Spirit Teachings thought The Mediumship of William Stainton Moses



[The intensity with which the above message was written out was something quite new to me. The hand traversed sheet after sheet of my book, tracing the most minute characters, always emphasising the name of God with capitals, and paragraphing and keeping a margin, so that the writing struck the eye as a beautiful piece of caligraphy. The hand tingled, and the arm throbbed, and I was conscious of waves of force surging through me. When the message was done, I was prostrate with exhaustion, and suffered from a violent headache at the base of the brain. On the next day I asked the cause, and the following message was given, but much more quietly]


Your headache was the result of the intensity of the power, and the rapidity with which it was withdrawn from you. We could not write on such a subject without displaying eagerness: for it is one of most vital concern to those to whom we are sent. We would fain impress on you the paramount importance of obeying ever those unalterable laws which God has laid down for you, and which you violate at your own peril.


Wars are but the product of your lust for gain, your ambition, your angry, proud, vengeful passions. And what is the product? God’s fair works destroyed and trampled under foot: the lovely and peaceful results of man’s industry destroyed: the holy ties of home and kindred severed: thousands of families plunged into distress: rivers of blood shed wantonly: souls unnumbered rent from their earth-body to rush unprepared, uneducated, unpurified into the life of spirit. Bad, all bad! earthy! evil sprung from earth, and resulting in misery. Till you know better than this, your race will progress but slowly; but you are perpetually sowing seeds which produces a crop of obstables to our work.


Much there is in social knowledge and in the conduct of State affairs that you must unlearn: much that is to be added to your knowledge.


For instance, you legislate for the masses, but you deal only with the offender. Your legislation must be punitive, but it should be remedial too. Those whom you think insane you shut up fast lest they should injure others. A few years ago, and you tortured them, and filled your madhouses with many whose only crime it was to differ from the foolish notions of their fellows, or to be—as many were, and are, whom you have thought mad— recipients of undeveloped spirit influence. This you will one day know to your sorrow—that to leave the beaten track is not always evidence of a wandering mind; and to be the vehicle of spirit-teaching is not proof of a mind unhinged. From many the power of proclaiming their mission has been taken away, and it has been falsely said that we have filled the asylums, and driven our mediums to madness, because blind ignorant men have chosen to attribute insanity to all who have ventured to proclaim their connection with us and our teaching. They have decided, forsooth, that to be in communion with the world of spirit is evidence of madness; therefore, all who claim to be are mad, and consequently must be shut up within the madhouse. And because by lying statements they have succeeded in affixing the stigma, and in incarcerating the medium, they further charge on us the sin they have invented of driving our mediums to madness.


Were it not ignorance, it would be blasphemy. We have brought nought but blessing to our friends. We are to them the bearers of Divine Truth. If man has chosen to attract by his evil mind and evil life congenial spirits who aggravate his wickedness, on his head be the sin. They have but tended the crop which he has already sown. He was mad already; mad in neglect of his own spirit and body; mad in that he has driven far from him the holy influences. But we deal not with such. Far more mad indeed are those besotted drunkards whom you deem not mad. To spirit-eye there is no more fearful sight than those dens of wickedness and impurity where the evil men gather to steep their senses in oblivion, to excite the lustful and sensual passions of their debased bodies, to consort with the degraded and the impure, and to offer themselves the ready prey of the basest and worst spirits who hover around and find their gratification in living over again their bodily lives. These are dens of basest, most hideous degradation; a blot of your civilisation, a disgrace to your intelligence.


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SM: What do you mean by living over again their base lives?


These earth-bound spirits retain much of their earthly passion and propensity. The cravings of the body are not extinct, though the power to gratify them is withdrawn. The drunkard retains his old thirst, but exaggerated; aggravated by the impossibility of slacking it. It burns within him, the unquenched desire, and urges him to frequent the haunts of his old vices, and to drive wretches like himself to further degradation. In them he lives again his old life, and drinks in satisfaction, grim and devilish, from the excesses which he causes them to commit. And so his vice perpetuates itself, and swells the crop of sin and sorrow. The besotted wretch, goaded on by agencies he cannot see, sinks deeper and deeper into the mire. His innocent wife and babe starve and weep in silent agony, and near them hovers, and over them broods, the guardian angel who has no power to reach the sodden wretch who mars their lives and breaks their hearts.


