mire and filth of uncleanness? Who will out off his feet because they are polluted? Who will cut off the members of wretchedness, because they are less honorable than the higher—the head? And what is the head but the servant of the body? Is not the body as necessary to the head, as the head is to the body? Who will separate them? We see who will not. We see who would. The wise man would not. The foolish man would. He would, because it is the habit of fools to think themselves wise.
When men shall act in harmony with nature, in harmony as the body is harmonious in all its members, the day of salvation will dawn with brighter effulgence on the world of mind. The diseased member will then be provided for. It will not be neglected. It will not be abused. It will not be forsaken. Who will arise with the balm of healing? Who will go where neglect has withered all hope of respect, and take the angel-wisdom of heaven to wipe away the tears of despondency, and chase the disease of wretchedness down the precipice of oblivion? We will go. We have no shame to deter us from doing right. But who shall be our witness? The work shall bear witness of itself. We will go; yea, we will show by our works the nakedness of that profession which seeks to deal damnation by withholding the need which wretchedness demands. We will go to the miserable with the voice of wisdom. We will not visit to work their shame into deeper shame, but we will work the shame of wretchedness away from their minds, and write the pure language of heaven on their hearts. We will take with us mediums who will write with our aid the names of their companions; and they shall be written on the scroll of crime, and held up to the eyes of wondering men and women. We have resolved to purify the unclean, and we have resolved to expose the contributors who have patronized the stable of infamy. The wretchedness of mind with mind will not be allowed a shelter to conceal their wrongs, nor shall the corrupt den encourage the misguided to ruin. We will go where ruin is, to remove the ruin. We will not ask, who is our neighbor? who is our brother? or who is our sister? for we know that God hath made of one blood all men, and that all in heaven and on earth are concerned in the worth of what infinite wisdom has made in its own image. We will not reject what wisdom has said was good, because it has been defiled by wrong.
The worth of mind is not what mind has supposed. It is not because its works are good, but because its nature is wisely made to receive an eternal inheritance of life. It is not good because of works, but it is good without works, as was said by God when he made man. And because it was good, it was not evil. We will save the good; we will destroy the defilement. When good is saved from defilement, it is not unclean, and when it is not unclean, it is holy; and when it is holy, it is happy.
We see what is wanted. We see what the unfortunate want. They want happiness. They hate misery. Shall they have what they want? Who says, no? We do not. Who says, no? God does not. Who says, no? Wisdom dues not, love does not, law does not, religion does not, nature does not. Who then? Alas! he who wants what he has not got—more wisdom, more mercy, more humanity, more justice, more works of righteousness, and more knowledge of his dependence on the whole body of mind for his own enjoyment. The miserable want happiness. Mistaken souls! They have not found it only in meagre parcels. They have sought where it was not. They have not sought where it was. Who is to blame? Who wishes them worse harm than what their fruitless search has afforded? Who wishes them worse toil than their midnight revels have yielded? Who envies the debauchee in riots of uncleanness? Who, the brothel keeper or its inmates in their licentiousness? Have they sought and found the wisdom of enjoyment, with the wisdom of men in shame? Do enjoyment and shame work in harmony? If so, where is the need of separation? If not so, why the objection to the reform? We see who objects. Pride—"the never failing vice of fools," wonders what good spirits can do with the miserable of earth. It would not wonder, if its own defilement was removed, so that more worth should be discovered in others.
We will say what may be done. Minds in a degraded condition maybe restored. But the condition of human society is such as to forbid relief from that quarter, until the condition is changed. So long as mind is ashamed to control works of wretchedness, so long as it is afraid to do good to the degraded, so long as it scorns to relieve the miserable, just so long will the vice continue. Spirits can affect minds in the body; but, when they are controlled by us, the vice will not appear. Minds in the body will be controlled to do their duty, and when they shall he controlled by us, no scorn of men will deter them from removing works of shame. Others will not laugh when mind is brought to repentance by spirits not ashamed of their duty.
We will write what should be done. Minds opposed to reform—opposed to aid when aid is needed—opposed to the correction of a vice that is degrading to a civilized world—opposed to measures which can not fail to reform the vicious—opposed to works of charity—opposed to the law of God and the religion of Jesus, should first be rectified. They should know that when they oppose mind engaged in works of reform, they oppose God and angels, they oppose their own good, and the general good of society. They oppose what we know is necessary, and their opposition is a sin which will meet with a just recompense of reward. It will carry its weight along with their souls into this sphere. It will not be purified by death, nor by faith. It will not be remitted on this shore of Jordan without works, corresponding to the rules which we wish mind to adopt for the correction of mind. It will not scorn duty which is its happiness. It will not write against others, but for the benefit of others. It will not write to please others who are unimproved and ignorant, but it will write to amend and work a reform. It will not write what we see written with a view to check the disclosures from heaven by spirits, but it will write the truth.
We will write what should be done. The whole body of society should be purified. It is wrong.
Not only ministers, but minds who control ministers are wrong. Not only preachers, but lawyers, doctors, schools, colleges, and books, are wrong. They are wrong in many things essential to the progress of mind. They are wrong in opinion, and wrong in practice. They are obstacles in the way of progress. They counsel to arrest reform. They wish their wisdom to control mind. They would laugh down spirits. They would rule the world as they have done. They would enjoy the spoils of wretchedness a little longer. They would, not work without a recompense flattering to their selfishness. Any innovation which offers to destroy their monopoly of distinction, as spirits propose, they would oppose. They would live on antagonisms. If antagonisms should cease, both of body and mind, if harmony should prevail in all conditions of mind, who would litigate with his neighbor? Who would need a physician? Who would need correction? We see who would not. Mind would not. And what mind did not want, it would not employ. When it did not employ, the employed would be idle, and, when idle, no recompense could be claimed. We see what we have written. We see that mind will be affected. We see what they see. We see more. When disease shall be controlled by spirits, mind will not be dependent on human skill for its remedy. When mind shall perform its duty to mind, and harmony shall be restored to the body, the wisdom of mind will not be confined to any one member, but will be shared by all in common. What one member enjoys, all the members will enjoy. When this condition of things shall be established, no mind will wrangle with mind, because the members will be all harmoniously united in one body. When all are harmoniously united in one body, the wisdom of mind will control itself; the evils of society will not exist, and the whole body will rejoice in universal health.
But we hear the inquiry, can this state of things ever be attained by minds in the body? Why not? Why may not mind act in harmony an earth, as well as in heaven? We see why it does not, but we see not why it may not. When conditions in the body shall be controlled by the wisdom of spirits in this sphere, no obstacle will remain. It is the want of wisdom that disorganizes society, and degrades humanity. It is the want of wisdom that controls the conditions of different minds in the body. We say, want of wisdom, because what is ignorance but a want of wisdom? What is folly, but a want of wisdom? What is evil, but a want of wisdom to control mind in the path of wisdom? We see what is wanted. It is wisdom. It is wisdom of God. It is wisdom from heaven. And yet, it is not wanted. So say minds in ignorance. So say those who oppose it. So say those who write as we find mind writing against things it does not know. Minds will write against what they do not understand. We see who writes what is censurable—censurable by the mind who writes. We see who writes, that mind should condemn what it has not investigated, what it does not know, what it will not investigate, because it is opposed to its wisdom; we see this mind contradicting its own rules of right for others, and denouncing the whole subject of spiritual investigations and manifestations of spirits to mind, as a cheat—a monstrous cheat upon the community of mind. Yes; we see who demands an investigation of his creed and the evidence of its truth, in one paragraph; and, in the next, pours out his denunciations without mercy upon a subject he has not investigated, nor will be, till the conditions of his subsistence are changed, and he is placed on the footing of an independent and honest inquirer for truth and righteousness. No mind of this character can expect from spirits a justification of its hypocrisy. No mind in this condition can realize a position in the scale of wisdom transcending the vicious whose sins it professes to loathe. It will not call us severe, if we say, it will occupy a circle where dishonesty meets and mingles in harmony with minds of corruption and vice.
We will write what will remove the misery which will not remove itself. Minds will not remove the evil of their own minds. A thing can not remove itself. A disease can not cure itself. What can not cure itself needs the assistance of another. Because it needs the assistance of another, it should have it. Because it will cure no evil in itself, the evil should be cured. It will be cured when the evil will submit to the remedy. When the evil will not submit to the remedy, it will not be cured. Mind is affected with the evil of ignorance. It is ignorant of whatever it does not know. It does not know only what it wills to know, or what conditions force upon the mind. What conditions force upon the mind, the same conditions never will remove. The facts are not changed. The wisdom of facts never change. The wisdom of unchangeable facts is eternal. And the impression of eternal things on the mind is eternal. When an impression is eternal on the mind, it is not wise to write what is opposed to the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is not the wisdom of men without God. The wisdom of God is not selfishness. It is pot partial. It wishes good, and does good to all mind, by removing the ignorance with which it is encompassed. No mind can enter above the second circle which is concerned only in itself. No mind is above this circle in the body, which seeks not other's good. Professions will not be regarded in this sphere, when the profession is without corresponding works. Mind may profess what is untrue, and what is untrue is unclean, and what is unclean can not be a recommendation to a higher circle. Profession, may deceive men in the body, but it can not deceive spirits out of the body. It may write what it does not believe, but it can not make us understand what is not true. It can not shield the hypocrite. It will not avail him any thing but shame, when he knows the hypocrisy is exposed. All hypocrisy must be exposed. It is exposed to spirits in this circle. It will be exposed to minds in other circles. Minds even in the body will see it; they will loathe it when they see it. Minds even in the body now see what the hypocrite does not suppose they see. They will see more clearly. They will see that all profession is deceptive without works. They will see it is void without charity. They will see it is not wise without wisdom. They will see that wisdom is not profession merely. They will see as we see, that no mind can gain wisdom without works of wisdom.
Wisdom is of God. Wisdom is not of ignorance. Whatever is wise is of God. Mind, wise in the wisdom of God, is of God. Mind, without the wisdom of God, is not of God—not of the wisdom of God. When minds are wise of the wisdom of God, they do as God does. They bless as God blesses. They have mercy as God has mercy. They forgive as God forgives. They save as God saves. They cure as God cures. When mind is unwise, it denies the wisdom of God. It acts not as God acts. It curses, neglects, scorns, and derides a child of need. It is unforgiving, censorious, cruel, oppressive, unjust. It is unlike God. It is unlike God in its works. It is unlike in its wisdom of works.
We see professions of mercy and good will to others in need. We see what is true—that mind is not sanctified by profession. It is not made holy by profession. It is not made pure in the sight of angels by an outward garment. The mind must do as wisdom requires to be sanctified. It must regard the wants of mind, the wants of wisdom which inspires mind, and controls the mind in the path of righteousness. It must do works of good to mind. It must neglect no work of good to others. This is the sanctification of the spirit. It is the sanctification of holiness. It is the sanctification of wisdom. It is the sanctification of works, which come from heaven. It is the blessing of God upon the soul. This blessing is enjoyed by a circle, bright with the sun that never sets in darkness and sorrow.
The mind of the second circle writes what will work no correction. It does not seek to correct, but to please, that it may be pleased. Can a mind that pleases mind correct mind? Is not every new fact presented, without the concurrence of the mind to which it is presented? Is not that which meets no concurrence of the mind offensive to its judgment? Is not that which is offensive to the judgment, a concern which excites opposition? Is not opposition an antagonism which provokes controversy, and jeopardizes the good opinion which the second circle desires to retain? Have minds no partialities to gratify? Have they no predilections, no will concerning views which they entertain? Have they no creed, political or religious, which they wish to support? And can a mind, which is desirous for the prevalence of any opinion, be impartial in an investigation of new discoveries, which conflict with its opinions? The history of mind will answer these questions. We see partialities for all views, all opinions, all creeds, however absurd or weak. The mind must judge according to its judgment. It can only exercise the wisdom it possesses. It can not exercise a judgment not its own. It can not act without a judgment. Consequently, it must act as its judgment decides, or not act as reason forbids. When mind acts as its judgment decides, who is the judge? Who is the judge of right and wrong? The one who judges—the mind of the individual who acts? He is made judge of his own acts. He is made the arbiter of his own wrongs. He is constituted the sovereign of his own works. He presides as monarch of his own mind. He will rule as monarchs rule. He will do his own will. If he will to do another's will, it is his own will. He wills right and wrong by the standard of his own judgment. No mind must interfere with his inalienable prerogatives. He is sole master of his own will and pleasure. He is not willing to counsel with others about his own estate. He fears selfishness. He knows his own rule of action, and supposes others have adopted the same rule. Hence, he distrusts his brother. Re imagines he is as weak and wicked as himself. He judges his brother by himself. He knows no better rule. Not knowing a better rule, he will not esteem or regard his volunteer advice. He is suspicious. No mind that is suspicious can render a just judgment. He wills good, but he is misguided by his own suspicions. He ventures no hazard of his own wisdom.
Thus is the wisdom of others disregarded. Thus are the new developments of spirits subjected to embarrassments. Minds have established counterfeit manifestations. They have mocked what they, had not the wisdom to imitate. They will not mock when they enter this sphere. They will not laugh when they see what wisdom scans in their hearts. Neither will those who have joined them in their mockery. It is not for trifling with us that they must give an account. It is not spirits who are injured by their works. It is not wisdom that suffers by their deception. But it is mind in need. It is mind in the rudimental sphere. It is mind for whom God has a care. It is mind for whom spirits have a care. It is mind for whom mind should have a care. We will say, it is mind whom no one has a right to wrong. It is wronged when deceived. It is deceived when mind satisfies mind, that the manifestations made by spirits, originate with mind in the body. It is deceived by its own rule of judgment. Its own rule of judgment is selfishness. By its own selfishness, by its own blindness, by its own wretchedness, it seeks to justify its work of making, or continuing, the blindness and wretchedness of others. It seeks more. It seeks to monopolize the fame of some extraordinary discovery. It seeks to make mind believe that its discovery is wonderful. It is wonderful. It is wonderful that a fool would not have discovered as much as such minds have done. But there is one thing they have not discovered, yea, more. They have not discovered, that they will be able to prevent manifestations. They have not discovered that their discovery has been of the least practical benefit to mankind. They have not discovered that every body is dishonest, nor every mind base, because they would so teach with regard to mediums. They have not discovered that what makes one sound must necessarily be the cause of all other sounds which have been made. They have not discovered that toes can make sounds at a distance, nor yet make a great number at the same instant, nor yet make them so loud and so varied, as to challenge the mock imitation of sounds to produce an appropriate solution of manifestations, which have been made in the presence of many thousands. They have not discovered that toejoints have had any thing to do in making sounds with mediums. They have not discovered that they are supremely wise in their attacks upon those who are as worthy as themselves. They have not discovered that when men undertake to trade in reputation, to overthrow what they have not the sagacity to discover and detect as a fraud, they are trading—on borrowed capital— trading an worth which they may envy but can not reach—trading on ground which they will not soon own—trading on principles which show a weakness of the trade—trading on morals that might elevate the mind that would rain mind. They have not discovered that when assumptions without facts are made, it is because there are no facts to justify; that when there are no facts to justify, it is cowardly to insist on assumption; yea, worse than cowardly, it is malignant. They have not discovered that when mind is spendthrift, it is not confined to dollars and cents; when it is bankrupt, it is not without hope of recovery; when it is wretched, it is not without works to enlist sympathy; when it is corrupt, it is not without devices to conceal itself. They have not discovered that when mischief is denied, it ties often concealed; that when the thief cries thief, the thief joins in the pursuit; that when calumny answers for argument, fools hate knowledge; that when fools hate knowledge, wrong is more satisfactory than right; that when a mind is in misery, it loves company, and that when the spirit manifestations are overthrown, those who accomplish it will not need to beg for society. They have not learned that when a mind resorts to detraction, it can have no good will to mind; that when no good will to mind is cherished, it may have a bad mind, and when a bad mind puts forth its energies, it may have other objects than the good of mini; it may have other motives than those which are held forth; it may have a double motive, and both be corrupt; it may have a double motive and not wish to expose but one of them; it may have a double motive, and wish to conceal both; or it may wish to conceal what motive really exists, by contriving a double motive to hide the real one. They have not discovered what they will be very likely to discover, when they undertake to disprove that spirits make sounds, that they have undertaken what they never can accomplish; because, how can a finite mind, associated with a few brief years, show what has not been done in its absence? How can mind, surveying only an atom, show what has not had a being beyond the wisdom of itself—beyond its means of information? How can a mind show what another mind knows is true to be false? How can one mind show that sounds made by spirits have not been made in the presence of another? Has such mind any well-supported claims to omnipresence, or omniscience, that it should attempt to show that what others have seen or heard in its absence, are wrongs which it has the power and wisdom to detect and expose? Who will venture upon the assumption of any mind, who wishes to be distinguished as the benefactor of man, simply because he would be what he is not, the expositor of other minds, not in harmony with his own?
We see what opposers do not see. We see that what they intended for the overthrow of spirit manifestations will soon overthrow what they most dread—works which to repeat would disgrace this volume. We will say, works which should disgrace only those who are guilty. But the innocent must sometimes be punished for the company they keep. The innocent! Who are they? They who crucify, or they who shout crucify him? Neither. They are they who do not join in the crucifixion. They are they who mind the injunction, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." They neither write nor sign defamatory libels. They will not write nor sign what has no justification in fact, nor even the justification of principle in appearance. They are they who write the truth, and who scorn not to uphold it in the face of a deriding generation. They are they who write and publish what has been done—the facts as they are—regardless of consequences to themselves. They are they who write as mind interested in mind should write for their instruction. They are not those who write the idle gossip of vulgar minds, nursed in the arms of suspicion, to suit the corrupt ear of misguided judgment. They are not those who make their sheets of wet blankets, which carry scandal on their face to the four quarters of the earth. They are not those who listen to every report which minds embittered by disappointment or neglect, by wrong or wretchedness, are pleased to circulate. They are not those who assail what they have not the courage to face. They are not those who wrangle about what they may find among their own wrongs. They are not those who consider common scandal of reputation a license to defame a worthy mind. They are not those who write and preach against mind without reforming mind, or mind reforming them. They are not those who write, and preach, or publish, what they have no substantial evidence to justify. No: nor are they those who publish what they dare not admit a refutation of. We see who writes, who preaches, and who publishes that which is known to be untrue. We see what will cure the evil. We will change what writes wrong with minds into right. We will write the remedy. When minds wrangle about individual reputation, let only such minds as are interested in the war support the war, and let minds, which have no relish for war, abandon the camp, and go to the homes of widows and orphans, donating the patronage which has aided wrong to the support of her and her little ones. It is not right to aid in support of evil. If it be not right, it is wrong. If it be wrong, no mind, not in harmony, with wrong, can justify the act of supporting wrong. When wrong is discouraged, it will be checked in proportion to the discouragement. Even a slight discouragement often acts with great power. We see what will be done. We see minds, knowing the truth of spirit-communications, will soon take the control of minds who have not the independence or honesty to write and publish the truth to the world. They will not suffer the cause of heaven to be derided and its votaries calumniated, without administering a rebuke that will work a reform. We see what is revolving in minds who have been assailed. We see a purpose. We see that purpose is ripening into maturity, and will ere long be felt where it is needed. We will write what that purpose is. That purpose is to let the selfish wisdom that wrongs to gratify wrong, be its own supporter. We see what and who will be its supporters. And we will write their names. Wisdom in selfishness, and he who loves its reward: They will support. But wisdom in selfishness and its lovers must write for themselves, and write without wisdom of heaven to control. They must have their reward. That reward is poverty. It is a just recompense. It is what corruption deserves, and it is what they most fear and dread.
