|By Carlyle B. Haynes
Chapter 7— Spiritualism
discussion of the condition and state of the dead would be incomplete
without an explanation of the false claims of Spiritualism, which pretends
to open a way of communication between the living and the spirits of the
dead. We have already seen that this claim must be false, inasmuch as the
dead are unconscious. This, however, leaves us to explain and account for
the phenomena of this false system.
Every candid person must admit that a considerable portion of these phenomena is fraud, pure and simple, nothing but deception and imposture, contrived by craft and cunning and imposed on the credulity of the simple-minded for purposes of personal profit. But there are phenomena in this system which cannot be accounted for on these grounds. There is a supernatural power connected with it, but this supernatural power is of Satan, and not of God.
The Rise of Witchcraft
Those who recall the art of the magicians of Egypt, who were buried with Pharaoh’s host in the Red Sea; the incantations of Balaam, which brought about his own destruction; the spirit mediums of Nineveh and Babylon, who perished with the nations they had deluded; the experience of Saul, the king of Israel, who went from a spirit medium’s seance to a suicide’s grave; the history of numerous rulers, from Croesus to Napoleon III, to whom ruin and discomfiture were brought by consulting with spirits; the multitudes who wander now in heathen lands as hopeless and helpless demoniacs, as some did in ancient Palestine; the wreck of mind and morals which meddling with Spiritualism now brings to many; and the frantic agony of those whom Spiritualism has brought to a suicide’s fate will surely want more evidence than such a record affords that Spiritualism is from God. Its deadly pitfalls, terrible chasms, and awful abysses into which so many have plunged who have dabbled in it ought to cause every prudent and wise person to avoid it as he would the bubonic plague.
Some smile with incredulity when they hear the legendary tales of ghosts, goblins, and black cats, and of old women riding broomsticks through the air; and many who do the smiling then go to see a spirit medium floating in ether or being borne around on a table suspended in space. They take but little stock in the tales of persons binding themselves to serve the devil at a witch dance in some dark forest, but then such incredulous ones attend a seance in a darkened room, held by a medium who could never have gained the high position of mediumship without first absolutely yielding her body, soul, mind, spirit, and will to the control of unseen and unknown spirits. There is no essential difference between the two.
The first spiritualist medium was the serpent in the Garden of Eden. This creature was “more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” Satan selected this “subtil” beast as a medium through which to manifest the first spiritualistic phenomenon. Through the serpent he spoke to Eve, the first woman. And he spoke to her in order to deceive her. It is worthy of more than passing attention that it was by believing a spiritualist medium that this world has been overwhelmed with a flood of sin, disease, sorrow, grief, misery, trouble, war, and death. And it is worth noticing, also, that if Satan then could take possession of the body of an animal or reptile and so control that animal as to make it appear to be different from what it was, and then through his possession of that animal deceive and delude an innocent and unfallen human being, we certainly are justified in believing that he can and does exert his power today in a similar way to deceive and delude human beings; for his power and craft and malice during these six thousand years since this first spiritualistic manifestation have not been diminished, but rather increased. Today he still deceives and deludes the world through mediums.
Origin of Modern Spiritualism
Modern Spiritualism had its beginning in Hydesville, New York, in the year 1848. The first intelligible communication of Spiritualism in modern times came in response to a direct appeal to Satan himself. In the year mentioned a farmer by the name of John D. Fox lived in Hydesville, near Rochester, New York. He was the father of six children, two of whom were living at home. These were the youngest children of the family.
Their names were Margaret, who was fifteen years of age, and Kate, aged twelve. They had but recently moved there, and they found the house they occupied disturbed by noises, especially at night. They attributed these noises at first to mice and rats, and then to a loose board; but they soon discovered the noises to be distinct and intelligent rappings. After retiring on the night of March 31, 1848, the parents and children sleeping in the same room, these rappings commenced with greater violence than usual. Mr. Fox arose and tried the window sashes. Finding them all secure, he was about to return to his rest, when Kate, observing that when he shook the sashes, the rappings seemed to reply, turned in the direction from which the sound seemed to come and snapped her fingers, at the same time exclaiming, “Here, Old Splitfoot, do as I do.”
