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The Nature and Tendency of Modern Spiritualism

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    Chapter Eight. Dangers of Mediumship—Spirit Control—Evil Propensities—Gratification through Mediums—Consequent Crimes

    Notwithstanding all the evidence that has from time to time been presented to the world, of the satanic origin and evil tendency of these spirit workings, many are so deluded as to court the influence of these spirits, and desire to be developed as mediums. we would that our words of warning could reach the ears and touch the hearts of all such. but spiritualists will claim that we magnify the danger-that we view the subject from a wrong stand-point, and with eyes of prejudice.NTMS 124.1

    It has been our aim throughout this work to present Spiritualism as it is,—and as it is presented to the world by its own adherents and advocates. We have not offered as evidence the testimony of their enemies, or of those not well acquainted, by observation and experience, with its workings. Let this fact be marked. We now propose to examine the subject of the dangers of mediumship or spirit control, and this altogether in the light of proofs presented by themselves. The following points are presented to us by spiritualistic data:—NTMS 124.2

    1. The spirits control the mediums, acting, not only independent of, but against, their wills.NTMS 124.3

    2. The spirits have all the evil dispositions, propensities, and desires, of wicked, debased persons in this life.NTMS 124.4

    3. These desires they had no means of gratifying until the recent discovery of mediumship.NTMS 125.1

    4. Spirits do now gratify their desires by inducing such desires in the mediums, causing them to indulge in evil practices, of the gratification of which the spirits partake.NTMS 125.2

    As some of the testimonies now offered bear upon more than one of these points, we shall not arrange the evidence under each head respectively, as that would involve the necessity of repeating them, and thus add to the number of our pages.NTMS 125.3

    Of the great influence and power of spirits over the mediums, no one who has not examined the matter can have any idea. Dr. Gridley gives an account of an aged medium, of sixty years, living near him (in Southampton, Mass.), whose sufferings “in two months at the hands of evil spirits would fill a volume of 500 pages” Very little of this ever becomes known outside of the “circles.” The following extract will give some idea of the above case:—NTMS 125.4

    “They forbade his eating, to the very point of starvation. He was a perfect skeleton; they compelled him to walk day and night, with intermissions, to be sure, as their avowed object was to torment him as much and as long as possible. They swore by everything sacred and profane, that they would knock his damned brains out, always accompanying their threat with blows on the forehead or temples, like that of a mallet in the hands of a powerful man, with this difference, however: the latter would have made him unconscious, while in full consciousness he now endured the indescribable agony of those heavy and oft-repeated blows; they declared they would skin him alive; that he must go to New York and be dissected by inches, all of which he fully believed. They declared they would bore holes into his brain, when he instantly felt the action suited to the word, as though a dozen augurs were being turned at once into his very skull; this done, they would fill his brain with bugs and worms to eat it out, when their gnawing would instantly commence.... These spirits would pinch and pound him, twitch him up and throw him down, yell and blaspheme, and use the most obscene language that mortal can conceive; they would declare that they were Christ in one breath and devils in the next; they would tie him head to foot for a long time together, in a most excruciating posture; declare they would wring his damned neck off because he doubted them or refused obedience.”—Astounding Facts from the Spirit World, pages 253-4.NTMS 125.5

    On page 94 of this work Judge Edmonds is quoted as saying that entire spirit control, or the “exclusion of the medium’s selfhood-a suspension of his own will,” is very rare. See his “Spiritual Tracts” No. 4, p. 7. But this language proves that he believes that it does sometimes occur. An approach to it is given in his second volume on Spiritualism, Dr. Dexter being the medium. He says:—NTMS 126.1

    “It was altogether a very extraordinary manifestation. It was conducted throughout with unusual and, indeed, unknown violence. He took entire possession of the Doctor, not merely of his arm, as others did, and the Doctor said he felt an almost uncontrollable desire to strike me, and to commit acts of violence.” Appendix A, Vol. ii. page 512.NTMS 126.2

    The following case was given in the 13th No. of the Spiritual Telegraph:—NTMS 126.3

    “A lady who had joined the Methodist Church, in Cleveland, only two weeks previous, was thrown into a magnetic or, as our Western friends call it, a spiritualized condition, and called for music; and after she had danced fifteen or twenty minutes, was suddenly released, and returned home, I presume none the worse for what she could not help.”NTMS 126.4