This we shadow forth to you when we tell you that the earthbound spirit lives again its life of excess of those whom it is enabled to drive to ruin. The remedy is slow, for such vices perpetuate themselves. It can only be found in the moral and material elevation of the race; in the gradual growth of purer and truer knowledge; in advanced education, in its widest and truest sense.


SM: This would prevent obsession such as you picture?


Yes, in the end; and nothing else will, so long as you keep up the supply at the rate you now do. SM: Do children pass at once to a higher sphere?


No: the experience of the earth-life cannot be so dispensed with. The absence of contamination ensures a rapid passage through the spheres of purification, but the absence of experience and knowledge requires to be remedied by training and education, by spirits whose special care it is to train these tender souls, and supply them that which they have missed. It is not a gain to be removed from earth-life, save in one way—that misuse of opportunities might have entailed greater loss and have more retarded progress. The soul that gains most is the soul that keeps ever before it the work that has been allotted to it, which has laboured zealously for its own improvement and the benefit of its fellows, which has loved and served God, and has followed the guidance of its guardians. This is the soul which has least to unlearn, and which progresses rapidly. All vanity and selfishness in every form, all sluggishness and indolence, all self-indulgence mars progress, We say nought of open vice and sin, nor of obstinate refusal to learn and to be taught. Love and knowledge help on the soul. The child may have the one qualification; it cannot have the other save by education, which is frequently gained by its being attached to a medium, and living over the earth-life again. But many a child-spirit leaves the earth-life pure and unsullied who would have been exposed to temptation and grievous trial; and so it gains in purity what it has lost in knowledge. The spirit who has fought and won is the nobler one. Purified by trial, it rises to the sphere set apart for the proven souls. Such experience is essential; and for the purpose of gaining it many spirits elect to return to earth, and, by attaching themselves to a medium, gain the special phase of experience which they need. To one it is the cultivation of the affections that is necessary; to another the experience of suffering and sorrow; to another mental culture; to another the curbing and restraining of the impulses of the spirit, evenness of balance. All who return, save those who, like ourselves, are charged with a mission, have an object to gain: and in being associated with us and with you they gain their progress.


This is the one desire of spirit. More progress! More knowledge! More love! till the dross is purged away, and the soul soars higher and yet higher towards the Supreme.


SM: Return to earth is not the only method of progression.



No: nor even the usual one. We have with us many schools of instruction: and we do not employ a second time one that has proved a failure.


[Some further conversation having taken place respecting the home and occupation of Spirit, I inquired, not getting much information that I could assimilate, whether the writer knew anything of states of being outside of his own, or rather above it; and whether he knew of states of being inferior to that of incarnation on this earth. In reply, it was affirmed that spirits had no power to take in so vast a prospect as the range of spiritual existance: and that their knowledge was barred by the gulf fixed between what were called spheres of probation, or sometimes of purgation, in which the soul was developed and perfected, and the speheres of contemplation into which it then passed, never (except in rare cases) to return. It was said:—]


The passage from the highest of the seven spheres of probation, to the lowest of the seven spheres of contemplation, is a change analogous to what you know as death. We hear little beyond, though we know that the blessed ones who dwell there have power to help and guide us even as we watch over you. But we know nothing by experimental knowledge of their work, save that they are occupied with nearer views of the Divine perfection, in closer contemplation of the causes of things, and in nearer adoration of the Supreme. We are far from that blissful state. We have our work yet to do; and in doing it we find our delight. It is necessary for you to remember that spirits speak according to their experience and knowledge. Some who are asked abstruse questions give replies according to the measure of their knowledge, and are in error. But do not, therefore, blame them. We believe that we state what is accurate when we say that your earth is the highest of seven spheres; that there are succeeding the earth-life seven spheres of active work, and succeeding these, seven spheres of Divine contemplation. But each sphere has many states. We have said something to you of the reasons why the voluntarily degraded souls sink until they pass the boundary beyond which restoration becomes hard. The perpetual choosing of evil and refusing of good breeds necessarily an aversion to that which is pure and good, and a craving for that which is debased. Spirits of this character have usually been incarned in bodies where the animal passions had great sway. They began by yielding to animal desires, and ended by being slaves of the body. Noble aspirations, godlike longings, desire for holiness and purity, all are quenched, and in place of spirit the body reigns supreme, dictating its own laws, quenching all moral and intellectual light, and surrounding the spirit with influences and associations of impurity. Such a spirit is in perilous case. The guardians retire affrighted from the presence; they cannot breathe the atmosphere which surrounds it; other spirits take their place; spirits who in their earth-life had been victims to kindred vices. They live over again their earthly sensual lives, and find their gratification in encouraging the spirit to base and debasing sin. This tendency of bodily sin to reproduce itself is one of the most fearful and terrible of the consequences of conscious gross transgression of nature’s laws. The spirit has found all its pleasure in bodily gratifications, and lo! when the body is dead, the spirit still hovers round the scene of its former gratifications, and lives over again the bodily life in vices of those whom it lures to sin. Round the gin-shops of your cities, dens of vice, haunted by miserable besotted wretches, lost to self-respect and sense of shame, hover the spirits who in the flesh were lovers of drunkenness and debauchery. They lived the drunkard’s life in the body; they live it over again now, and gloat with fiendish glee over the downward course of the spirit whom they are leagued to ruin. Could you but see how in spots where the vicious congregate the dark spirits throng, you would know something of the mystery of evil. It is the influence of these debased spirits which tends so much to aggravate the difficulty of retracing lost steps, which makes the descent of Avernus so easy, the return so toilsome. The slopes of Avernus are dotted with spirits hurrying to their destruction, sinking with mad haste to ruin. Each is the centre of a knot of malignant spirits, who find their joy in wrecking souls and dragging them down to their own miserable level.