The rappings instantly replied, frightening the girls so much that they had no further desire at the time to continue the conversation with “Old Splitfoot.” But the mother continued to cultivate his acquaintance, and from him received a message professing to come from the spirit of Charles B. Rosna, which told her that he had been murdered in that very house some years be fore. An exact location in the cellar of the house was given as the place where his body had been buried, and when the spot was dug into, a considerable portion of a human skeleton was found. It was later ascertained that a man answering to the description given had visited the house and had not been seen since.
Margaret Fox soon developed remarkable occult powers in her continued intercourse with the spirits.
Many questions were asked the spirits, and the answers in the main were found to be correct. Thus lost articles were found. Neighbors came in to investigate, other questions were asked and answered, and many became convinced that the Fox girls were actually in communication with the spirits of the dead. From this time the movement spread like a prairie fire.
A Vast Confederacy of Evil
In our study of this movement we must ever bear in mind that there are upon earth a vast multitude of invisible beings clothed with supernatural power, called “demons” by the Scriptures of truth, wholly evil in character, who with the most intense hatred toward God and man are constantly engaged in the most bitter warfare against the welfare of human beings and the glory of God. This vast confederacy of evil is presided over by a chief who once dwelt in the courts of heaven, but whose present supreme aim is to ensnare the human race to its eternal destruction, and who aims at pressing every event and circumstance of human life into his fiendish service.
When Satan fell from heaven, a great number of his angels were cast out of heaven with him. (Revelation 12:7-9; 2 Peter 2:4.) The Bible teaches that each child of God has an attending angel from the courts of heaven. (Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:12-16.) Without doubt each person has also an evil angel attending him constantly. This evil angel, who is under the direction of Satan, knows all that we have ever done, all that we have ever said, all the secrets which we have thought were known only to ourselves, and all the things which we have carefully kept from the light of day. It is this evil angel, who has been in constant attendance on our loved one in this life, who appears and impersonates that loved one at a spiritualist seance. That evil spirit can tell all that the loved one himself could tell if he were really there. It can reveal secrets which were known only to the one who is dead and the inquirer at the seance, and this revelation appears of such a super-natural character that the inquirer, not being fortified by the truth of the Bible concerning the state of the dead, is convinced that he is in actual communication with the spirit of his dead loved one. He is led on to believe “doctrines of devils” ( 1 Timothy 4:l), for once convinced that it is one who loves him who speaks to him, he is then ready to believe any message he may receive. Thus he is drawn away from God into this terrible delusion. The spirits which appear at spiritualist seances are not the spirits of the dead, but are spirits of devils. This movement is the latter-day working of the one who was cast out of heaven. The people of God should guard themselves against it with utmost care.
An Intelligence Wholly Evil
We admit that there are mysterious and super-natural manifestations and freely concede that there are evidences of physical power and mental intelligence in Spiritualism which cannot be explained by ordinary scientific principles. But the power thus exercised is an evil power, and the intelligence that is thus manifested is also an evil intelligence.
Let us sit for a moment at a spiritualist seance. The medium inquires, “Are the spirits present?”
“Rap, rap,.rap,” comes the reply.
“Will they communicate?”
“Rap, rap, rap.”
“Is this the spirit of this gentleman’s grand-mother?”
“Rap, rap, rap.”
“Will the spirit use the alphabet?”
“Rap, rap, rap.”
Thus a communication is received, by slow and painful methods, from a grandmother, who, after progressing in the spiritual sphere, which is said to be one of great progress and enlightenment, for three decades, cannot talk as well as she could thirty years ago.
And how am I to be sure that this is the spirit of my grandmother? Any other spirit could make three raps just as loud or just as low. Any other spirit could profess to be my grandmother. This spirit may be, for all I can know to the contrary, the spirit of my aunt, my brother, my bitterest enemy, a Borneo savage, a demon, the devil himself, or any of his angels. I am completely at the mercy of some intelligence which does not dare to show its face, and which gives me no references, but expects me to believe it implicitly.