    Prof. Brittan thus speaks of Mr. Davis’ mediumship:—NTMS 126.5

    “During the delivery of ‘Nature’s Divine Revelations,’ Mr. Davis was profoundly entranced, and so far removed from the sphere of outward consciousness as to be temporarily absolved from the obligations of the earth-life.... Of course in his state of waking consciousness he was no more accountable for what had been uttered during the trance than the reader is responsible for his dreams, or for unconsciously talking in his Bleep.”—Telegraph’s Answer to Mahan, pp. 8, 9.NTMS 126.6

    Of mediumship, he further says:—NTMS 127.1

    “We may further add, in this connection, that the trance mediums for spirit intercourse are equally irresponsible. Many of them are totally unable to resist the powers which come to them from the invisible and unknown realms.”—Id., page 10.NTMS 127.2

    This passive state of the mediums in all forms of manifestation has long been inculcated by the spirits. The following was published in 1852:—NTMS 127.3

    “Such is the physical and mental condition of minds that we intend to make a great change in them before we write what will be necessary. The writing will not be the commencement of our work, but will follow other manifestations as soon as will be expedient.... The writing will be executed with great rapidity, when mediums shall become wholly passive.”—Pilgrimage of Thomas Paine, page 250.NTMS 127.4

    A well-known Spiritualist writes:—NTMS 127.5

    “I have seen a medium gently magnetized and thrown into a trance in one minute by the imperceptible influence of the spirits, in accordance with their own original proposition, reluctantly acceded to by the medium and her friends; during which, sometimes she had visions of the spirit world, and at others became entirely non-cognizant of every thing transpiring in either world. In the latter case, the spirits, as previously promised, made use of her organs of speech, unconsciously to herself.”—Ballou, quoted by Dr. Hare, page 320.NTMS 127.6

    The following scene of the possession of a medium is described by Dr. Gridley, who offers the fullest proof of the truth of his statements:—NTMS 127.7

    “We have seen the medium evidently possessed by Irishmen and Dutchmen of the lowest grade-heard him repeat Joshua’s drunken prayers, exactly like the original-imitate his drunkenness in word and deed-try to repeat or rather act over his most brutal deeds (from which for decency’s sake, he was instantly restrained by extraordinary exertion and severe rebuke)-snap and grate his teeth most furiously, strike and swear, while his eyes flashed like the fires of an orthodox perdition. We have heard him hiss, and seen him writhe his body like the serpent when crawling, and dart out his tongue and play it exactly like that reptile. These exhibitions were intermingled with the most wrangling and horrible convulsions.”—Astounding Facts, page 19.NTMS 127.8

    Much more to the same intent might be added, but this will not be dissented from. The power of spirits to control the mediums is very great; indeed it is unlimited, as these testimonies show. And we shall presently show how this power is used and abused. Closely connected with the foregoing are some of the following, given to show the disposition of the spirits. Says Dr. Randolph:—NTMS 128.1

    “Many of these denizens of the mid-regions of space are insane-in the higher sense all are so-and to them lust and its gratification, dram-drinking and mal-practice of all sorts, is a reality.”—Dealings with the Dead, page 150.NTMS 128.2

    “Another admitted that he was drowned in consequence of getting dead-drunk. On being asked if he was happy, he answered, ‘Damned happy.’ Having evidently been a seaman, who had sailed under an officer who was present, he had preserved the usual fondness of sailors for tobacco and grog. This propensity he could not avoid displaying, notwithstanding his having passed death’s dread portal, and the obvious inutility of expressing to mortals his craving for these pernicious stimulants. Thus it appears that in the spirit world one means of retribution for the indulgence of bad propensities in this life, is subjugation to their ungratified cravings.”—Dr. Hare, Spir. Sci. Dem., page 137.NTMS 128.3

    In offering the testimony of Judge Edmonds, we refer to the evidence of the reality contained in the first extract. He describes a tall, vicious-looking woman, very dirty, hair gray, teeth gone, eyebrows heavy, and a snaky pair of eyes. She was beating a child of four or five years. He then says:—NTMS 128.4

    “I next observed a well-dressed female sitting by the wayside, apparently in great distress. She had been driven out of his dwelling by the man for whom she had sinned on earth-for whom she had retained, even in death, an insane attachment, and whose company she had sought as her only solace in the spheres.”—Vol. ii. p. 186.NTMS 128.5

