The Nature and Tendency of Modern Spiritualism

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Chapter Ten. The Religion of Reason—Babylon Becomes the Habitation of Devils—The Kings of the Earth Deceived—Consummation—Conclusion

It has long been the custom with those who deny the word of God to make their boast of Reason, and to condemn the Bible as cramping the powers of the mind. So common has this become with the advocates of Spiritualism, that we think it would be serving the cause of truth to briefly notice the fallacies and unreasonableness of such a profession. NTMS 162.3

First, We would correct a wrong impression which has obtained with many of the opponents of revelation, namely, that reason, as a guide, is accepted as a substitute for the Bible. We do not accept the Bible as a substitute for reason, nor do they accept reason as a substitute for the Bible, though they may suppose they do. But in so supposing, they forget the office of reason. NTMS 163.1

Reason is not evidence; but reason examines and accepts or rejects the testimony offered. But without evidence reason cannot be exercised; therefore, the real controversy is between the testimony of the Bible and some other testimony. Said Hume: “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence;” which is true. But a man cannot proportion his belief to reason independent of evidence; for reason cannot induce belief without evidence, nor hinder it where evidence exists. If we have no evidence, we need no reason; for reason cannot act without it. A case may be in court, and twelve able jurists selected as jurors; would any sane man think of submitting the case to them for a decision without hearing the testimony, because the jury were men of exalted and enlightened reason? Without any evidence being presented, we might as well depend on a jury of twelve idiots. There is, beyond a doubt, much presumption that is called trust, and much fanaticism that is called faith, among the professed believers in the Bible; but we think we may safely appeal to the readers of these pages to decide whether the believers in the Bible are guided less by reason than those who trust in the communications of the spirits. So far as our observation and research extend, we have found Spiritualists the most credulous and easily duped. Mr. Daniels, in his work on Spiritualism, says:- NTMS 163.2

“Mr. Partridge, of the Telegraph, informed the writer that the greatest obstacle to the progress of Spiritualism was the implicit confidence which many persons religiously inclined were wont to repose in all the spirits say.” NTMS 164.1

We do not receive the Bible as a substitute for reason; but we receive the testimony of the Bible as the best, the very highest, ground on which to reason. We do no violence to reason, when we say that some things are beyond its powers; they are questions of authority. And so all must regard them. The spirits inform Dr. Hare that there are seven spheres; that they are concentric, and lying between the earth and the orbit of the moon. (Page 114.) The spirits also inform Judge Edmonds and A. J. Davis that there are seven spheres, but at a distance from this earth too great for the mind to conceive. While Joel Tiffany says that “Spiritualism demonstrates that Heaven is not a place, built somewhere in the universe for a particular class of men; but that it is in the soul of the individual.” (Dis. with Mohan, p. 41.) These extravagances were not imbibed by a process of reasoning, but from the testimony of the spirits. Yet we often hear those who rely upon the contradictory statements of the spirits for all their knowledge of the future and the spheres, deride the believer in the Bible as a rejecter of reason! NTMS 164.2

Spiritualism has been treated as a religion; this may be correct, considering the term religion in its most comprehensive form. But the most prominent Spiritualists consider it but a form of Christianity, and denominate themselves Christian Spiritualists. This is a misnomer. The religion of Spiritualism is not the Christian religion, but directly opposed to it. We are not astonished that it professes to be the Christian religion; indeed, it would not fulfill the prophecy if it did not. For there could not be false christs and false prophets without a counterfeit of Christianity. NTMS 164.3

And some have greatly misjudged concerning the future work of Spiritualism; knowing that it tends to irreligion and anarchy, they cannot believe that its advocates will be intolerant in practice, or endeavor to put it up as a substitute for all other religious beliefs. But we have no confidence in the professions of those who are so manifestly led captive by Satan. Indeed, their true feelings and designs frequently “crop out,” as in the following instances. The first is an extract from a lecture by L. Judd Pardee, a Spiritualist lecturer reported in the Banner of Light:- NTMS 165.1

