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ances are not from the so-called from the body it necessarily leaves spiritual world; but I do not see the earth-whatever be its condiwhy we should expect spirits out of tion—and becomes at once purified, the body to have more intelligence and beyond its influences. It may than spirits in the body. We have be or it may not be ; but it is cerno reason to think so. We know tainly a possible supposition that absolutely nothing in respect to the they whose whole happiness, while changes which take place after here, has been in the joys of the death. It may be that pure and body, and whose desires have been refined spirits, freed from the body, mean and depraved, may only conascend to higher existence ; but in tinue to be possessed by the same that case it is difficult to imagine desires, and long to regain the body that such spirits would return to through which they obtained their rap out foolish statements at tables. gratification. But, on the other hand, there are Mallett. It never struck me bemany low, mean, contemptible spirits fore in this light, but it certainly is dwelling here in the flesh to whom an intelligible theory, whether it be the body may lend apparent respect- correct or not. We all have faith ability, and, stripped of this garment in gradations of future being, and which conceals their inanity of intel- we believe that the spirit survives lect and baseness of desires, they may the body, and retains its identity; fall in the scale of being even be- and why not suppose, if its preparlow what they seemed here. Such ation in this life has been for higher spirits
of the earth earthy-would spheres, it would naturally ascend long for the gratifications of the to them, while if it had been for sense and the flesh, and might be lower spheres, it would equally desupposed to haunt the earth to scend to them? If, after death, we which their desires cling, and grasp retain an individuality, we naturat any means of communication ally must remain what we inherentwith it. Their heaven would be the ly are, with the same desires, the heaven of the senses, and of the life same aspirations, the same tendthey had lost, and one would natu- encies. This would, if we accept rally expect from them lies, hypoc-it, enable the human being here to risies, and deceit of every kind. shape for himself his future sphere, Freed from the body, the naked by the training of his thoughts and spirit would be what it desired— aspirations to what is lofty, pure, the high and pure of aspiration and refined on the one hand, or, on would therefore ascend to loftier the other, to what is low, bestial, planes of existence, the mean and and degraded. We should thus base might descend even to lower. reap what we ourselves have sown, I only suggest this answer to any and not be subject to any judgment argument against spiritual commu- and sentence outside of ourselves. nications founded upon their tri- Would not this recommend itself viality, feebleness, and absurdity. to our sense of perfect justice ? Let us clear our minds of distinc- Belton. If we choose to take antions between human beings and other step, we might suppose that spirits. We are all spirits; all our repeated trials might be allotted to communications are spiritual. It every spirit to climb up to higher is two spirits who talk together— spheres of existence by the purganot two bodies — here on earth. tion of its desires (since every spirit We have no warrant for the belief is what it desires), by its devotion that the instant the spirit is freed to noble ends, by its constant experience that the low leads only to If the matter were worthy of conthe low, by its sense of loss in con- sideration at all, he would not be sequence of its base aims.
stopped in his researches by repeated Mallett. In respect to these so- failures to obtain his end. He would called spiritual communications by try again and again. He would not means of table-rappings, and all insist in the outset, for instance, that that, we shall never have the phe- galvanism did not exist, unless he nomena properly investigated so could produce its effects in the way long as we begin with a theory. To he chose. He would not insist on set out with the assumption that all his own conditions, and assert that the material phenomena are occa
unless the results were obtained sioned by spiritual intervention, is through them, they did not exist entirely unworthy of science and at all. But this is what he conphilosophy. But so strenuously is stantly does in his professed investhis theory advanced by believers, tigation of so-called spiritual phethat the minds of those who pre- nomena, because it is the term tend to investigate them are warped spiritual which annoys and disgusts at the beginning : on the one side him. If you recount to him any are those who are inclined to the phenomena, perfectly material and spiritual theory, and on the other, physical, as having occurred ir your those to whom such a theory is ab- presence under conditions contrary surd and even worse; and both, for to his preconceived opinions or exentirely opposite reasons, are averse perience, he says, It would not to strict examination and investi- have occurred had I been there; gation. The real question is, Do or he smiles, and says, Ah, indeed! the facts exist or not? If so, how and thinks you are a fool. If you are they to be explained? If the press the point, and ask him to exfacts clearly exist, it is idle to re- plain it, and tell him the details, ject them because a foolish theory and show him that his explanation is advanced to explain them. Are does not accord with the facts, he there any facts outside our common assumes at once that you were inexperience of the laws of nature so capable of investigation, that you called? If there be, let us arrange were humbugged, or that you lie. them with calmness and honesty. Humbug is the great word he uses On both sides, on the contrary, I - a very expansive one, which find precipitation and impatience. means anything or nothing.
