Larger font
Smaller font

The Nature and Tendency of Modern Spiritualism

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First


    We here use the term devil as it is commonly used, but would call attention to the following statement of Dr. Ramsey, of Philadelphia:—NTMS 113.4

    “The word Daimon in the New Testament is usually rendered by one word, devil. But this is evidently improper, as it would lead us to believe that there are many devils, whereas there is and can be but one.... Daimon in the New Testament always means an evil spirit, who is under Satan’s control; a demon.”NTMS 113.5

    Again, concerning the distinction between the demons and the devil, or Satan, we quote:—NTMS 113.6

    “The word Satan means an adversary, an opposer. It is never found in the plural number, so that the sacred writers acknowledge but one being of that name. He is styled by our Lord, ‘The Prince of this world;’ John 14:30; by the apostle, ‘The Prince of the power of the air;’ Ephesians 2:2; and by the Jews, ‘The Prince of the demons,’ Matthew 9:34; the Septuagint translates the word Satan by the word Diabolus, which means an accuser, a slanderer. He is also called in the New Testament by a variety of names, indicative of his character and conduct, as Accuser, Destroyer, Liar, Murderer, etc.”NTMS 113.7

    That the devil was not of human origin, as many now contend, we think is evident from the fact that he was the deceiver of our first parents. He is called, in the Scriptures, “that old serpent.” Revelation 20. The apostle John says that “he that committeth sin is of the devil;” and that Cain, who slew his brother, “was of that wicked one.” 1 John 3:8, 12. Thus it appears that the first transgressors, even the first members of the human race, were deceived by him; and of course he was a deceiver, a liar, and, in heart, a murderer, before there was any sin in the human race. The Saviour teaches the same thing in the parable of the wheat and the tares. He says, “The tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil.”NTMS 114.1

    N. P. Tallmadge, in his “Reply to Count Gasparin,” published in the Spiritual Telegraph, says:—NTMS 114.2

    “There is, therefore, but one place of refuge left to him, and that is the one now taken by some of our evangelical clergy, namely, that all these manifestations come from the devil, or from evil spirits. When ministers come to this conclusion, I think they are in a very hopeful way. I then have no difficulty with them; for they cannot long make their congregations believe that a wise and benevolent God has established a law of spiritual intercourse by which the bad alone, and not the good, can communicate.”NTMS 114.3

    In this, Gov. T. labors under the same fatal error that seems to enshroud all Spiritualists, namely, supposing that whatever occurs is according to God’s will, and in harmony with his laws. This, Dr. Hare openly avows, and on no other hypothesis can we find a place for the above declaration of Mr. Tallmadge.NTMS 114.4

    Here we would call particular attention to the fact that we have identified Spiritualism as it is described in the Bible, under the various forms of witchcraft, magic, enchantment, necromancy, divinations, etc., and shown that God, instead of having established a law for intercourse with familiar spirits, has expressly forbidden it. We have often been astonished to see Spiritualists professing a belief in the Scriptures, and who are intelligent and learned, so fearfully pervert the testimony of the Bible. This fact is significant-it is the work of an enemy. Thus, in the Introduction to the “Healing of the Nations,” by Gov. Tallmadge, page 20, is the following:—NTMS 115.1

    “These ‘Spiritual manifestations’ are recognized and foreshadowed in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 12. ‘Spiritual Gifts’ are recognized and described by Paul in his day as a ‘manifestation of the Spirit,’ the same as the ‘Spiritual Manifestations’ of the present day. For to one is given the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge; to another faith; to another the gifts of healing; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. And what was enacted then, is being reenacted now.”NTMS 115.2

    This scripture, 1 Corinthians 12, is used in the same manner, or to the same intent, by Judge Edmonds in his letters to the N Y. Tribune, and is so used by Spiritualists in general. And we have noticed its use by these two distinguished men with surprise, and we may say regret; inasmuch as, for the sake of charity, we would rather see men ignorantly misled than willfully perverse. That there were excellences in these men’s characters we do not doubt; but so far from withholding the truth on this account, we consider the necessity greater to give a faithful warning, that dangerous errors may not be received under the sanction of erudition and honorable position.NTMS 115.3

    That the above quotation and reference of Scripture is a perversion, is evident at first view; and we are driven unavoidably to the conclusion that the perversion is not by inadvertence or oversight, for the following reasons: the order given in the quotation is the same that is given in the Scriptures, and the expressions quoted are the exact words of the sacred text, showing that the writer was either well acquainted with the text, or else copied from the printed page; yet the expressions, over and over repeated by Paul, forbidding its application to modern Spiritualism, are carefully excluded. To show the force of these remarks we will copy verses 8-11, of this chapter, putting the qualifying expressions, omitted by him, in italics:—NTMS 116.1

