The Nature and Tendency of Modern Spiritualism

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Chapter One. The Manner and Locality of its Rise—Ancient and Modern Sorcery—The Existence of Evil

The subject of “Modern Spiritualism” has, in a measure, ceased to be a novelty; for, though it is an infant in years, in the few years of its existence it has grown to such an extent that very few, if any, can be ignorant of the fact of its existence, or even of the phenomena through which it has been developed, and by which it is sustained. The following testimony from a writer in the Spiritual Clarion, in an article entitled, “The Millennium of Spiritualism,” is faithful in regard to the manner of its rise, and is also interesting as showing the feelings of its devotees. He says:- NTMS 7.1

“This revelation has been with a power, a might, that if divested of its almost universal benevolence had been a terror to the very soul; the hair of the very bravest had stood on end, and his chilled blood had crept back upon his heart, at the sights and sounds of its inexplicable phenomena. NTMS 7.2

“It comes with foretokening, with warning. It has been, from the very first, its own best prophet, and step by step it has foretold the progress it would make. It comes, too, most triumphant. No faith before it ever took such a victorious stand in its very infancy. It has swept like a hurricane of fire through the land, compelling faith from the baffled scoffer and the most determined doubter.” NTMS 7.3

The phenomena of Spiritualism present the characteristics of power and intelligence, beyond the control of both the medium and the spectator. Of this fact, says Judge Edmonds:- NTMS 8.1

“It forecloses every objection urged against it. If it is supposed to be by the toes on the floor, it is transferred to the table; if supposed to be done by machinery, it is done high up on the wall, or on a railroad train in motion; if supposed to be deception in the dark, it is done in broad light; if supposed to be delusion, it comes to so many different persons, and is perceptible even to animals; if supposed to be collusion, it is done in so many different places that collusion is out of the question; if supposed to be ventriloquism, it is done without a sound; if supposed to be our mind, it is done against our will. Thus every supposable explanation is met and answered by itself and its manifestations. NTMS 8.2

“It speaks many languages; it answers mental questions; it tells things unknown to the medium; it foretells things to happen; it identifies individuals; it comes and goes at its pleasure and not at ours; it indulges in untruth and contradictions, and this against the will of the medium; it tells things not in the mind of any one present; it displays a will and purpose of its own, just as the human mind does; it comes everywhere and in all parts of the world with the same characteristics; it takes pains and contrives means to obviate objections to it; and, finally, it shows the phenomena of moving inanimate matter without mortal contact, and displaying intelligence.” NTMS 8.3

Volumes of reliable testimony and well-authenticated facts might be presented in harmony with the foregoing statements, but they are so well known that it is quite unnecessary; and the various theories designed to prove it an illusion, are fast being abandoned. These theories we shall not stop to review, but shall endeavor to give the true theory: that which is sustained by truth itself-the word of God. NTMS 8.4

In giving a Bible view of Spiritualism it is our object to point out its nature and origin; but as it stands connected with the fulfillment of prophecy, it will be necessary briefly to notice the time and place of its rise, in order to perfectly identify it. NTMS 8.5

In the prophecies, kingdoms or governments are symbolized by beasts. The four universal governments which have existed since the days of Nebuchadnezzar, namely, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, were represented in Daniel 7 by a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a dreadful and terrible beast. Compare chapters 2 and 7, and notice particularly chap. 2:3-40; 5:28, 31; 8:20, 21; Luke 2:1. In Revelation 13:1-8, is given the description of a beast having the characteristics of all the beasts of Daniel 7, showing clearly that it occupies the same dominion as the four monarchies of Daniel’s vision, and is the last form of the Roman Empire, under papal rule, commencing a. d. 538; the forty and two months, or time, times, and a half, of its power extending to the captivity of the pope by the French, in 1798. NTMS 9.1

“Another beast” is described in Revelation 13:11-17 as “coming up” at the time that the first went into captivity, which we think is a symbol of the United States of America. To those who wish to examine this scripture we offer the following suggestions:- NTMS 9.2

1. It is another beast in distinction from the papal beast, and therefore it is neither the papal power nor any part of it. NTMS 9.3

2. It comes up “out of the earth;” this shows its locality to be separate from that of the former or papal beast, which is represented as rising “out of the sea.” NTMS 9.4

