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More Spirit Teachings Through the Mediumship of William Stainton Moses

 

Part II - SPIRIT WRITINGS

 

PREFACE TO SPIRIT WRITINGS

 

The Spirit Writings of Stainton Moses were first collected by him in 1883 into a volume, entitled Spirit Teachings. Of the many which had been already sent by him to Light, Imperator wrote: “They have demonstrated to such as can receive it the independent action of spirit on your mind. An active mind, ready to weigh and prove all that is said, is seen in communion with an Intelligence external to itself, and the fact of spirit-communion receives another proof.”

 

In the Spiritualist of April 10, 1874, it is said that “the one through whom are given Spirit Teachings can read a book and pay attention to its contents, while the spirits are writing through his hand upon other subjects, and most remarkable proofs of identity are being given through his mediumship.”

 

Stainton Moses himself writes of his Spirit Teachings as coming “demonstrably from an external source, for a year and a half (he says in September, 1874), written out with unfailing regularity. With a precision that is absolutely automatic, each communicating spirit preserves its style of communication, and even of writing. This never varies, and the covering of the hand with a handkerchief, or the occupation of the mind by reading, produces no change. The communication is written out to the end under any circumstances. Here, then, is prime facie evidence of external agency.”

 

His Teachings informed him that his occupying his mind with other matters showed a very rare quality of mediumship, and that such results could only be had in a rare combination of mental, physical and spiritual gifts.


 

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SPIRIT WRITINGS

 

“We are Intelligences of varying degrees of power and capacity and development; of varying measure of influential and impressive power. So we have varying work proportioned to our varying powers. Some command; others yield obedience. Some preside over sections of the work; others work under their direction.

 

We are truthful and accurate in all things. We are the preachers of a Divine Gospel. We told you of an organised band of forty-nine spirits who were concerned in working out our plans. Though a communication may be signed by one spirit only, very frequently many are concerned in its production. As our teaching will be devoted to the rectification of theological error, and to the revealing of further Truth, many Intelligences will be concerned in revealing what they have special means of knowing.”

 

“I was delayed by a conference of spirits at which my presence was necessary. It was one of our usual meetings for prayer and praise and adoration of the All-Wise. We meet thus when we need support from mutual counsel, and from the efflux of spirit influence from those who are yet higher and wiser than ourselves.”

 

“We have but now returned from a great council of the angels and spirits of the blessed, wherein we have taken counsel and offered up solemn adoration to the Supreme. With one accord our voices swelled in an anthem of praise, and so we received the efflux of divine aid which shall support us in the conflict.”

 

“Can you tell me about your business in the spheres?”

 

“We had been summoned, each from his mission in your earth sphere, to meet and unite in a great act of worship of the Supreme.

 

It is our custom, now and again, to join together in the praise of the Almighty. So we refresh our own selves, worn and wearied by the toilsome work of guiding erring souls. So we renew our power and gather fresh stock of gracious influence.

 

None below the third sphere were permitted to join in our solemn service of praise and adoration. Nor were any with us but those who are joined in a mission to others. Not to earth alone, for many there are - and they the noblest and grandest Intelligences, the purest and most loving - whose mission is to spirits who have cast aside the body, and who cannot rise from being earthbound by the affections, or from the effect of an evil, base or sensual body in which their spirit was enshrined; or, to those, again, who have been prematurely ushered into the life of the spheres, and need careful and tender guidance.

 

Frequently it chances that a guardian continues to guide a spirit after it has left the body, and carries on in the spheres the education begun in earth-life.”

 

S. M.: “Do I understand you to say that you act under the immediate authority of Jesus Christ?”


 

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“You understand aright. I have before told you that I was myself the recipient of influence from a spirit who had passed beyond the spheres of work into the higher heaven of contemplation. That Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. He is now arranging His plans for the gathering in of His people; for further revelation of Truth, as well as for the purging away of the years of error which have passed. He chooses His messengers in the spheres, and allows us to select our instruments. He is the head of this new endeavour.”

 

“It is necessary that man be constantly reminded to seek spiritual gifts. We are come to teach, not merely to amuse or astonish. But we cannot teach where man will not be taught.

