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The Nature and Tendency of Modern Spiritualism

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    THE EXISTENCE OF EVIL

    We take the question in this form because it is more comprehensive, and will apply to evil of every kind and degree. Dr. Hare said:—NTMS 20.1

    “But I conceive that the existence of a devil is irreconcilable with all goodness and omnipotency; and that were a devil created by God, the Creator would be answerable for all the acts of the being so created. Evidently, the devil could be nothing else but what omnipotence should make him, and could do nothing but what prescience would foresee. The acts of the devil would therefore be indirectly those of his Maker.”—Spiritualism Scientifically Demonstrated, page 31.NTMS 20.2

    In another place, he said:—NTMS 20.3

    “No evil can endure, which any being has both the power and desire to remove.NTMS 20.4

    “If God be both omnipotent and omniscient, he can, of course, make his creatures exactly to suit his will and fancy, and foresee how they will fulfill the end for which they are created....NTMS 20.5

    “Is it not more consistent with divine goodness to infer that we are placed in this life for progressive improvement, and that there is no evil which can be avoided consistently with his enormous, though not unlimited, power?”—Id., page 20.NTMS 20.6

    Epicurus, the pagan philosopher, put forth the same objection in the following propositions: “Either God wills to remove evils and cannot, or he can and will not; or he neither will nor can; or he both can and will.” After showing that the last position is the only one consistent with God, he inquired, “Then whence are evils? and why does he not remove them?”NTMS 20.7

    Our answer to all is, “He both can and will.” And to arrive at this conclusion we need not query in doubt with Epicurus, nor make God accountable for evil, or limit his power, as Dr. Hare has done. Spiritualism boasts of wise adherents, but in talking of this and kindred subjects, they have illustrated the scripture, that the wisdom of the world is foolishness. A degree of evil exists, and we hold that it is no more inconsistent for God to permit a strong being to sin than a weak one, if both have faculties to discern good and evil—to distinguish right from wrong. The Saviour called the devil a murderer and a liar, and we know that murderers and liars do exist. Here is surely an approximation to the devil in character. Paul enumerates “the works of the flesh” in Galatians 5, which are certainly manifested in the world; and if all of these were developed in one person, though it would not make the devil of him, he would be bad enough to bear such a name. Murder and adultery are amongst these works, the existence of which no one can doubt. We will parody Dr. Hare’s remarks, and apply them to these as follows:—NTMS 20.8

    “But I conceive that the existence of murderers and adulterers is irreconcilable with all goodness and omnipotency; and that were murderers and adulterers created by God, the Creator would be answerable for all the acts of the beings so created. Evidently, murderers and adulterers could be nothing else but what omnipotence should make them, and could do nothing but what prescience would foresee. The acts of murderers and adulterers would therefore be indirectly those of their Maker.”NTMS 21.1

    This is the Dr.’s argument in its full strength; shall we therefore conclude that there is no murder and adultery? It is easy to see that with all his show of wisdom he was weak in argument.NTMS 21.2

    The blasphemous conclusion that God is responsible for all sin, necessarily attaches to that argument with only one possible refuge, that is, the limited power of God! To this, Dr. Hare resorts as a substitute for human accountability, and the spirits indorse it, for he says:—NTMS 21.3

    “Such an inference coincides with communications recently received from the spirits of departed friends, which it is the object of this publication to promulgate.”—Id., page 20.NTMS 22.1

    The object and the alternative are now before us. Probation is uniformly denied by Spiritualists; hence man is not responsible for his actions. But all perceive that wrong exists, and responsibility must rest somewhere; if not with man, then with his Maker. Is it not so? Spiritualism answers, Not necessarily; perhaps he cannot help it; his power may be limited!NTMS 22.2

    So to avoid the truth of human probation, we have men irresponsible and God either wicked or weak! And this is sanctioned by the spirits, and Dr. Hare has published a book to promulgate it, under their instructions.NTMS 22.3

    As before said, we do not believe that God ever created a devil or a wicked man. But men exist, with the power and will to do evil. “God made man upright,” but he became wicked by his own will and actions; and so of the devil. We hold that the only reasonable view is that of the Scriptures; that God creates intelligences, giving them power and freedom to act, without which they could form no character at all; and holds them accountable for the exercise of that power in the actions performed, and vindicates justice by bringing them to judgment. There are expressions in Ezekiel 28, which can refer to no other being than the devil, by which we learn that he was created a “covering cherub,” perfect and beautiful. But he fell because of pride. When Moses made the sanctuary, he was directed to make cherubim and place them on the mercy-seat over the ark, their wings overshadowing the mercy-seat. Hebrews 9:5. The Lord promised to meet with them “between the two cherubim.” Exodus 25:22. As all this was a shadow and example of heavenly things, a visible representation of the sanctuary and true tabernacle in Heaven, which the Lord pitched, and not man (Hebrews 8:1-5; see also Eze., chapters 1-10), we here learn the exalted position occupied, and consequently the great power possessed, by a covering cherub. In Ezekiel 28, the prince of Tyrus is declared to be a man; the king of Tyrus was a covering cherub. This may well be applied to Satan, who is “the prince of this world,” and who makes use of wicked earthly powers to accomplish his purposes; he was afterward represented by the Roman power (Revelation 12), as it was then his special instrument of wickedness. He who is wise and strong to do good, will, of course, be wise and strong to do evil if he turns his powers in that direction. And as the cherubim in Heaven possess far more power than men, so if they fall, their power will be greater to do evil, in the same proportion. On this point we think it sufficient to add that the Scriptures affirm that angels have fallen; that there was more than human power exerted through the magicians of Egypt; and Satan is said to work miracles, “with power, and signs, and lying wonders.”NTMS 22.4

