The Review and Herald


February 18, 1862

Phrenology, Psychology, Mesmerism, and Spiritualism


I have been shown that we must be guarded on every side, and perseveringly resist the insinuations and devices of Satan. He has transformed himself into an angel of light, and is deceiving and leading thousands captive. The advantages he takes of the science of the human mind, is tremendous. Here, serpent-like, he imperceptibly creeps in to corrupt the work of God. The miracles and works of Christ, he makes all human. If Satan should make an open, bold attack upon Christianity, it would bring the Christian in distress and agony at the feet of his Redeemer, and the strong and mighty Deliverer would affright the bold adversary away. But Satan, transformed into an angel of light, works upon the mind to allure from the only safe and right path. The sciences of phrenology, psychology, and mesmerism, have been the channel through which Satan has come more directly to this generation, and wrought with that power which was to characterize his work near the close of probation. RH February 18, 1862, par. 1

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. “And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming; even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” RH February 18, 1862, par. 2

Satan has come unperceived through these sciences, and poisoned the minds of thousands and led them to infidelity. He is well pleased to have them spread wide. It is his own plan, laid out by himself, that he may have access to minds, and influence them as he pleases. And while it is believed that one human mind so wonderfully affects another, Satan, ready at hand, insinuates himself, and works on the right hand and on the left. And while those devoted to these sciences laud them to the heavens because of the great and good works they affirm are wrought by them, they are cherishing and glorifying Satan himself who steps in and works with all power and signs and lying wonders,—with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. RH February 18, 1862, par. 3

Said the angel, “Mark its influence. The controversy between Christ and Satan is not yet ended.” This entering in of Satan through the sciences, is well devised by his Satanic majesty, and will eventually root out of the minds of thousands true faith in Christ's being the Messiah, the Son of God. RH February 18, 1862, par. 4

I was directed to the power of God manifested though Moses, when the Lord sent him in before Pharaoh. Satan understood his business and was upon the ground. He well knew that Moses was chosen of God to break the yoke of bondage upon the children of Israel; and that he in his work prefigured Christ's first advent to break Satan's power over the human family, and deliver those who were made captives by his power. Satan knew that when Christ should appear, mighty works and miracles would be wrought by him, that the world might know that the Father had sent him. He trembled, for his power. He consults with his angels to accomplish a work which shall answer a two-fold purpose: 1. To destroy the influence of the work wrought by God through his servant Moses, by working through his agents, and thus counterfeiting the true work of God. 2. The influence of his work through the magicians would reach down through all ages, and would destroy in the minds of many true faith in the mighty miracles and works of Christ, which would be performed by him when he should come to this world. He knew that his kingdom would suffer, for the power which he held over mankind would be subject to Christ. It was no human influence or power Moses possessed, which wrought on the minds, that produced those miracles before Pharaoh. It was the power of God. These signs and wonders were wrought through Moses, to convince Pharaoh that the great “I AM” sent him to command Pharaoh to let Israel go, that they might serve him. RH February 18, 1862, par. 5

Pharaoh called for the magicians to work with their enchantments. They also showed signs and wonders, for Satan came to their aid, to work through them. Yet even here, the work of God was shown superior to the power of Satan, for the magicians could not perform all those miracles God wrought through Moses. Only a few of them could they do. The magicians’ rods did become serpents, but Aaron's rod swallowed up theirs. After the magicians sought to produce the lice, and could not, then they were compelled by the power of God to acknowledge even to Pharaoh, saying, “This is the finger of God.” Satan wrought through the magicians in a manner calculated to harden the heart of the tyrant Pharaoh against the miraculous manifestations of God's power. Satan thought to stagger the faith of Moses and Aaron in the divine origin of their mission, and then his instruments, the magicians, would prevail. Satan was unwilling to have the people of Israel released from Egyptian servitude, that they might serve God. The magicians failed to produce the miracle of the lice, and could no more imitate Moses and Aaron. God would not suffer Satan to proceed further, and the magicians could not save themselves from the plagues. “And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” Exodus 9:11. RH February 18, 1862, par. 6

God's controlling power here cut off the channel through which Satan worked, and caused even those through whom Satan wrought so wonderfully to feel his wrath. Sufficient evidence was given to Pharaoh to believe, if he would. Moses wrought by the power of God. The magicians wrought not by their own science alone, but by the power of their god,—the Devil. Satan has ingeniously carried out his deceptive work in counterfeiting the work of God. RH February 18, 1862, par. 7