When circles of mind desire to advance in wisdom, they will be aided by other circles. The first circle does not will as other circles do to advance, so that its advancement is protracted and its progress slow. When it desires to do what is necessary to its advancement, it will not stay where it is, and when it desires to abandon its position, it desires to assume another. As there is no circle lower than the lowest, the change of condition must be upward; it can not be downward. When it is upward, it is progress. When it is upward, it is to a higher circle. But as there is work in all degrees of advancement, and as the first circle loathes industry, so no very rapid advances will ever arise from that condition. It is not wisdom in them to act in reference to their own improvement. In fact, they seem to have only a slight appreciation of the advantages of progress. Their minds do not comprehend the utility of more wisdom. It is not understood. The work is, therefore, neglected. This is as true, in regard to this sphere, as it is in regard to the rudimental. The mind is stupid to reform. It is well satisfied with its own ignorance, or, at least, it is satisfied to do nothing to gain more wisdom.
Such being the condition of the first circle, spirits find their labors controlled with the ignorance of those whom they wish to instruct. They would teach, but spirits will not receive instruction. They will not receive instruction, because they are in a condition which disqualifies them to judge of its advantages. They will remain in that condition, till spirits can overcome the difficulty. They can overcome what will be necessary, but it requires time and labor to do it. They have time, and will labor, devoting it to the good of the needy. But those who devote time and labor to the good of the needy, do not belong to the circle where time and labor are required. They occupy a circle with more developed spirits. The wisdom of a developed circle is not as the wisdom of those whom they instruct. And the instruction imparted is not what all minds in the body consider instruction. It is not learning letters and sounds, without applying what is learned as good requires. But it is wisdom, which spirits teach to spirits. It is a wisdom which advances mind in all spheres. Learning is not wisdom. And we will say, that much which has obtained the name of learning with minds in the body, must be unlearned in this sphere to allow the spirit to progress. We see schools, and books, and learning; and we see that wrong is made more wrong in most of them. In mind unaccustomed to the philosophy of nature and unacquainted with the teachings of wisdom, we see more ignorance of truth, more errors which must be overcome, more evils which must be removed, than minds in the body can overcome. We see whole nations assuming to be enlightened, immersed in the whirlpool of wretchedness. They have schools, books, teachers, and other means of instruction, but the condition of those instructed is wretched, and wretched because wisdom is not imparted to those who are instructed.
We see minds estimating the degrees of blessedness which minds will enjoy in this sphere, by rules which will most assuredly disappoint those who have adopted them. They calculate on degrees of felicity by the rule of degrees in learning. Minds who have shared the advantages of schools and libraries, it is supposed will occupy very elevated circles in this sphere. Such is not the case. We see minds of this description who have shared all the advantages of schools, colleges, and books, occupying the lowest circle of wisdom; while we see minds, uneducated in the schools, colleges, and books of the rudimental sphere, bright and competent teachers of those who had calculated upon occupying a higher circle in the wisdom of the spheres. The wisdom of the spheres is not what concerns as it should the minds of men. They wish to learn, and they do learn both good and evil. The good is well, but the evil is not well, because it, is evil. Such learning must be unlearned. It is wrong. Books are wrong. Minds instructed by those books are wrong. This makes correction necessary. But the correction is not of wisdom of men. It is a correction which relieves the possessor of what is an evil to him. It is a correction which seeks the good of the corrected. It is a correction which dispossesses the possessor of his ignorance and errors. By this work of correction the learned mind, in wrong and error, becomes a citizen of a higher circle of wisdom and enjoyment. He receives instruction in wisdom, and that wisdom elevates his spirit to a circle of mind of nobler works.
The noblest work of God is mind in harmony with God. To be in harmony with God, is not to be selfish or cruel, but to obey the laws of God. Spirits of the first circle are not wise. They are not good in works of wisdom. They are evil to others. Though good as spirits, being susceptible of wisdom as it may be imparted to them, yet they see not what nature and affinity require to render them more perfect and good to the children of need. The works of the first circle are not in harmony with nature. They are not in harmony with God, but are opposed to the wisdom of God. Not till they are made harmonious, can they be wise. Not till they learn the wisdom of God, and obey it, can they partake of the blessedness it bestows. Not till they realize the misfortune of their condition, will they learn their condition, nor will they learn that condition without other's aid to reveal a better. We see spirits who were learned in the wisdom of men without the wisdom of even the second circle. They were wise with minds in the body, but their wisdom avails nothing but poverty. It will never avail more. It is what makes them poor in spirit. It gives no wisdom to others, because it has none to impart. Lean and hungry, it enters the first circle, there to do what should have been done in the body—work for other's good.
The condition of the second circle is not what has been supposed. It is not wise but sympathetic. It is not willful, but fearful. It is not obstinate, but condescending. It is not base, but flattering. It is not courageous, but cowardly. It is not true, but cunning. We wilt not write what it is, but what it is not. It is not honest. It is as honest as it supposes others to be. It is what others are by its own rules. Yet what some minds are, it is not. This circle will not work without some selfish motive. It works for its own, not other's good. It is not willing to do good without other motives than the need of sufferers. Not content with the applause of minds like itself, it has reared its heaven for its friends, and its hell for its enemies. Not satisfied with the wages it has received, it has allotted to itself a world it will not realize, without a change in the motives which govern all its works. We see who will be disappointed. They who work without a motive to do good to the needy. They will not realize what they expect, till a change shall come over their spirits. This change must be realized, or they will be without what they expect.
When minds are interested in others' good, without other motives than to relieve the needy, to do them good, to make them happy, we will say, they see the third circle. They are in the third circle. They are wise, and wise because good. We see minds of this circle in the rudimental sphere, butt they are not numerous. They are wise in doing unto others, as they would have others do unto them, in the day of need and adversity. The third circle is the most advanced of any spirits in the body, unless it be some mediums. They who write what is opposed to their own wisdom, and practice what they write, thereby correcting their errors, are above the third circle; because no mind which wills what is good for others, wills to correct what is defective in itself, in the third circle. They do not see their own, defects, consequently do not correct them. They will others good according to their wisdom of doing good. They desire to do what they require of others, but they do not require of others what is important to their progress. They are content to let them do as they will, and only ask others to let them do the same. Doing unto others as they would have others do unto them, is aiding others as they would be aided. But we see they would not be aided, only as their wisdom approves, and their wisdom approves of what is congenial with their progress. Their wisdom does not approve of wisdom above itself. It does not approve or doing good only in its own prescribed form. Indeed, it does not see that much good might be done in what it regards as evil. There are many things which it rejects as evil which are good and do good. Rejecting these things which are good and do good, it restricts its means of doing good, by its imperfect rules of right and wrong. It does unto others as it would have others do to it, but it would not have others disturb its creed or its practice, its form of worship or its means of improvement. As it would not have others molest even its own wrongs, so it would not molest the wrongs of others. It does as it would be done unto, but it would not be done unto, as the progress of the mind in wisdom and righteousness requires. The rule is well, but the wrong by which wrong is sustained and encouraged, is not well. And yet, the third circle verily believe that they are what the rule requires. They will only good to others; but mistaking what is good to others, and also themselves, they withhold the good required. They not only withhold the needed good; but, when they withhold, they neglect what nature and religion require. There are very few who obey what others' good demands. They write with eyes on others' good, but they write not without some work of folly to deceive, some doctrine or creed to favor, some design to make others receive that doctrine or creed; as though the wisdom of God was in human commandments.; as though the soul's progress would only be gained by subscribing to dogmas of human invention; as though eternal interests were suspended on the wisdom of men; and as though others' good demanded a compliance with the requirements of commandments originating in the darkness of a misguided mind. We see who will not write evil that others' good may be promoted. We see who will not endorse wrong, or do wrong, because they are not deceived concerning what is good. We see who will not write what the wisdom of higher circles forbids, and we see that they will do unto others as the wisdom of those circles prescribes. They will not do to others what they wish others to do to them, without doing them good. The third circle does much good; it does some evil. When it does what is good to others, it is wise, but when it works its own errors into the minds of others, because it would have those errors itself, it does evil.
We see minds engaged in doing what they suppose is good to others, and, with the purest motives, doing a work which is a curse to those who receive it. They do by them as they would that others should do to them, and yet a grievous wrong—a serious evil—is done to them. The rule will permit a Musselman to do evil by indoctrinating others into his faith, and his faith will practically enslave all Christendom. So, of the pagan; and so, of all sects and parties of men. They do what seems good to themselves, and what would seem right to be done to them in an exchange of conditions. But the wisdom of heaven directs not the work. Wrong is inflicted by wrong on others, no good being done.
The fourth circle not only does good as they would have others do to them, but they are wise with the wisdom of heaven. They are wise in the wisdom of God. They see what is good, and they see what will do good. Never do they work wrong to others. They can not wrong a work of God. They can not, because they have no will to do wrong. It is their will to do right, and right is not wrong. Right is not works of wrong. Right is works of good. Right is what makes others happy. Truth is with wisdom. Truth and wisdom agree. They work with this circle. They influence minds of this circle to do good. They write as with coals of love the language of nature on the hearts of others. They write with the pen of inspiration the words of celestial beings. They write what other circles need to make them wise unto salvation from wrong and error. They write without seeking to please. They write to instruct, to improve, to advance minds in the knowledge and practice of holiness. They do not fear righteousness. They do not fear good. They do not write to wrong mind, neither are they slaves to write the wrongs of others for their selfish gratification. They write what others of lower circles oppose, as well as what they justify. For this reason lower circles sometimes call them evil. They call them evil because they contradict their wisdom of right, and wrong. They call them evil, because they oppose the wrong in those they wish to improve. The wisdom and truth which they impart, seem unwise and wrong to them. They are wrong to them, but right to this circle. They are right to this circle, because they are good and do good.
This circle sees good even in what other circles call evil. They see what wisdom allows them to see. They see what good, circles of minds may enjoy by discipline and correction. They see that God works by means. They see that means are evil when disconnected with works of reform—evil when evil only is attained—good when good is the result. They see other circles surveying only the means which God employs to correct wrong, looking not at the good resulting from them. They see what wisdom sees, that all means are good and not evil, which produce good to those who are exercised by them. They see means employed by God which are called great evils by minds uninstructed in wisdom; but when the means are considered in relation to the effects which are wrought, the good produced, they wilt not be called evil. They see that rewards for vice and wrong, are evil—no good or enjoyment is in them; but they see God intends good and actually produces good—good even to those who are subject to the evils inflicted. Hence, wisdom justifies the work. It justifies the means, because the means are true to the good of those to whom they are applied. They are true to their progress and happiness. The evils are good, when considered as means to the attainment of happiness. The evils are not evils, when seen in this relation. They will be seen in this relation, when spirits ascend to the fourth circle of wisdom. They will be seen in this relation, when minds are instructed by spirits of this circle. They will see harmony in all God's works. They will see what will do them good. They will see what will make them more happy, more wise, more charitable, more humane, less vindictive, less oppressive, less wretched, and which will control them with wisdom in works of wisdom, so that God will work out his wisdom in them for the good of others.
The condition of the fifth circle is wisdom in a very great degree. This circle is not analogous to any thing in the rudimental sphere. Hence it is impossible to present to the inhabitants of the body any tangible idea of the wisdom and felicity of this circle. It can only be imagined by comparing and calculating the advances which are made from one circle to another by the ascending spirit. We shall not dwell on this circle for the purpose of defining to the human understanding what is undefinable in its present condition. Indeed, we know that much which is written in this book will be exceptionable to some minds from this very consideration. We see other minds, however, who will appreciate and profit by it; and for them our labors are more especially intended. But the time is not very far distant when these pages will be welcome to most minds in the body. We see a work begun which no human arm or voice can arrest. Human destiny is now measurably in oar hands, under God. The voice of one crying in the wilderness may well be repeated. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make a highway in the desert of earth, over which the unclean shall not pass, but a way in which a mind, though ignorant, may be instructed without money and without price. We see vices where the messengers of truth will work to cleanse the guilty from their stains in the crystal stream of the holy city of this circle. We see wrongs upon wrongs which need the washing of regeneration to make the possessor white, in the limpid current of infinite wisdom. We see wretchedness upon wretchedness in communities of minds in the body which no human effort can allay. This wretchedness ministering spirits from heaven propose to overcome. They will not fail nor be discouraged, until they have established justice in mercy in all the earth, and the weary shall have found rest and peace in the knowledge of the truth.
We are witnesses of the sixth circle of the second sphere. We write as we understand in our degree of wisdom the wisdom of God. We write what is wisdom in the measure that we have received it. We write what will be truth to minds when they reach this circle. We will say, it is truth to spirits even now; but minds unacquainted with the development of wisdom pertaining to this circle will not readily recognize it. We have no motive but the good of others to subserve, and we have no recompense but such as attends the performance of duties in harmony with the laws of God in nature. We shall not therefore be accused of selfish considerations in our endeavors to lift the burdens of humanity, and wash away the ills of human life. Whatever the reader may think of the origin of this book, whether or not it may be ascribed, as we see it will, by the ignorant and the envious, the misguided and the wretched, to the hand which we control, such wisdom will not correct what we intend for good, neither will fanatical opposition or secret enmity overcome the voice we proclaim in the ears of a sinful generation. This medium will be sustained by the wisdom of heaven, and no mind on earth will ever be able to gain a contradiction of what we have written, from the spirits of this sphere. We say, no medium in the body will ever be able, under the guidance and control of spirits, to aid in any degree in the overthrow of the facts we have disclosed. They will stand when creeds and professions shall be numbered among the things which were, but are not.
We see who will object, who will criticise, who will condemn, and who will justify. The first circle of mind will condemn. The second circle will object. The third circle will criticise, and the fourth circle will approve. This will allow of no abatement. It will not be denied, when spirits in the body reach the wisdom in this sphere. It will not be denied without contradicting the Bible, and the law which governed the inspiration of that Book of books. The mediums were then, as now, inspired by spirits to write as this book is written. here never was any more reliable medium of communication between the angels and earth's inhabitants, than some which we now employ for the good of mind. There is no more reliance to be placed in the inspiration of other books of a former age, than what may be safely reposed in the words of this and other books of the present age, originating from this sphere. Neither can minds show how a communication could ever be made from this sphere to the rudimental, without the same condition of mediums which we have chosen, and prepared to deliver our messages to the world. No other method was ever employed in any age of the world, and no book is entitled to the credit of inspiration, which has been given to men in any other way. No book is written worthy of heavenly wisdom, unless written, as the books of this age are written, by the aid of spirits. We mean the books which are written by the aid of mediums, having our aid to control, as we wish, the whole subject. No work which has been done in one age by spirits, prevents the same work from being done in another age. What has been done may be done again. When all conditions are the same, the same inspiration may be expected. When conditions of mind require a new development, a new development of wisdom may be expected. When minds write by wisdom from heaven, it is doing what has been done. When communications written by aid of spirits appear, they will not conflict with the eternal law by which such communications are made, neither will such communications wrangle with each other. All nature is harmony. All spirits are harmonious, in their varied circles, as one star is harmonious with other stars, though differing in glory. What ever emanates from a peculiar circle, must agree with the wisdom of that circle. As all conditions are not embraced in one circle, so the varieties of developed wisdom indicated by the communications, are indexes of the earthly circles to which the spirits write. We have not written this book in the wisdom of the sixth circle, but in the wisdom of the fourth. The wisdom of the fourth circle is what is best adapted to the progressive advancement of minds in the body. We see what is best, and we see that progress, step by step, is the only way to improve minds, in the condition which this book will find them. We see wisdom in greater glory than we can make minds, in the rudimental sphere, understand. We see a circle where no mind in the body can approach, without long application to study the works of God. We see a world where no unkindness can exist to the least of God's works. We see a wisdom which far outshines what nature reveals to minds in the lesser circles.
Communications, emanating from this circle, will always be adapted to the condition of the minds for whom they are intended. If we were to write for the improvement of the first circle, we would write in the wisdom of the second; if, for the second, in the wisdom of the third; if, for third, in the wisdom of the fourth, because minds must be addressed in such a degree of wisdom as they can appreciate to improve and benefit them. It is not the degree of circles which spirits enjoy, that appears in what they write; but it is a degree above the individual who receives the communication. We write what is next above the mind whom we wish to instruct; and hence the circle, which the receiver occupies, is always indicated by the communication. We mean, it is always manifest by what we write. The apparent incongruities of developed wisdom furnishes a solution for the apparent inharmonies of many communications. The varied conditions of mind addressed, justify the varied communications. It has always been so in all ages of spirit-manifestations. The inspired man says, "Answer a fool according to his folly. Answer not a fool according to his folly." Both statements are equally entitled to credit. Both are just and true. Both are right. One contradicts the other. Neither are wrong. The contradiction is right. It would not be just, or true, or right without it. Each position is the truth only half told. Answer a fool according to his folly, is to take into consideration his condition, and so answer as to instruct him, and make him wiser. Answer not a fool according to his folly, is to answer him not with his own folly, but with a wisdom adapted to his comprehension. To answer according to his own folly, in one sense, would be rendering folly for folly. In like manner, communications received through mediums are sometimes contradictory of other communications addressed to the understandings of other circles of mind. Different circles of mind must be addressed with different modes of instruction; but the difference of phraseology, employed by spirits, is not a contradiction of wisdom, when wisdom is understood. It is simply a different method of teaching what is essential to the progress of mind in the wisdom of reform. We will say, different circles of mind must be taught lessons of wisdom as they can be taught. They can not be taught in a way inconsistent with their understandings. As they will understand words, and sentences differently, they should be addressed differently; and as they are addressed differently, the difference sometimes assumes the character of a contradiction. Hence, spirits must either neglect one class in their communications, or write differently to benefit all classes. If they write differently, so as to instruct all classes, and develope all minds, what is wisdom to one may be esteemed folly by another. But wisdom sees no folly in any communication adapted to the good of those who receive it.
We will write to benefit all. This is the wisdom which controls the subject of these pages. But what will benefit one may not personally instruct another. We see who will be benefited. We see who will not be instructed. The instructor is not instructed by his instruction. The mind who receives instruction is instructed. We write for those who receive, and we see that many will do so. Others will not. Let him who hath an ear, hear what the spirit saith unto him. Let him who hath not an ear to hear our message, understand that we shall not write what will do no good. We will write what conditions require, and as they require wisdom.
In conclusion of this article, we will say, when minds receive and practice the message we have written, when they live and act as we have recommended, they will not esteem our labor in vain, nor will they wrangle about words to no profit. The divisions and subdivisions of minds, the multiplied evils of society in the rudimental condition, need some remedy. The wrongs of nations and individuals, have had no successful antidote, neither will they have, until nature is more fully understood, and her harmonious laws better appreciated. These laws, when observed, will throw a mellow light over the minds of men, and cast away the wrongs of human life. Minds burdened with the cares of selfish ambition will learn the wisdom of united harmony, and the peace of heaven will smile over minds in the contention of bitter strife, when the voice of truth shall be heard and obeyed.