“If we are to have a new Theology, we must have a New State, the New Church (ere long to rise) to be the Mother of it. Church and State ought to be, as in essential reality everywhere they always have been, one. This ostensible separateness never struck deep. Every thinker knows what mutual and interactive help and play there practically is between them. Give us a pure, a divine, a rationally justified and a continuously inspired Church-and it must help keep pure and Heaven-helped the State.” NTMS 165.2

We shall not be disappointed if such proves to be the world’s millennium-Spiritualism as “the church,” regulating and controlling the State. NTMS 165.3

The following is an extract from a letter from Detroit, Mich., to the Banner of Light, published May 12, 1866:- NTMS 165.4

“Let Spiritualists make their power known, and demand simple justice and fairness. Let them write to those publishers who offend, and tell them that these attacks and slurs upon Spiritualism and Spiritualists must cease-that they cannot permit our holy religion to be so reviled, and our feelings so trifled with.” NTMS 165.5

But Spiritualism, in their estimation, is the only “religion” too holy to be spoken against, as they unceasingly revile all religion outside of their fraternity; and especially Christianity, the author of which they continually blaspheme. NTMS 166.1

This form of the great deception has been anticipated by the student of prophecy. Edward Bickersteth (England), in the introduction to Charlotte Elizabeth’s work entitled, “Principalities and Powers,” makes the following striking remark:- NTMS 166.2

“Looking at the signs of the times, and the long-neglected and unnatural denial of angelic ministration or spiritual influence, and at the express predictions of false christs and false prophets, who shall show signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect, and that when men receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved, for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, I can but think there is a painful prospect of a sudden recoil and religious revulsion from the present unbelief and misbelief, to an unnatural and undistinguishing credulity, when Antichrist shall appear in the latest form, with signs and lying wonders.” NTMS 166.3

This was written in 1842, about five years before Spiritualism began its work in the State of New York. NTMS 166.4

The New York Independent gives an extract from the “Hulsean Lectures of Dr. Trench,” under the appropriate title of “Modern Spiritualism, a profane parody of the dispensation of the Spirit.” The quotation is prefaced with the remark that the lecturer “anticipates a future development of wickedness and danger to the world in the following striking and prophetic words. The lectures were delivered in 1845; and it has been reserved for our later years, and pre-eminently for our country, to supply the reality which they prefigured. When this is borne in mind, the term, ‘prophetic’ which we have applied to his remarks, will hardly seem to any, extravagant. We quote from the Cambridge edition of the lectures, pp. 135-6“:- NTMS 166.5

“The hints which in God’s prophetic word we have, and the course of the mystery of iniquity as it is already working, seem to point to this: that as there has been an aping of the monarchy of the Father, in the absolute despotisms of the world, and an aping of the economy of the Son, as though he already sat visibly on his throne, in its spiritual despotisms, and eminently in that of Rome; so there remains yet for the world, as the crowning delusion, a lying imitation of the kingdom and dispensation of the Spirit-such as in the lawless Communist sects of the middle ages, in the Familists of a later day, in the St. Simonians of our own, has attempted to come to the birth, though in each case the world was not ripe for it yet, and the thing was withdrawn for a time. Yet doubtless only for a time; to re-appear in an after hour-full of false freedom, full of the promise of bringing all things into one; making war on the family, as something which separates between man and man; breaking down and obliterating all distinctions, the distinctions between nation and nation, between the man and the woman, between the flesh and the spirit, between the church and the world, between good and evil.... NTMS 167.1

“This adversary is not simply the wicked one, but the lawless one; and the mystery is not merely a ‘mystery of iniquity,’ but of lawlessness. Law, in all its manifestations, is that which he shall rage against, making hideous misapplication of that great truth, that where the Spirit is, there is liberty.” NTMS 167.2

This is as perfect a picture of Spiritualism as could be drawn by one well acquainted with its teachings. So well do the Scriptures of truth point out and warn us of these dangers; and yet its converts are daily increasing among professed Christians and Christian ministers, who profess to find in it the very essence of the gospel. This leads us to notice another phase which is yet to be presented, when, in the language of the Bible, NTMS 167.3