    “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” In verse 13, the apostle says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” Again, in Ephesians 4, where these gifts are again spoken of, the same apostle says: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” Verses 4-6. This expression, “even as,” gives us to understand that it is wrong to impute diversity to the Spirit, as to the hope, to the faith, or to God the Father. That these scriptures refer solely to the Spirit of God, is evident; and to apply them to the diverse, discordant, and impious modern manifestations of Spiritualism, is nothing short of blasphemy. Gov. Tallmadge, in the same work, page 24, accuses an opponent of “careless and reckless reading of the Scriptures.” We think he falls under the same charge of recklessness; whether it is the result of carelessness we leave the reader to judge.NTMS 116.2

    Yet, strange as it may seem, the doctrines of Spiritualism really involve them in the very difficulty that Gov. T. would engulf the “clergy” in. Let it be remembered that Spiritualism teaches that all records of miracles are fables-that laws cannot be reversed, nor even transgressed. Wood-man, in his “Reply to Dwight,” page 64, says:—NTMS 117.1

    “As spirits increase in knowledge and virtue, they become more etherial, and find their natural home or dwelling correspondingly elevated in the heavens. In consequence of this law of their being, spirits gradually find it more and more difficult to descend through the lower and grosser strata which are next to the earth.”NTMS 117.2

    On the spiritual theory of progression, we can readily see that the operation of such a law would continually tend to confine all the good spirits far above us, leaving only the bad or evil ones to surround our globe in the “first concentric sphere,” and do all the communicating! And this is confirmed by the testimony of other Spiritualists. Dr. Potter says:—NTMS 117.3

    “No spirit can, by any possibility, magnetize any one more than one sphere below himself; as all mortals, while in the flesh, are in the first sphere, it follows that no medium on earth ever has been, or can be, magnetized by any spirit above the second sphere, and all claims of being directly controlled by spirits of the higher spheres, will, in every case, be found to be a mistake, or a falsehood.”—Spiritualism as it Is, p. 16.NTMS 117.4

    With such a certificate of facts, even A. J. Davis must look out for his honors! But he, too, has testified much to the same effect. He says:—NTMS 118.1

    “The most ignorant spirits, but with the very best motives for doing good and teaching mankind, are the first to confabulate and palaver at a ‘circle.’ Their garrulousness and verbose sermonizations, on every occasion, are remarkable, and exceedingly hard to be patient with. Meanwhile the really wise and gifted in the other world, as in this, are uncommunicative-are patiently, gently, modestly silent.”—Herald of Progress, Feb. 1, 1862.NTMS 118.2

    And P. B. Randolph says:—NTMS 118.3

    “I don’t believe that more than two in ten of the spirits who control trance mediums are fit company for the inmates of a brothel, much less for those of God’s true church.”—The Unvailing, page 26.NTMS 118.4

    We leave it to the reader if our estimate of Spiritualism does them any injustice, even according to their own statements.NTMS 118.5

    The Scriptures recognize a diversity of gifts by the same Spirit; but Spiritualism claims a diversity of gifts, and still greater diversity of spirits. These characteristics of the two systems are shown in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit [singular] speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits [plural], and doctrines of devils,” or demons.NTMS 118.6

    There is a text of Revelation that we think clearly refers to this work. Revelation 16:14: “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” We have before referred to Matthew 24:24, to show that false christs and false prophets shall arise, showing great signs and wonders; and to 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10, that Satan works with “power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them [mediums] that perish; because they received not the love of the truth;” and to Revelation 13:14, to show that miracles will be wrought to deceive. We have also shown, by the word of God, that as the magicians of Egypt withstood Moses by counterfeiting the work of God, so will the truth be resisted in the last days.NTMS 118.7

    The word of the Lord is fulfilled. We are in perilous times; iniquity abounds; the power of godliness is seldom seen; men are even now in perplexity: the nations are angry and becoming distressed. Soon will the judgments of God be manifest, and destruction sweep as a whirlwind over the earth, swallowing up the ungodly in everlasting ruin. How good is the Lord to mark out our path and set up waymarks so plain that we need not be mistaken! One of the plainest signs of these perilous times, a great danger of which we are warned in Scripture, is the work of Satan now manifested in Spiritualism. May the Lord set home the truth to our hearts, that we may truly “discern the signs of the times.”NTMS 119.1

    By the prophecies examined we have shown that,NTMS 119.2

    1. We live at the time when these great wonders are to be expected; when the truth will be resisted as it was in the days of Moses.NTMS 119.3

    2. The description of the locality applies to this country, where this work has arisen. See remarks on Revelation 13.NTMS 119.4