When will that voice be heard and obeyed? Who answers? He who reads what we have written, hears that voice. He who practices what we have written, obeys that voice. Reader, are you willing to do what nature, reason, and revelation, require? Are you willing to cast your crowns of selfishness and folly into the lap of deserving good? Are you willing to stand where wisdom stands, with angels to direct, and lead you onward and upward in the wisdom of God? Have you no works of mind, which need the purifying element to cleanse? Have you nothing to keep you back from duty—no friends whose smiles you love—no works of wrong you wish to cherish? Have you no church or society, no minister or profession, no fear or favor of men, you wish to regard above the eternal things of the spirit-world? Are you not sojourners to a land you have not seen, to a world you are unacquainted with, and are you prepared to venture, and venture you must, on that journey without chart or compass to guide your onward progress? We will say, no mind can regret the time and labor devoted to the study of God and his wisdom, when it enters the portal of this sphere. Too many may regret the time misspent, and the follies pursued, to the injury of their own minds in the wisdom of heaven. It is not with the sluggard as with a man of understanding, in any world we have seen. It is not with the unjust as with the just, the unwise as the wise, the works of wrong as the works of right, in any sphere, whether in the body or out of it. And we know fall well, that what minds lay up on earth of things that perish not, will be a treasure in heaven where moth and rust doth not corrupt, neither will thieves be able to dispossess any one of what they have gained. It is, therefore, important to all minds, in all circles and all spheres, to work out a salvation of their minds from the evils which disturb their progress and shed no glory on their pathway. It is important to young and old, to minds in all conditions, that they neglect not the voice which admonishes in tenderness— all to gain wisdom, and do works which gladden the spirits of earth and heaven; yea, all minds who share in the common tie that links earth and heaven together. We will say, all minds who live where no stream flows but the river that washes the soul with water, which wilt never pollute, but make it clean; with waters which never corrupt but purify, as the soul is immersed in the crystal current of divine benevolence with waters which have neither shore nor bound for they roll in majestic glory their sea of wonders over the mind, as it drinks from the eternal fountain of wisdom in this happy circle of the spheres.
Condition of minds united by affinities is what we mean by marriage. Marriage is an abused custom. It is a ceremony connected with weal or woe to the parties. It is an abused custom when minds wed without the wedding ring of circles harmoniousIy interested in each other's society and welfare. It is a custom dangerous to the welfare of mind. It is dangerous when it binds discordant minds together, to fight and wrangle with each other. It is dangerous when such minds being opposed to each other, are not united in harmony, but by the custom which wars against all enjoyment. It is dangerous because the parties, not having wisdom to see the inharmonies of their minds, become legally united when they are naturally disunited. It is dangerous because most marriages are consummated in violation of the conditions necessary to permanent felicity. Marriage is honorable. Marriage is dishonorable. It is honorable when affinities wed minds, or minds are united by affinities which never oppose each other. It is dishonorable when parties wed upon any other principle. We see more unfortunate results from legalized marriages, than we shall disclose. We see results which might have been obviated, which never could have occurred, if the wisdom of nature had been consulted and obeyed.
When persons are legalized together, bound as slaves are bound by law; when the assistance of mutual feelings is disregarded in the new relation, and covenants are made without attachments only as custom and selfishness ordain, it will never contribute to the enjoyment of such persons. They are not married in a consistent sense. They are without the union which constitutes real marriage in the sight of God; and the connection formed upon such conditions, is no better than other connections, which bear a more wretched name. The conditions are precisely similar, with the exception that one has the approbation of custom and law, while the other has not. We say, it has the approbation of law; but what law? A law of wrong, a law of human folly, not a law of God. It has no sanction in nature, but its binding force is repudiated by the wisdom of eternity. Covenants established upon the eternal harmony of minds united can never be dissolved. They will control the minds thus distinguished, when dust shall mingle with dust, and tears shall flow no more. The minds which are wedded, because united, can never be disunited; even the work of wisdom, which calls one and not the other to this sphere, does not separate those whom God has joined together. The circle of wisdom which unites the two, death has no power to disunite. They are one in the affinity of their minds. This affinity is a law of God in nature. This law of God in nature, nature has no power to violate or disturb. Hence, the sorrowing spirit, in the loneliness of bereavement, is visited, is not separated from the one to whom it was united for eternity. It cannot be alone. Whatever grief or sorrow may be imposed by ignorance, no mind united to another mind by the covenant of mutual resemblance—the natural affinities of corresponding conditions—can ever be destroyed, because nature has not the power to deny itself, and revoke what it has established by its own laws. The eternity of the law which unites, can never disunite. As, therefore, the law of God is eternal, so the union which the law communicates, can never be disturbed while that law remains. What the law does is done by virtue of the law, and what is done by virtue of the law, the law can never repudiate, as repudiation would be a denial of his work and its wisdom.
This wisdom of God in nature, is lamentably overlooked in the arrangements, which control matrimonial alliances. The minds of two discordant spirits must inevitably invite misery, when legalized together. They are unlike. They disagree. They wrong each other. They differ. They wrangle about the difference. We see who is to blame. Minds make minds wretched. The difference is the cause of all the wretchedness. Here lies the foe, the enemy who is to blame, and to blame for the trouble produced. Who will not see what will obviate this evil? Who will not rejoice when it is removed? Have we the power to remove it? If we have not, do others possess the power? If they possess the power, why do they not exercise it? Why do they not prevent the unholy alliances which weave their wretchedness in the relation of husband and wife? Husband and wife! Bitter mockery of both! There is no husband and no wife in such covenants. They are null and void of all the essentials of wisdom and happiness. They are mere covenants which brutes might make— brutes such as minds in worse than brutal ignorance only do make. They are covenants which answer laws of men, but which violate all the laws which control the peace and enjoyment of minds in the body. They are covenants which selfish gratification of brutal appetite makes, and makes to wrong those who make them.
There is no condition in which the human mind can be placed more unenviable, than the wedded life of discordant spirits. They are legally in form joined together, but what is joined without attractive forces, will separate by repulsive influences, unless restrained by the wisdom of public disapprobation and shame. This voice may keep the form in respect, and continue the wretchedness it would ameliorate. It would allay the elements of social discord by strengthening the obligations to regard the unholy alliance by contributing the bonds which make the subject more and more wretched, by saving minds from public disapprobation, to make them wrangle and disgrace themselves and others. We see whole families and neighborhoods agitated with the evils of misguided minds, who have been formally recognized as husband and wife, but who never, for one moment, enjoyed the satisfaction of so sweet a union, so holy and happy life as Teal affinities produce. There are very few real marriages among men and women. There are very few who are husbands and wives, that have assumed to be such in the sight of men. There are very few who live in harmony as harmony is attainable, when minds unite by works of love and pure affection. Their sympathies are estranged, their social feelings are unlike, their wants vary, their circles of mind differ, their wisdom contradicts, their temper and habits are discordant, and their wretchedness must be necessarily mutual.
Minds disturbed by either of the above mentioned causes are not joined together in the sight of heaven. The parties are enemies to the extent of the difference between them. They can not be friends when disturbance occasions misery. They can not be united when the conflict answers conflict. They will not work together as husband and wife should and will do, when united in a circle of fidelity and: wisdom. They are more wretched in works than in unmarried life—a life which God disapproves, which can never make the mind blessed as the union of congenial souls is able to do, which insults the law of God in creation by refusing obedience to its requirements, and contradicts the wisdom of Him who made male and female for the purpose of working out the counsels of his own will—the welfare of children whom he loves. Marriage is dishonored. It is dishonored by married and unmarried. The vow is broken. The law is violated. The covenant is disregarded. The union is not union. The union in form and appearance is disunion and wrong. Have we no remedy? Shall the wrong be continued? Who will rectify it? Who will change the conditions, and establish rules which will remove the evil from earth! Have many who differ about their differences ever contemplated the wisdom of circles where no discord rules, where no wrangles are known, where no inharmonies prevail? Have they ever contrasted their condition with the union which is enjoyed by spirits of this circle of the second sphere? If not, we would say, compare, and receive instruction. The wrangling alliances of many minds on earth are spectacles of wrong which need a remedy. They need a reform. But to reform the wrong we must reform the customs which produce it. We must change the rules which perpetuate the evil. We must change the laws which continue a custom of wrong in society. Indeed, what is custom but law? What is popular opinion but law? What are the forms of marriage but law? What are the conditions by which parties are legalized together but law? Do all these laws guarantee impartial justice to male and female? Have women contemplated the invasion which custom bar, made upon their rights? Are they slaves that they must bow to it? Bow to a custom which denies them the rights exercised by men in forming an acquaintance, and selecting their companions for life? We see a monstrous injustice controlling the legalized forms of matrimony. We see young ladies consenting to an arrangement of marriage, because custom has said a woman's rights are not as man's because wrong has established rules of propriety, and made them slaves to the wrong which forbids the freedom enjoyed by the male, and because she would not violate the rule of propriety, however wrong and oppressive, however unjust and cruel, to wed a man whose affinities would never be disturbed by differences, which, under other circumstances, would be almost sure not to follow. To overcome the evil of a wrong custom, requires what those who have encouraged and sustained it do not possess—a work of authority, which, when understood, will be respected and obeyed, thereby reforming the abuses which endanger the social enjoyments of human life. Not till a reform takes place in the custom by which marriage contracts are controlled, will minds unite in the order of nature. Not till the rights of one party shall be regarded as the rights of the other, will marriage be a union of minds, and the wrongs of society be corrected. Not till wisdom controls the contracting parties so as to make contracts with regard to the conditions of mutual attachments, will men be husbands, or women wives. They may wed whom they will, but the wedding can not make dissimilar conditions similar. It can not harmonize what is inharmonious. It can not produce what should be produced. It can not make wrong right, nor will it make right wrong. What is truly disunited can not be united by any form of marriage, and when forms of marriage are untrue to the real condition of the parties, they are hypocritical, deceptive, base, vile, and unworthy of righteous submission or support. They are professions of what is not a reality. Under such circumstances, many evils are continued from generation to generation. The inharmony of two minds, professionally and legally united, is fruitful of more mischief and wrong than most minds will at first perceive. The most selfish work is not more wretched. Can any thing be more wretched than the wrangles which must ensue between parties, wedded only in the form of legal marriage? And how is this evil to be rectified? The custom which prevails between parties, extending to one rights which are denied to the other, serves only to continue the wrong. The wrong can not be overcome without a change in the custom, and the custom can not be changed without a change in the minds of those who foster it. Their minds can not be changed without attacking the ignorance on which it rests, and exposing the folly of its continuance; and in turn this will meet with opposition, as all reforms have done.
We have seen disputes and quarrels about differences, but we have never seen harmony promoted by contention, nor good come from the wrangles of social discord. The works of mind at variance will not yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness, nor will contention produce order and sympathy. Is it not wiser, then, that minds who would wed by law should wed by affinity than wed with differences? And if it be wiser, that affinities should be consulted, ought not equal freedom to be tolerated in the custom upon which such contracts are matured? Ought not the custom to be abolished which makes it disgraceful for a lady to exercise the rights of courtship enjoyed by the other sex? Ought any one to exercise control denied to another, in matters where both are equally interested? We see the evils which grow out of the prevailing custom. We see no remedy without an abandonment of that custom, because minds can not form the alliances most agreeable to their affinities, without contradicting the law which custom has established. We would not recommend an indiscriminate intercourse of the sexes, neither would we approve of marriage contrary to the natural affinities, which are indispensably requisite to domestic tranquillity. We will not recommend a change of custom, which protects the rights and privileges enjoyed in common by all. It is the inequality of minds, and the abridged rights of females that deserve attention. When minds prefer to wed, these mutual interests should be understood. It is folly on the part of the man to exact what will be a source of disturbance and vexation to him. Far better that his wishes to wed one whose affinities were dissimilar, should meet with a thousand disappointments, than to unite with one in legal marriage, because custom has deprived her of a companion agreeing with her affections. Far better that she should be allowed to consult her own like sand dislikes, unbiased by constraint of arbitrary rules, than wed one unlike herself. Such wedding would impair their bliss, if not make them both wretched for life in the body.
We will write what we will. We will not write all we see. But we will write that marriage is abused, the law of God is violated, and the peace of parties united in legal covenants, wasted by the false and unwholesome customs and practices, which govern the matrimonial connection. We say what is true, that until these customs and practices become changed, so that equal rights shall not be interrupted by false delicacy, or the fear of offended rules of propriety, the relation of husband and wife will be enjoyed by only a small number of those who may assume that character. They can not often wed without violating custom, as they should wed. They can not seek their likes and avoid their dislikes, because custom has fixed a limit to propriety in making marriage contracts—the most important of all contracts—while it admits of perfect freedom of opinion on all other questions of policy and property. Strange as it may seem, the most important of all contracts must be hampered and fettered with rules, which would be deemed an outrage to reason to propose, in regard to other matters of interest. We will say, when the importance of consulting mutual affinities shall be appreciated, the customs which control unhappy marriages will be disregarded, and minds will be more likely to live and enjoy each other's society in such relation, than what they now do. They will live and act more in union, more in peace, more in love, and the reward of wisdom wilt not be withheld from them.
There are some minds who wish counsel of spirits, but when that counsel is given, we see them neglecting it. We see what will obviate the difficulty. The person who desires a communication from spirits, not unfrequently supposes, that he is at liberty to consult us on subjects which are beyond our means of information. Though we are spirits—spirits who have once inhabited a body on earth—yet we are not infinite in knowledge and wisdom. The great mistake of minds in the rudimental sphere, seems to be, that they very generally assume the idea, that spirits must necessarily know every thing, or they are not spirits. This mistaken notion has involved much perplexity, and sometimes disgusted without convincing inquirers. The inquirer wishes to know what the responding spirit does not know. He wishes to know what the spirit sees it is improper for him to know—improper because what is proper in certain relations and conditions is improper in different relations and conditions—improper because spirits see what will do good and what will do harm—improper because what is good and true is not always good and true to the welfare of him who seeks a knowledge of it—improper because truth and goodness consist in the wise adaptation of things to conditions, so that no discord shall interrupt the harmony of social enjoyment.
Some few minds are so far developed that spirits may consistently reveal to them many facts, which would be unwholesome to the good of others. This difference of minds in the body may be considered as a general rule, governing all wise spirits of this sphere in making their disclosures of things known unto them. When a mind is prepared by developed wisdom to receive, it will be given and not withheld. When it is unprepared, as it often and generally is, to receive a full and satisfactory response to all inquiries, the facts will be where we know is best for the inquirer and others. Some minds seek information. Some seek to test our information. Some seek to cavil and dispute. Some seek to injure the cause of spirit communications. Others seek to find what is true. We see who will be satisfied, and who will be dissatisfied. Indeed to satisfy all the conflicting interests and desires of minds, would be as impossible as it would be injudicious. How can a spirit impart a knowledge of facts it does not possess? How can a spirit tell what it does not know? How can a spirit tell what it does know, when it sees that such knowledge will be perverted to the injury of the individual receiving it, or the disadvantage of others interested but ignorant of the disclosures sought to be obtained? Minds seek all knowledge. They seek sometimes what is wrong—wrong because a revealment would injure others—wrong because they have no right to seek the injury of others, but their good; and wrong because the seeker would not be benefited, but injured with the injured brother or sister. Therefore, wisdom withholds a knowledge of the facts sought. Minds are differently balanced. Persons wish a knowledge of subjects beyond their capacity of comprehension. They seek to run before they can walk. They covet information on abstruse science before they have learned the primary elements of instruction. To gratify what they seek to obtain, would be impossible. It would be impossible because they would be able to receive only as they are prepared by wisdom to receive. It would be impossible, because law forbids that mind should advance otherwise than by progressive development. The contrary course would disturb the balance of reason, and overwhelm the judgment in confusion. Indeed, insanity, madness, terror, and dismay, would most assuredly accompany such violation of nature's laws. With spirits it is greater evidence of wisdom to withhold than to impart, when the condition of the inquirer forbids it. We see what he needs, and be must be content with what we give, and as we give it. But he is not. He murmurs and complains because his wish is not gratified. He faults spirits because the ignorance of his own condition leads him to expect whatever he may ask. This is a very common thing. We see what will obviate the objection. Is be a man who believes in God? If so, will he demand of God what he demands of us? Will God answer? Let him test the rule he has established for our government in giving or withholding facts, by appealing to Him who knows all things, and who is never absent from him. Let him tell God he is not a spirit; because, if he were, he could and would answer so as to remove all his doubts. Let him ask God who hears, how old he is, how many children, or wives he has had, how many uncles and aunts, and what are their ages, names and residences, and will he answer? Why not? He is present. Tell us why, and when ye tell us why, you will have the why of our answer to your objection.
Is he a believer in the Bible? If so, will he find any record of such inquiries, or any responses involving such inquiries? Why not? If prophets and men inspired by spirits were what they professed to be, why did not men and women seek art answer to like interrogatories, in order to test the spirits? Where are the tests? Where are the answers in that Book of books? If it be canonical because of the omission, then why not say the same of this book? If it were wrong to answer then such questions, why not now? If it were right, why were they not recorded? If spirits who then communicated were justifiable in withholding, why may they not be now? If they were not justifiable, as minds say of spirits in this age, then they were unjust; and if they were unjust, who has confidence in their communications? When these questions shall be settled, our minds will be understood, and our wisdom appreciated.
Rules which answer for one age, will answer for all ages. Faults which have been charged upon us, because we have not attempted to give what the seeker has demanded, may be charged upon others whose relation is received as inspiration. And it should not be rejected on that account. Whatever minds may desire, as tests of our veracity, consistent with the progress of mind and the good of the seeker, will be cheerfully given, if within the limits of our information. But improper and idle curiosity will not be gratified. We see who wishes what is proper, and who wishes what is not proper. We shall gratify the former, but not the latter. The latter will vilify, but he cannot injure us. He will mock and deride, but we shall not return the mock or the derision. He will, abuse and falsify the truth, but the truth, is unharmed. He will speak evil of spirits, but spirits will not speak evil of him. He will wrangle, about words, which spirits choose to express their minds, but he will not be gratified with his wrangling. He will not be satisfied with his abuse of spirits, or the words they have used. He will be dissatisfied with all he does to oppose the truth. There is not a mind in the body who is satisfied, who is not dissatisfied, with the malignity that it has indulged against what we have revealed. It is a war against itself. The fighting is all in its own mind. The sin is there, and where the sin is, there is the reward. Where the evil is, there is the misery. Where the plague rests, there is the fear, the anxiety, the distrust, the evil, that makes wretched those who cherish it. Who suffers, then? Who perishes for the bread of life? Who starves himself by refusing what will satisfy? He who receives what will satisfy, or he who rejects? Is rejection of things adapted to the soul's enjoyment a condition essential to happiness? Is the subject of spirit developments pregnant with unhappiness? Is what we make known a source of pain? When we bring to light the wisdom of heaven, when we chase away the gloom of the grave, when we unfold the conditions of immortal spirits, and reveal the blessedness of a land to which humanity must come, are we not doing as we would that others should do unto us? And yet our mission is faulted, our tidings discredited, and our revealments disputed. But who suffers? Will minds traveling onward to a country, blame guides who wish to cheer their pilgrimage, because they volunteer to aid them on their way? Have we not come as guides to wisdom, as guides to harmony and peace, as messengers who seek to do what human hands have failed to do—elevate and reconcile the world to God and one another? Are we sinned against? Is it he who sins that suffers? or is it not? Ye who sin must know. Ye who suffer must understand. We would bless, but ye revile. We would comfort, but ye rebuke. We would sweeten the cup of affliction, but ye would lacerate the wounded spirit. We would rob death of its sting, but ye would have death shrouded in darkness and despair. We would inspire minds with the wisdom of heaven, but ye would have the wisdom of your own ignorance. We would infuse the soul with gladness, but ye would reject the proffered blessing. We would cement all minds in union, but ye would fight against our endeavors. We would banish sin and sorrow, but ye would drive us from our efforts. We would emancipate the slave in chains of ignorance and servitude, but ye would not be made free. We would do you good, but ye would not accept it. We would not do evil, therefore ye oppose our message, and reject our counsel. We would not do wrong, therefore our good is evil spoken of. So, are works of angels disregarded, and so minds are wronged who need the salvation we bring. So, is wisdom of spirits derided, but the wisdom of spirits does not suffer.