But there are other tests offered. Handwriting, the very familiar handwriting of the departed, is submitted to us. But this proves nothing. Our prisons are full now of men who were too handy with their pens, and too free in the use of other men’s handwriting. If the dead are conscious, as Spiritualism teaches, what assurance can we have that the spirits of forgers, knaves, and criminals of all descriptions are not still plying their nefarious trades?
But, it is insisted, the spirits tell things which no one present can know. We are not sure about it. There may be those present we do not see, the spirit not of your grandmother, or wife, or child, but spirits which have known the history of your family for generations, and who may be familiar with every event of your life. Such a spirit knows your secret acts, it has heard your most secret whispers, and it is not surprising that it can astonish you by revealing things which you believed were known to no one else.
Scientists Are Baffled
The claim is made that the spirits talk piously, and give good instruction, and tell the truth. But suppose they do sometimes. This proves nothing. Bad messages, of course, come from bad spirits, but good messages do not necessarily come from good spirits. Although a good man will not lie, yet a bad man and a liar will sometimes tell the truth. A bad spirit will tell the truth and falsehood, giving each kind of fish the bait it likes best, but will ultimately lie to all, and deceive and dupe everybody who deals with it.
And granting, for the moment, that these spirits are what they claim to be, the spirits of the dead, even then it should be remembered that there are plenty of living men whom we would not want to meet with masks on their faces in the dark. There are living men who will lie, and cheat, and steal, and deceive, and swindle, and forge, and delude, who most certainly will bear close watching. What assurance have we, if the dead are conscious, that such men when they are dead will be any better than they were when living?
But, we are assured, even scientists have been baffled in their investigation of these phenomena, and freely admit they must have a supernatural origin. So do we admit it. And it is not surprising that science is baffled. Science may be able to explain anything which is based upon natural laws or physical forces, but it never can satisfactorily explain acts which are the results of the whims or inclinations of intelligent beings, in possession of self-determining wills, especially when science enters such an investigation disbelieving in the existence of the very forces and agencies which produce the phenomena.
Scientists can perform an experiment in chemistry or physics again and again, and under similar conditions will get unvarying results. But when a scientist comes to deal with the caprices of a living, self-determining, self-acting thing, he can no more predict its next whim than can the most unscientific mortal. The operation of a machine may be accurately forecast, but the wisest of men will have difficulty predicting the antics of a monkey. An astronomer would have no difficulty in locating on his celestial map the farthest planets and stars, but all his mathematical and astronomical wisdom and learning would not help in locating his boy’s cap if the boy himself had no knowledge of its whereabouts.
Masquerading as Christian
Those things which are dependent on human action and human will cannot be accurately calculated by man. And let the existence of myriads of unseen intelligences which often interfere in human affairs be once granted, and it will be obvious at once why, denying the very existence of such agencies, science is baffled by the phenomena of Spiritualism, for it is just as impossible for scientists to find a solution of the mysterious work of unseen and devilish spirits as it would certainly be for the greatest mathematician to forecast a kitten’s antics or a lunatic’s hallucinations.
Today Spiritualism masquerades under the guise of Christianity. It hides its real character under a pretension of great holiness. It is building churches and taking on the appearance of a Christian denomination.
And under this deceptive appearance it is sweeping millions to ruin and despair. But at the beginning of its modern history it made no such pretensions and frankly acknowledged its connection with the devil, to whom it offered its prayers and devotion. Its official organ of that time contains a number of petitions to his satanic majesty, three of which are here given:
“O Lucifer, thou son of the morning, who fell from thy high estate, and whom mortals are prone to call the embodiment of evil, we lift our voices to thee. We know thou canst not harm us unless by the will of the Almighty of whom thou art a part and portion, and in whose economy thou playest a part, and we cannot presume to sit in judgment over Deity. From the depths of thine infamy stream forth divine truths. Why should we turn from thee? Does not the same inspiration rule us all? Is one in God’s sight better than another? We know thou art yet to come up in his expanded creation, purified by the influence of God’s love, for his love is not perfected while one of his children. writhes in misery. So, O Lucifer, do we come up and stand before the throne of the Ancient of Days, hand in hand with thee. As thou hast been the star of the morning thou wilt again become an angel of light. O Satan, we will subdue thee with our love and thou wilt yet kneel humbly with us at the throne of God.”—Banner of Light, December 21, 1861, p. 8.