    He directed her to a mountain where she might see a better country; and taking the child, she started. In a note, page 189, he says:—NTMS 129.1

    “Now, in August, 1854, the spirits of the female and of that child have approached and spoken to me through a medium. She gave her name, and said she was a French woman, and lived in Paris during the reign of Louis Philippe. She spoke of her parents, her husband, and of her brothers and sisters. She gave me some little account of the progress she had made, and said she had not jet attained the base of the mountain toward which she was traveling.”NTMS 129.2

    In the same connection he gives the following ludicrous account of the freaks of a mischievous boy and of his punishment:—NTMS 129.3

    “On the opposite side of the way, I observed what seemed to be a full-grown boy, had caught a dog, had split open his tail and put a stick in it, merely to enjoy the sport of seeing his sufferings. He then turned the dog loose, and stood enjoying the scene. The attention of the owner of the dog was drawn to his cries, and, discovering the cause, he beat the boy, who, being as cowardly as he was cruel, fled, but was pursued, and beaten, and kicked far up the road.”—Edmonds, Vol. ii. page 182.NTMS 129.4

    If any man had tried to get up a burlesque on Spiritualism he could not have exceeded the above. Only to think of a spirit boy splitting a spirit dog’s tail, and putting a stick in it for spiritual enjoyment! Surely, he needed the “gravity of a Judge” to be able to record this. However, with all its ludicrousness, it is good proof on the point in question. The following is as disgusting as the last is ridiculous:—NTMS 129.5

    “At the door of one of the hovels, that stood a little back from the road, I saw a female who seemed to be about twenty-six years old. She was round and full in appearance-was a dark brunette, with painted cheeks. Her whole appearance, garb, and manner, were meretricious, and she had taken up her position there to entice some one to enter her dwelling. At length a man in passing turned aside, under the influence of passions which had marked his earthly career, and with her entered the house. I saw they were both influenced by the same passions, but were incapable of gratifying them. The woman became furious. She raved wildly, and in her insatiate rage she dashed the things around her to pieces. The man enjoyed her anger, and she raged at him for laughing at her. She seized a chair, and aimed a blow at him. He evaded it, and with his fist knocked her down. He struck her in the neck just below her chin, and when she fell he gnashed his teeth in his rage, and stamped with his feet on her breast. He kicked her in the side several times, and rushed from the house.”—Edmonds, Vol. ii. page 182.NTMS 129.6

    The above are but samples, and not the most horrible, of the scenes in the spirit land, described by Judge Edmonds. Dr. Randolph records the following experience of a spirit:—NTMS 130.1

    “As I gazed out upon the surrounding glories of my new world, I could not forbear or repress a desire, if possible, to take one glance at those who yet dwelt in infamy, although disembodied.... Suffice it that I beheld scenes of lust, insanity, debauchery, and all vileness, sufficiently dreadful to appall the stoutest heart of any sane one who dwells in the same awful phantasies and evils.”—Dealings with the Dead, pages 143-4.NTMS 130.2

    Dr. Hare and Judge Edmonds said the vicious spirits had no means of gratifying their passions; but these statements have large limitations, for the Judge gives numerous instances wherein the desires of mischief, revenge, etc., were gratified even in the spheres. And all spiritual authorities agree that spirit intercourse is a recent discovery, and is progressive in its manifestations. On this point, the following is copied from Mr. Matteson’s work:—NTMS 130.3

    “After the writing of the spirit Hebrew in Mr. Fowler’s room, B. Franklin is made to say—‘My dear friends, I am happy to announce to you that the project which has engaged our attention for some years has been in part accomplished.’—Telegraph, No. 22. In Mr. Boynton’s ‘Unfoldings,’ John Wesley is made to say, ‘Never was more joy in the spirit world when it was made known that a mode of communication was opened to mankind. Such a gathering to haer the joyful news-such rejoicing was never known in the spheres.’ Page 10. So in one of Judge Edmond’s ‘visions,’ ‘Shekinah,’ Vol. i, p. 268, the Judge describes the inhabitants of the spheres, as ‘rejoicing that a communication had at length been opened between the inhabitants of earth and the spirit land.... They set up one glad shout which rang through all space, and pointed to Dr. Franklin as him to whose practical and enlarged philosophy they were indebted for perfecting the discovery.’”—Spirit Rapping Unvailed, pages 143-4.NTMS 130.4