    Sorcery and witchcraft are the works of the devil. It was by this power that the magicians of Egypt wrought, and Paul affirms that “so” the truth will be resisted in the last days. And the existence of the devil is not only denied by some, but his whole work is denied; even those who profess faith in the Bible contend that there is no such thing as witchcraft, and that a belief in its existence is a relic of the superstition of the Dark Ages. But God said, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Exodus 22:18. This proves that witches did exist, or else God commanded them to put to death such as had no being, to suppose which would be absurd. Paul also teaches, in Galatians 5, that witchcraft is one of the works of the flesh as much as envy, hatred, drunkenness, and murder. Thus the fact of its existence is established by both Testaments.NTMS 23.1

    Again in Leviticus 19:26, they were forbidden to use enchantments; and verse 31 says, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them.” And in chap. 20:6, the Lord said he would cut off the soul that turned after wizards, and such as had familiar spirits. Also in verse 27, a wizard and such as had familiar spirits, either men or women, were to be put to death.NTMS 24.1

    According to the definitions of the words, witch, wizard, sorcerer, enchanter, etc., which we will give, these various works are closely allied to one another, or are all parts of the same work, differing more in degree than in nature. This, with the fact that they all stand related to Spiritualism, is recognized and acknowledged by Spiritualists themselves. Allen Putnam, a spiritualistic writer, says:—NTMS 24.2

    “The doctrine that the oracles, soothsaying, and witchcraft, of past ages were kindred to these manifestations of our day, I, for one, most fully believe.”NTMS 24.3

    In a pamphlet written by him, entitled, “Mesmerism, Spiritualism, Witchcraft, and Miracle,” he says:—NTMS 25.1

    “As seen by me now, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, Witchcraft, Miracles, all belong to one family, all have a common root, and are developed by the same laws.” Page 6.NTMS 25.2

    I have testimonies to the same intent from Judge Edmonds, Charles Partridge, Uriah Clark, etc.NTMS 25.3

    Most of these works are named in Deuteronomy 18:9-12, which reads as follows:—NTMS 25.4

    “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.”NTMS 25.5

    The following definitions are copied from Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary:—NTMS 25.6

    Witchcraft. The practices of witches; sorcery; enchantments; intercourse with the devil; power more than natural.NTMS 25.7

    Sorcery. Magic; enchantment; witchcraft; divination by the assistance or supposed assistance of evil spirits; or the power of commanding evil spirits.NTMS 25.8

    Enchantment. The act of producing certain wonderful effects by the invocation or aid of demons, or the agency of certain supposed spirits; the use of magic arts, spells, or charms; incantations.NTMS 25.9

    Divination. The act of divining; a foretelling future events, or discovering things secret or obscure, by the aid of superior beings; or by other than human means.NTMS 25.10

    Necromancy. Properly the art of revealing future events by means of a pretended communication with the dead.NTMS 26.1

    Familiar spirit. A demon or evil spirit supposed to attend at a call.NTMS 26.2

    But Israel did not keep free from these abominations. King Saul consulted a familiar spirit when the Lord rejected him, and would not answer him. It is no uncommon thing in these days for those to seek to familiar or evil spirits, who never ask counsel of the Lord, and who have no reverence for his word. Also Manasseh, who was very wicked, and in whose reign Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians, did “evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen.... He observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards. He wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.” 2 Chronicles 33:2-6.NTMS 26.3

    Writers and speakers on Spiritualism have undertaken to show that this restriction was placed upon the Jews alone, and given in a law especially for them; and that in this dispensation neither Jews nor Gentiles are holden to it. Woodman, in his reply to Dwight, says:—NTMS 26.4

    “So if intercourse with departed spirits was prohibited by the Old Testament, that circumstance would furnish no presumption that it was wrong.” Page 77.NTMS 26.5

    And Edmonds, replying to Bp. Hopkins, says:NTMS 26.6

    “It is true that in the law of Moses, there are injunctions against dealing with witches, or those having familiar spirits. But does the Rev. prelate mean that his Christian hearers shall understand that the law is still binding upon us?” Page 12.NTMS 26.7

    This is equivalent to a direct declaration by both Woodman and Edmonds that witchcraft and kindred works are not forbidden or wrong at this time. But all efforts to evade the testimony of the Scriptures on this point are met and disproved by the following facts: (1) The Lord called them “the abominations of the heathen;” and after naming them, said: “For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord; and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” Deuteronomy 18:12. By this we learn that these things were wrong in all, and not in the Jews alone. (2) The abominable and sorcerers are condemned in the New Testament. Revelation 21:8. Sorcery is witchcraft; see Webster. This overthrows the position of the Judge. Again, in Galatians 5:19-21, witchcraft and other abominations are enumerated, and the apostle says that “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Elymas the sorcerer, a false prophet, withstood the apostles, and tried to turn away others from the faith. This is ever their intent. To him Paul said: “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness.” Acts 13:6-11. This language is applicable to all sorcerers, and their co-workers, according to the testimony of the Bible respecting their works. See Acts 8:5-11; 10:16-18.NTMS 27.1

    The theory that “whatever is, is right,” is a favorite one with the Spiritualists; but, traced to its conclusion, it is the merest absurdity. Right and wrong are relative terms, and when any course of action is morally binding, the opposite is necessarily forbidden. If it is right to love my neighbor, it cannot also be right to hate him; if it is right to regard his life, it cannot be right to kill him. The whole theory is a perversion of terms, obliterating moral distinctions, and is but a flimsy justification of an evil life.NTMS 27.2

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