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purported to have said. Saul “perceived that it was Samuel" through what the witch stated to him. The conversation that ensued between Samuel and Saul was conducted through the medium. All of this could have taken place entirely without the presence of the prophet Samuel. The woman, under the influence of her familiar spirit, could have given to Saul the message supposed to have come from Samuel, in the same way that messages from the dead are pretended to be given to the living by spiritual mediums of the latter days, who, as in the case under consideration, perform their work at night or under cover of darkness.
It is beyond rational belief that such persons could at any period in ancient or modern times, invoke the spirits of departed servants or handmaidens of the Lord. They are not at the beck and call of witches, wizards, diviners, or necromancers. Pitiable indeed would be the condition of spirits in paradise if they were under any such control. They would not be at rest, nor be able to enjoy that liberty from the troubles and labors of earthly life which is essential to their happiness, but be in a condition of bondage, subject to the will and whims of persons who know not God and whose lives and aims are of the earth, earthy.
Nor is it in accordance with correct doctrine that a prophetess or prophet of the Lord could exercise the power to bring up or bring down the spirits of prophets and saints at will, to hold converse with them on earthly affairs. That is not one of the functions of a prophet or a prophetess. The idea that such things can de done at the behest of men or women in the flesh, ought not to be entertained by any Latterday Saint. The Lord has said:
"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 hear from 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 VIII: 19-20; Book of Mormon page 96: verses 19-20).
It has been suggested that in this instance the Lord sent Samuel in the spirit to communicate with Saul, that he might know of his impending doom; but this view does not seem to harmonize with the statements of the case, made in the scrip.
ture which gives the particulars. If the Lord desired to impart this information to Saul, why did he not respond when Saul enquired of him through the legitimate channels of divine communication? Saul had tried them all and failed to obtain an answer. Why should the Lord ignore the means he himself established, and send Samuel, a prophet, to reveal himself to Saul through a forbidden source? Why should he employ one who had a familiar spirit for this purpose, a medium which he had positively condemned by his own law?
“But,” it is argued, “The prediction uttered by the spirit which was manifested on that occasion was literally fulfilled. Israel was delivered into the hand of the Philistines, and Saul and his three sons and his armor bearer and the men of his staff were all slain. It was therefore a true prophecy.” Admitting that as perfectly correct, the position taken in this article is not in the least weakened. If the witches, wizards, necromancers and familiar spirits, placed under the ban of the law, did not sometimes foretell the truth there would have been no need to warn the people against consulting them. If the devil never told the truth he would not be able to deceive mankind by his falsehoods. The powers of darkness would never prevail without the use of some light. A little truth mixed with plausible error is one of the means by which they lead mankind astray. There is nothing, then, in the history of the interview between Saul and the woman of Endor which, rationally or doctrinally, establishes the opinion that she was a prophetess of the Lord or that Samuel actually appeared on that occasion.
There is no satisfactory evidence that the spirits of the departed communicate with mortals through spiritual mediums or any of the means commonly employed for that purpose. Evil spirits, no doubt, act as "familiars” or as “controls” and either personate the spirits of the dead or reveal things supposed to be known only to them and their living friends, in order to lead away the credulous, but those who place themselves under the influence of those powers of darkness have no means by which they can compel the presence of the spirits of the just or induce disclosures from them to the living. They are above and beyond the art of such indivi
duals, and the mediums themselves are frequently the dupes of evil spirits and are thus “deceivers and being deceived.”
“My house is a house of order, saith the Lord, and not a house of confusion.” When God has anything to reveal, it will come in the way, by the means and through the persons whom he has appointed. If the living desire to hear from the dead they should seek to the Lord, and not to those who presume to rush in “where angels fear to tread." The earthly sphere and the sphere of departed spirits are distinct from each other, and a veil is wisely drawn between them. As the living are not, in their normal condition, able to see and converse with the dead, so, it is rational to believe, the inhabitants of the spiritual domain are, in their normal condition, shut out from intercourse with men in the flesh. By permission of the Lord, persons on either side of the veil may be manifest to those on the other, but this will certainly be by law and according to the order which God has established. By observing that law and refraining from association with persons and influences that know not God and obey not his gospel, the Latter-day Saints will save themselves from subtle deception and much sorrow, and will be more susceptible to the light and inspiration and revelations that proceed from the Eternal Father!
THE PRINCIPLES AND POLITY OF THE UNITAR
A. AND M. T. MAYNARD, FIRST UNITARIAN
“The system which would unite in sublime synthesis, all the past forms of human belief, which accepts with triumphant alacrity each new development of science, having no stereotyped standard to defend, and which represents the human mind as pursuing on the highest subjects a path of continual progress toward the fullest and most transcendent knowledge of the Deity. A system which makes the moral faculty of man the measure and arbiter of faith.” This is Mr. Lecky, the historian's definition of rationalism, which he affirms is characteristic of every department of thought and activity in modern society, and the result of countless agencies having their root in every nation, and in every church and school of thought.
Yet no definition could better summarize the position of the Unitarian Church. In other words, that church seeks to give an organic form to the growing, ripening thought of each generation in its relation to human aspiration and endeavor. A widely accepted definition of Unitarianism is:-"The free and progressive development of historic Christianity which seeks to be synonomous with universal religion and universal ethics." Some one has formulated the four fundamental
Unitarian principles as follows, and these would be universally accepted.
ist.-Freedom of reason, and freedom of conscience, the method in religion instead of tradition and authority.
2nd.-Fellowship the spirit in religion instead of sectarianism.
3rd.—Love and service, the aim in religion instead of salvation for self.
4th.-Moral purpose, the test in religion, instead of ritual or creed.
It will be seen from these statements that perfect freedom is allowed the individual in matters of belief. As will be shown later, there are many points of belief in which the great majority of Unitarians concur, but freedom to differ from the majority and freedom to grow within the church is its most characteristic principles. The church aims to allow the same freedom in the search for truth, that is allowed in the world of scholarship.
The possibility of this frank freedom within the church is due to the Congregational polity out of which it had its rise. The Free church movement arose in England after the Reformation. During the time when it was uncertain what party should take possession of the English church, Catholic, Calvinist, or a compromise, the Protestant churches made their organization as flexible as possible awaiting developments in the Established Church. From this came the Free church polity of the Presbyterians in England and the Congregational Puritanism of the Massachusetts colonists. The Independent movement represented a more pronounced theory of simplicity and freedom in church government. This was the church of the Pilgrims whose flight to Holland and settlement in Plymouth is so well known. These Pilgrims had a distinct ideal of free growth within the church. The last address of their leader, John Robinson, on their departure, urged them to keep their hearts and minds open for new truth; saying that it was not reasonable to suppose that having been out of the old corrupt church so short a time,