    Hudson Tuttle, a very popular spiritualistic writer, says:—NTMS 131.1

    “A few years since the discovery of the method by which these pages are written, have elapsed During the first years of its growth but few demonstrations were made, and those of a disconnected character.”—Life in the Spheres, page 62.NTMS 131.2

    Again, after describing a circle, and a spirit acting on a medium, etc., he says:—NTMS 131.3

    “The members of that circle went to their homes wiser and better than they came. Their spirit friends departed wiser, too, rejoicing that the long-sought method of communication had been discovered, and that the earth received by its means a new impetus by the influx of higher life.”—Id., page 66.NTMS 131.4

    This is sufficient to show the fact as claimed by Spiritualists; our main object is to show what use is made of this discovery. Remember, the spirits are represented as being as low and as vile as any on earth, and that they act on the mediums with a power irresistible. The result can be calculated by any one capable of reckoning in simple addition. Let us hear their own testimony. Dr. Randolph says:—NTMS 131.5

    “I saw that one great cause of the moral looseness of thousands of sensitive-nerved people on earth resulted from the infernal possessions and obsessions of their persons by delegations from those realms of darkness and to all but themselves-unmitigated horror. A sensitive man or woman-no matter how virtuously inclined-may, unless by constant prayer and watchfulness they prevent it, and keep the will active and the sphere entire, be led into the most abominable practices and habits.”—Dealings with the Dead, page 150.NTMS 131.6

    There are several reasons why mediums are very much subject to these “abominable practices.” They are instructed not to “keep the will active,” but to be perfectly passive to the influence of the spirits in order to be well-developed mediums. And they do not watch and pray; on the contrary, the spirits teach that “whatever is, is right;” that “God does not condemn;” that there is no judgment but “the judgment of self;” and that men and women are not responsible for their actions. And of those who profess to pray, some of them pray to the devil; others to no particular object. The “controlling spirit,” through Mrs. Conant of Boston, said:—NTMS 132.1

    “It is good to pray. It matters not whether you address a principle or a personality; indeed it is not necessary that you address any one.”NTMS 132.2

    And Warren Chase says:—NTMS 132.3

    “But let no person mistake me and suppose I claim that each medium is a Spiritualist. By no means; many of our best test mediums know little or nothing of Spiritualism, and some are members of churches, and read or say prayers in their places.”—Gist of Spiritualism, page 71.NTMS 132.4

    As much as to say, and rightly too, that they who are yet in churches and say prayers, cannot be full-grown Spiritualists. Again, recounting his trials and sufferings, he says:—NTMS 132.5

    “Reader, do you think he had reason to thank God for life, and ask his blessing on every meal, and to believe him a God of love, with especial care of his children? Or, was he one of the adversary’s children? If so, he should pray to the devil, for he certainly ought to serve and obey his parent, if any being, until his powers are equal to the parent; then he should be free. But not free to serve his devil-father’s worst enemy.”—Lift-Line of the Lone One, page 83.NTMS 132.6

    Surely, there is not much to either guard or restrain from evil, in such teachings.NTMS 133.1

    In Dr. Randolph’s work the danger and deception of mediumship are stated in the following terms:—NTMS 133.2

    “Those ill-meaning ones who live just beyond the threshold, often obtain their ends by subtly infusing a semi-sense of volitional power into the minds of their intended victims; so that at last they come to believe themselves to be self-acting, when in fact they are the merest shuttlecocks, banded about between the battledoors of knavish devils on one side, and devilish knaves upon the other; and, between the two, the poor wretches are nearly heart-reft and destroyed.”—Dealings with the Dead, pages 108-9.NTMS 133.3

    If the mediums do not feel flattered by the description of their position they must bear in mind that we are only giving the testimony of the very highest spiritualistic authorities. A note by the publisher of the above work, on the same point, page 108, says:—NTMS 133.4

    “Good spirits do not break the sphere. They approach the crown of the head and infuse thoughts, else blend themselves with the subject, but never by destroying either consciousness or will. Evil spirits attack the lower brain, the amative organs, the lower passions, and force the spheres of their victims.”NTMS 133.5