    3. False christs and false prophets have arisen.NTMS 119.5

    4. They are under the influence of “seducing spirits.”NTMS 120.1

    5. Their teachings are the doctrines of devils. That they show “great signs and wonders,” as the Saviour prophesied, we have not particularly noticed, as no evidence from us is needed on that point. The facts of the physical manifestations are placed beyond a doubt. In proof that there is often shown superhuman power and intelligence we can refer to the Spiritualist papers, which have abounded with evidences, and to the experience of Gov. Tallmadge, Judge Edmonds, Dr. Hare, Dr. Crooke, and hundreds, yes, thousands of others in every part of this country and in foreign countries. No fact can be better attested. Thousands have been convinced by the manifestations of power alone. We have sometimes wondered that any would be deceived by such displays of power, when the Scriptures plainly point them out and give warnings that all may understand. But again we notice that there is very little genuine faith in the Scriptures, in these days. The Scriptures say that in the last days perilous times will come; men will have the form of godliness, but deny the power thereof; iniquity will abound and the love of many wax cold; and they that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But men believe that in the last days iniquity will not abound; that the State will protect the church from persecution; that the world will be converted; and that it will not be as it was in the days of Noah and of Lot. The Scriptures say that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; and many who have long taught that the Bible is the word of God, now reject the doctrines of the Bible for the teachings of these deceptive spirits. And the truth has been so perverted that many profess to be converted from infidelity to a belief in the immortality of the soul by the influence of Spiritualism; and learned Doctors and Professors who have failed to find evidence in the Bible to sustain this unscriptural notion, now gladly hail this new ally by which alone they can maintain the position they have taken before the world. In a sermon by “Rev. A. D. Mayo, in the Division-st. church, Albany,” he says:—NTMS 120.2

    “We, in America, were getting so far away from that sublime doctrine, in our life and theology, that human nature could endure it no longer, and by a great rebound has shown how the soul of man needs the assurance of an endless existence. I look upon the alliance of this movement with mesmerism as accidental and temporary. The tipping tables and rattling wainscots will, in good time, be left with other prodigies in the hands of curious men of scientific leisure for experiment; but this great cry of the popular heart after a rational faith in immortality will shiver numberless churches, and burst the bonds of many a man now enfolded in materialism or petrified into theological marble. We shall learn out of it what it means in the 19th century to believe in the immortality of the soul; and it will be found that this doctrine will come to us fraught with vaster relations, suggesting larger duties, and elevating with nobler aspirations, than to the darkened masses of the early ages of heathenism or middle ages of Christianity.”NTMS 121.1

    The editor of the Spiritual Age, however, better understands the relation of table-tipping, etc., to this new theory-he knows that from such a diversity of views as is taught by the spirits, it would be impossible to reduce a system that any reasoning mind could embrace, and that all Spiritualists confidently and necessarily appeal to the evidence of physical power as the groundwork of their theory. The editor remarks:—NTMS 121.2

    “In discussing the subject of Spiritualism, the able author takes very comprehensive views of its developments and ultimate uses, regarding it as a ‘great cry of the popular heart after a rational faith in immortality.’ He seems, however, to have overlooked the fact that this rapping, ‘tipping of tables, and rattling of wainscots,’ is fast reducing our faith in immortality, hitherto but conjectural, to a scientific verity, and thus constituting it that ‘rational faith’ which the popular heart of the nineteenth century demands.”NTMS 122.1

    By reference to the reports of the committees appointed to examine the Fox girls, and to inquire into the causes of the rappings, as well as to the experience of Gov. Tallmadge and others, it will be seen that Spiritualism arose and spread, not by the influence of the truths taught, but by the air of “mystery” which was thrown around it; solely by the evidence that the “raps” were not produced by the mediums. The editor is doubtless right. By these alone their faith is reduced to a verity. The same is clearly shown by a writer in the Spiritual Clarion, as follows:—NTMS 122.2

    “Old skeptics who had stood the battery of a thousand pulpits, have surrendered at the tipping of a spirit hand on their unconscious tables.... The little pine wainscot that shook the air in a small room in Rochester has echoed to the ends of the earth, and shakes old creeds like the judgment thunders.”NTMS 122.3

    But God has spoken on this subject. His words are plain and easy to understand, though they may not, like the words of the enemy, meet the applause of the “popular heart,” or even penetrate the “theological marble” upon which the ecclesiastical edifice of modern times is built. The Lord says, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” Spiritualism is based upon the first doctrine that the devil ever taught to man, “Ye shall not surely die.” Since that time the immortality of man, or endless life in sin, has been his favorite doctrine. Among the heathen, who did not like to retain God in their knowledge, it flourished under the name of the immortality of the soul. When the “Man of Sin,” the Roman hierarch, arose, this doctrine, with many other corrupting influences of heathenism, was engrafted into the creed of the professed Christian church, and henceforth became the foundation of a belief in purgatory, and the means of the aggrandizement of the priesthood. Protestants inherited it from the Catholics with but very little modification. More modernly it took the milder and more seductive appearance of Universalism; and lastly, it has been more strongly developed as Spiritualism, with all its attendant wonders, falsities, and dangers. A belief in the first proclamation of this falsehood resulted in the expulsion of our first parents from the garden of Eden, and the loss of their lives,—a sad comment on the teachings of the enemy. And the word assures us that the result will ever be the same. The “wages of sin is death,” says the word of God “No,” says the enemy, “there is no such thing as death; it is only a transition to a higher life.” The Lord says, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” “The soul is indestructible, and cannot die;” replies the enemy. Thus they defy the power of God, and trust in their supposed deathless nature for an escape from the penalty of the divine law. As surely as a tree may be known by its fruit, so surely does the opposition of Spiritualism to God and his law prove its Satanic nature and origin.NTMS 122.4