If Those disposed to the spiritual you reply, How humbugged?
where theory accept everything at once as is the humbug? point it out-I spiritual. Those who are sceptical desire to know as much as you ; he and unbelieving reject every fact declines to particularise, and prefers as a cheat, without carefully inves- the generalisation of-Humbug. tigating it or explaining it. It Belton. I cannot wonder at bis suffices the latter class on one or condition of mind, nor fail to symtwo occasions to detect a charlatan pathise with his disgust at so much at work, or to encounter an entire absurdity as is put forth by spiritfailure of the experiment, to come to ualists in general. the conclusion that the whole thing Mallett. Nor I; but, at the same is the result of charlatanism. But re- time, he should, I think, preserve a peated failures or repeated cheating more scientific and philosophic attiprove nothing. No scientific man tude, and not decide until he has would investigate any other question thoroughly investigated. There in the same spirit as he does this may be nothing in all this; he may be quite right, only he has not vinced? Not at all; they would examined the question sufficiently say, You have a confederate; this to decide upon it. For all he has knowledge is procured by a secret seen and can explain there may be system of sounds and signs intelsomething. Of all these phenomena ligible to the senses we all have, or some may be real and point to a by some method which we do not law not yet understood. Are there know; what we do know is that any such? It is not, to my mind, nobody can see. Or they would say, sufficient to try a few casual experi. Let us lock you up in a room all by ments on absolute conditions, and yourself, with no doors or windows, to reject the whole if failure ensues. and chain you there, and then you In science one does not expect the must tell us what is done in another first tentative experiment to succeed. house by a person we will lock up Suppose the experiment failsa there, or what is done in the street hundred times and succeeds once, outside. If you answer, Under those the important fact is the one success, conditions I cannot see; they would not the hundred failures. The cry out, This proves it is all truth is that all begin with scepti- juggling. If you can't see as well cism-not honest scepticism which in a box locked up at night as in neither believes nor disbelieves, the open air by day, you cannot see which is ready to accept or reject at all. There is no such power that according to the evidence and facts, exists; and though we do not detect but scepticism with a loaded bias the trick, it is nevertheless a trick. to unbelief. There is no reason Don't you see that the seeing man either for or against the existence in this case would be in a hopeless of any phenomenon a priori. The position Suppose that there be mere fact that it is contrary to our anything real—I do not say there is experience is no proof that it does —but suppose there be anything real not exist. Suppose a community in the phenomena of tables rising of blind persons to exist on an in the air, the person through whose island which had never been visited mediumship they are executed is, by any person who saw, and sup- to the scientific man of to-day, in á pose, by accident, a man with the position quite analogous to that of power of sight should be thrown the seeing man among the blind or among them. How could he prove the hearing among the deaf, proto them that this faculty really vided they have had no previous existed in him? He would at once experience of such a faculty as sight be met by the statement that it was or hearing contrary to their experience, that Belton. You speak as if you beno one they had ever heard of lieved in these phenomena. Do possessed such a faculty. Vainly you? would he reason with them. His Mallett. I was not speaking of exhibition of this faculty would be my belief, nor did I intend to intreated as humbug and charlatanism. dicate whether I believed in any of He would say, for instance, Place them or not. I merely meant to a person fifty yards from me, and say that the spirit in which they beside him any selected person in are investigated is not what I wish whom you have confidence. I will it were. tell you without moving from here Belton. But do
believe? every action he makes. He would Mallett. I believe what I have do this. What would be the an- seen and what I have tested with swer? Would the blind be con- all my senses. I mean the physical phenomena, for I have every proof senses surrounding our plain and of their reality that I have of any- definite ones, which we do not thing, and I am not yet persuaded understand, and which we have not that I am an utter fool. But I investigated. All I mean by this do not undertake to explain them, is, that it seems to me very foolish much less do I accept the spiritual to cry out humbug at anything explanation. In my opinion there which is contrary to our common is quite as much stupidity in our experience; and that it would be incredulity as in our credulity. I more scientific and honest to incannot explain anything. It is an vestigate calmly, than to ridicule entire mystery how I see, how I without investigation. And this is hear, how I move my arm. An- all I have to say, and don't let us atomists and scientific men explain talk any more about it. I am ready to me the mechanism, and I under- to believe anything if you can prove stand that; but I do not understand it properly. I am ready to disbehow I set the mechanism in move- lieve it if you can show that it has ment, nor they either. A man absolutely no foundation ; but I do lives, sees, moves, one moment; the not begin by believing or disbelievnext moment he is what we call ing before careful examination. If dead. The mechanism is the same, I have not examined into it, I merebut the somewhat we cannot trace ly say I know nothing, or, as Monthat moved it, is gone. A priori, taigne did, “Que sais-je ?" outside our experience one thing is Belton. I daresay you are peras difficult to believe as another, fectly right; but my own persuasion and it is idle to attempt to set is that ninety-nine one-hundredths bounds to any operation of life by of all this spiritualism is utter charour experience. It is quite possible latanry, and I think I am very genethat we have subtle powers and rous in giving you up the one onefaculties which have escaped our hundredth. Do