As we near the close of time, the human mind is more readily affected by Satan's devices. He leads deceived mortals to account for the works and miracles of Christ upon general principles. Satan has ever been ambitious to counterfeit the work of Christ, and establish his own power and claims. He does not generally do this openly and boldly. He is artful, and knows that the most effectual way for him to accomplish his work, is to come to poor fallen man in the form of an angel of light. Satan came to Christ in the wilderness in the form of a beautiful young man,—more like a monarch than a fallen angel. He came with scripture in his mouth. Said he, “It is written,” &c. Our suffering Saviour meets him with scripture, saying, “It is written.” Satan takes the advantage of the weak, suffering condition of Christ. He took upon him our human nature. RH February 18, 1862, par. 8

Read Matthew 4:8, 11: “Again the Devil taketh him up into a exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the Devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” RH February 18, 1862, par. 9

Here Satan spread the world before Christ in the most attractive light, and intimates to him that he need not endure so much suffering to obtain the kingdoms of earth. He will yield all his claims if he will but worship him. Satan's dissatisfaction first commenced in heaven because he could not be first and highest in command,—equal with God, exalted above Christ. He rebelled and lost his estate, and he, and those who sympathized with him, were turned out of heaven. In the wilderness he hoped to gain advantage through the weak and suffering condition of Christ, and obtain from him that homage he could not obtain in heaven. Jesus, even in his faint and exhausted condition, yields not to the temptation of Satan for a moment, but shows his superiority and exercises his authority by bidding Satan, “Get thee hence”—or, depart from me. Satan was baffled, and then studied how he could accomplish his purpose and receive the honor from the human race which was refused him in heaven, and by Jesus upon earth. Could he have succeeded in tempting Jesus Christ, then the plan of salvation would have failed, and he would have succeeded in bringing hopeless misery upon mankind. That which Satan failed to effect in coming to Christ, he has accomplished in coming to man. RH February 18, 1862, par. 10

If Satan can so befog and deceive the human mind, and lead mortals to think there is an inherent power in themselves to accomplish great and good works, they cease to rely upon God to do that for them which they think exists in themselves to do. They acknowledge not a superior power. They give not God the glory he claims, and which is due to his great and excellent Majesty. Satan's object is thus accomplished. He exults that fallen man presumptuously exalts himself, as he exalted himself in heaven, and was thrust out. He knows that the ruin of man is just as sure if he exalts himself as his was certain. He has failed in his temptations to Christ in the wilderness. The plan of salvation has been carried out. The dear price has been paid for man's redemption. And now Satan seeks to tear away the foundation of the Christian's hope, and turn the minds of men in a channel that they may not be benefited or saved by the great sacrifice offered. He leads fallen man, through his “all deceivableness of unrighteousness,” to believe that he can do very well without an atonement; that he need not depend upon a crucified and risen Saviour; that man's own merits will entitle him to God's favor, and then he destroys man's confidence in the Bible, well knowing if he succeeds here, and the detector which places a mark upon himself is destroyed, he is safe. And he fastens the delusion upon minds that there is no personal Devil, and those who believe this make no effort to resist and war against that which does not exist, and poor blind mortals finally adopt the maxim—“Whatever is is right.” They acknowledge no rule to measure their course. Satan leads many to believe that prayer to God is useless, and but a form. He well knows how needful is meditation and prayer, to keep Christ's followers aroused to resist his cunning and deceptions. Satan's devices will divert the mind from these important exercises, that the soul may not lean for help upon the mighty One, and obtain strength from him to resist his attacks. RH February 18, 1862, par. 11

I was pointed to the fervent, effectual prayers of his people anciently. “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly.” Daniel prayed unto his God three times a day. Satan is enraged at the sound of fervent prayer, for he knows that he will suffer loss. Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes because an excellent spirit was in him. Fallen angels feared his influence would weaken their control over the rulers of the kingdom, for Daniel was high in command. The accusing host of evil angels stirred up the presidents and princes to envy and jealousy, and they watched Daniel closely to find some occasion against him that they might report him to the king, but they failed. Then these agents of Satan sought to make his faithfulness to God the cause of his destruction. Evil angels laid out the plan for them, and these agents readily carried it into effect. The king was ignorant of the subtle mischief purposed against Daniel. With the full knowledge of the king's decree he still bows before his God, “his windows being open.” He considers supplication to God of sufficient importance to sacrifice his life rather than to relinquish it. On account of his praying to God he was cast into the lion's den. Evil angels accomplished their purpose thus far. But Daniel continues to pray, even in the den of lions. Was Daniel suffered to be consumed? Did God forget him there? O, no; Jesus, the mighty Commander of the host of heaven, sent his angel to close the mouths of those hungry lions that they should not hurt the praying man of God, and all was peace in that terrible den. The king witnessed his preservation, and brought him out with honors. Satan and his angels were defeated and enraged. The agents Satan had employed were doomed to perish in the terrible manner they had plotted to destroy Daniel. The prayer of faith is the great strength of the Christian, and will assuredly prevail against Satan. This is why he insinuates that we have no need of prayer. The name of Jesus our advocate he detests, and when we earnestly come to him for help, Satan's host is alarmed. RH February 18, 1862, par. 12

