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    February 20, 1893

    “Is It Not Spiritualism?” The Signs of the Times, 19, 16.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Nothing is more pitiful than to see people running into danger of which they are unconscious. And the fact that they might have known of the danger ought not to prevent people from sympathizing with them and trying to help them. We do not refuse to help a drowning man, although his own carelessness has precipitated him into the water. But nothing calls for more sympathetic help than that of men who are running into the snares of the devil when they think that they are in the way of life. True, the word of God is so plain that there is no need of anybody’s mistaking the way, but that should not cause us to censure. Men pity the blind, even though their blindness is due to their own fault.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.20

    It is therefore only for the purpose of helping those who may be in danger, that we call attention to the following paragraph; for we are sure that very many are in the same condition, who do not know their danger. On December 4, Dr. Talmage preached a sermon about “Rizpah on the Rock” watching the dead bodies of her relatives. After drawing many parallels, he said near the close:—SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.21

    I wonder if now there is an after-death watching. I think there is. There are Rizpahs who have passed death and who are still watching. They look down from their supernal and glorified state upon us, and it not that the after-death watching? I cannot believe that those who before their death were interested in us have since their death become indifferent as to what happens to us. Not one hour of the six months during which Rizpah watched seated upon the rocks was the more alert, or diligent, or armed for them than one another if glorified is alert and diligent and armed for us. It is not now Rizpah on a Rock, but Rizpah on a throne. How long has your mother been dead? Do you think she has been dead long enough to forget you? My mother has been dead twenty-nine years. I believe she knows more about me now than she did when I stood in her presence, and I am no Spiritualist either. The Bible says, “are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation?” Young man, better look out what you do and where you go, for your glorified mother is looking at you. You sometimes say to yourself, “What would mother say if she knew this?” She does know. You might cheat her now, but you cannot cheat her now. Does it embarrass us to think she knows all about us now? If she had to put up with so much when she was here, surely she will not be the less patient or excusatory now.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.22

    Oh, this tremendous thought of my text, this after-death watching! What an uplifting consideration! And what a comforting thought! Young mother, you who have just lost your babe, and who feel the need of a nearer solace than that which comes from ordinary sympathy, your mother knows all about it. You cannot run in and talk it all over with her as you would if she were still a terrestrial resident, but it will comfort you some, I think, yes, it will comfort you a good deal, to know that she understands it all. You see that the victories of the heavenly conditions are so great that it would not take her half a second to come to your heart. Oh, these mothers in heaven! They can do more for us now than before they went away. The bridge between this world and the next is not broken down. They approach the bridge from both ways, departing spirits, and coming spirits, down, profound spirits, and sympathizing spirits. And so let us walk as to be worthy of the supernal companionships.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.23

    Dr. Talmage says that he is no Spiritualist. We can however, leave him entirely up to the question while we consider, for the benefit of others, whether or not that to which he has given utterance is Spiritualism. The question is: Does a belief in the conscious existence of the dead, and that they are interested in human affairs, and can even communicate with the living, constitute Spiritualism? Surely none can answer this better than those whose knowledge themselves to be Spiritualists. In order to learn what Methodism is, we go to Methodists themselves; to learn about Presbyterianism, we apply to Presbyterians, and so for a definition of Spiritualism, we must ask Spiritualists. From the standing made of the Spiritual Magazine, for many years the leading Spiritualist publication in England, we take the following statement:—SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.24

    Spiritualism is based on the cardinal fact of open communion and influx.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.25

    Also from a leading Spiritualist journal of America, we take the two following definitions:—SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.26

    The central idea of modern Spiritualism is the keystone of the religious arch. That is, a continued existence.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.27

    The very central truth of Spiritualism is the power and possibility of spirit return, under certain conditions, to communicate with those in the material form.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.28

    The idea that the spirits of the dead have a conscious existence, and that they can, under certain conditions, return and communicate with the living, is the sum and substance of Spiritualism. Therefore all who believe that the dead are conscious, and that they can return to earth to communicate with these with whom they were associated in life, are Spiritualists, whatever name they may bear. And it is a fact that there are thousands who would be shocked at the intimation that they could ever by any possibility become Spiritualists, who hold exactly these ideas. Why is it that they have such a dread of the name? It is because they think that Spiritualism is nothing but jugglery and trickery. They have associated it with table tipping, immorality, etc. It is true that such things have been connected with Spiritualism, but they are but manifestations of Spiritualism. Spiritualism itself is, as we have seen, nothing but a belief in the return and communion of the dead. Whatever is connected with Spiritualism is an outgrowth of that idea.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.29

    Having learned in brief what Spiritualism is we now consider the question of whether or not it is wrong in itself, and if so, wherein the evil consists.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.30


    We have learned from the word of Spiritualists themselves that Spiritualism is nothing more or less than a belief in the doctrine that the dead do not really die, but that after the change which men call death they continue to exist, with keener perceptions and larger knowledge than they had while on the earth, and that they can under certain conditions communicate with people still on the earth. The question now before us is, Is this true? The Bible must furnish us with the answer to this question.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.31

    “The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness, I said, In the noontide of my days I shall go into the gates of the grave; I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord in the land of the living; I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine age is removed, and is carried away from me as a shepherd’s tent; I have rolled up like a weaver my life, he will cut me off from the loom; from day even to night will thou make an end of me.... But thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For the grave cannot praise thee. Death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day.” Isaiah 34:6-9, Revised Version.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.32

    “For to him that is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead man. 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. And their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:4-6.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.33

    “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Verse 10.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.34

    “While I live will I praise the Lord; I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:2-4.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.35

    Still further, the patriarch Job asked the question, “if a man die, shall he live again?” and immediately answered it thus, “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.” Job 14:14, 15. What this “change” is we learn from the word of the Lord by the apostle Paul:—SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.36

    “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.37

    “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Revelation 20:4, 5.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.38

    Note carefully all these scriptures. The first four plainly state that the dead have no consciousness whatever. Therefore to claim that the dead are conscious is to contradict the Bible. Spiritualism does make that claim. Therefore Spiritualism is a direct contradiction of the Bible. The last three texts speak of “living again,” and of a change that takes place in order that men once death may “live again.” A man cannot go to Paris “again” if he has never been there once and gone away. If he was born in Paris, and has never left the city, it is impossible to speak of him, and speak correctly, as being in Paris “again.” So with living. The man who has never ceased to live cannot be spoken of as being alive “again.” In order for that to be truly said of him, he must have ceased to live, and then have been made alive once more. So the scriptures last quoted teach us that when man dies he ceases to live, and that in order to live “again,” so that he may praise the Lord, and receive a reward, a change must take place in him. This change takes place at the coming of the Lord. But Spiritualism teaches that men never cease to live; that at the change which people call death, they are more alive than ever before, therefore, again we find that Spiritualism is in positive contradiction to the Bible. But the Bible is the truth of God. Therefore Spiritualism is a lie of the devil.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.39

    And so we find it. In the form of a serpent the devil deceived Eve, and thus caused the loss of Eden. God had told our first parents not to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden, saying that if they did so they should surely die. But the devil said to the woman, “Ye shall not surely die.” That is just what Spiritualism says. It is because Spiritualism is only a deception of Satan that we feel so sorrowful to see men embracing the teaching of Spiritualism, while they think that they are opposed to that system.SITI February 20, 1893, page 119.40

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