The sin against spirits is a sin against the good of man. It is a sin unto death. It is a sin for which mind should not pray. It is a sin which reveals the hate of the soul—a hate of things holy and divine. It is a sin that condemns the wants of mind to woe and despair. It is a sin which will curse the possessor—curse him while the sin remains—curse him till repentance overcomes the evil, and the knowledge of spirits shall be received and obeyed. It is a sin which we have come to remove, but a corrupt mind loathes the spirit's aid. It is a sin popular among men, as it is unpopular among the wise. It is a sin which other ages have beheld. It is a sin that mocked the message of Jesus, derided him, and put him to death. It is a sin against the spirit that inspired him; for his message is ours—to do good for evil, that the evil may be overcome. It will be overcome. It will not be suffered to remain. No human arm can arrest the progress of the truth. It will be opposed, as all truth has been opposed, but the opposition will not control what it did in other days. It will vanish like darkness before the light of the rising sun. It will disappear like rain on the thirsty ground. It will sink like a broken barge to rise no more. The spirit of the Lord hath declared it. The spirit of the Lord will declare it in the face of its enemies. They shall hear what the spirit saith unto them. They shall learn the evil of their ways, and turn unto God. They shall not triumph over the people of the Most High. They shall not sin and suffer without an arm which shall open the door of wisdom, and save them from the delusion that destroys. They shall go up to, the house of God in company, and take sweet counsel together. They shall not divide the Lord's heritage, nor shall the divisions continue which feuds and schisms have made among the members of a common family. They shall learn the wisdom of angels, and unlearn the wrongs which they have cherished. But when? When the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters do the sea. When the golden day of wisdom shall smile on the wilderness, and streams of light shall break forth in the desert. When the wonders of God shall be revealed, and all nations shall adore him in glory and praise. When the lying vanities of the world shall perish in the blaze of light reflected from heaven. When spirits shall cease to manifest their presence, because their presence will not be required to change the wrongs of darkness, and fill a world of sorrow with waters of salvation from the fountain of eternal wisdom.
When the minds of men sin against spirits, they sin against themselves. All sin is against those who are guilty. No mind can sin unless the sin be against himself. Even when his conduct injures others, the injury falls upon himself also. The sin is the evil he meditates. When he meditates evil toward others, he draws the evil to his own soul. That evil is a curse. He can not be happy until it is removed. No mind can be happy that covets evil for his brother. Evil does not afford happiness.
Evil affords misery; and he who pursues evil, pursues misery. He pursues what will wrong himself. Evil is wrong. When man contemplates injury, evil, or wrong, he brings the injury, evil, or wrong into his own possession. It is his. He makes it his own. The injured mind is wronged, the man is a partaker of his own evil. The mind must have what it wants. If it want an evil to itself, or an evil to another, it is, nevertheless, an evil; and as certain as it obtains an evil, so certain it is that it obtains a curse; because an evil is a curse, otherwise it would not be an evil. Nothing is a sin which is not an evil. Nothing is an evil which is not a sin, a violation of some law of nature, or of the God of nature. It is evil, because such violation is incompatible with happiness. It is evil, because suffering is induced by it. It is evil because all suffering is produced by a violation of law. It is evil, because no other word will express what we wish to say of sin against spirits.
Evil men are evil, because their works contradict the law by which all mind is governed. Their works do not harmonize with the wisdom of God. They do not harmonize with their own enjoyment. They do not harmonize with the welfare of others. Hence a law of mind is disturbed; a law which can not be broken without inducing consequences. These consequences are evil, and this evil is the judgment of God, expressed by the operation of the law of mind, which is unhappiness. The law is good. The violation of law is not good. Therefore, he who seeks to violate the law, seeks evil; and when he seeks evil, he gels what be seeks for. This is the reward. When he seeks the evil of others by works of evil, he obtains what he seeks for, because he brings the evil into his own mind. He can not put the evil away, while be seeks to find its commission by works of evil. He must receive what will not wrong another as it will himself. The sin falls with greatest severity on his own mind. Whatever others may suffer from his works of wrong, they suffer not as he who violates the benevolent law of mind. Whatever injury others may sustain by his sin, it is trifling when compared with the misery of the doer of evil. Whatever misery his wickedness may occasion to, others, they suffer as acted upon, and not as actors in the deed. They never can suffer as principals, though they may suffer as subjects of others' wrongs. They suffer only as others suffer who are wronged, but not as mind that wrongs.
When, men sin against spirits, they injure themselves. The spirits of heaven write what will do good to minds in the body. Minds in the body refuse the confidence which their own enjoyment demands. They spurn the message. They throw embarrassments in the way of others. They prevent them from receiving the good need. They resort to tricks and imposture to overthrow the good we would do to others. They sin against us, against the good of minds who require our aid, against themselves, and against God, who wills the enjoyment of his children by obedience to such law as governs the means of human happiness. Spirits are controlled by law, and, being governed by law— a law which makes others' good our own—a law which makes joy on earth joy in heaven—a law which makes happiness as others are made happy—they come to the needy with the wisdom of heaven; but when we would do good, evil is present with us in the works of men, who would overcome what is needful to the wanting, thereby wronging themselves and others.
All evil is sin against spirits, as it is against God, who doeth good. When men disturb the means which produce good, they violate a law which God has established to govern mind. The good is not enjoyed. It is not conferred, because evil controls to prevent. Have minds in the body wronged themselves and others? Have they no account to settle? Have they worked against good? What have they said against spirits? What have they done? Have we injured them? Have they any fears of our injuring them? We wish them to answer, and answer truly. We wish them no harm. Why, then, calumniate our endeavors to do good? Will calumny and falsehood add to enjoyment? Will the unhappiness of mind with which they are associated in the body, contribute to their gratification? Do they really wish that unhappiness to continue? Could demons of pagan idolatry do more than that? And will they continue in the work? Will they still oppose the removal of unhappiness from the earth? Alas! We will discharge our duty, whether men hear or forbear, whether men praise or scorn, whether men aid or resist, and whether men obey or disobey.
When men see what is true, the evil of opposing the views which we reveal will be no more. And when they act consistently with the religion they profess, they will not ridicule what they have not the power to overthrow. The age of ridicule is near its close. Men gain what will contribute to their own shame and confusion by opposing spirits. They gain what they must lose to be happy. No mind will gain what it expects by deriding a manifestation of spirits. We see what it will lose. It will lose what would be of more value than all the wisdom of man affords. Notwithstanding the value of friends and friendship is dear to the soul, it is not a remuneration for the evil of rejecting the will of Heaven. The mind that opposes the truth which we disclose, will not find the happiness we enjoy. The sin is in the mind. The law is there to condemn sin. The evil is there to fight against good. When men oppose the good we reveal, they oppose their own enjoyment; and when they oppose their own enjoyment, who receives the recompense of reward?
When Jesus came with the wisdom of God, he reviled not the reviler of his message. He knew the reward of his opposers. He saw that their opposition was a wrong to themselves. He did not wish to aggravate that wrong, for he came to remove it. He did not wish to curse them with a deeper wrong. He would seek and save. He would bless and curse not. He would love enemies; and love never makes unhappiness. Confidence may be abused; but the wrong is in the abuse. It is not the faithful who scorn righteousness, but the unfaithful. All scorn is evil. It is a sin. Mind violates law when it scorns. No matter who, or what, is scorned, the scorn is sin, unless the thing scorned be an evil. When mind scorns mind, there is no harmony between the two. If there be no harmony, there must be discord; and what is discord but a disturbance of law, a violation of law, which is always accompanied with a reward proportioned to the disturbance? The mind of our circle sees the discord. It sees the unhappiness of mind in the body. It sees no remedy in discord to cure the evil. It sees no wisdom among discordant minds to rectify the wrong. Shall the sin continue? Who responds No? They who receive the wisdom of heaven. Who answers yes? They who scorn the message of spirits. They who sin against spirits. They who preach and they who write against spirits. They who ridicule and scorn the tidings of deliverance. They who sell the good of their souls for the love of worldly gain. They who trade with worldly gain to satisfy an immortal mind. They who cultivate their own ignorance to increase their own enjoyment. They who speculate in the vices and wrongs of others, to compensate the emptiness which exists in their own souls. They who practically deny themselves the happiness we promote by our endeavors to bless the needy, and make them happy.
When men sin against spirits, they sin against the works of Jesus. There can be no veneration for his instruction, no veneration for his example, no veneration for his precepts, when minds wage hostility against revelation from heaven. There may be a profession of veneration, but where is the practice? Where is the witness of sincerity? Does he appear to testify? What is his testimony? Is it contradictory? How so? We will show.
He says, holy men were inspired. By whom? By a holy spirit. This is well. But when we inspire minds, he says, we are deceivers. He testifies that what we say is false. But do we not testify that revelation is true? Yes. Does he say, it is false? No; but he verifies what we say. He states that what we say is false, and what we say is true. Such is one among many inconsistencies, we might name.
The sin is contrived for the purpose of wrong. We see what is the object. It is no new thing for men to attribute spirit manifestations to an evil source. When Jesus came and performed wonders by the aid of a spirit, the unbelieving Jews said of him, He hath a devil. He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. When we manifest wonders, many say of those whom we have chosen to work our wonders, "they have an evil spirit. It is a devil who aids, who inspires." Who inspired the prophets? who inspired Jesus? Who inspired the apostles of Jesus? Who said, they were moved by an evil spirit? The same minds, or circle of minds, who accuse mediums of the new era, and say, they are controlled by evil spirits. When Jesus said, “These signs shall follow them that believe," did he speak as one inspired by a holy spirit? If he spake the truth, was the spirit evil? Was it an evil spirit that inspired him? If not, why say these signs shall not follow them that believe? We see men who profess to be servants of Jesus, disputing his inspired message. We hear them controverting his declaration. We hear them telling their congregations, that the age of signs and wonders from heaven is passes—that Jesus spake what was true then, but not true now, and that the signs which he said should follow them that believe are not true in the present age. It is a singular discovery. No spirit of this sphere understands truth as a changeable thing! We know that what was true when Jesus was on earth is, and always will be true. Hence, we say, that Jesus was inspired, and inspired to speak the truth. He did speak it, and we declare the same to men. It never was, and never will be untrue. And when men shall believe the truth which he taught, the same signs will follow them.
It was not said, "these signs shall follow" those who would not believe. Nor have they. Nor will they. When unbelief overcame the confidence of the faithful in Christ, the signs ceased to accompany the words of life. This was right. Jesus never contemplated a wrong. He knew, as spirits knew, that signs and wonders would convince the unbelieving of the truth he sought to establish. He knew that when error and wrong were sought to be established, no miracle would be wrought to attest their truth. Hence, signs and wonders were designed by spirits to do good by confirming the truth spoken; but spirits never designed what would do harm, and consequently never aided in the establishment of error. When error, therefore, was introduced into the faith of Christians, and they had apostatized from the parity of Jesus and his doctrine, no miracle could have been wrought without establishing the error and wrong which spirits desire to overthrow. This was the reason. No other need be given.
When men believe what Jesus taught, the same signs will follow them, as he has declared in his record. But they never can follow men in unbelief, because that would be a confirmation of their unbelief. Should the question be asked, Who, then, believes the truth which Jesus taught? we answer, those, and those only, who are mediums of the wonders and signs which Jesus performed. They believe. By them spirits will perform such signs and such wanders, as will convince minds of that truth, which is necessary to their happiness. But no medium whom spirits will employ, will witness wrong and error confirmed as truth by us. These signs and wonders have already been wrought, in a qualified manner. The sick have been restored by our aid. The wonder will become a greater wonder, until every miracle which Jesus wrought, shall be wrought by the mediums whom we have chosen; and, we will say, those miracles were many—many more than those which are recorded in the history of his works. His history is very incomplete, and the gospel which he proclaimed, is but imperfectly recorded. What is recorded is true, but many important events are unfortunately omitted. Many things of great interest, to minds in the body, were spoken by him, which are not found in the history of his wonders. He told his followers the truth, but all the truth is not found in the record. So wretched were the minds of men, that they have destroyed the history which conflicted with their wisdom. The spirits have seen this, and they have not worked miracles in consequence.
But now we have resolved to work what wonders may be necessary, because we can control minds as we wish in the wisdom of God. We can do what has been done in other ages. We can do more. We can do less. Without aid from spirits, minds in the body will not work wonders. Without wisdom from heaven, the work of reform must languish. And yet what will reform the world from its wrongs and errors is disputed, and mind sins against itself.
There is a judgment in which the wicked will see what we say is true. There is a day of judgment in which God will rebuke the sins of men. It is a day when the wisdom of God will reveal the wrongs and sins of those who trifle and mock the revelation which is intended for the good of mind. This day of judgment will reveal the secret of all hearts open to the gaze of spirits the evils of sin and error. It will work a reform that will socialize and harmonize the conflicting wrongs of society, and melt the elements of strife and discord in the oven of mortal consumption. This day of judgment is now, and ever. It will not cease till mortal cares and sorrows, sins and wrongs, shall be overcome with the peace and joy, parity and righteousness of wisdom. It will continue till opposition to spirits shall cease, and virtue shall obtain perfect control over all minds. It will continue till minds shall yield in perfect submission to the will of God, and nations shall learn war no more. It will exercise discipline, till reconciliation to God will not need its exercise to correct the wrongs of misguided mind. It will control what is opposed to itself, and establish unity and love in all hearts. Under its wise decision, the petty animosities and sectional jealousies of men, will be consolidated in everlasting brotherhood. Under its wise decision, minds will not write, nor preach, nor publish what is a sin, not only against spirits but themselves.
Then wisdom will be honored, virtue respected, truth vindicated, wrong obliterated, sin withdrawn, tears, misery, pain, and woe, subdued forever. But when shall these things be? When the glory of God shall be revealed from heaven, and when all shall behold that glory and sin no more. Then, and not till then, will our labors end, and the judgment of God triumph in the wisdom of his everlasting greatness and mercy.
Repentance is reform. Reform is progress. Progress is advancement in wisdom. Wisdom is of God. Folly is of men. As wisdom of God prevails over folly, so reform is worked among minds. No mind reforms without wisdom. All reforms are wise, and wise because good. All reforms are not reforms, which bear the name. They are not reforms, because they are not good but evil. No mind is happier for them. Many are more wretched. Such are not reforms, nor their promoters reformers. But what promotes and increases the enjoyment of mind, without disturbing the harmony of a common brotherhood, is repentance. Some reforms are of this character. Others are wrought as selfishness and ignorance desire. When selfishness and folly engage in a work, wisdom and worth do not aid. The reform is what will answer the demands of its promoters. It will answer the objects of those engaged, as their zeal and industry are interested. But who is benefited? Who is injured? We ask who? They who wrong and they who are wronged are injured. It is no reform which does injury. And yet many reforms, as they are called, accomplish only this result. Many reformers are desiring nothing more wise. They seek as they find, and find as they seek. They seek to control with their own wisdom the wisdom of others. Antagonism and bitter controversy arise. Each party seeks to overcome the other. Each employs its own wisdom and means to do what we are writing to undo. It employs means against, and not for, the welfare of each other. Still both claim to be reformers and friends of mankind. Both need a reform, and both must repent to gain the wisdom of God, and the happiness it affords.
The sectarian opposes the sectarian. Each would reform the other. Each would control the other. Each would make the other as himself. Both can not succeed. Both may be disappointed. Both should be disappointed. Neither are wise. Neither are reformers. Reforms do not set mind against mind. Reforms do not disturb the law of progress in wisdom. Reforms do not make minds wretched. Some reformers do more. They make minds miserable. Such reformers as are quarreling with each other, need a reform. They need a repentance which will save them from their sins. They need a repentance that will destroy their unholy warfare against mind and the good of mind. They need a repentance which will teach them a lesson of wisdom. They need a repentance that need not be repented, of. When they learn that lesson, their names will be written in the Lamb's book of life. They will be written on their foreheads, and the world will see the reform and rejoice. Angels will rejoice, and be glad.
But sectarians are hired servants. They must do their master's will, or their master will not be pleased. When their master is not pleased, they lose the smiles of his approbation. They lose the reward he has promised. They lose their expectations of subsistence. They lose the confidence of other slaves. They are not ready for the sacrifice. They are opposed to change. They wish to retain their possessions. They are unwilling to surrender themselves into the hand of God. They know repentance would change their warfare against mind, but they know that war gives them employment.
They know that employment gives them wages. They want the wages. They will not reform to lose the wages. They will not cease to do evil, because evil affords them what they want. They will not reform, because reform hazards the means of temporal subsistence. Under these conditions sects wrong each other. They deny themselves the good which wisdom produces. They deny the doctrine they profess to teach. They deny the doctrine we inspire and write. They profess to regard the doctrine of repentance, but they practically disregard it. They write against sin, against evil, against wrong, against crime, against hatred, against enmity, against contention, and against wrangling, but we see no writing which reforms the writer. He writes to reform, as he calls it, society—to reform others, while others write to reform him. Such is sectarian reform. It never reforms itself. It never reforms others. It may create partizans. It may enlist sympathy. It may enlist soldiers. It may control congregations. It may influence society. But it may not do good. It may not unite mind to mind. It may not relieve the needy. It may not comfort the mourner. It may not do works meet for repentance, nor bless humanity with the wisdom of heaven. Neither will it advance mind in the knowledge of the truth, nor deliver it from the curse it labors to establish, by moral and wise means.
Repentance is an abused word. It has been perverted to mean what sects wish, to gain control. It is not used without implying submission to human authority. It is not understood that minds repent, unless others do as they do. They establish a rule. That rule is what they want. And what they want is the work of others. The work of others must agree with their work. Insomuch as it may differ, it falls short of genuine repentance. They, being the standard, judge of the quality by their own qualities. Such is repentance among sects. It is not repentance with spirits. It is not the repentance of heavenly wisdom. It is not the repentance which Jesus required. But it is a repentance suited to the wish of selfishness. It is a repentance evangelical with the party to whom the subject becomes united. It is party repentance. It is a repentance of the party. It is not of God. It is not of spirits. We disclaim all interest in it. We write to overcome such repentance. It bears no fruit of benevolence to the needy. It rectifies no injury to others. It palliates wrong. It smothers mischief intended. It restores nothing to others, when wrong has been done. Under wise men, restoration was considered as evidence of repentance. When wisdom ruled on earth, the wronged were made whole—the injury was not repeated, but the injured were compensated. Sectarians require most of all, words, confessions, not deeds. They require other things. They ask support. He who supports is considered a penitent, or a convert. He who will not support is considered impenitent, or unconverted. Hence, what is regarded as wise by one party, is not by the other. Parties wish to control parties. Their converts are arrayed against each other. Both demand repentance and submission. Both refuse. The strife rends. The battle rages. The reveille is beat. Recruits are wanted. Bounties are offered. Heaven is proffered. Hell is threatened. Hope decides. The convert is made. But where is his repentance? Whom does be obey? Alas! mind rules wind. Ignorance loves ignorance, and brother hates brother. Repentance is not there. Reform is not there. The blessing of God is not there. But woe is there. Wrong is there. And where wrong and woe exist, there repentance demands a sacrifice—a broken and contrite spirit—a spirit that feels the love of a brother to all, and acts as it feels.