    So, then, Prof. Brittan’s plea for Davis and the mediums is only a plea for malignant obsessions! Look at the following from a work by Hudson Tuttle, a very popular author:—NTMS 133.6

    “Reader, have you ever entered the respectable saloon? Have you ever watched the stupid stare of the inebriate when the eye grew less and less lustrous, slowly closing, the muscles relaxing, and the victim of appetite sinking over on the floor in beastly drunkenness? Oh, how dense the fumes of mingled tobacco and alcohol! Oh, what misery confined in those walls! If you have witnessed such scenes, then we need describe no further. If you have not, then you had not better hear the tale of woe. Imagine to yourselves a bar room with all its sots, and their number multiplied indefinitely, while conscience-seared and bloated fiends stand behind the bar, from whence they deal out death and damnation; and the picture is complete! One has just arrived from earth. He is yet uninitiated in the mysteries and miseries of those which, like hungry lions, await him. He died while intoxicated-was frozen while lying in the gutter, and consequently is attracted toward this society. He possessed a good intellect, but it was shattered beyond repair by his debauches.NTMS 133.7

    “‘Ye ar’ a fresh one, ain’t ye?’ coarsely queried a sot, just then particularly communicative.NTMS 134.1

    “‘Why, yes, I have just died, as they call it, and’ tain’t so bad a change after all; only I suppose there’ll be dry times here for want of something stimulant.’NTMS 134.2

    “‘Not so dry; lots of that all the time, and jolly times too.’NTMS 134.3

    “‘Drink! can you drink, then?’NTMS 134.4

    “‘Yes, we just can, and feel as nice as we please. But all can’t, not unless they find one on earth just like ‘em. You go to earth, and mix with your chums, and when you find one whose thoughts you can read, he’s your man. Form a connection with him, and when he gets to feeling good, you’ll feel so too.-There, do you understand me? I always tell all fresh ones the glorious news, for how they would suffer if it was n’t for this blessed thing.’NTMS 134.5

    “‘I’ll try it, no mistake.’NTMS 134.6

    “‘Here’s a covey,’ spoke an ulcerous-looking being; ‘he’s of our stripe. Tim, did you hear what an infernal scrape I got into last night? No, you didn’t. Well, I went to our friend Fred’s; he didn’t want to drink when I found him, his dimes looked so extremely large. Well, I destroyed that feeling, and made him think he was dry. He drank, and drank, more than I wanted him to, until I was so drunk that I could not break my connection with him, or control his mind. He undertook to go home; fell into the snow, and came near freezing to death. I suffered awfully, ten times as much as when I died.’ ... Reader, we draw the curtain over scenes like these, such as are daily occurring in this society.”—Life in the Spheres, pages 35-37.NTMS 134.7

    Thus daily are poor deluded mediums made to believe they want to drink, etc., and their aversion (if they have any) to crime and lewdness is destroyed by fiends whose presence and influence are courted by thousands. This is Spiritualism! But we have further testimony. Dr. Randolph says again:—NTMS 134.8

    “The bodies and souls of mediums may be and are attacked, the remnant of will destroyed or lulled, the moral sense stupefied, and the entire being subjugated by spectral harpies and human ghouls, who wander on either bank of existence.”—Dealings with the Dead, pages 107-8.NTMS 135.1

    Dr. Gridley received from his special spirit friend, Bryant, the following revelation. Joshua is represented as the spirit of a strong, but brutish man whom he had known in life:—NTMS 135.2

    “On one occasion, while Joshua was possessing the medium, it appeared evident that the love of rum in the former was by no means impaired by his transfer to the world of spirits. To test this I asked him if he would have a glass of brandy. The inviting, even bewitching, manner with which he reached forth and waved his hand invitingly toward me, with the sweet-loving motion of his lips, surprised me beyond measure; and I replied, perhaps rudely, that if he came here for brandy, he would get nothing but water. His countenance instantly exhibited the most fierce and terrible anger. He grated his teeth furiously, doubled his fist, and made a most desperate blow at the pit of my stomach, and exclaimed, ‘Damn you!’ I now inquired, ‘Friend Bryant, is it possible that a man who loves rum in this world carries that love with him into the next?’ ‘Yes, it is certainly true.’ ‘But there can be nothing there by which to gratify it,’ I said, inquiringly. ‘No, not in ours; but you must not forget that our world, especially with low, wicked spirits, is not far from yours.’ ‘But you do not mean to say that such an appetite in a disembodied spirit can be gratified?’ ‘Spirits who have left the rudimental body can gratify a drunken appetite ten times as easy as those in that body.’ ‘But how can that be?’ I asked in wonder. ‘Joshua can enter the body of any drunken brute in human form, and partake of the exhilarating influence of his cups with the greatest ease imaginable.’ He stated too that spirits were guilty of licentious acts, and that quarreling and licentiousness were as inseparable in their world as in ours.”—Astounding Facts, pages 26, 27.NTMS 135.3