 

The scanty interest that the higher revelations excite render it very difficult for even the most advanced Intelligences to make satisfactory communication with your world. Men care little for being taught; they seek rather to be amused. We do what we can, hampered by many disadvantages, attacked on the one side by the ceaseless machinations of spiritual foes, and hindered from advance on the other by the dead, cold faith of man, or by his undeveloped and unreceptive spirit.”

 

“We wish we could impress on all friends who come within our influence that, in communing, in proportion to the loftiness of their aspirations, is the character of the spirit who come to them.”

 

“To the purest may come assault from the adversaries, which their guardians will enable them to repel. Saving this, the law is absolutely without exception. Like attracts like.”

 

“Does it not always do so?”

 

“Usually, but not invariably. Evil attracts evil. A curious, vain, frivolous or bad man will draw round him frivolous or undeveloped spirits; but it is at times not true equally of the pure and good. They may be subject to attack from the undeveloped, either as part of their training, or from the machinations of the adversaries.”

 

“The voice of the higher spirits communing with the soul is silent, noiseless and frequently unobserved; felt only in results, but unknown in its processes. For all inspiration flows direct from Him Whom you call God; that is to say, from the Great,

 

All-Pervading Spirit, Who is in and through and amongst all.

 

You live, indeed, as we live, in a vast ocean of spirit from which all knowledge and wisdom flow into the soul of man. This is that indwelling of the Holy Spirit, of Whom it is said in your sacred records that He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. This is that great truth of which we have before spoken, that ye are gods, in that you have within you a portion of that all-pervading, all-informing Spirit, which is the Manifestation of the Supreme, the indwelling of God.

 

From this vast realm of spirit the spirit-body is nurtured and sustained. It drinks in its nourishment from it, as the physical body is nurtured by the air it breathes. This ether is to the spirit-body what the air is to the physical. And from this pervading realm of


 

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spirit all human store of wisdom is derived; principally through the aid of ministering spirits. They drink it in best who are most receptive, most spiritual. They who are called geniuses by men are such; they who make useful discoveries, who invent that which is of service to mankind. These all derive their inspiration from the world of spirit. The invention has existed there before man has discovered it. The flashes of genius are but reflected gleams from the world where ideas germinate.”

 

“Mediumship is a development of that which is, in another soul, genius. Genius, the opened and attentive ear to spirit guidance and inspiration, shades away into mediumship. . . . Man’s individuality must be lost, as yours is now, before truthful and clear instruction can be given, and therefore it is that such messages, so given as we now give this, are the voice of spirit speaking with the minimum of human error admixed.

 

The opening of spiritual being to spiritual influence is what you call mediumship; it must be used for spiritual purposes, not for gain; nor for satisfying curiosity, nor for base or unworthy ends.

 

The peculiarity is one of spirit only, not of body, seeing that it occurs in all varieties of physical frames; male and female, magnetic and electric, in the short and robust as well as in the puny and thin, in the old and the young. This alone would lead you to see it is not physical matter, and that conclusion is strengthened for you by the fact that the gift is perpetuated even after death of the earth-body. Those who on your earth have been mediums retain the gift and use it with us. They are the most frequent visitors to your world; they communicate most readily, and it is through them that spirits who have not the gift are enabled to communicate with your world. They are mediums for us, as you are for man.

 

Remember all gifts of talent or mediumship are precious, priceless helps to progress; to be fostered and tended with prayerful care; to be abused or prostituted with terrible risk. They do but mean that their possessors live nearer to God and the angels; are more readily impressed by them; more open to assault by evil; more amenable to influence for good; and so to be cared for and protected more earnestly.”

 

“Leave behind all that is of earth, so far as that may be. Quit even the personal views which only hamper us; and reach steadily forward to the enduring and eternal. In most cases that which is personal ends in the selfish and trivial. With such we have little to do. . . . We led you to put out ideas on our teaching as they affect religion. It was under our guidance that it was done, and we wish you to turn your mind to such questions.”

 

“It is most curious to trace your plans and see how you know all I do. . . . I begin to see that all acts are guided, and that the whole life is moulded by unseen power.”