We see congregations of worshipers parties to the evil. We see mind abused, deceived, flattered, with words that disgrace the religion of Jesus. We see whole congregations smiling in the face of such indignity to the cause they profess to love—smiling that smiles may encourage insult to the honest inquirer—smiling that smiles may convert the unconverted to the wretchedness of their idolatry; but smiles and tears without works, are not the repentance we seek to promote. These congregations meet to smile, and be smiled upon. The minister smiles, the people smile; but where are the sympathies for those whose rags forbid the smile? Have they no souls equally precious in the sight of God? Where are the works of reform over which angels smile? Do they rise up, like gushing water, to smile on the faith proclaimed in the name of Jesus? Look at your cities! See your gorgeous mockery of religion! Temples consecrated to religion, but destitute of philanthropy! Altars burning with oblations, but no child of misfortune relieved! Are these the gifts your repentance seeks to bestow? Are these the fruits of Christianity? Let your jails and prisons answer. Let your works answer. Let your consciences answer, and answer faithfully. Let the poor, the needy, the unfortunate, the ignorant, the mourning, and the sorrow-stricken, respond to your answer, and then repentance will be something more than empty words, which lure to wrong and deceive.
Religion calls for reform. Minds call for reform. Angels call for repentance. Nature calls for progress. Wisdom responds to the call. But who objects? No one. Who submits? The works must show. Repentance must show who submits to the call, and who does not. Repentance is not the tear of to-day and the wrong of tomorrow. It is not in smiles of congregated faces upon each other; not in decorations and ornaments of costly magnificence, when hunger and want control victims in the streets, and naked wrong goes unrebuked with others' industry on its back into the congregation of the affluent. It is not in withholding the gospel from the poor, nor in wisdom which excludes them from becoming what religion and humanity require, the participants of what natural justice affords—a mercy denied them in most temples dedicated to God, yet used for the especial benefit of exclusives—minds which, if they have more wisdom, need it less than those who are excluded, because their means forbid entrenchment, as inconsistent with their more pressing wants.
We see what repentance may do. It may reform the mind, so that no child of misfortune shall need the disciplinary correction it now receives. It will work what no other unreformed mind in the body can accomplish. It will unite minds, and minds united will be interested in the prosperity of each other, because they will be alike. It will control the evils and wrongs of ignorance. It will convert ministers and congregations to works of wisdom; and it will work no harm to any one. It will cement minds together in the bond of charity, and sects and parties will be dissolved in the water of affinities, made sweet by the baptism of her children in one common fountain of everlasting life.
Repentance will show the object of spirit manifestations in all ages. No age has needed reform more than this. No stage of progress has needed wisdom from heaven more than this. Whatever wisdom darker periods in human history have revealed, none bear witness to stronger developments of divine power than what will be required to overcome the wrongs of the present age. No repentance was ever more sincerely required to develope the wonders of heaven than the present. Mind is now convulsed with mind. Divisions are more numerous, parties are more distrustful, confidence is nearly exhausted, and religion is nearly empty; so that words compose nearly the substance, while a miserable skeleton of forms and ceremonies attracts no reverence for the beautiful spirit that once gave life and motion to the beautiful work of God. We will write a remedy. We wilt write what no wise mind will contradict. We will writ—
What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do;
This teach me more than hell to shun,
That more than heaven pursue."
This will teach you more than duty to one, or fear of the other. It will teach you a repentance that will make other souls rejoice. It will teach you a wisdom in repentance that smiles on the degraded to win them with the smile to forsake their wrongs, and do as good, to others requires. It will teach you what no repentance of tears without works of good can ever teach. It will make known what we are who write these pages to encourage the minds of men and women to abandon the strife and contention which now disturb the harmony of social order, and disgrace men and women by making them slaves to others without advancing their progress in the wisdom and happiness of eternity.
Wisdom with God and the spirits of this sphere write what those dependent on others do not write. We see who will reject our counsel, who will despise our reproof, and who will heed our advice. There are minds who will obey. Those minds are not in the circle of the impenitent. They are not pensioners upon public favor. They love the truth because the truth makes them happy. They see what other minds do not see. They know what other minds do not know. They have found a repentance unto life. They have forsaken a repentance without works of righteousness; and they will find a circle in this sphere which will not admit the works of evil within its embrace. No mind who wishes enjoyment in heaven will neglect its duty to the needy, will neglect that reform which will qualify it for a circle which is shared by the benevolent spirit. The pure in heart shall see God. The impure in heart do not, and will not see God in his wisdom without repentance. Repentance only can save the evil-doer from his evil deeds. It is not a repentance in words that saves, but it is a repentance in works of benevolence. Circles of impenitent spirits inhabit this sphere. We see their condition. We see minds like them in the body. If circles of minds wish to avoid their wretchedness, let them take heed to our warning. Let them take heed to our counsel, and repent of their sins. We have no selfish object to deceive minds in the body. Therefore, we admonish men and women to do works that they will not be ashamed to acknowledge in the presence of angels when they reach this sphere. We admonish all, old and young, who may read these pages, to do justly, love mercy, walk humbly, an write truly, what will do good to mankind. We admonish them not to trifle with the wisdom of this sphere, nor mock at the revealments we are permitted to make of things connected with the enjoyment of the soul. Is it no trifling matter to wrong yourselves and others or the joy which duty brings. It is a solemn thing. It is not mirth to us to behold the wretchedness of minds in the body, who oppose our endeavors to bless the needy. It will not be mirth to them, when the realities of law and justice shall unfold the wrong they have done. It will not be mockery then; no, mockery is the child of earth, but its victims are found in circles removed from the body. They mock no more at the revelation from heaven; but the wrong a has been done, and they have no power to undo it. It is this which makes them less happy than others. It is this that makes minds in the body less happy than they might have been, had they restrained the wrong. It is this that needs repentance. It is this that needs reform for the good of mind. It is this that must be overcome, or the mind will not share the enjoyment of even the second circle. It is what will do no good. It will do harm. It will wrong all who participate in the work. Have we said all? Yea, more will be injured; while none will be benefited by it.
Repentance is not a momentary work. A moment may work something. It may enable the mind to resolve, but resolve is not repentance. Some minds resolve, but never repent. We see them pass resolutions to do, but the doing is not done. Ecclesiastical assemblies resolve to arrest the progress of crime. The resolution meets no opposition. All give it their cordial concurrence. This is well. This is all. Crime continues. Poverty makes criminals. Wants are more forcible than convictions. The latter yield. The former prevail. The mind is arrested, convicted, and lodged in jail. The people pay the expense, and call it salutary. It is a salutary lesson of wrong, but the lesson neither improves the criminal nor the people. He is only disgraced to make him more shameless. The more shameless he becomes, the more bold and daring he will be in his depredations. He loses his respect and fear of public opinion. He feels disgusted with himself and community. He is wretched in his sins. He is as wretched out of jail as he is in it. Both conditions are equal. When both conditions are equal, he will have no choice. Fear is overcome. Disgrace is removed. Jails and prisons are homes. They hide him from the scorn of the world. He feels scorn. He can not brook its insolence. He wishes revenge. He seeks its gratification. The scorner is his victim. He is murdered. The murderer is arrested, tried, found guilty, condemned, and executed. Who is satisfied? Who is wronged? All are dissatisfied, all are wronged. Nothing is right which does no good. All is wrong which wrongs. Wrongs do evil. Evil is unhappiness. Is the criminal wronged? He has been wronged from his birth. His parents wronged him, ignorantly wronged him. They wronged him by neglect. They wronged him by omitting to cultivate his mind with such principles as would afford him protection, by affording him means against the demands of want. They wronged him by neglecting his instruction, in the wisdom of God, which would have overcome temptation, by securing ample sustenance to his condition. They wronged him, because they were wronged themselves. They were wronged by the same neglect, by the same ignorance, and by the same passion of want. Not overcoming the wrong, they transmitted it to their child. The child wronged as he had been wronged. He wronged because he was not wise, and because his parents were not wise they wronged him. He was neglected. His mind was uncultivated. His soul was unwise, and, being unwise, it wronged others. For this wrong, others wronged him. They were both wrong. Two wrongs met. Two wrongs disagreed. Two wrongs wronged each other. They were both wrong, and they both suffered for their wrongs. They suffered as their wrongs made them suffer.
But they are not the only parties to the crime. The parents wronged their child, being wronged themselves, and they suffer for the wrong. Community wronged the mind of the criminal, and the criminal wronged the community. Both suffer. Both suffer as criminals must suffer. The wrong of neglect becomes the act of crime. The responsibility is not of one, but of many. The many suffer. They suffer the wrong of disturbance. They suffer the wrong of example, the wrong of trial, the wrong of all disturbance, which the wrong has created. Had duty been discharged the wrong would not have occurred. Had the parents been wise, their wisdom would have been communicated to the child, and his mind would not have been guided by ignorance, nor deceived by wrong. Had community been wise, their wisdom would have counseled and aided a brother in the path where no wrong disturbs the harmony of social order, where no violence wrongs the enjoyment of mind, and where no scorn involves the evil of suffering. But the evil of ignorance is general, and general neglect is productive of general misfortune. When minds who have neglected the wants of others, neglected the cultivation of their own and others' minds, shall repent, and do unto others as they would have others do unto them, the evils of society will be overcome. And is not this the interest of society? Have minds no interest in that reform which saves them from suffering? Have they no interest to be happy? Are there no evils which they wish to see removed? Have they no choice whether or not others, with themselves, are made more happy? Are they content in the wretchedness of crime that abounds? We say, he who is content under such a state of things as we behold in the rudimental sphere, will discard our interference, will mock our entreaties, will riot in wrong; but he who is otherwise, will work with us to overcome the evil, and will repent of his sins and errors.
There are many evils which must be removed before mind can be admitted into the higher circles of wisdom. We see intemperance wasting the forms of men. We see society wrangling with the unfortunate victim. He is degraded. He abuses himself, his family, his friends, and society. He is not what he might have been. He is not respected. He is not loved. The hand of every man is against him, and he is against every man. He is proud, sensitive, feeling, and foolish. He is blind, deaf, and decrepit, but not beyond redemption. Be is cheated, injured, and wronged, but the evil is not incurable. He is not as he may be. Others are not as they may be. He is not worthless, though his wrong be what it may. He has still a soul. He has still a mind that he can not annihilate. He may injure, he may destroy, he may prevent and delay the enjoyment which sober habits would insure, but he has still a heart that feels its wretchedness and disappointment. He has still a soul that needs wisdom. He has still a mind that requires assistance. Will he receive it? Will others do what will lessen and overcome the wrong? Some will not, because his wrong is their imaginary Tight. His wrong is their business, their subsistence, their trade; and as we might say, it is their sin, their folly, and their misfortune. Who has aided to overcome his habit, his sin, his wrong? Who has aided to establish and continue his sin, his wrong, and his suffering? Alas! Many. Many are responsible for the mischief which the sin of intemperance has occasioned. Many will End that repentance alone can rescue the victim of intoxication, or save those who have made the victim what he is by their aid to swell the cup of human misery. Many will find that the degradation of the intemperate is not limited to that unfortunate class. They will find that all doers of evil are degraded in the sight of heaven. They will find that doers of evil are those who wrong, a brother, as well as the brother who wrongs himself. They will find that doers of evil are offenders of law, and that all offenders of law must answer to the law for the offence which they have committed. They will find that law forbids wrong, and wrong is an offence of law. They will End that he who doeth wrong to a brother must receive the reward of law. Is not, then, intemperance a wrong? Is not he who aids intemperance aiding a wrong? Is not he who aids a wrong doing a wrong? and, if he be doing a wrong, must be not suffer for the wrong he hath done?
There are those who shrink from such responsibility. There are those who deny the relationship, who seek to justify the wrong, because it is none of their business, and who deceive themselves with the deception that they are wholly right in contributing to the wrongs of others. Mistaken souls! No ignorance need be greater to consummate any mischief. We say, ignorance; for what is a denial of relation between mind and mind, but a denial of law, that holds in harmony all the elements of social good? What is it but a denial of the chain that connects all minds to God, and each mind to all minds? What is it but a denial of all interest in another's welfare, all sympathy for another's woes, and all concern for the general good? What is it, but destruction to social order, civil government, and civil law? What is it but anarchy smothered by popular disapprobation, misrule concealed because it is disgusting, and indifference which brutes would disown? We see a law. We see a relation between all minds. We see a brotherhood. We see the demands of law. We see the claims of affinity, and we see that no brother can alienate the claims of that affinity, or overthrow the demands of impartial justice. Hence, wrongs concern all. It is the business of all, or should be, to overcome them. It is the business of all, because all are affected by the operation of the law. All are interested in what affects all. Whatever, therefore, wrongs a brother, wrongs a brotherhood. Whatever benefits a brother, benefits a brotherhood. They are all members of one body. They are all linked together by law—law which no brother can change—law which no brother wishes to change who perceives the blessing resulting from making others blest. They who see the law, and do as the law requires, will receive the reward of the law; but they who deny the law, and refuse obedience to its requirements, need a repentance to gain the second circle of wisdom and happiness.
It is irreverent to deny what God has revealed. Reverence to God is a divine command. Those who write what God has written on the page of nature do well. Those who oppose that writing do wrong. When minds examine that page, they will see the law of love and wisdom written in golden letters of mercy. They will see that what the law demands of one mind, it demands of all. They will see that it demands reverence for the will of God, as revealed in the volume of truth. It demands reform. It wilt never be satisfied with any thing less. It demands the work of doing good, it demands aid to the needy. The mind debased by wrong is needy. He needs wisdom to see the law, and strength, to obey it. He is destitute of both. He is blind and can not see the glary of God. He is lame and can not walk in that glory. He is faithless and calls for no assistance, or he is doubtful of the means which will afford relief. He importunes no mind for help, and, therefore, drags out a life of wretchedness and pain.
Reverence for the work of God, would prompt a benevolent mind to bless the child of adversity. Reverence for the religion of Jesus, would bind up the wounds of misfortune. But whose business is this? Such question betrays the need of repentance. It betrays what no mind can betray, when repentance has reformed the sinner from his sins. It betrays a weakness that demands aid. It betrays an ignorance of duty which can not exist in a mind warmed with the compassion of a brother, or feeling the sympathy of a Saviour. It betrays a selfishness which shuns duty, and runs ragged to hoard its useless treasures. Are minds culpable for such neglect? How can they neglect without violating the law of God? Does not the law of God bind mind to mind and soul to soul? Does not the law of a common brotherhood forbid neglect of brothers in the day of misfortune. So, we have learned the lesson. So, may others learn, who desire to work as wisdom directs. So, will others learn, when they repent of their sins, and forsake their errors. And when they learn this lesson, when they repent of their sins, and when they forsake their errors, the needy will not pine in want, nor the wretched suffer in their wretchedness without aid or commiseration. The victims of wrong will not sorrow in dungeons, where the sympathies of a common nature offer no balm for the wounded spirit, and where the cold wrath of prison walls mocks the religion of Jesus, and labors to exclude all reform with the cold sweat of death dripping down its remorseless face, as if wrath and vengeance were the pools of regeneration, without which the mind would not be prepared to enjoy the society of earth, or the bliss of heaven.
Spirits ask no apology for the criminal. They remonstrate not against law, but they remonstrate against the wrongs which lead to such results. It is not law, or the administration of justice of which we complain, but it is the neglect of mind to aid mind, so that no such unfortunate wrongs may occur. It is not the reward of vice whose removal will rectify the disorders of society, but it is the cultivation of mind in the wisdom of God, which will overcome the evils that now degrade and disgrace humanity. When that cultivation is regarded, and the laws of mind are properly understood, as they may be, the repentance of the wicked will not be procrastinated, nor will prisons and dungeons be necessary to work a repentance which sectarians have failed to produce. It is, indeed, a mournful picture, a sad comment on the benevolent religion of Jesus, that such horrors as often a await criminals, and such crimes as have induced those horrors, have not been avoided by the interposition of Christian philanthropy, without the aid of cruelty to reform those whom such neglect has consigned to ignominy and shame, as durable as the body that is of the dust. It is a comment that calls for reform. It is a comment which disgraces not Jesus, nor his religion; but can we say, it does not disgrace those who profess it? Can we say, that no repentance is necessary, where such neglect has wronged mind, to wrong society with its wrongs. No. We can not say, that repentance is not needed when men are made criminals by neglect. We can not say, that minds who act to wrong themselves and others, are beyond the need of reform. So long as wrong exists to curse mind with its woes, so long as law imposes duties which are disregarded, and because they are disregarded evil is practiced, so long as religion and virtue shall outweigh infidelity and vice, so long as harmony and happiness shall be of more value than discord and misery, just so long will repentance have her mission to fulfill on earth. Never will her demands cease, till one law of love shall inspire all minds, one purpose and will control all hearts, one religion and glory comfort all souls. Never will its demands be satisfied, till nations shall live in peace with nations, and all people and climes shall harmoniously unite as wisdom directs to form the blessedness of each other. Never will its claims be settled, till one brotherhood of all nations shall be recognized, and all minds shall be aided, as members of one common family would aid each other, living under the control of sympathy and affection, wisdom and truth. Never wilt its objects be attained, till parties and sects, selfishness and wrong, sin and woe, shall be dissolved; and the tears and wails of broken hearts be seen and heard no more. We will say, never, till mind shall learn wisdom from heaven, will repentance have performed her mission of redemption on earth.
Minds need repentance that are alienated from each other. Minds needs repentance that are clashing and wrangling with each other about opinions, doctrines, creeds, laws, governments, policies, interests, and wrongs, that have deluged minds in confusion without achieving a victory over even the mischief they have created. Minds need a reform, that are disputing, caviling, lying, and deceiving minds in regard to revelation, religion, and its duties, obligations, hopes and wisdom. Minds need a reform who are operating against each other in temporal and eternal things. They need to reform, who speak of things they know nothing about; who ridicule a wisdom at a great distance from their comprehension; who never examine or investigate a fact, till they have passed judgment upon it; Who fight they know not what till wrong wearies wrong in strife; who write what they neither know nor care whether it be true or false, if it meet the minds of those who pay them for their shame; who preach what Jesus never taught, and God will never approve; and who smile on the sins and wrongs of men, because the faithful admonition would embarrass the income which their smiles secure. Such are they who need a reform, a repentance that will do good to the world of mind. Such are they who delay repentance in hopes of more gain. But we will say, that what the mind does to-day will not need to be done tomorrow, what it postpones till tomorrow it loses to-day; and hence true wisdom advises no delay. True interest will not procrastinate repentance. It will see what is right, and seeing pursue. It will understand wherein is treasured the bliss of the mind, and understanding, search and find the reward of its industry. Some will say, who then has repented? We answer. He who loves God and obeys his commandments. He who understands the laws of nature, and attends to her voice. He has repented.
