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[Spirit answers Stainton Moses (a medium) received regarding his concerns]

Stainton Moses feels that some revival meetings he had attended did harm.

"Divers agencies are at work in spiritualising your world; and, among them, are some that are rude and undeveloped. Different agencies are used to reach different minds. We prefer any amount of spiritual disturbance to stagnation. They are mistaken in many points. We do not mind. They are right in stirring the masses to revived spiritual existence. It is well that people who are slumbering to death should be stirred up to life, and we are not very careful as to the means used."

"Do not be over-scrupulous over the means used to stir the dead masses of your city. It is not for you. Leave it to work among those who need it. It is part of the great wave of spiritual influence which is now passing over your world in many ways. There is excess in all, but a use too. Cultivated taste may be shocked, but souls are stirred and saved from ruin. We rejoice, though you be shocked."

"It is the abuse, not use, that is dangerous. The psychic emanations of a promiscuous circle, held under the conditions that too often obtain, are poisonous to the sensitive, and harmful to all."

"What care is exercised in promiscuous circles to secure conditions of health, physical, mental and spiritual? Usually, none whatever. Men and women come to see what is to be seen; to amuse themselves after dinner; for any and every sort of reason. The atmosphere is loaded with impurity; the darkened room is closed and oppressive to the outer sense; how much more to the inner spiritual sense? Those who are sensitive to spirit influence go away wondering that they are unstrung and nervous and ill at ease. They have been drained of vitality or have imbibed a poison; or, possibly, subjected to the influence of some undeveloped spirit that saps their life. No wonder they suffer."

Concerning spirit impostors, Stainton Moses writes of a case of elaborated imposture carried out by unseen agents giving, he says, "as good evidence as I know of the existence of spirit disembodied, with power of communicating, and, apparently, of reading human thought, and of getting up special facts so as to personate a human being: the calculated falsehood of a personating spirit. Such spirits there seem to be on the confines of the unseen world. Experience abundantly proves that the borderland is haunted by a class of spirit that finds pleasure in communicating with earth; probably on account of the tie that binds it being unsevered, and because no magnetic attraction upward has yet been established. Such spirits are in a state of desolation, vagrant, homeless, and, with the affections (such as they are) still bent earthwards. They find their pleasure in posturing as some great man, or in playing a part that they see to be desired. These are the Shakespeares who cannot spell, etc. Few circles escape torment, and, indeed, risk of being broken up, by their falsehood and vagaries.

I have frequently wondered whether such spirits be not the emissaries of powers antagonistic to the higher spirits whose charge it is to disseminate truth to this world of ours. There is no simpler way of breaking up a circle where truth is being instilled into receptive minds, than to introduce falsehood and fraud. Many are the warnings I have received from those with whom I have been in communication. They have always spoken strongly of the machination of those they call the adversaries, and warned me their efforts are most vigorous at times of earthly disturbance and unrest.

How do these spirits gain access to a circle composed of elements with which they have no affinity? It seems to be a question of the power as well as the wisdom of the unseen guardians. I believe that to enter into close relations with the unseen world without the protection of a powerful as well as wise guardian, is an extremely dangerous and foolish thing. Curiosity is no suitable excuse for meddling with unknown forces which may be deadly. We have been preoccupied in attempts to force on an unwilling world recognition of plain facts, of the phenomena objective to the senses, which Spiritualism offers for investigation. It is time that we point to the dangers attendant upon playing with that which, though spiritual, is not therefore always desirable; and to the curse that too often lights on those who rashly expose themselves to the risk of obsession by spirits whom, could they but see them as they are, they would avoid with might and main. It is well that the enthusiastic Spiritualist who talks glibly of angels and proofs of immortality should recognise the fact that there are sometimes other agencies than angels at work. Suggestions of evil, incipient traces of deception, should be repressed at once. The time has surely come when the dangers and difficulties of spirit communion should be acknowledged. I by no means regard Spiritualism as a general panacea for humanity: nor even as a general plaything for the curious.

 ...

"None should seek for mediumship but those who are selected, and round whom a protecting band ministers. For these alone are safe in the work; and they only as long as with honest and true hearts they seek to do the work of God to His honour. Self-seeking, self in any form, vanity, pride, ambition, these are fatal snares."

 ...

"The dangers atendant on the lower forms of mediumship are very real. First, because this phase of mediumship is so apt to fall into use as a mere gratification of wonder or curiosity, to be sold for gain. Next, because the mixed circles and want of proper conditions invite the presence of the lower and more material spirits, who are more fitted for the work needed than the more progressed Intelligences are. The lack of proper guidance and protection for the medium leaves him open to deterioration. He is liable to become the sport of the elementary spirits who are attracted to him."