 

“You ask if it is possible for us to reveal to you Truth, and say that the conflicting statements made by spirits lead to the idea that there is no such thing as exact Truth, and a waste of time to endeavour to arrive at it. . . . If by Truth you mean accurate and precise statements about matters which, from their nature, transcend human knowledge, then no doubt neither we nor any can reveal to you exact Truth, seeing that you are not capable of understanding it. But if you mean, as you should, a higher


 

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revelation of facts which concern man to know, which will develop his intelligence, and raise him to an advanced plane of knowledge, then we have come for no other purpose than to reveal to you such Truth. It is the very object of our mission. We come neither to amuse nor to astonish, but only to instruct and develop. All that we do has for its end the revealing of higher and more extended views of Truth.”

 

S.M. asks explanation of the text, “I and My Father are One.”

 

“Friend, there is no claim of divinity there. Very far from it. The claim put forward is precisely ours. We come to you, teachers sent from God, the bearers of a special message, and we point, as Jesus did, to the divine character of the message and to the works which attest to divine origin. Controversial points we wish to avoid. You err, in common with many others, in that you attach a fictitious importance to the phraseology employed in your Bible. It is not allowable that you extract a translated phrase from the writings of John, and proceed to build upon it so portentous a dogma. You are bound to use the same fair means of interpretation which you would apply to other books. You must remember, too, that the books on whose words so much is built are the utterances, more or less accurately reported, of different men in different ages of the world’s history, and that they were spoken to men far other than you in thought and need and habit, and that, moreover, with all their defects, they have suffered this additional danger that they reach you only through the medium of a translation more or less inaccurate. The very sentence which you have quoted does not bear the interpretation of unity of Persons which is grounded upon it. The gender used is the neuter. Not one in person, but one in aim, one in interest. I, Jesus, am in union with the Father in the work which He has given me to do.”

 

S. M.: “Then, what do you make of the many passages in which plain claims of divinity seem to be made?”

 

“We are rather inclined to believe that the claims of Jesus were overstated in earth­life, and that the disciples who heard the words recorded them in a sense far stronger than He Himself would have used. Doubtless, He did claim for Himself a divine mission, as, indeed, it was. He claimed in hyperbolical Eastern metaphor honour and respect as the Messenger of the Most High. And His followers, ignorant and uneducated, magnified His claims in the light of the Crucifixion and Resurrection and their attendant wonders. And so the story grew until it has reached the marvelous dimensions which now astonish reflecting men.”

 

S. M. asks for light, as what his controls teach is contradicted by others. He says: “If I have rightly understood you, you deny the divinity of Christ, inspiration of the Scriptures, and re-incarnation.”

 

“Your two points resolve themselves into a theological creed and prevision of the future as tests of truth in a spirit. For the divinity of Christ and inspiration of Scripture belong to the domain of dogmatic theology. It is by no means impossible that a spirit may go on for ages honestly entertaining beliefs in themselves erroneous, though not pernicious. The guides see that other instruction is of more moment, and so the beliefs and opinions which have been formed in another state of being lie dormant.


 

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But when such a spirit is brought again within the atmosphere of earth, all its old opinions, which have been dormant, are quickened into new life and come forth as of old. This is a necessary consequence of returning to the old associations, and is part of the same principle which causes the spirit to take on its old form and habit and even outward nature when it presents itself on the earth-plane again. You are familiar with the working of the same law. The flash of recollection when a chord is touched that has long ceased to vibrate; the memory recalled by a faded flower or a long-forgotten scene. This is why dormant error, not yet purged away, frequently becomes vivified and energetic when a spirit mingles again with old associations.

 

Theological belief is no test whatever of the truth of the communications. The weaker and more unreliable the spirit, the more likely it is to take its colour from those around, and acquiesce in any strong belief the medium may hold.

 

Doubtless, unprogressed spirits do teach in error much that you learned to know as error. They are but disembodied men, and share their fallacies.

 

S. M.: “It is startling to hear of spirits going on for ages with erroneous theological beliefs. Is this frequent?”

 

“It is not very usual. But the spirits who most frequently choose to communicate through mediums are not on any advanced plane of intelligence. They do not know better. The very fact of their returning unbidden to the earth-sphere would show they are not progressive spirits.

 

Those spirits who come to us much encumbered with human theology are amongst the least progressive.

