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Speaking Of Spiritualism
by [?]

A correspondent seizes his typewriter (the machine, not the maid) with both hands, and peremptorily demands to be informed why I “don’t jump on that fake called Spiritualism.” O I don’t know, unless it’s because more corporeal things than spooks continue to jump on me. It seems a waste of energy to criticize disembodied spirits who do no worse than “revisit the pale glimpses of the moon.” I have never heard of a ghost robbing other than its own grave. They are not addicted to despoiling widows and orphans, then putting up long-winded prayers. They do not sing “Jesus lover of my soul” on Sunday, then sell that same soul to the devil for six-bits on Monday. No ghost, so far as I know, was ever accused of lying about his neighbor, fracturing the Seventh Commandment or beating his butcher-bills. They appear to be quite harmless creatures, therefore not legitimate game for the ICONOCLAST. Furthermore, I am not fully convinced that Spiritualism is a “fake.” There appears to be as good biblical and natural reasons for belief in Spiritualism as for belief in the Immaculate Conception or the efficacy of baptism. Doubtless some of the professors are frauds, but as much can be said for the professors of all other faiths. I confess that I haven’t much confidence in “mejums,” who find employment for the shades of G. Washington, J. Caesar, and others of that ilk, at table-tipping, slate-writing and such unproductive enterprises; nor in the class of spooks who “materialize” in dark rooms, come prancing out of “cabinets” and other uncanny corporeal incubators for no other apparent purpose than to enable their mundane manipulators to realize two dollars in the coin of the realm. I opine that a ghost who must retire to a “cabinet” to pull himself together is no honest ghost; that those who consent to tip tables and indulge in crude telegraphy for the entertainment of a lot of long-haired hemales and credulous females must find time hang very heavy on their hands in the great henceforth, and heartily wish themselves back here wrestling with Republican prosperity, doctor bills and other blessings. It seems to me that were I a ghost I would float about on cloud banks and bathe in the splendors of the morning, instead of hiding in bat-caves all day and snooping about all night seeking an unsalaried situation at some dark-lantern seance. When America’s greatest lexicographer writes me an ungrammatical message on a double-barreled slate, signs it “noeh webstur,” and instructs his terrestial to deliver it to me on payment of one cart-wheel dollar, I suspect that there’s something sphacelated in the psychological Denmark. Of course they may have the phonetic system of orthography in Elysium, but in dealing with mortals I scarce think the old man would discredit his own dictionary. A spook manipulator once solemnly assured me that the spirit of Tecumseh was my guardian angel, that the old Shawnee chief was ever at my elbow. I don’t believe it; had he been there on recent occasions he would have hit sundry and various Baptists on the head with his tomahawk. If old Tecum is trailing me around I want to give him a pointer right here that as a guardian angel he’s utterly no good in a clime

“Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime,”

and he had best cast his aegis over some Boston editor. It by no means follows, however, that because many professional fakirs and intellectual fuzziewuzzies have “gone in for Spiritualism,” it is all a fraud. If the morad floating in a sunbeam be indestructible, existing in some shape from everlasting to everlasting, it is inconceivable that mind, the lord of matter, should perish utterly–should fade like an echo into the great inane. That were a reversal of the law of the survival of the fittest–casting away a priceless jewel while preserving its tawdry setting. That the lesser should survive the greater; that the case of Anaxarchus should continue and Anaxarchus’ proud self become nonexistent, were to leave matter without law and wreck the universe, for law itself presupposes prescience. “Natural law,” so called, must either be an act of intelligence compelling order, or a freak of nescience entailing chaos; hence if order be eternal mind must necessarily be immortal, for it is an axiom of science that “Nature wastes nothing.” What becomes of the mighty life-force of a Milton? If it be utterly extinguished; if it becomes a forceless shade on Acheron’s shore, or an “angel” withdrawn from active influence in the universe, it is certainly wasted, in so far as what we call nature is concerned. In his lecture on “Evolution,” Henry Ward Beecher said: “I believe there is a universal and imminent constant influence flowing directly from the bosom of God, and that is the inspiration of the human race.” Is God continually giving out this “influence,” this life-force, this vis vitalis, to the people of this planet, and with each death withdrawing a portion thereof and either casting it into the waste-basket of Perdition or cording it up, like back- number newspapers, in the New Jerusalem, never to be again employed? If it “flows directly from the bosom of God” is it not God? And if Nature waste nothing can Nature’s Prince be such a prodigal? Is he not rather the great psychological heart of the universe through which the same life-current, the same intellect flows back and forth forever? But here! We are drifting into metempsychosis–are in a fair way to get ourselves excommunicated. Furthermore, we are actually predicating a probability that the editor of the Chicago Inter-Ocean is a reincarnation of Balaam’s ass. I am not prepared to assert that Spiritualism is all brazen charlantry or foolish self-deception. It may be that the “inspiration” of which Beecher speaks as an emanation from God himself, is but a higher wisdom taught the longing heart by those it has loved and lost. The souls of the dead scratch no messages on greasy slates for stupid eyes, shout none across the Styx that can be heard by vulgar ears; but there be men who can hear in the silent watches of the night the music of lips long mute. There be those for whom the veil that separates the two eternities is no black inpenetrable pall, but an Arachne’s web, a sacred shadow through which comes sweeping, not the roar of myriad voiced hosannahs and the rustle of countless wings of dazzling white beating the everlasting blue; but the soft incense of love, bringing healing to broken hearts, calm to rebellious souls. These seek no thaumaturgic incantations to secure messages from the other shore, for they are coming continually. They do but listen, and interpret as best they may to their dull-eared brethren, the celestial wisdom. The latter protest that they “inspired,” and the trumpet Fame casts upon them her purple robe. It is not the peripatetic “mediums,” but the poets and prophets who “call up the spirits” and bid them speak to us; those who find all the dead Past living in the Present; who are themselves so spirituelle that they can understand Nature’s finer tones–who realize that