3. It has two horns like a lamb, in contrast with the horns of the first beast, which have crowns on them. NTMS 9.5

4. It speaks like a dragon. It is hypocritical, its practice being inconsistent with its profession. By referring to Daniel 7:8, we find that the Roman Catholic Church is symbolized by the little horn diverse from the others; hence an ecclesiastical power is symbolized by a horn. And we consider that the two horns are the civil and ecclesiastical powers of this nation. That inconsistency has characterized both these powers from the very rise of this nation to the present time, we prove thus:- NTMS 10.1

a. When the Puritans came to this country to avoid the persecution of the old world, their professed intention was to found a government without a king, and a church without a pope or earthly head, and thus insure civil and religious liberty to all; but their acts were inconsistent with this profession, many of their laws being arbitrary and tyrannical; insomuch that they bitterly persecuted the Quakers and the Baptists. The State of Maryland also enacted laws against the Catholics. NTMS 10.2

b. While the government is professedly based on the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the equality of all mankind, and their right by creation to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it has enslaved millions, depriving them of all these unalienable rights, and placing their very lives in the hands of their owners; and this without any higher authority than selfishness, and against the dictates of humanity and of God’s word. NTMS 10.3

c. While it professes to grant perfect freedom in regard to religion, it virtually sustains, by recognizing, the observance of the first day of the week, and will not sustain the observance of the seventh day, which God has sanctified, and commanded us to keep, nor will it vindicate the rights of those who keep the fourth commandment of the decalogue. Thus the stringent Sunday laws of Pennsylvania, under which those who keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment have been bitterly persecuted, have been maintained as being constitutional. NTMS 10.4

d. While the churches of this land professed the most enlarged benevolence and the purest Christianity, as bodies they were accessories to the sin of slaveholding by fellowshiping it, and apologizing for it before the world; and this to such an extent that Dr. Barnes’ saying became a proverb, that the American churches were the bulwarks of American slavery, and that there was no power out of the church that could sustain it one hour if it had not been sustained in the church. NTMS 11.1

These points are sufficient to show the perfect fulfillment of this part of the prophecy. NTMS 11.2

5. He exercises all the power of the first beast. This cannot mean that his jurisdiction extends over the same dominion, for they exist cotemporaneously. The two-horned beast works before, or in the sight of, the first beast, and causes the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast. It must therefore signify that the power exercised by the two is the same in kind. The proposed “Religious Amendment to the Constitution” will give a more complete fulfillment of this part of the prophecy. NTMS 11.3

6. He doeth great wonders, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast. Miracles are of two kinds-true and false. As there are false christs, true and false prophets, and true and false apostles, so there are true and false miracles; those wrought to attest and spread the truth, and those also to deceive and to overthrow the truth-lying wonders. We notice that it does not deceive by professing the power to work wonders, but by those miracles which it had power to do. It works miracles to deceive; the result is shown in the next specification. NTMS 11.4

7. It induces them that dwell on the earth to make an image to the first beast. Mark in this the evidence of its being a republican government; the action of the people is sought in the erection of this image. NTMS 12.1

8. This image is not one erected by the papal power, but it is an image or likeness of that power erected by another power in another locality. A superficial view of this prophecy has led many writers to err on this point, supposing it might be fulfilled by the Catholic Church making an image for its own worship; but that does not meet the demands of this scripture. NTMS 12.2

9. He causes all classes, great and small, rich and poor, free and bond, to worship the first beast by receiving his mark, etc. It not only presents the characteristics of a democratic government, but maintains its diverse features in liberty and slavery, thus pointing out just such a government as was founded in America. NTMS 12.3

Although we do not claim the complete fulfillment of this prophecy as regards the image, believing that to be dependent on a more full development of the lying miracles, we do claim that in all other respects it is most clearly fulfilled in the United States; that in that point also it can be fulfilled only in a government like ours; and that several of these points are not met in any other theory or view that we have ever seen founded on this prophecy. NTMS 12.4