There are some persons whom we have aided to write, that need repentance. They are controlled by will of others. They will write with our aid, if we will write to please them. They will write with our aid so far as we can control them. We can not control them so as to write as we would. They are only imperfectly qualified to write what we desire. They write some facts, and some falsehoods. They write facts with our aid. They write falsehoods without our aid. They write what they control, and we write only what we control. What we control is true, what we do not control may be true or false. They complain that we are in wrong. We know they are so. We are responsible only for what we write. They are responsible only for what they write. But who is judge? Need we or they be deceived? When the law which governs the communication, and the process by which we are able to write, shall be understood, less complaint will be heard from those with whom we have attempted to write, than is now heard. They complain of us, because we do not write as they wish. If we wish to write agreeably to their wish, their wish is gratified, and they are satisfied. But, suppose they wish as to write something wrong, can we write a wrong without doing wrong? Would we not be responsible for the wrong written? Such desires are not uncommon obstacles to truthful communications. And yet untruthful articles are charged upon spirits, when the obstacles retained by the medium were such as to control the facts we sought to make known.
Persons who write with our aid, are aided by us, as we can. When they aid none, we aid all. When no aid or resistance is offered by the medium, the facts only will appear. We do not say, all the facts will appear, because all the facts would embrace what might be improper for us to communicate, under the conditions of minds soliciting information. We wish to write such facts as will be well for the mind receiving them, and as will be ill to no one. Some desire what might be injurious to both. Some desire what would be satisfactory to them, but disadvantageous to others. Some desire nothing, and they receive something. The latter are in the true condition. They have no desires to baffle the truth. They have no wish or will to be overcome. An untruthful communication need not be expected from such mediums. But persons who are only partially under our control, can only be controlled by us to write the truth, when the truth meets their approbation. If the truth should not agree with their convictions, or their notions, we could not advance it, because of their opposition. Their opposition is will against us. Will against us is an obstacle against truth. No will of mediums can aid us. It opposes facts. When facts are opposed by mediums, errors will occur. When errors occur, who is the author? Who is in the wrong? Are we, or is the medium?
Some mediums, or those who claim to be such because we have moved their hands, complain of their erroneous communications. They do right.
The wrong they have written is not right. It is not true. But the wrong is not our wrong. Their will is not our will, when wrong is written. And if it be not our will, whose will is it? There is a will of wrong expressed, and where a will of wrong exists, repentance is necessary. Neglect repentance, and the wrong will continue. Repent or cast the wrong away, and it will deceive no more. Repentance must prepare the medium for the reception of truth. Wrong is error. A wrong will is not a right will. A wrong mind, or mind in wrong, is not right. Those wrongs must be overcome. Spirits cannot control all wrongs in a moment. We do as we can. When a spirit wishes to write one thing, and the medium wishes another, who is to blame? Who needs a change? Antagonisms will not unite. One or the other must obey. One or the other must govern. If the medium should govern, would he receive what he desires—a communication from spirits? Never. If we govern in all that is written, would his communication disagree with facts? Never. Hence, the wrongs which have been imputed to spirits, are wrongs in the condition of persons, who sit to write with our aid. They are wrongs which we can not control without discipline. Discipline is unwelcome. Discipline is not discipline without correction. To correct is to oppose. To oppose is to write what will be faulted. To write what will be faulted is to correct error, and to correct error is to reform the subject.
Mediums seek what is supposed to be truth. They do not seek error for error's sake; but they are willing something not unfrequently incompatible with their good. They will what is not true to their enjoyment. They desire the confirmation of their faith, their sectarianism, their notions of others, or their opinions of themselves. Such desire is will in degree. It is not the passive condition required to communicate correctly. The incorrect communication is sometimes charged to the account of an evil spirit. The evil spirit is accused of falsehood. Confidence is shaken in what has been written, and surprise and wonder excite the mind of the medium. The medium is wrong. The error is a defect. It is not intentional. It is a defect of condition. The condition of the medium is not passive. When the medium is not passive, truth and error will be written. When the medium is not passive, he needs discipline to render him passive. The discipline is designed to render him a service, to teach him what is wanted, and make him useful to others. In any other state, he can not be useful, because what may be written will not be reliable. Hence, the spirit who wishes to gain control must first produce what is wanted—passiveness. Sometimes the medium does not understand it. He supposes that he is passive when he is not. He knows he does not move his own hand, and he flatters himself that all is well on his part. But the contradictions show a difficulty. The error reveals a wrong. Where does the wrong exist? Not in the spirit, for the spirit is doing all it can to overcome wrong. It would not write any thing, were it not for this purpose. The simple movement of a hand, without volition of the medium, is proof of a good spirit. Is not the movement a manifestation of the spirit's presence? Is not the manifestation of such presence good? Is it not good to know that those whom you loved in the body are near you? And is not the movement of a hand by our aid a confirmation of such fact? How, then, can an evil spirit bring forth good fruit? The manifestation of a spirit is good. Therefore it can not be made by an evil spirit, because an evil spirit would not do good. Good is not the offspring of evil. Bad is not the fruit of good. Hence, the movement being good, the mover who makes the movement, must be good also. If the movement were otherwise than good, it would make the interested unhappy, but such is not the fact. But the movement of a hand to write by a spirit is only a portion of the work necessary to communicate as we wish. Other changes must take place.
When spirits succeed in moving the hand of a person, it is not uncommon for such person to indulge an idea that spirits can control all that is necessary to write correctly. Such is not the case. We have found it far more difficult to control the mind than to move the hand. The movement of the hand is one thing, and the control of the mind is another. Mind is far more unyielding than muscles. It is not so passive. It does more to oppose our reform. It needs more power to correct. Mind is swayed by other influences, while the muscles are obedient to will. Hence, we write as we can. If there be error in the communication, it is not an evidence of a wicked spirit, but it is evidence that the mind of the medium controlled, and controlled because it was not passive. The medium is not always conscious of his resistance. He is not always susceptible to impressions. Changes in his external relations, and many other causes, contribute to make resistance more obstinate and unyielding. When resistance is offered, it must be overcome or no reliance need be placed in what is written. This will account for most errors which have vexed mediums of writing. But when mediums desire spirits to write as they wish, it is will against us. When will against us is exercised by the medium, errors are unavoidable. We can not control the hand in opposition to the medium, unless we can control the will of the medium. When we can control the will of the medium, as we do in writing this book, the will of the medium can not control what we wish to write. When spirits can not control the will of the medium, the communication may be correct or incorrect. All depends on the condition of mind possessed by the medium. If wrong be written, the medium will be disciplined to correct it. If fact, it is evidence that no correction is required. Therefore, the errors and mistakes of written communications, are the unavoidable result of conditions, which we call defects. We say, unavoidable mistakes and errors will occur, when the medium, is only partially qualified for writing. They are unavoidable, unless we relinquish the work of preparation which we have commenced. We might not exercise the medium, in which case no errors would be charged to us; but would no errors exist? Has the medium no errors which need correction, aside from the difficulty of controlling his hand and mind? If our work consisted alone in manifestations, sufficient have already been made to satisfy those who wish to be satisfied. But spirits see errors among those whose hands they are able to control. They see that repentance is needed there as elsewhere. They see that no means will be likely to produce that repentance so soon as to control mediums, even though some defective communications should be written in the attempt. They see that mediums must be taken when and where they can be found. They see that they can not be chosen without defects. They see that defects are obstacles which need to be overcome. They see that when they are overcome, the reform makes the reformed better and happier. Stich is our mission.
Among the embarrassments of preparing mediums, none are more difficult to overcome than the established errors of sectarians. The mind has been so long accustomed to regard these errors with religious veneration, that every innovation, or encroachment, indicating an intention to overthrow them, is regarded with suspicion. Hence, minds nurtured in the school of sectarian wisdom, revolt at the facts which we disclose, or else they seek to control what is intended, so as to support their favorite opinions. They will support those opinions, until the truth shall correct the errors which they cherish. But in correcting those errors, some mediums have resisted till resistance called for a repentance more deep and contrite then minds could exercise who have not known the facts they have witnessed. They have resisted the facts which we have presented, till their resistance has made them blind with their own folly and wrong. They have struggled to fault what did not concur with their faith, and, when the could struggle no longer, they imputed the effort to do them good to an evil spirit. They do not deny the agency of spirits in all that has been done, but, to save their creed, or their good name in the church or society to which they belong, they allege that what we have done is the work of the devil. But are they satisfied with what they have said? Are they content to condemn us as evil spirits? Do they believe an evil spirit would tell them the truth? Has not the truth been told them, and is not this the reason why they are offended? We see what we shall make known. Mediums who are most troubled with evil spirits are those who sympathize the most with evil doctrines. They have such a predilection in favor of some errors, that they would compromise the eternal things of God for their accommodation. Not until their will to support the errors which they love shall be overcome, will they be passive mediums of the truth to mankind. Their will is to support the doctrines in which they have an interest. Our will is to overthrow their errors. When they see their errors attacked—errors which they regard as truths they resist, and their resistance controls. Hence, their errors are not corrected. But who suffers?
They will to have their own wisdom, and they receive the reward of their will. The wrong is loved and sustained, and the wrong is an evil. This evil will remain in their possession as long as they will to have it. It is an evil of ignorance, but ignorance is none the less an evil because it is ignorance. Its works ate wrong. Wrong yields unhappiness. It can never yield any thing else. Consequently, so long as the ignorance remains, so long will the wrong remain, and so long as the wrong remains, so long will the unhappiness it yields continue. That continuance depends on repentance.
When spirits write the truth with sectarians—truth that conflicts with their sectarian views—sectarians sometimes impute the writing to low spirits— spirits who are of a low circle—spirits who are undeveloped in wisdom, and disqualified to impart instruction. Hence the truth is rejected. The individual assumes to decide a question he knows nothing about. He does not know the truth, and because he does not know the truth, he rejects it. He rejects it by assuming to judge the spirit as low, when the truth is what he needs. Low spirits are not in the possession of truth, only in degree, and. What they do not possess they cannot impart. If a spirit impart a truth not in the possession of the receiver, is he not higher than the receiver? Has the receiver a right to call that spirit low, who is capable of instructing him? Such is sometimes done. We see mediums objecting to wisdom, because wisdom comes from a spirit whom they have assumed to judge as belonging to a low circle, when he to whom the wisdom is revealed belongs to a circle still lower. All truth is folly to those who know it not. All truth is wisdom to him who receives it! The mind is not the author of wisdom. Neither receiving nor rejecting, neither belief nor unbelief, can change the truth of God into a lie.
Minds will progress as they gain wisdom. They will not progress when they reject it. And, so far as improvement is concerned, it matters not to the mind from what circle wisdom may be imparted, since all wisdom is wisdom, proceeding from whatever source it may, or coming from whatever spirit may impart it.
It is wisdom in those who wish for instruction to receive it. All mediums who reject the instruction in wisdom imparted by spirits, reject their own. They sin against good. They are the sufferers, the law of progress. They rebel against wisdom. They reform not themselves. They remain as they were. They write without correction. When they are uncorrected, they can not correct others. The blind lead the blind. When the blind lead the blind, who stumbles? Who is injured by the stumbling? Who doubts? Who is wronged by his doubts? Who fears, and who is made wretched by his fears? We see who is wrong, and who controls the writing. They who need a repentance. They who would make the wisdom of heaven conform to their own folly. They who would sacrifice the independence which is essential to progress to the idol of sectarian selfishness. They who would not repent, because their sectarian selfishness is dearer to them than the wisdom of God.
The wisdom of God will not receive such into its mansions They will go to their own circle. They will not do their duty to others as God requires. They will do what wisdom in ignorance justifies. To that circle they belong. In that circle they live, and must live, till repentance shall prepare them to do works congenial with spirits of more elevated minds. It is not for them to judge as to what circle they belong. There is a Being whose wisdom can not be deceived. He will judge as no mind in the body judges, and he will reward every mind as its condition shall require. He sees the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, in human conduct. As soon might a cable pass through the eye of a needle, as for mind to wrong mind without a just recompense of reward. And what is true of mind in the body, is true of spirits in all circles of this sphere. There is one law of progress, in all spheres, and he who disobeys that law must receive the reward. There is no respect of persons with God. There is no partiality for professions. All are without excuse who neglect the improvement of their minds. All are neglecting the improvement of their minds, who reject the wisdom which spirits reveal. This revealment is not of men—it is of God. It is by his direction. We are his servants. Who, then, will repent and be saved? Who will reject, and be unhappy? Who will write and believe? Who will write and condemn? Who? He who is wise will receive, and he who is foolish will reject.
Forgiveness is not selfishness. It is not unwise. It is not works of injury. It is not violation of law. It is not offering encouragement to vice. It is not with holding justice to offenders. It is not secreting another's crimes. It is not concealing another's wrongs. It is not in words, but in deeds. Deeds of right remove wrongs. When wrongs have been done, the doer needs forgiveness. He needs the removal of the wrong. He may not ask forgiveness, but his good demands often what he does not seek. He may not demand good, but his happiness demands it. It demands what he does not ask—the forgiveness of sins. When he demands good, he is forgiven. He is removed from his sins, and his sins are remembered no more. He may revert to them, but he remembers not to continue in them. He remembers them only to loathe, only to abhor, and only to refrain from them. He demands others to do as he has done, "go and sin no more." When be demands others to put away their wrongs, he asks them to forgive his wrongs. When they do not put away their wrongs, they do not forgive him; and when they do not forgive him, he is not forgiven.
Forgiveness is to take away wrong. To take away implies a taker. It supposes another person is engaged in the removal, since a thing can not remove what it has no will or desire to remove. The wrong must be overcome. It must be removed, or he will suffer in the wrong. If it must be removed, who will remove it? Will the doer remove his own wrongs? That is repentance. That is reform. It is the work of reformers. They abandon their wrongs. They forsake their sins. They cease to do evil, and learn to do well. Is that to take away? Is it the same to put away, as it is to take away? Does not one imply an act of the possessor, while the other implies an act of another? The removal separates the possessor from the evil removed. When he is separated from the evil, repentance is wrought. When repentance is wrought, forgiveness is demanded. When forgiveness is demanded, it is not always extended. When it is not extended to the penitent, the penitent suffers—suffers not on account of his own wrong, but on account of the unforgiving wrong of another. While he feels the unforgiving wrong of another, he will suffer as others suffer who are aggrieved. Forgiveness is, therefore, the taking away of grievance. It is an act of the injured party.
When a wrong is done, the doer needs repentance. When the doer repents, be needs forgiveness. But of whom? Of the person injured. The person wronged is the one to forgive. He takes away the wrong of censure. It is not in the power of the guilty to forgive censure. He who censures must take it away, or it will remain. The act of removing condemnation is forgiveness. Condemnation is what sin receives. When the sinner repents, he ceases to do evil. When he ceases to do evil, it is unjust to condemn him. When it is unjust to condemn him, it is just to forgive him. When it is just to forgive him, it is unjust not to forgive him. What justice requires, law requires; and what law requires, it is a sin to withhold. Hence, the obligation of forgiveness is binding on men. It is binding on the person who has been wronged and if be will not forgive, he is worse than we will write. He will forgive, when he understands his duty. He will forgive, when he sees the wisdom of forgiveness. He will not judge wrong, when he sees the judgment is a wrong to himself. He will change the decision. He will forgive the sin. He will do justly and love mercy. He will remember the iniquity no more. He will love the offender as a brother. He will confide in him as a friend. He will respect him as a citizen. He will uphold him in righteousness. He will do him good, and not evil. He will not condemn or censure him. He will not detest or bate him. He will not scorn or abuse him. But he will advise and counsel him. He will be his friend and not his enemy. He will take away the wrong of unjust judgment, and the forgiveness will be felt by the person forgiven. It will create mutual kindness. It will remove mutual distrust. It will take away mutual wrong. It will overcome mutual fear. It will restore mutual happiness. It will make mutual friends. It will give mutual peace. It will advance mutual progress. Both minds will feel happier. Both hearts will rejoice. Both souls will do right. Wrong is removed. Sin is taken away. Jealousy disturbs no quiet. Revenge has no habitation, and love sweetens the, cup of forgiveness.
Hence, the taking away of wrong is relief. It is not only relief to him who takes it away, but it is relief to the mind from which it is taken. He feels relieved of the burden of censure and condemnation. He sees a brother who asks forgiveness, and he gives the needed demand. The minds of the giver and receiver are blessed. The law of affinity is recognized, respected, and obeyed. But while the mind forgives not, while the mind is not forgiven the wrong of mutual unkindness, mutual distrust, and mutual suspicion, will continue to annoy and disturb the social good will of minds, which might otherwise enjoy the tranquillity of wisdom. and felicitate in each other's society. Hence, the duty of minds, disturbed by the wrongs of others, is clear. Nothing can contribute so much to restore the harmony of minds, as the forgiveness of offenders. Nothing regales the soul or the forgiven, or the forgiver, with so much of the luxury of true goodness, as the exercise of forgiveness. And yet men and women have a great lesson to learn in the rudimental sphere. They have a reform to make before they can enter into the joys of the kingdom of Jesus. They may write and say what they will about the forgiveness of God, but we see what they have neglected. Who forgives his brother, as be asks to be forgiven of God? Is not God more wilting to forgive him, than he is to forgive his brother? Is it not mockery for minds to ask God to forgive them their sins, when they are unwilling to forgive the offences of their brethren? Can God forgive a sin, while the sinner continues in his sin? Can he forgive a wrong, while the doer harbors and practices the wrong? Spirits will answer. No sin, or wrong, can be forgiven of God, while the sin and wrong are practiced by the doer. God can not forgive a wrong without removing it, since the removal is the forgiveness. How, then, are evil doers to expect forgiveness? How are they to realize the removal of their sins and errors? Jesus has come, and retired. He has delivered his message, and sealed it with his blood. Who expects his return to take away the sins of the world? Who would receive him, were he to offer his assistance? Who would not reject him? He might lay his hands on the sick, and they might recover, but would it not be said, He is aided by an evil spirit? Would not the healing be attributed to mesmerism? Would it be reliable and satisfactory proof of the divinity of his mission? Let those answer who cavil with the work of spirits, in healing diseases in the present age? But the caviling mind asks, Did he not raise the dead? Go and do likewise, and we will believe. We shall see. Are not the dead raised now, as then? Have not the dead, as minds call the living spirits of this sphere, been seen by more than five hundred witnesses? Have not the spirits conversed with their relatives? Have they not spoken to them in messages of kindness that proved their identity? And have these minds been persuaded, though their friends have risen from the dead? What do they say? What do they ask? and what do they expect, which they have not received? But they are not forgiven. Why? We will answer. They have not repented, neither have they asked to be forgiven. They stilt love the wrong. They still blush to own the truth! They still deny the truth. They still continue in unbelief. Who forgives? The wrong is not removed. Can God remove it? We shall not say what God can, or can not, do. We know he has not done it. What he has not done is consistent with his government. If consistent, to do some thing different would be inconsistent. Spirits assent to no doctrine which involves inconsistency in the divine role of God. Spirits know that God forgives sin, but they do not know that he forgives sin without the repentance of the sinner. They do not know that God forgives a wrong, and yet suffers the wrong to be. They do not know how he can forgive, or take away, and yet not remove. They do not know that he ever has removed any wrong, while the mind loved the wrong and resisted its removal. He forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; but he forgives as is consistent with his government. He forgives as the good of mind requires. But the good of mind does not justify the removal of divine disapprobation while the wrong exists. Even others' good would forbid it. While the wrong exists, is loved, and acted upon, it would be wrong to encourage it. Does not the idea of forgiving sin, under these circumstances, encourage a false hope? Would not the mind, acting under the delusive expectation of for in the wrong, be negligent of repentance? the good of the sinner be promoted without repentance?