“O thou prince of darkness and king of light, God and devil, greater and lesser good, perfect and imperfect being! we ask and demand of thee that we may know thee, for to know thee is to know more of ourselves. And if to do this it be necessary to wander in hell, yea and amen, we wander there with the spirits of darkness. The church and the world tell us that the devil goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, but we know thee only as God’s vicegerent, to stand at his left hand, the regenerator of man-kind, the means of bringing up all things, intellectually and morally, to perfection.”—Banner of Light, March 1, 1862.
Prayer to the Devil
On opening a debate with a Christian minister on the subject of Spiritualism, Professor W. Chaney, a medium, at San Jose, California, January 29, 1874, offered this prayer: “O devil, prince of demons in the Christian hell! O thou monarch of the bottomless pit, thou king of scorpions having stings in their tails, to whom it is given to hurt the earth for five months, I beseech thee to hear my prayer. … Bless thy servant in his labors before thee. Fill his mouth with words of wisdom. Enable him to defend thee from the false charges about to be made against thy sulphurous majesty, and triumph by truth and logic over his opponent, so that this audience may realize that thou art a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering devil.”—Signs of the Times, May 10, 1877.
And that the anticipations of Spiritualists have now been met, and Satan has actually been converted, is brought from the world of spirits, as recorded in what purports to be a message received from a departed “Lutheran minister developed into a theomonist,” as the spirit described itself, printed in the Washington (D.C.) Post of November 1, 1914. The message is as follows:
“The new revelation and great truth I am graciously permitted to tell is the fact that Satan (Helios) has been truly converted. Pray for him, all ye earnest ministers and children of God; for Helios has a terrible battle on his hands, as I am informed this morning. While many of the spirits of the abyss or lowest hell on the sun, with him, have turned and accepted Jehovah, there are many left who are fiercely obstructing the higher progress of Helios and other hell spirits who have left them. You know that people on earth who turn from wickedness to righteousness have the hardest time to defend themselves against their former bad companions. Not only does everybody doubt that their conversion is sincere, but all the old cronies, out of revenge, do whatever mischief they can against their former friend.
“Now, imagine Satan being converted, as he really is, and you know that it is an awful struggle for him. Satan was a high angel from a very ancient world, possibly one of the Elohim or sons (emanations) of God, who fell through pride. For many thousands of years he has been the jailer of the lowest hell sphere on the sun, and that is why he gives his name as ‘Helios,’ which is Greek, and means ‘sun.’ His scriptural names are Hebrew, Abaddon; and Greek, Apollyon.
“The recent conversion of Helios was the greatest victory of Jesus, and the turning point of the history of the earth.”
Spiritualism Is Spreading
From the small beginning already described, Spiritualism has grown by leaps and bounds, until today it numbers its converts by the hundreds of thousands. It has developed through different stages, such as slate-writing, table-tipping, the playing of musical instruments by unseen agencies, and other remarkable manifestations; but through all its history the chief characteristic of this delusion has been, and is now, the claim of communicating with the spirits of the dead.
This claim of communication with the dead is not a new thing. Spiritualism itself, as has been shown, is not a new thing. It is an old thing which has been given a new name. In ancient times it was not called Spiritualism, but witchcraft, sorcery, wizardry, necromancy, and consulting with familiar spirits. Under those names it is spoken of in the Bible and strongly condemned.
Inasmuch as this system is sweeping many people from their moorings out into a great sea of deception, it is well that we study what God has to say about it. It is a most powerful deception, and we cannot combat its power successfully in our own strength. God has given much instruction concerning it in His Word, and this instruction will be of the utmost value to us in meeting the lying claims of Spiritualism and overcoming them.
God said to His ancient people, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:31.
The possession of familiar, or controlling, spirits is the very claim upon which the so-called communication with the spirits of the dead is made by spiritualist mediums. In the verse quoted God forbids His people to have anything to do with those who make such claims, and further admonishes them that any such connection will be defiling to His people.