It will serve his purpose well if we neglect the exercise of prayer, for then his lying wonders are more readily received. Satan accomplishes his object in setting his deceitful temptations before man, that which he failed to accomplish in tempting Christ. He sometimes comes in the form of a lovely young person, or in a beautiful shadow. He works cures, and is worshiped by deceived mortals as a benefactor of our race. Phrenology and mesmerism are very much exalted. They are good in their place, but they are seized upon by Satan as his most powerful agents to deceive and destroy souls. The detector, the Bible, is destroyed in the minds of thousands, and Satan uses his arts and devices, which are received as from heaven. And Satan here receives the worship which suits his satanic majesty. Thousands are conversing with and receiving instructions from this demon-god, and acting according to his teachings. The world, which is considered to be benefited so much by phrenology and animal magnetism, never was so corrupt. Satan uses these very things to destroy virtue and lay the foundation of Spiritualism. RH February 18, 1862, par. 13

I was directed to this scripture as especially applying to modern Spiritualism. Colossians 2:8: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Thousands, I was shown, have been spoiled through the philosophy of phrenology and animal magnetism, and have been driven into infidelity. If the mind commences to run in this channel it is almost sure to lose its balance and be controlled by a demon. “Vain deceit” fills the minds of poor mortals. They think there is such power in themselves to accomplish great works, that they realize no necessity of a higher power. Their principles and faith are “after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Jesus has not taught them this philosophy. Nothing of the kind can be found in his teachings. He did not direct the minds of poor mortals to themselves to a power which they possessed. He was ever directing their minds to God, the Creator of the universe, as the source of their strength and wisdom. Especial warning is given in verse 18: “Let no men beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” The teachers of Spiritualism will come in a pleasing, bewitching manner to deceive you, and if you listen to their fables you are beguiled by the enemy of righteousness, and will surely lose your reward. When once the fascinating influence of the arch deceiver overcomes you, you are poisoned, and its deadly influence adulterates and destroys your faith in Christ's being the Son of God, and you cease to rely on the merits of his blood. Those deceived by this philosophy are beguiled of their reward through the deceptions of Satan. They rely upon their own merits, exercise voluntary humility, are willing to even make sacrifices, and debase themselves, and yield their minds to the belief of supreme nonsense, receiving the most absurd ideas through those whom they believe to be their dead friends. Satan has so blinded their eyes and perverted their judgment that they perceive not the evil. They follow out the instructions purporting to be from their dead friends, now angels in a higher sphere. Satan has chosen the most certain, fascinating delusion, calculated to take hold of the sympathies of those who have laid their loved ones in the grave. Evil angels assume the form of these loved ones, and relate incidents connected with their lives, and perform acts which their friends performed while living. In this way they deceive and lead the relatives of the dead to believe their deceased friends are angels hovering about them, and communing with them, which they regard with a certain idolatry. What they may say has greater influence over them than the word of God. These evil angels who assume to be dead friends will either utterly reject God's word as idle tales, or if it suits their purpose best will select the vital portions which testify of Christ and point out the way to heaven, and change the plain statements of the word of God to suit their own corrupt nature, and ruin souls. All may, with due attention to the word of God, be convinced if they will of this soul-destroying delusion. The word of God declares in positive terms that “the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6: “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” RH February 18, 1862, par. 14