 

True theology is God’s revelation of Himself to man as man can grasp it. Your creeds and Churches and various forms of faith are all more or less in error. A large class of spirits progress slowly, and do not know that they are in error. Spirits of that class band together with us as with you, and foster one another’s errors frequently. Ignorance and prejudice and speculative guesses prevail in the lower spheres with us as with you. Many deluders come bearing a mission from the adversaries, and such are not infrequently pious in their tone and orthodox in their words. They would bar progress and stifle truth. They do not God’s work, but the adversaries’, in that they bind down the soul, and clog its aspirations.”

 

“Re-incarnation of spirits in the future belongs to the question of fore-knowledge or prevision. . . . Only the most advanced Intelligences will be able to discourse on such matters. It is not given to the lower ranks of the Spiritual Hierarchy to know the secret counsels of the Most High. There are still mysteries, we are fain to confess, into which it is not well that man should penetrate. One of such mysteries is the ultimate development and destiny of spirits. Whether in the eternal counsels of the Supreme it may be deemed well that a particular spirit should or should not be again incarnated in a material form is a question that none can answer, for none can know, not even the spirit’s own guides. What is wise and well will be done.

 

Re-incarnation, we have already said, in the sense in which it is popularly understood, is not true. We have said, too, that certain great spirits, for certain high purposes and


 

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interests, have returned to earth and lived again amongst men. There are other aspects of the question which, in the exercise of our discretion, we withhold; the time is not yet come for them. Spirits cannot be expected to know all abstruse mysteries, and those who profess to do so give the best proof of their falsity.”

 

“Occupations are varied. The learning and knowing more and more of the sublime truths which the Great God teaches us; the worship and adoration; the praise and glorifying of Him; the teaching to benighted ones truth and progress; the missionary work of the advanced to the struggling and feeble; the cultivation of our intellectual talents; the development of our spiritual life; progress in love and knowledge; ministrations of mercy; studies in the secret workings of the universe, and the guiding and direction of cosmic forces; in short, the satisfaction of the cravings of the immortal being in its twofold aspect of intellect and affection.”

 

“The spheres are pictured to your minds as places like your world, and it is, perhaps, impossible for you to realise them otherwise.

 

But you know that even in your world there are many souls who are distinguished for different virtues and excellencies, and who are yet on a similar plane of moral and mental condition.

 

There are states and conditions to which souls naturally gravitate, and in those states or spheres there are divisions. Souls attract souls by congeniality of pursuit, by similarity of temper, by remembrance of previous association, or by present work. To some, life is more active; to some, more contemplative. They are different, yet equal in grade.

The spheres are, indeed, separate states, and each has its own characteristics and peculiarities. They differ from each other, though not so widely as from your earth­sphere. The occupations are varied by loss of the body, but occupation there is for all. Time and space, as you know them, are gone; no provision for the body remains to be made; the energies of the spirit are more concentrated and less selfish.”

 

SM.: “Have you food? Movement?”

 

“Not as you understand it. We are supported by the spirit ether which interpenetrates space, and by which your spirit-bodies are even now supported. It is the universal food and support of the spirit, whether incarnated or not.

 

Will-power suffices for our movements. We are attracted by sympathy, repelled by antipathy, drawn by desire on our part, or on that of those who wish for our presence. The spheres are states, not places, as you understand them. Spirits are not governed by conditions of time and place as ye are. Neither are they confined to one locality. The difference between the spheres is caused by the moral, intellectual and spiritual state of the inhabitants. Affinities congregate, and rejoice in congenial society. Not from neighbourhood or locality, but from similarity of tastes or pursuits.

 

Into the spheres of the higher spirits none that are unholy enter. Into the lower are congregated those who yet require teaching and guidance, which they receive from higher spirits who leave their own bright homes in order to add a ray of light to groping, earth-bound spirits.


 

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The first three spheres are near about your earth. They are filled thus. The first with those who, from many causes, are attracted to earth. Such are they who have made little progress in the earth sphere; not the wholly bad, but the vacillating, aimless souls who have frittered away their opportunities and made no use of them. Those, again, whom the affections and affinity for pursuits of their friends restrain them from soaring, and who prefer to remain near the earth sphere, though they might progress. In addition, there are the imperfectly trained souls whose education is still young, and who are in course of elementary teaching; those who have been incarnated in imperfect bodies, and have to learn still what they should have learned on earth. Those, too, who have been prematurely withdrawn from earth, and, from no fault of their own, have still to learn before they can progress.”