God Prohibited Spiritualism
“And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers.” Malachi 3:5. Sorcery was a pretended familiarity with the spirits of the dead; that is, it was the ancient name of modern Spiritualism. “Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, … for they prophesy a lie unto you.” Jeremiah 27:9, 10.
Spiritualism pretends to be able to foretell the future accurately. This is mere pretension, for it does not know the future. Mediums, reasoning from cause to effect, may surmise something of what may come to pass, and so may we all, but they have no supernatural knowledge at all of the future. If Spiritualists knew what would happen tomorrow and the next day, they would undoubtedly be the most successful manipulators of the Wall Street stock market, for they would be able to tell whether stocks were going up or down and thus be far in advance of their competitors. They do not know the future, but “they prophesy a lie unto you.”
“A man also or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:27.
This was the ancient penalty for attempting to communicate with the spirits of the dead, and there are those who never cease to deride the Bible for such a law: But when men talk, it is well to know what they are talking about; and when they take a little trouble to find out, they might discover that the occult and devilish practices of ancient Spiritualism not only tended, as they do now, to disease, insanity, immorality, and death, but that those who practiced these occult arts were too often guilty of the most horrible, abominable, and revolting crimes and barbarities, which in themselves were sufficient cause to prohibit the practices which gave rise to them. It is well, at any rate, to learn the estimation in which the Lord holds Spiritualism.
“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 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.” Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
Surely at the present time consulting with familiar spirits cannot be pleasing to God, when anciently it was an abomination to Him.
In the New Testament, Spiritualism is also found in doubtful company under its old name of witchcraft. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,.wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21.
Try the Spirits
All such movements which claim to be of God we are told to test: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1.
And how, and by what, we are to try the spirits is also made plain: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19, 20.
Rather than the living seeking to the dead for help, they should seek to their God. When Spiritualism urges us to seek to the dead through a medium controlled by a familiar spirit, then we need to seek God. And we are to test the claims of Spiritualism by “the law” and by “the testimony,” that is, by the Word of God. If they speak not according to the Bible, it is because there is no light in them.
Examined by this test, Spiritualism fails at every point. The doctrine upon which the whole system is based is in contradiction to the plainest statements of the Bible. Spiritualism teaches that the dead are conscious; the Bible declares them to be unconscious.
Spiritualism is not all trickery. There is a super-natural power behind it, but that power is not the power of God, but of Satan. The spirits which appear in the dim light of a spiritualistic seance are not the spirits of our departed friends at all. “They are the spirits of devils, working miracles” (Revelation 16:14)) declares the inspired Word of God.
Many, when brought into contact with these spirits who impersonate the dead, will find themselves confronted by a power which they will be utterly unable to withstand or resist. Appeals will be made to their sympathies, and before their eyes miracles will be wrought which will convince them that this fearful delusion is the great power of God. They will be led to disbelieve the Word of God, which opposes the claims of Spiritualism, and will thus be led on until God departs from them, as He did from King Saul, and they are completely entangled in the snares of the devil. Thus thousands and hundreds of thousands will lose their souls in this final effort of Satan to deceive the whole world and take it captive, Our only protection against this powerful delusion is to be acquainted with the inspired teaching of the Bible concerning the dead.
King Saul’s Experience
The experience of King Saul with the witch of Endor is sometimes cited as proof of the possibility of communicating with the dead. But this experience is merely an account of the deception of Saul by a demon impersonating the dead Samuel. If we accept this account as a genuine manifestation of the spirit of Samuel, we must be prepared to believe that all the prophets, and apostles, and saints are at all times liable to be called from their resting places at the bidding of spirit mediums. We must believe, too, that the whole host of the dead, instead of being, as has been taught, in heaven, in hell, or in purgatory, are merely kept “on tap” in preparation for a call from any witch, wizard, necromancer, sorcerer, or company of free lovers who may choose to have a seance in order to parade these patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and relatives before anyone who may be willing to pay a quarter at a wholesale seance, or a dollar at a retail one. The Christian is not ready to accept any such preposterous idea.
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