"In many cases the atmosphere breathed in your seance rooms is to us as a wall to you., impenetrable and poisonous too. We cannot breathe it. The grosser spirits can, and the earthbound can use it too."

Why cannot such be kept away?

"You invoke them, and then complain of us that we do not keep them away. They can only be kept away by your own hearts and lives and motives being purified, and also by such attention to conditions that we tell you of. You cannot keep the electricity from the conductor. If you do certain things, certain results will follow. This axiom applies to spirits too. Because you cannot see these spirits, you doubt their power. One day you will wonder at your folly. You do not know how far it extends; what results it produces; how far-reaching it is."

"We deal with what is, not what you fancy ought to be. Deceptive spirits exist, and will continue to exist; nor will your ignoring them prove anything but a source of mischief to you."

"They who evoke physical marvels to please wonder-seekers are too frequently the sport of spirits intellectually and morally on a low plane. You cannot even rely that you are at different times conversing with the same spirits; for they will assume names and forms, and take pleasure in deceit."

"We look to the future with apprehension. We doubt our power to persuade men to rise above the material; and so long as that is not done, pure spiritual truth will make little way.It is the attempt to bring spirit down to the plane of matter that we deplore. If you would do that, the spirit you bring will be a curse to you. Rather should you endeavour to rise to the plane of spirit; and then you will gain both proof and truth.We would urge you to cast away every material means of communion. Even this (automatic writing) is poor compared with the voice of spirit communing with us."

...

"If men will put themselves in communication with the spheres under bad conditions, they do it at their peril. Evil influences are admitted, and danger arises. A circle should be composed of pure-minded peopleñseekers after Truth."

"Spirits need not to see you to influence you. You imagine sight connected with the eyes. We are cognisant of your presence without seeing you. The influence of spirit on spirit is magnetic."

"The birth of a spirit in the spheres is very like the birth of an infant in the world. The new-born spirit requires care and guidance."

"Excessive use of medium-power is exhausting. That which we do of this (physical) sort is strictly subsidiary to your work in the receiving of information from us, systematising and arranging it, and conveying to enquiring souls the information they long for."

"You err in fancying that objective mediumship is the real. Frequently it is but the lowest form, dangerous to its possessor, and serviceable only to those who are learning the alphabet of spirit communion."

...

Stainton Moses wonders if scientific enquirers should be told the facts about elementaries and physical circles.

"Let them understand the facts are presented as evidences, cognisable by material senses, of the operation of a force of which they are ignorant. The air is full of spirit-life. The elements swarm with various phases of spirit. The world, the universe, man, God Himself, is spirit."

"Man conceives of spirit as his disembodied self. We found in your mind a conception of spirit no wider than this. Spirit to you, meant human spirit, disembodied, living in some far-off sphere, where it was placed on emerging from incarnation. Spirit-land, to you, was far away, and the new phase of your life meant no more than the setting up of a telegraphic communication between your sphere and ours."

"Men know nothing, can picture nothing of the true state of spiritual surroundings amid which we exist. To them, spirit is man, only in another state. Did they know the universe is one vast home of spirit, in all its multiform phases of progression, from the formless germ up to the brightest angel, that man is but one of myriads of manifestations of spirit, and that below him are countless kinds of spirit growth, infinitely divergent in kind and degree, various as the forms of animal creation -nay, ten thousand times more various - they would find themselves unable to credit it."

"Did they know that these forms of spirit-life, infinitely more various than your mind can understand, act on their own state, influence their lives, modify their actions, and are very real factors in their development, they would not credit the statement. ëLet us see them,í they would say. As though the material eye were the final channel of intelligence. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned."

"Let men of science take such facts as fall within their province, and leave the rest. If they wish to know, tell them they are surrounded by embryonic forms of spirit-life; by the formless growths; by the more developed elemental spirits; by the higher forms who are themselves minus their souls and their conscience; you may say, without their conscious vices too."

"If they wish to know more, tell them that round them gather the earthbound spirits of humanity, who are too often attracted to them by the grovelling sentiments that fill their minds; that they act and re-act on the manifestations which they seek to elicit by sitting in circle with a medium."

But when people seek, they should find.

"Such will find. It is a holy duty to aid such. But it requires discrimination and discernment, and is not to be lightly done. The inner faculties need to be open before such duty is performed. A discerner of spirits who goes warily and with discretion is needed. The seeking soul will find in the end; but man is too impatient, too ready to force on the work of development."