We have said, God forgives as the good of mind requires. He forgives only as such good requires. The good of the sinner requires that the divine disapprobation should be manifest against works of unrighteousness. His good requires it, because were no such disapprobation manifested, the distinction between virtue and vice would be lost, and no mind would realize the just reward of works. The good of mind must be realized by progress, but when the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is destroyed by removing the judgment of God, so that no sanction of the one, nor disapprobation of the other, shall be manifest to the doer, mind may well despair of any reform or change advantageous to its welfare. When God ceases to loathe sin, men may do the same. And when mind recognizes no difference between right and wrong, all reform, and all increase in the wisdom of heaven, will be cut off But this will never be. The wisdom of God will forgive, when the correction of the sinner is attained. It will withdraw divine disapprobation when that disapprobation shall be no longer necessary to reform the guilty, and protect the innocent. Not till then, need the sinner expect the forgiveness of God. Not till then need the evil doer hope for pardon. Not till then need the impenitent flatter himself with the expectation of relief from the condemnation of his wrongs.
We see minds in the body deceived. They are deceived by others. They have been deluded into the error, that all forgiveness was confined to the mind in the body. We see minds wronged by this mistaken opinion. Indeed if sinners be willing to repent, are they not needing forgiveness? Ought not the judgment of condemnation to be removed when they repent? And when the judgment of condemnation for wrong is removed, are they not forgiven? Would not the continuance of condemnation, when the sinner had repented, he unjust? And if it be unjust to continue it, will God continue an act of injustice? Spirits see spirits forgiven. Those who have been in the lowest circle of wisdom, in the lowest hell of which we have any knowledge, repent, reform, become better, and God removes the judgment which their condition required to discipline them into the path of true wisdom. There are many minds in the body, who need repentance and forgiveness of sins. There are many minds who are indulging a hope of forgiveness through Christ when they Teach this sphere. We would not have them expect in heaven a forgiveness they may not gain on earth. The divine law of God by which forgiveness is extended, is the same in both spheres. If they are not forgiven in the body, it is because they have not repented. If they have not repented, it is weakness to ask forgiveness of God. If they have not received forgiveness, it is certain that they have not repented. It is certain that the reform is not of that character which is required by impartial justice. It is not of the character to justify the forgiveness of the sinner. When the sinner is forgiven, the wrong of sin will not remain. It will be removed, and, when it is removed, it will not trouble him. When it troubles him, he may know that the work of repentance is not complete; for what is complete will not lack. Incomplete repentance lacks the removal of judgment, or condemnation of wrong.
Minds embittered with sectarian strife not only need repentance, but they need forgiveness. And they will find that their zeal in opposing each other is not a virtue in the sight of God. They will find that the wrongs, which they have not corrected in the body will remain wrongs until they are corrected. They will find many, very many spirits in the lowest circle of enjoyment, who have been called away from the body in these wrongs. They were not penitent. They would not repent. They would not love their brethren as God has commanded, and they were not forgiven. True, they were professors of religion, but they were sinners. They wronged their neighbors. They reviled, they scorned, they condemned; and they justified themselves in these wrongs, because their brother was not just like themselves. He believed, but not as they. They believed, but not as he. We see minds of this character. We see them in both spheres. We see they are not forgiven. The law demands reform; but reforms are progressive. The mind would be forgiven, but it does not forgive. When it does not forgive, it is unjust that it should be forgiven. That which it metes to others, must be meted to it in return. The wisdom of God is not wisdom of men. When a mind refuses to forgive the offender who has repented, it refuses to others what it asks for itself. When it refuses to others what it asks for itself, it is wrong. It is selfish. It will not do unto others, as it would have others do unto it. When it will not give what it asks, it does not love its neighbor as itself; and when it does not love its neigh bur as itself, it is in need of repentance. When it is in need of repentance, it is not forgiven. When it is not forgiven, it is unhappy. No mind can be happy only as it is forgiven of God. Men may forgive, spirits may forgive, but if God does not forgive, both men and spirits are deficient in wisdom.
But when God forgives, and men do not, then the wrong is with the unforgiving. The removal of wrong is the only just rule of forgiveness. This removal is sometimes necessary on the part of those who censure. We see who censures the truth. We see who censures those engaged in the work of reform. We see they need repentance and forgiveness. They are unhappy in their condemnation. They see no fault in this man. They see no evil in the truth he advances for the benefit of mind. But they denounce him. They condemn him. They speak evil against him. They wrong him. They do not repent. They do not ask forgiveness. They pass into this sphere. But to what circle? We will answer, To that circle for which their minds are prepared. They were full of condemnation against minds in the body, and they are prepared to taste the cup which they have so profusely offered to others. He who would avoid the evil of condemnation must not violate the law of heaven, and abuse his brethren; otherwise the reward of his own hands, the judgment which he metes out to others, will be his portion, unless repentance shall cleanse his soul, and the forgiveness of God silence the condemnation of guilt.
Mediums of writing with the aid of spirits, are wise or unwise. Mediums who write with the aid of circles, competent to instruct them, are wise. Mediums who write with the aid of circles, incompetent to instruct them, are unwise. Spirits differ in their degrees of wisdom, as minds in the body differ. All are not equally advanced in the wisdom of God. The most advanced spirits are drawn by corresponding conditions to mediums whose minds can appreciate the wisdom which they possess. An advanced mind in the body will not be controlled by spirits inferior to itself. Neither will inferior spirits attempt it. It is a law of mind, that congenial affinities love each other. They are attracted to each other, and they will sympathize with each other. The mind of an unadvanced spirit seeks a medium who will not be ashamed of the ignorance acknowledged; but when the medium is advanced to a condition of wisdom which will make the ignorance unacceptable, the spirit must either advance also, or leave the medium to other guardians. Mediums are chosen by spirits favorable to the objects which they wish, to attain. If a person can be controlled by a spirit, and if the person be ignorant, a high circle of spirits would not choose such person to be a medium of their messages to others. It would be unwise for a spirit to employ a medium of its will to others, who did not understand the subject of which he was the bearer.
When a medium receives a communication he does not understand, it will do him no good. When he receives a written article by the aid of spirits, developing a wisdom above his capacity of comprehension, it will do him no good. He is not instructed by such wisdom. Indeed, his condition is such that he rebels against wisdom which was attempted to be unfolded to his mind. When he rebels against the counsel which the spirit wishes to impart, he makes himself positive and uncontrollable. The spirit can not force a correct expression of its thoughts upon the mind of a person who is positive against it. It would disturb the law of harmony, to control against the will of the medium. Hence, the mind of the medium, being incapable of understanding things too far removed from its comprehension by reason of its undeveloped condition, must be content to receive such disclosures as are adapted to its circumstances. If a medium would improve his condition, he must not reject the wisdom which constitutes the improvement. If he would not improve his condition, it is useless to be a medium. He may be aided to write, and he may write what is within the range of his wisdom, but there will be no progress, unless be will receive what is not in his possession.
It is most satisfactory to mediums and others to receive a confirmation of what they know. When they receive the confirmation, the mind is in no degree advanced. It is no wiser than before. And yet to write wisdom, which will not confirm opinions, produces rebellion. It increases distrust. It overcomes confidence. It excites the mind. Excitement of the mind is will against control. Will against control is defeat of truth. It is not revealed. Errors occur. Errors are taken for facts. Taking errors for facts disappoints the medium. He is vexed. Vexation makes him still more uncontrollable, and mistakes are more frequent. He, then, assumes that an evil spirit has been writing with him. The communication is not reliable. It abounds in contradictions and absurdities. No good spirit could indite the writing. The mind is disgusted, and writes the same as before. The whole secret of this matter is the want of passiveness. The anxiety, care, vexation, disgust, desire, and wish, unfit the mind for control by spirits. So, also does excessive labor, fatigue, disease, surprise, or any other cause which increases the positive condition of the medium. And yet, under all these disadvantages, spirits are sometimes able to write some sentences correctly. When they write incorrectly is when they can not control, as they would, the disadvantages enumerated. There is no greater evil for the medium to overcome, than the antagonism, of a condition not wholly passive to our will. This is the evil spirit who writes incorrect communications. It is the evil of self. It is the evil of unsubdued condition. It is the evil that thwarts the purpose of the spirit. It is the evil which spirits must overcome to write correctly. It is the evil which has been imputed to spirits. It will not write the truth. Who is to blame? The medium wishes to be passive, but fails. The spirit wishes to control, but fails. The failure disappoints, but who intends a failure? Do either? The medium certainly would avoid it, because he would not be deceived. The spirit certainly would not wish to deceive, for what has any spirit to gain by deceiving? The spirit who deceives is not in wisdom to control. The spirit who deceives is deceived. But is the spirit deceived in what it knows? Can a spirit be deceived intentionally? Do not contradictions imply an intention? Mediums suppose they do. Mediums must learn wisdom. No spirit can deceive without a motive to wrong, unless it be deceived. What motive to wrong can any spirit of this sphere have? Will the wrong make that spirit happier? If it will, it is not a wrong to that spirit. If it will not, what motive can induce the wrong? No spirit can act without a motive. The motive must be either good or bad. If good, it will do good to the extent of its ability; if bad, otherwise, to the same extent. Has any spirit done evil to mind without a motive to injure? Who has been injured by a spirit? Has the medium? He may say, I have been deceived by an incorrect communication. But who is to blame? Did not the spirit do all it could do to write correctly? If so, what evil was there in the effort? Was the spirit responsible for the failure? Is it responsible for not doing what it could not do? It endeavored to control conditions, but the conditions were not submissive. They would not yield. They were above its capacity to overcome, and because the spirit did not do what it could not, was it evil? Will the medium allow this rule of judgment to be applied to himself? He ought not to judge spirits by a rule, which he is unwilling to be judged by himself. Would he be willing to be called evil, because he did not succeed in doing every thing, he intended? Had spirits done every thing they have designed, no complaint would arise. The errors, which have been a subject of complaint and vexation, would not have occurred.
Mediums must learn the truth. They are not wise without it. When the truth is revealed, they will find that what they have supposed was the work of evil spirits, was neither more nor less than the unavoidable result of uncontrollable circumstances. They will find that correct communications have teen made, when the spirit could control the conditions so as to write correctly. They will find that when the conditions are not submissive, the highest circle of spirits can not write correctly, and, they will find that such spirits, being incompetent to control all conditions, have been charged by mediums and others with writing falsehood and deception. Nor is it an uncommon thing for persons to accuse their nearest relatives in this sphere of a baseness they would not dare to affirm when they were in the body. All for what? Because they have tried to write the truth, but failed—failed because the condition of the medium made it impossible. But the medium asks, Why do spirits try to write when they can not control the medium? Why make an effort which results in deceiving the medium or others? We will write as we will with this medium. We will explain. We will answer the questions.
Mediums who are not passive need to become passive. They are not what is desirable without it, neither can a correct communication be given when the conditions are not under the control of the communicating spirit. To gain this control over the conditions, and make them submissive to our will, exercise in writing is indispensably necessary. We can not control without exercise, neither can we exercise without control. When we exercise a medium we must move him. That is not an exercise which does not control to move. When we move we must do something. We can not move without it. The movement is exercise. It is one form of the exercise necessary to control the medium. By movement we write, and we write as we can. We write, and when we write we exercise the medium. By this exercise we gain control. He gradually becomes passive, and the conditions yield to our power.
During the progress of disciplinary exercise, the medium will write as the spirit can. The spirit will not write as it can not. In some exercises, it can write correctly, and in others it has not succeeded.
Why then write? Ask the school boy. Ask him why he takes the pen—he can not write. He takes the pen to learn. He moves his hand, and the movement is an exercise to gain control, and learn how to form the letters correctly. Does he succeed? He succeeds to move his hand. But how are the letters and words formed? Are there no errors, and is he an evil spirit because of those errors? There is a true copy before him. Why does he not imitate the copy? Alas! discipline must be had. Exercise must remedy defects. Instruction must control deficiencies. But why does he write? He replies, I write to learn. I write to remedy the defect of ignorance. Will the medium understand why spirits write, when they are unable to write correctly? Does he need to be informed, the they write as well as they can. Need he be told, that they imitate the copy of truth in nature, as well as they can control the hand to form the letters? The medium does not see the copy, but the spirit who controls, as it can, sees it. The spirit endeavors to imitate it, to write it exactly; but the medium complains because it is not better executed. Has he not reason to be thankful for the aid which moves the hand? Is not the movement of a hand, without the exercise of any volition on the part of a medium evidence of an invisible power? Is it not evidence of the presence of spirits? And is not the evidence of the presence of spirits of more consequence to human enjoyment than all other things?
Mediums must learn wisdom, or not be wise. They must not write without aid from spirits. When they receive aid, it is not from an evil spirit. Aid is not evil. Aid to make the mind wise is not evil. And what is not evil can not be imparted by that which is evil. Evil can not do good. Evil can only produce evil. An evil spirit could not, and would not do good. What is good is not evil. Good spirits may be unable to control all things. Good spirits may be unable to write correctly with all who desire it. Under the circumstances, what will the medium do? Will he wait patiently, or will he condemn those who may wisely act, and do all they can for his benefit? Some will write as we can, others will refuse our aid. But who suffers? Has the medium no faith in good spirits? Has he no hope of redemption? Are evil spirits always to disturb his repose? Why do evil spirits haunt one medium and not another? Is he more in affinity with that class? He does not welcome their presence, and yet they write what he rejects. What is the reason? Why are some persons more troubled with evil spirits than others? No evil spirit comes to write with this medium, why should they with others? We will write the explanation.
Mediums write with the aid of spirits. Spirits control as they can. Spirits do not control what mediums write without their aid. Mediums are controlled by other causes, which make them positive against the will of spirits. In this condition they are only partially controlled by us. When they are only partially under our control, the medium controls what we do not control. By control, we mean control of the hand and mind of the medium. Though we are able to move the hand, yet, if we can not control the mind so as to be without influence of aid or resistance to the movement, the writing will be imperfect. Mediums discover the imperfection, anti impute the same to the influence of an evil spirit. When they have determined this conclusion, they are not passive, but otherwise. The will of determination is against us. That will controls. That will appears in the writing. It is not the will of the spirit. He alleges that an evil spirit writes. This is the decision. The decision is written, but written as his will controls. But why did the spirit move to write what was wrong? The spirit did not move to write what was wrong. It moved to write what was true, but the will of determination, being against the spirit, controlled the movement wrong. The medium is not passive, and the will of the spirit is defeated. But why does the spirit write again the same thing? It writes to correct the error. It controls all it can, but defeat is realized. Is the spirit evil? Who, then, is not evil? The spirit is baffled, and the failure is what the conditions render unavoidable. That which is unavoidable is not criminal, but, when disappointment ensues, it is unfortunate. Such is what we see in the first stage of progress with mediums.
Mediums desire correct communications. Spirits desire to gratify them. The medium calls for a communication from some friend in the spirit world. The spirit comes. He is present. The medium asks the spirit to write his name. The spirit refuses. The medium then doubts the presence of such spirit. He doubts what has been written. The doubting is will in resistance. It is agitation in opposition. The agitation is wilt controlled by spirits. Under this condition, little else need be expected than confusion. The writing will be as discordant as the mind is disqualified. But why do spirits attempt it? The attempt is to exercise, to gain control. Without the exercise no progress could be made. But why did the spirit refuse to write its name? There are many reasons in most cases. The medium is not controlled by spirits to write what is known. He is not a medium to control spirits, but to be controlled by them. Be may be in a condition so positive as to prevent the spirit from writing the name. He may be in a condition which, if like tests were to be answered, would summon the curious, who would annoy him, and divert the object of his office from the design of spirits. He may be in a condition which, to answer such questions, would make him useless as a medium of writing, by increasing the positive will of his mind against spirits. His anxiety, his solicitude about such tests, together with the astonishing nature of our answers, accompanied as they often would be with recital to others, would render excitement the theme of his being, without encouraging that dispassionate investigation with which all truth should be pursued. And besides, there are some temperaments of that character, which would be most sure to be disadvantageously affected by conditions, which are not calculated to promote passiveness to the will of spirits. Refusal is a test of wisdom, when the mind needs it. The mind needs it, when evil is prevented by it. Evil is sometimes prevented by withholding evidence of the identity of spirits.
Minds in the body are partial to spirits. Some will rely on one, and some on another. Spirits do not wish to encourage this partiality. It is wrong. What we say will not be contradicted by any other spirit. But the practice, which selects one spirit in preference to another, is not always wise. The practice is unwise, in most cases. What is unwise, we do not wish to encourage. This will account for refusals which have not been in harmony with inquirers who have sought to test our identity. Tests of identity are groper and improper. They will be answered or not, as they are proper or improper. They are proper under certain conditions of the mind, and they are improper under other conditions. If we desire to make a medium of the inquirer, the less test, questions are answered, the more passive be will be to our control; because his anxiety and expectation being less active, qualify him sooner to write than he otherwise would do. The medium will be sooner prepared without encouragement than with it, in most cases. He will write what spirits write, and no more. He will not expect to direct us when no encouragements to that effect have been offered. But if spirits were to write answers to test questions, this book could not have been written by us with this medium. To answer such questions would gratify the inquirer, but it would also absorb the whole time of the medium. In view of such wisdom, inquirers may learn the reason for what we have done, or not done. Soon we shall make known other reasons. We shall not refuse what will be profitable to mind to know, when in our power to make it known. But minds need not be told, that we do not know every thing. Neither need they be informed that spirits are not infinite in wisdom. Some spirits are more wise than others. And mediums would do well to concentrate their minds on such as are capable of telling them something which they do not know, instead of consulting those, no wiser than themselves, in which case greater power of control might be exercised over them, and fewer errors occur in writing.
Mediums must not expect perfect communication sin imperfect conditions. No spirit, who has ever communicated a message to men, is as perfect as it will be. Perfection belongs to God alone. Spirits are only perfect in degree: So far as they fall short of the infinite wisdom of God, just so far are they imperfect. What reliance, then, can be placed on a communication, originating in a spirit of imperfect wisdom? What confidence can a mind exercise in any writing, not under the direct control of God? How many mediums have ever been under such control? No one is now moved to write by the direct control of God. No one ever was moved to write by such control. The wisdom of God was never engaged in the infinite plenitude of its fullness, to control any human mind. Alt revelation has been made through agencies. These agencies are spirits. Spirits are agents of God to reveal wisdom.
But they can only reveal the wisdom they possess, and that wisdom is not infinite. Can mind rely upon that wisdom? If it can not, what will it rely upon? It will not rely upon that which is not wisdom. There is no reliance which can be safely trusted, if wisdom be rejected. Let the mind reject the limited wisdom which has been revealed, and who suffers? What condition will that mind be in, if it reject wisdom, because it is not infinite? Suppose it were possible to disclose infinite wisdom, would the mind comprehend it? Infinite wisdom is disclosed in the infinity of God's works, but what spirit comprehends what it has not seen or examined? What spirit has surveyed that which has no limit? And if it has not comprehended infinity, how can it impart to others that which it does not itself possess? How can it describe what it has not seen, or make known that which it does not know?
Mediums and others are interested to receive communications from the highest possible circle in this sphere. Some will not be satisfied, unless the communications originate from Jesus, and others demand even his signature to command their respect. The condition of mind, which repudiates the truth, unless sanctioned by a name, is peculiarly unfortunate. Whatever of respect mind may cherish for the names of wise men of other generations, their names have nothing to do with facts, and were it possible for such spirits to respond directly to the inquirer, the response would not differ from the answer we should return. Jesus would answer as the condition of the inquirer demanded. He would answer to instruct him in wisdom, and he would adapt his measure of wisdom to the understanding of his auditor. Would we not do the same? Would it be serviceable to do otherwise? Hence, it matters not to the mind instructed, who teaches, only so that wisdom is taught as is adapted to the improvement of the mind. What one spirit would say, another would say; for there is no inharmony in the mode of instruction with spirits.