remember that observation, and that are exercised medium who, after gathering a conat times unconsciously or only in cer- siderable number of persons totain abnormal conditions. Change gether at one of his séances, and for a moment the normal conditions finding that several had obtained of ordinary life, and instantly we entrance without paying for their have new phenomena, as in the case tickets, rose à subsequent of madness, monomania, or de- séance — before commencing his lirium. In high fever the organs operations, and said: “I wish to are far more susceptible than in make one observation—there's nohealth. What are you going to thing riles the spirits so as coming do with second - sight and ghosts, in without paying"? apparitions and premonitions? Will Mallett. I remember; and he you reject them all? Is there no- was a very clever fellow, and knew thing in them? or will you say what he was about. I have no with Dr Johnson, “All argument doubt that the more money was is against it, but all belief is for it"? paid the more his spirits were raised. Are there no such things as sym- But I admit that there are many pathies and antipathies which we charlatans of this kidney, and numcannot explain, and yet which to bers of people whom they take us are real? What is love? What in, and to whom the rubbish that is hate? No! we do not know is slowly rapped up at the table anything yet; and there are, in my seems like inspired communications opinion, penumbral powers and from the other world. My disgust
at these fellows is quite equal to with their futile remarks and sad yours. I cannot use language too commonplaces. strong to express my abhorrence Mallett. It would be worse than of those who, by lying arts, pre- the mosquitoes in the Western tend to summon from the other States of America. Why do we world those who were dear as life always think of spirits as being so to us, but who have passed away, serious ? Are we to lose all our and then put into their mouths sense of humour when we lose our those miserable lies. Think, for bodies ? Are we never to amuse instance, of Charles Sumner's spirit ourselves? Is there nothing in the being rapped up the other day, other world to correspond to the and giving this remarkable advice enjoyments of this ? Are all our art to his listeners—“You musn't act and poetry to be utterly swept selfish!”
away? Are there to be no varieties Belton. Sometimes the messages of character and personality ? Shall rapped up are very amusing. Did
Did we never laugh? Worse than this. ever hear what the spirit of According to the old superstition, Dr Webster, the murderer of Dr we artists shall be in a pretty mess ; Parkman, once rapped up to an for all the graven images we have astonished audience ?
made, and all the likenesses of Mallett. Never ; but pray let me things in the heavens, or the earth, hear it.
or the waters under the earth, will, Belton. Well, Webster, as you it has been said, become endowed know, killed Dr Parkman to avoid with life and pursue us, and haunt paying a debt due to him; and us, and torment us—a pleasant when the spirit of Dr W. pre- thought indeed! But what should sented itself to the table and was I do there without art and poetry, asked, as usual, what he was do- and literature and music, and all ing in the spirit-world, his answer these occupations and delights? was that he was keeping a boarding- Will there be no work for us to do? house, and that Dr Parkman was no books to read—no pictures to living with him, without paying, paint? until he should work off or eat up Belton. Music is, according to the the debt.
general belief, admitted. We shall Mallett. That shows more in- be able to sing. It will always be genuity and intellect than one gen- the same song; but we shall be erally gets from the rapping spirits. able to sing it eternally ; and we If they would always be as amus- are told that we shall never tire of ing I should like to attend some singing it. But as for painting séances.
pictures and modelling statues, I Belton. Yes, if they only would have never heard we should be albe a little amusing, it would be a lowed to do that. relief; after all, they might make Mallett. I earnestly hope I shall such fun of us here: what a chance have a body. I don't at all confor them ! but they are so deadly ceive how I could do without one. serious, and so sadly commonplace, But every one tells me, and of that they are not good company, course every one knows, that I shall Heavens! only think of such a lot not need a body; and that I shall surrounding you in another world, be perfectly contented with doing and you without a body to hide nothing but sing. But how shali away in, or a key to your door, and I sing if I have no body? What all of them swarming in upon you, sort of preparation then are any of