In this view we see no possible ground of objection, unless a question may arise as to the persecution induced by these false miracles, that is, by Spiritualism, inasmuch as it is tolerant in profession, and, instead of curtailing the privileges of any, it goes to the opposite extreme, and offers to all freedom from restraint. But none, we apprehend, will raise this question who examine this subject with, care, or who have any just idea of the present and future work of Spiritualism. We remark, NTMS 13.1

1. If Spiritualism be a deception of Satan, we cannot expect that he will introduce it by announcing his real intention. NTMS 13.2

2. Spiritualists talk of peace and oppose war, but the final object of the deception is to gather the nations to the battle of the great day. See Revelation 16. NTMS 13.3

3. Spiritualism loves popularity, but hates the Bible and its institutions; therefore it may well be expected to oppose obedience to God’s commandments. NTMS 13.4

4. It is truth that Spiritualists denounce all law, and offer freedom from restraint; and the natural tendency of this is to subvert government and to introduce a state of anarchy which is certain to cause a disregard of all rights. Human nature without government has never protected any people, and we cannot hope for justice from those who, unrestrained, oppose God and his word. Instead of militating against our view of this prophecy, this question strengthens it by pointing us forward to the time when all law and all rights will be trampled under foot, and the servant of God left to the mercy of a lawless mob influenced by the worst passions that demons can arouse. And no one who reads the proofs offered in this book can say that the picture is overdrawn or the danger magnified. NTMS 13.5

By reference to Revelation 14:6-15, it will be seen that three messages, embracing a commandment, an annunciation, and a warning, are given immediately preceding the coming of the Son of man to reap the harvest of the earth. These messages, of course, are designed to prepare God’s people for that great event. The last message, the warning, is based upon the facts brought to view in chapter 13, respecting the worship of the beast and his image. This clearly shows that these miracles are wrought and the worship of the image enforced in the last days, just previous to the coming of Christ; and as the messages of the angels of Revelation 14 are designed to prepare the people of God “to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord,” which day and battle are soon to come, so these miracles are wrought during the time of the proclamation of the warning, to deceive the world and to turn away their minds from the truth. This, then, is clearly a work of the last days. NTMS 14.1

If the wonders of Spiritualism can be shown to be identical with the wonders of this prophecy, it will at once attest the truth of our application of the symbol of the two-horned beast of Revelation 13 to the United States, as it was in this country that Spiritualism took its rise; and also that we are now in the last days, near the close of this dispensation, and the awful scenes of the Judgment. NTMS 14.2

As an effort has been made to give the expression, “the last days,” a latitude of meaning that is evidently not designed in the Scriptures, and as we must carefully examine some texts especially referring to the last days, we will notice here, that in all the New-Testament writings it refers to the days immediately preceding the coming of Christ and the close of this dispensation, except a quotation in Acts 2, from the Old Testament, where it doubtless includes the whole gospel age. The following points of proof will sustain this position:- NTMS 15.1

1. The last day is when Christ comes. For proof, see 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, where it is declared explicitly that the righteous dead will be raised at the coming of Christ. Also compare Matthew 24:30, 31, with 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. In John 6:39, 40, 44, and 54, and 54, the Saviour declares that those to whom he gives eternal life he will raise up at the last day. Thus it is “at the last day” that Christ comes, the trumpet sounds, the righteous dead are raised incorruptible, and the living changed from mortality to immortality. NTMS 15.2

2. The last days comprehend more than the last day, but must necessarily stand in immediate connection with it, and also embrace it. As the last days can have no successors, so no days can possibly intervene between the last days and the last day. Concerning the last days, notice the following: In Matthew 24:11-14, it is shown that, 1. False christs and false prophets shall arise. 2. Iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall wax cold. 3. The gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations. 4. Then shall the end come. The same facts are set forth in 2 Timothy 3, which is a prophecy respecting the last days. It says, 1. The last days shall be perilous. 2. Men shall have a form of godliness and deny the power thereof. 3. The truth shall be resisted as it was in the days of Moses, which brings to view the false prophets, as will be shown by an examination of the text. 4. The godly shall suffer persecution, which recognizes the endurance unto the end, as in Matthew 24:13. Thus the prophecy of Paul in 2 Timothy 3, is located near the coming of the Lord, and is parallel with Revelation 13:12-17. We propose to examine verse 8, which brings to our consideration. NTMS 15.3