 

“Ye cannot picture the beauties of our spheres; the grateful odours, the lovely flowers, the scenes of gladsome delight that surround us.”

 

“Are your homes material?”

 

“Yes, friend, but not as you count matter. Things are real to us, but would be imperceptible and impalpable to your rude senses. We are not fettered by space as ye are. We are free a light and air, and our homes are not localised as yours. But our surroundings are, to our refined sensations, as real as yours.”

 

S.M. asks a friend, recently passed. “Are the spheres like this world?”

 

“In every way similar. It is only the change of condition that makes the difference. Flowers and fruits and pleasant landscapes and animals and birds are with us as with you. Only the material conditions are changed. We do not crave for food as you, nor do we kill to live. . . . We have no need of sustenance save that which we can draw in with the air we breathe. Nor are we impeded in our movements by matter as you are. We move freely and by volition. I learn by degrees and as a new-born babe, to accustom myself to the new conditions of my being. . . . We can no more tell you of our life than you can convey to a deaf and dumb and blind man the true notions of your world.”

 

His friend, known as “S,” identified as Bishop Wilberforce on earth, describes his new life:

 

“We have gatherings as you have. We are banded together, and live under the government of wiser and higher spirits, even as ye are governed. All is common; all acts are governed by a spirit of universal love. Disobedience of the laws is punished by the higher Intelligences, by pointing out the bad results, and by a course of instruction. Repeated errors causes removal to a lower plane, till experience has fitted the spirit to rise.”

 

With reference to this, Imperator adds:

 

“Your friend gives only his impression of what he has seen in lower spheres. There spirits live in community, and are prepared under the guidance of higher Intelligences for a state of superior existence. Such spheres are states of probation and preparation,


 

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where spirits are in training for higher work. It is impossible for a spirit to be in a condition or sphere for which it is not fit.”

 

“Where are those spheres?”

 

“They are states. Your friend has not left the neighbourhood, the immediate neighbourhood, of the earth. But there are similar planes, in other localities, near other planets. Spheres are conditions, and similar conditions may and do exist in many places. Space, as ye call it, is full of spirit dwellings.”

 

The same friend describes Imperator:

 

“I thought it strange at first to see the shining garments in which the elevated spirits are clad. Imperator’s robe now is of dazzling white, as though composed of purest diamonds lit up by rays of vivid splendour. Round his shoulders he wears a vesture of sapphire blue, and on his head is a crown of glory set in crimson circlet. The circlet indicates his love, the vesture of blue is his wisdom, and the brilliant robe his exalted state of purity and perfection.”

 

“How magnificent! What is the crown like?”

 

“It is seven-pointed, and each point is tipped with a radiant star of dazzling brilliance.”

 

“Friend, we invoke for you the ministry of consolation and the protection of the Supreme.

 

Thou Adorable and Ineffable Creator, Sustainer and Guide of the spirit, Helper of all that cry to Thee, we approach Thee in confidence and trust, in the spirit of humility and love.

 

Father, receive Thy children who flee to Thee for succour. Tossed on the sea of doubt, bereft of rudder and compass, they have no help but in Thee. Thine is the power. Thine the love. O in the plentitude of that love stretch out Thy power to save them. Suffer the angels of comfort and hope to minister around them. Shed into their hearts the power of conviction and faith. May the rich stream of assurance flow into their spirits, uniting them in heart to those who, themselves unseen though not unfelt, minister to them, raising their souls to higher planes of progress, and fitting them for the reception of nobler and purer truths.

 

Spirit of Truth, inspire them! Spirit of Hope, enable them! Spirit of Harmony, dwell in their midst!

 

Oh, Loving, Tender Father, grant them the benediction of Thy Peace. Amen. The prayer, heartfelt and earnest, of Imperator S.D.”

 

“Spirits grow in light and beauty as they progress in knowledge and love. The crown which you see round the head of the Chief typifies his exalted state, his purity and love , his self-sacrifice and his earnest work for God. It is a crown which belongs only to the noblest and most blessed.


 

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Part II - SPIRIT WRITINGS ( CONTINUED )