But mediums have their partialities and their preferences. One must have the sanction of Paul, another of Luke, a third of John, and a fourth of Matthew. This will satisfy them. It might not satisfy others. They would not believe that the apostles of Jesus who lived in the body more than eighteen hundred years ago, have really condescended to visit so remote a generation and re-perform the duties which they have once discharged. Indeed, the law of progress involves the supposition in difficulty. Eighteen centuries ought to advance spirits sufficiently in the wisdom of God to teach spirits. And what this period of time ought to have done has been done. They are the teachers of the second sphere, as we would be of the first. As we are taught by them, so we teach others. That Paul, or any other apostle of Jesus, has directly communicated with minds in the body is not true; but it is true, that they have communicated through the agency of those they have sought to instruct. What is communicated in the name of the apostles is not true of them in person, but is true of them by agency. Spirits of this sphere are students in the school of wisdom, and the wise of other generations are our teachers. The students of this school communicate the wisdom they have received, and in the degree they have found. Whatever they have found of wisdom is from above. They have received wisdom as they have progressed, and progressed as they have received. That wisdom is from the sphere of the apostles. Hence, the student imparting the knowledge desired, gives it the sanction of those names which will command veneration. The spirit, not being the author of the wisdom it has received, allows the credit to a higher circle and sphere, who have instructed him. No spirit above wisdom in the second circle, would adopt a signature not its own. It is a degree of wisdom common among minds in the body, but wisdom of more elevated circles prefer no dissimulation to encourage a sentiment, which the wisdom of heaven will forever uphold. It is not consistent with human understanding, whatever may be the truth with spirits.
Mediums and others, who rely upon names, are likely to reject the truth, when the name of the instructor is not of their peculiar faith. They often set aside facts when presented by a spirit against whom their minds are biased. If the spirit entertains views dissimilar to their own, while in the body, they feel a degree of repugnance to his instruction. They regard his views with distrust. Hence, the announcement of the real name of the communicating spirit, is sometimes properly withheld. It would do harm to make it known, because it would prevent the truth from being received by those who need it. The medium is not prepared by instruction to understand, that what might have, been the opinion of the spirit in the body, that opinion is subject to the control of facts in this sphere. The experience of over fifty years has wrought many changes in the mind of the writer and his associates. We are not unbelievers in revelation now. We are not in many things as we once were. Nevertheless, the medium makes no allowances. He judges from what he has heard or read. Hence, the writing of a name is nearly equivalent in his mind to an endorsement of the peculiar views of the individual while in the body. An endorsement of those views would be detrimental to the progress of mind, because some of them were erroneous. No spirit who communicated with the prophets, or inspired the apostles of Jesus, ever gave its name. No spirit who writes with mediums in this age will give its name, unless the conditions of mind require it, and no wrong impression of sentiment be encouraged by it. The names of guardian spirits will sometimes be given, as they have been; but the interested must know only what is adapted to the good of mind.
Mediums will learn that wisdom may be imparted to them from a circle, which is not as they are. Some mediums have complained because the communications received, contradicted their views of wisdom. They have solicited communications from spirits who would write agreeably to their wish. They have been accommodated. Were they satisfied with what they asked and received? No; but they were more discouraged than ever. They wanted nothing which would contradict their wisdom. The spirit wrote only as they requested, wrote what they desired, wrote only their minds, and were they satisfied? Alas! Then, they said, it was their own minds. Then they said, it was of no use for them to sit, because spirits wrote only what they thought, or might have thought. Then they said, other mediums do the same, and though the hand be moved by aid of spirits, yet there is no wisdom in the writing. Who is to blame? Did not the spirit write as circumstances demanded? The medium would not submit to a contradiction of his wisdom. Such contradiction he would impute to an evil spirit. The evil spirit could not correct him, because he would not obey. He must have something agreeing with his notions of consistency and truth. He would have nothing else. That he received. With that he is dissatisfied. Who is to blame? Is the medium? No. What then? It is the condition of his mind. He is not passive. That condition must be changed. He will not change it. He opposes what will change it. But who suffers? The medium may answer this question.
Mediums desire what is most agreeable to their minds. They write with our aid. But they wish spirits to aid them in many ways. Some desire us to write what we do not know. Others desire us to write only what will advance their temporal gain. When we are asked what we do not know, how shall we answer? We will answer, but our answer is not satisfactory. The medium thinks the spirit should know, and, if it do not know, he distrusts its ability to communicate any truth. He is mistaken. The spirit may know what it is improper to communicate, lest others be injured by it. It may not know and yet learn. It may write, that it is not a subject which belongs to the object of its mission. But nothing will satisfy. Spirits are not spirits, because the demand of the medium is not complied with. Who suffers? We see who suffers. We see some mediums who have refused to sit for communications. We see the reason. We see other reasons, and we see what we will not do to give them satisfaction. We will not write an untruth. We will not write as they demand. We will write what is proper and true, what is wise and good. Such persons as will not sit to receive communications of this character, must write with their own wisdom to control, and receive the reward which it has to bestow.
Mediums will earn that wisdom is not in silver or gold. Persons sometimes seek information of spirits, respecting concealed treasures. Mediums qualified to write with the aid of spirits, will write what they must do to find it. The treasures of heaven are what spirits seek to disclose. Mediums will find what is worth more than earthly treasures, if they do their duty. They will find what wealth can not purchase. But when others desire to consult spirits to aid them through mediums to find gold or silver in the earth, the wisdom of this circle will not gratify them. It is not our object to make men rich without industry, nor even then in any other thing but such as we possess. The medium who desires to aid in such an enterprise as most concerns worldly wisdom, the getting of gold, will assuredly be disappointed. It cannot be otherwise. The desire and anxiety which he will necessarily feel on so exciting a subject, will control the wisdom exercised by spirits to enlighten minds. No medium should allow himself to sit for any such investigation. The whole matter will end in confusion and disappointment. We see who have been deceived, and deceived by their own condition. When mediums wish to realize the truth, they must be passive. When they are not passive, they will not rely on what may be written. If they would know the truth, we would write it; but when it is impossible to write the truth, no blame should be attached to us for what is wrong. Under the excitement of money-seeking, it is not possible for a spirit to control the subject, as it would be in most cases beyond its power. Nevertheless, the spirit may attempt it. It may try to dissuade the mind from the whole subject. But we see that only a few mediums are sufficiently passive to write what will do good. We see minds operating to find money in some secluded quarter of the earth. We see them operating mostly with undeveloped mediums. They often consult clairvoyants. Clairvoyants are no more reliable than writers. They will see, but what do they see? Do they see what spirits unfold? If so, all is well. But if they see what the will of the operator mirrors on the mind, must it necessarily be true? In the first stages of clairvoyance, as in writing, the medium is not passive. When the medium is not passive, he is not under the control of spirits. Who, then, does control? The one who operates. The one who operates controls when we do not. Who operates with clairvoyants? Who overcomes their normal condition? Cannot he who overcomes the normal condition transfer his impressions, or even the impressions of the company to the subject? And if he will an impression on the mind of the clairvoyant, and the clairvoyant utter that impression, whose impression or work is it? Certainly spirits have had nothing to do with the whole matter. The medium is a medium of human thought, and if the thought should deceive any one, who would be to blame?
In this way minds in the body, will see that what has been imputed to spirits does not belong to them, but originates with the deceived mind who operates so as to induce the impression. There need be no reliance on what is communicated under such a state of things. But if minds in the body desire to pursue their own work, and be guided by their own impressions, they must be willing to receive the reward they have sought—disappointment. We will write what clairvoyants and others, soliciting aid in such matters, will find true to their progress in wisdom. Never sit for such a purpose, until spirits shall direct. When they direct, they will control all things well. But when we direct, who wilt write the truth, or what conditions are necessary to the attainment of facts? We will answer. When the truth is desired, and nothing but the truth no will of others will be exercised over the mind of the medium, save what is impressed by spirits. What we impress will be reliable. But what others in the body may do, is not a work for which we are responsible. The medium should be free from surrounding influences of minds in the body. He should, not be controlled by them. But this condition is not always attainable in the early progress of mediums. It requires time and discipline to write only what will be found true. The medium will be able to decide this qualification. When spirits can control him to write what they will, and, if necessary, contradict the expressed opinions of others who are present, it may be regarded as evidence, that he has become so passive as to be competent to communicate only the truth. But, when the medium shrinks under the contradiction of inquiries, and writes only in harmony with their expressed will, no reliance need be placed on the communication. Whatever control the spirit may have exercised, it was not competent to write as was designed. The same rule will hold good in regard to clairvoyants. The clairvoyant, who yields to the contradiction of other minds, is seen to be under their control, and so far as he may yield, so far error will be inwoven with his subject. Hence, persons seeking for the truth would do well not to will, wish, or desire any thing; but let the medium say what is truth as aid is given. These hints are not intended for those mediums whom discipline has qualified for a faithful discharge of their duties, but for such as are not wholly passive to our control. The medium who writes will know when he is passive by what we have written. He can very readily inform himself how far his communications are reliable by the concern and desire, which he has exercised while in the attitude of writing. He may well know by the character of his communications. If they are contradictory or untruthful, he will see that he is not passive, and consequently needs more discipline and time to prepare him for the office he holds.
We see some who become impatient, but we see others patient. We shall succeed with the latter, but not with the former. It is our wish to gain control of all minds, to make all persons mediums of wisdom. We design to do what others who are mediums well understand. We would reform the world. We would harmonize the conflicting conditions of humanity. We would impress the wisdom of heaven on the hearts of men. We would glorify God. We would write his wisdom on the temple of his hands. We would work his grace and truth into all minds. But who will aid our endeavor?
The medium who is submissive to our control. The medium whom we can inspire with the song of redemption. The medium whose mind is impressible by our works of impression. The medium who is not controlled by human weakness and folly. The medium who writes without fear or favor of men. The medium who is not controlled by the ignorance of sectarian idolatry. The medium who writes without wrongs of deceived minds to influence. The medium who seeks truth and wisdom from heaven. Such will be mediums of light and peace to the world in darkness and contention. Such will be heralds of salvation to minds in sorrow and despair. Such will be messengers of wisdom and bliss to minds in ignorance and tears. The medium who serves God by doing good to the world, will receive a crown of rejoicing which the wisdom of earth has not to bestow, when the opening world of light shall break upon his spirit from the sphere where angels dwell. Then what spirits have done to make him wiser, will be wisdom to make him happier. Then what he has sacrificed in works of good to his race, will be more than what works of indifference to the voice of angels, can impart. Then what he now sees only in part will be more fully revealed, and he will not need what others will need, when they reach the city beyond the valley of darkness and doubt. Then what we have written and taught in these pages will be understood, and obeyed. Then wisdom will write with him and inspire him with the blessedness of God. Then the writing of spirits will be no new theme; for he will see who controls, and the wisdom that controls all conditions of mind, so as to instruct and write what will do good. Then Jesus will write for him, and what he writes will not be disregarded but obeyed, and his spirit will progress in the knowledge of the truth forever and ever.
(WRITTEN BY THE SPIRIT OF A YOUNG LADY TO HER BROTHER.)
My apology for this disclosure is, that I wish you to know the truth. You never saw me in the body. I am a stranger to you. I am a stranger to many who may have an interest to know the misery I suffered during a brief sojourn on earth. I have a dear friend, a brother, who knows my life; yet, my dear brother is a brother still. He mourned my melancholy fate. He saw me degraded, but he never forsook me. He saw me ruined in the sight of the world, but he still loved me as a brother. Oh, my brother! What can I do to requite your favors to me in the day of adversity, in a day which tried your soul, in a day bitter with shame to your heart—not that you had done wrong—Heaven forbid! But I, a weak and imprudent sister, had submitted to the ignominy, the treachery of a base heart, and been lured by the fascinations of a serpent, who beguile me in my innocence. The monster still lives—still survives the wreck his passions have made. He will live when my shame shall be remembered no more. He will live, and, living, feel the quiver which bore my body to the land of graves. He will live, oh my brother! be not angry that he lives! The world wide charity of your benevolence will suffer no wrong by a clemency, diffusive as the morning light. I linger near you to console a heart, bleeding for the misery which led me away from scenes that mocked the wail of a repentant sister—scenes which disturbed the solitude of weary hours—scenes which forbade me friends—scenes which made every nerve of my body to convulse with fear—scenes which wrought decay to my weak frame—and scenes painful beyond the endurance of contemplation.
I turn, and wherever I turn, I see my brother, dismayed with the foul mind that murdered my hopes of life. I see him no where consoled with the smile of gladness, with which he was wont to greet me in, my chamber of despair. I see wrong—a dark cloud still lingers above and around his head, to curse the day made dark by the man, who ruined the hope of a confiding brother. Oh! and may I call him brother? May I call him what my deed, my wrong, would never justify? Yes: He is my brother. He was my brother. He will not disown me. Alas! he did not disown me, when all other friends forsook me. He will speak of me, and call me sister. He did call, me, sister, when others blushed to own me such. And can I forget my brother? Can I forsake when he never forsook? Can I disown when he was always true? Never, no, never.
I see what he sees not. I know what he does not know. All other hearts are not as his. All other minds are not as his. His dear spirit I love—love because it loved me—love because no other love visited me with a smile—a tear—a tear in smiles. No other love came to my sick chamber with such cheerfulness, such readiness, such anxiety, such sympathy, and such pity, as that which melted my soul with gratitude that I had a brother in the day of misfortune. Did I not have friends? Did I not love and confide in my friends? I will say, I had many—many who were near to my heart. I was gay, cheerful, and happy. I was welcomed to the circles of the wealthy though dependent—dependent, as my brother knows, on his arm for protection. I mingled in the society of the fashionable, for my brother was the pride of literary merit; yes, the merit of an offering which minds welcome to drawing-rooms of a populous city—a city desecrated by the relation I am about to give.
Oh, that my brother could see the work! Oh, that I could give even a faint sketch of my wretchedness, when we met after my mission of wrong—more wrong in another—had been consummated! The task overcomes the capacity of recital. I saw him—him whom my brother loved, and because my brother loved I loved also. The mind of one was the mind of the other, I was deceived—he was deceived—both were betrayed. In the betrayer I reposed confidence, as I would in a brother. Oh! how misplaced! But I was weak—not wicked—for I never had been taught that it was wrong to confide in a professed servant of Jesus—a minister of the Gospel. No: I had no wisdom to protect me against wrong from such a quarter; no suspicion to indulge that he would injure me, and no counselor to forewarn me of impending ruin. In that mistaken confidence I loved a man—a deceiver who has made wretched more souls than mine. He professed love—love which thrilled my heart with the impulse of affection—love that seemed to pervade my whole nature, and offer visions of delight to my ardent hopes—love which sought only what would contribute to the luxury of anticipation and distrust no promise or pleasure which his liberality had to bestow. He was my counselor when the dark hour of temptation came. He was my trust when we anticipated all that human minds could expect. He was my wisdom to do what no mind asks me to relate. Oh, my God! Oh, my soul! Oh, my brother! Who was deceived? Who was wronged? Who was betrayed? Never, no, never, need such work be vindicated while mind is mind, and God is judge. Never, let my soul taste again the curse which pollution brings to damn me with its wrath and misery. Never, so long as law is true to mind, and mind is controlled by law. No: nor will the law unbind the wrong which deceived and wounded my trusting spirit. It is that which makes me write a confession of my shame. It is that law, and violation of law, that wounds, but not to heal, which demands words of penitence from a spirit out of the body as wall as in it. Oh! what words will reveal my sorrow? What words will atone for the infatuation or a deluded and ignorant child, drawn away from the path of duty to God and duty to friends, as well as respect for myself? Words will not atone. A bleeding mind, a wronged innocence, a conscience defiled, a soul degraded, a character injured, are these the dregs of bitterness that filled my cup of misery, and which must live to haunt my spirit when my body has returned to dust? Oh, dearest brother! thou hast not known, because thou hast not seen nor felt the sweetness of a mercy which whispers forgiveness like that which make the soul of injured virtue in this world of tenderness and compassion. Thou hast not forgotten our dear mother's love, nor hast thou denied the love she sought to impress on our minds in childhood. Thou rememberest well her kind voice that spake to us words of wisdom in love, and thou knowest that her kindness commanded our natural ignorance with subduing power, and won our obedience to the path of right. Oh! what impressions have been made upon my soul by the tenderness she would manifest toward her children! What melting compassion beamed on her countenance, as she taught us to love the holly message of mercy, revealed from heaven! What reverence dwelt on her brow, when she read the words of that divine Saviour who said, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, sin no more." Heaven is merciful. Spirits are merciful in heaven. Oh I that you, and all who are interested in my narrative, might realize how blessed are they who find mercy, in doing what mercy requires. Oh, that minds who have made me unhappy, while in the body, because another had wronged me, might contemplate what I see, so that wisdom and love might temper the blast to the shorn lamb, and offer shelter to the shelterless of misfortune. Oh, that wrong, which bewitches and beguiles the ignorant from the path of duty, might be overcome with the day, whose morning glories never fade, and whose rising sun never sets. Oh! that he whose wrong bore my wasted body to the grave, might find repentance unto life, and smile with no deception on others as I once fondly believed he did on me. Never can I hate such sweetness as wronged me of my innocence, my name, my all on earth, when no injustice, or wrong or misery, consumes the natural instinct of enjoyment. Never could I regret that I loved him with more than respectful attention, but I do regret that my love was unrequited, and I was deceived by professions devoid of all truth. I do regret that what willed me to shame had not been disclosed to my mind, ere the wretchedness I occasioned should have burst upon the heads of the innocent. Yea: I do regret that others were as unwise as myself, and yet not wise in the wisdom of heaven.
I am where no clouds of sin, no works of wrong, no voice of reproach, no words of unkindness can mar the pence of my soul forever. Oh, how little did I anticipate that such would be the end of all my troubles and sorrows. How dark was my prospect on the bed of death! How sad and gloomy was that lone night when all earthly good vanished in despair! How mournfully did my brother look upon my faded countenance, and yet not a word of consolation could he impart! All was still and silent as the moonless night, undisturbed by the flutter of wind or storm. I gazed upon the darkness more dark by the flickering lamp, more dark by the dreary grave which stood ready to embrace me. Oh, what sensations came over my soul! Then I said; Oh, my God! have mercy on me; save, oh, save the erring child of misfortune.
I saw a bright messenger enter the room, whose smile I recognized as the smile of a mother. She came a spirit. Oh, and is this my dear mother who warned me of danger, and whose counsel I welcomed when a child! Oh, my mother! what have I done which should call you from the spirit land? I whispered to my soul. Oh, what must I do to go where you have gone, and share the glory which dwells on your brow?
She smiled and said, work out the wrong from your heart, and prepare to follow me. I saw her no more till we met in heaven Then my spirit rose on wings of hope and trust. I had sinned, I had sorrowed, but I found no resting place for my grief-worn mind till my fond mother came as a spirit to bind up my wounds, and console me in the hour of despair and death. What will you say, my friend, to this narrative of facts? Will you write what will not work without a repentance? No: Then ask my brother, now on a visit here, to go and do likewise. You will not write what will do no good, and hence my further history is omitted.