Deceived mortals are worshiping evil angels, believing them to be the spirits of their dead friends. The word of God expressly declares that “the dead have no more a portion in anything done under the sun.” Spiritualists say the dead know everything that is done under the sun, that they communicate to their friends on earth, give valuable information, and perform wonders. Psalm 115:17: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” I have been shown that Satan, transformed into an angel of light, works with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. He who could take up the Son of God, who was made a little lower than the angels, and place him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and take him up into an exceeding high mountain to present before him the kingdoms of the world, can exercise his power upon the human family, who are far inferior in strength and wisdom to the Son of God, even after he had taken upon himself man's nature. In this degenerate age Satan holds control over mortals who depart from the right, and venture upon his ground. He exercises his power upon such in an alarming manner. I was directed to these words, “Intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” Some, I was shown, gratify their curiosity, and tamper with the Devil. They have no real faith in Spiritualism, and would start back with horror at the idea of being a medium. Yet they venture, and place themselves in a position where Satan can exercise his power upon them. They do not mean to enter deep into this work, but such know not what they are doing. They are venturing on the Devil's ground, and are tempting him to control them. This powerful destroyer considers such his lawful prey, and will exercise his power upon them, and that against their will. When they wish to control themselves they cannot. They yielded their mind to Satan and he holds them captive, and he will not release his claims. No power can deliver the ensnared soul but the power of God, in answer to the earnest prayers of his faithful followers. RH February 18, 1862, par. 15

The only safety now is to search for the truth as revealed in the word of God as for hid treasure. The Sabbath question and man not immortal and the testimony of Jesus are the great and important truths to be understood, which will prove as an anchor to hold God's people in these perilous times. But the mass despise the truths of God's word, and prefer fables. 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11: “Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be save, and for this cause God shall send them strong delusions that they should believe a lie.” RH February 18, 1862, par. 16

The most licentious and corrupt are highly flattered by these Satanic spirits, which they believe to be the spirits of their dead friends, and they are “vainly puffed up in their fleshly minds.” Colossians 2:19: “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God,” they deny Him who ministers strength to the body, that every member may increase with the increase of God. RH February 18, 1862, par. 17

“Vain philosophy.” The members of the body are controlled by the head. Spiritualists lay aside the Head, and every member of the body they believe must act themselves, and fixed laws will lead them on in a state of progression to perfection without a head. John 15:1-6: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” RH February 18, 1862, par. 18

Christ is the source of our strength. He is the vine, we the branches. We must receive nourishment from the living vine. Deprived of the strength and nourishment of the vine, we are as members of the body without a head, and are in the very position Satan wishes us to be in, that he may control these members as pleases himself. He works “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions that they should believe a lie.” Spiritualism is a lie. It is founded upon the great original lie, “Thou shalt not surely die.” Thousands cut off the Head, and the members act without Jesus for their head, and the result is, another guides the body. Satan controls them. RH February 18, 1862, par. 19

I was shown that Satan cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. Those who depart from the right are in serious danger now. They separate themselves from God and from the watch-care of the angels of God, and Satan, ever upon the watch to destroy souls, begins to present to such his deceptions, and they are in the utmost peril. And if they see and try to resist the powers of darkness and to free themselves from Satan's snare, it is not an easy matter. They have ventured on Satan's ground, and he claims them. He will not hesitate to engage all his energies, and call to his aid all his evil host to wrest a single human being from the hand of Christ. And those who have tempted the Devil to tempt them will have to make desperate efforts to free themselves from his power. When they begin to work for themselves, then angels of God whom they have grieved will come to their rescue. Satan and his angels are unwilling to lose their prey. They contend and battle with the holy angels, and the conflict is severe. And if those who have erred continue to plead, and in deep humility confess their wrongs, angels who excel in strength will prevail and wrench them from the power of the evil angels. RH February 18, 1862, par. 20

As the curtain was lifted and I was shown the corruption of this age, my heart sickened, my spirit nearly fainted within me. I saw that the inhabitants of the earth were filling up the measure of the cup of their iniquity. God's anger is kindled, and will be no more appeased until the sinners are destroyed out of the earth. RH February 18, 1862, par. 21

Satan is Christ's personal enemy. He is the originator and leader of every species of rebellion in heaven and earth. His rage increases, and we do not realize his power. If our eyes could be opened to discern the fallen angels at their work with those who feel at ease and consider themselves safe, we should not feel so secure. Evil angels are upon our track every moment. We expect a readiness on the part of bad men to act as Satan suggests; but while our minds are unguarded against Satan's invisible agents, they will assume new ground, and will work marvels and miracles in our sight. Are we prepared to resist them by the word of God, the only weapon we can use successfully? Some will be tempted to receive these wonders as from God. The sick will be healed before us. Miracles will be performed in our sight. Are we prepared for the trial when the lying wonders of Satan shall be more fully exhibited? Will not many souls be ensnared and taken? Forms of error, and departure from the plain precepts and commandments of God and giving heed to fables is fitting minds for these lying wonders of Satan. We must all now seek to arm ourselves for the contest in which we must soon engage. Faith in God's word, prayerfully studied and practically applied will be our shield from Satan's power, and will bring us off conquerors through the blood of Christ. RH February 18, 1862, par. 22

E. G. W.