    We have given testimonies to prove the licentious tendencies of Spiritualism and the licentious practices of Spiritualists; and is there not herein a sufficient reason given, as well as a sufficient justification of the charge? One says that “the moral looseness of thousands” is owing to spirit control. Most of the evidences speak of tobacco-chewing and dram-drinking, but will apply just as well to adultery. Read the following from Dr. Randolph:—NTMS 135.4

    “Generals who attack a fort do so at the most pregnable points. So with a certain class of spirits. They enjoy forbidden things through mortal proxies, as by sympathy. A, a spirit, was on earth a drunkard; if he can get control of B, a medium, and can induce B to imbibe, he can partake sympathetically of the exhilaration. As it is with stimulants, so it is with amativeness, only that ten persons can be made to err in the last direction where not over two could be in the former.”—The Unvailing, page 47.NTMS 136.1

    While we do not admit that the spirits are the spirits of dead people, as claimed by these writers, we do admit that the mediums are made to believe they are such spirits, and are controlled by them for evil and licentious purposes. And it is astonishing that, with such facts before their eyes, any should wish to be developed as mediums. We knew a man of intelligence and of standing in community, who was well-disposed toward Spiritualism. He took considerable pains to attend their meetings; but after examining the subject of mediumship he declared he would rather see every member of his family laid in the grave than have one of them developed as a medium. And who would not?NTMS 136.2

    We have known the most abominable and shameful crimes to be excused by the perpetrators, by saying that spirits of such propensities took possession of them! And is anything else to be expected? The whole system is the greatest abomination that ever was promulgated.NTMS 136.3

    The tragedy enacted in Battle Creek, Mich., where a mother, under the direction of the spirits, poisoned her children, is worthy of note, together with the false reasoning of Spiritualists concerning it. The Religio-Philosophical Journal of Chicago, commenting on it, says it is no more to be laid to the charge of Spiritualism than a similar crime committed by a professed Christian is to be laid to the charge of Christianity. The editor of this paper has the reputation of being a man of ability, and if he is indeed such he knows there is no parallel. Suppose two communities; the first pledged to maintain the marriage tie sacredly, the other pledged to destroy it and disregard its obligations. Now if a member of each community should be found guilty of adultery, would the two systems be equally chargeable with the crime? Surely not. The first would be violating the principles of his community, while the second would only be carrying out the avowed intention of all his comrades. The first community would stand free from the crime of one of their members, committed against their rules, while the second would all be chargeable, as accessories, with a crime which they sanctioned and had banded together to commit. Crime is the natural outgrowth of that system of lawlessness called Spiritualism! And every Spiritualist in the land justly stands charged with the crimes which are the legitimate fruits of their teachings.NTMS 137.1

    Apply the teachings of Christianity and of Spiritualism to the case of this murder in Battle Creek. Believers in the Bible teach that “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” or her; that God condemns the evil-doer; that he abhors iniquity; that he will bring every work into Judgment; that he will punish the guilty; and they show their regard for righteousness by withholding their fellowship from the vile, and recommending only the pure. But Spiritualists teach that “God does not condemn” even the murderer; that he does not abhor evil, but regards it as undeveloped good; that no one has a right to judge of her conduct; that she has only to satisfy her own mind—“answer to herself.” To impute blame to her is, according to Davis, “a sort of Atheism.” And to carry out these principles, the National Convention of Spiritualists say they will not hear charges against their members; with them good moral character is no recommendation, and licentiousness and all crime are no faults!NTMS 137.2

    “O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united.”—Bible.NTMS 138.1

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