Such are they who gravitate when released from the body to congenial spheres below the earth. They and their tempters find their home together in spheres where they live in hope of gratifying passions and lusts which have not faded with the loss of the means of satisfying their cravings.


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In these spheres they must remain subject to the attempted influence of the missionary spirits, until the desire for progress is renewed. When the desire rises, the spirit makes its first step. It becomes amenable to holy and ennobling influence, and is tended by those pure and self-sacrificing spirits whose mission it is to tend such souls. You have among you spirits bright and noble, whose mission in the earth-life is among the dens of infamy and haunts of vice, and who are preparing for themselves a crown of glory, whose brightest jewels are self-sacrifice and love. So amongst us there are spirits who give themselves to work in the sphere of the degraded and abandoned. By their efforts many spirits rise, and when rescued from degradation, work out long and laborious purification in the probation spheres, where they are removed from influences for evil, and entrusted to the care of the pure and good. So desire for holiness is encouraged and the spirit is purified. Of the lower spheres we know little. We only know vaguely that there are separations made between degrees and sorts of vice. They that will not seek for anything that is good, that wallow in impurity and vice, sink lower and lower, until they lose conscious identity, and become practically extinct, so far as personal existence is concerned; so at least we believe.


Alas! alas! sad and sorrowful is the thought. Mercifully, such cases are rare, and spring only from deliberate rejection by the soul of all that is good and ennobling. This is the sin unto death of which Jesus told His followers; the sin against the Holy Spirit of God of which you are told. The sin, viz., of rejecting the influences of God’s holy angel ministers, and of preferring the death of vice and impurity to the life of holiness and purity and love. It is the sin of exalting the animal to the extinction of the spiritual; of degrading even the corporeal; of cultivating sensual earthly lusts; of depraving even the lowest tastes; of reducing the human to the level of the lowest brute. In such the Divine essence is quenched; the baser elements are fostered, forced, developed to undue excess. They gain absolute sway, they quench the spirit, and extinguish all desire for progress. The vice perpetuates itself, and drags the wretch who has yielded himself to the animal enjoyments further and further from the path of progress, until even the animal becomes vitiated and diseased; the unhealthily stimulated passions prey on themselves; and the voice of the spirit is heard no more. Down must the soul sink, down and yet down, further and further, until it is lost in fathomless obscurity.


This is the unpardonable sin. Unpardonable, not because the Supreme will not pardon, but because the sinner chooses it to be so. Unpardonable, because pardon is impossible where sin is congenial, and penitence unfelt.


Punishment is ever the immediate consequence of sin; it is of its essence, not arbitrarily meted out, but the inevitable result of the violation of law. The consequences of such transgression cannot be altogether averted, though they may be palliated by remorse, the effect of which is to breed a loathing for sin and a desire for good. This is the first step, the retracing of false steps, the undoing of error, and by consequence the creation in the spirit of another longing. The spiritual atmosphere is changed, and into it good angels enter readily and aid the striving soul. It is isolated from evil agencies. Remorse and sorrow are fostered. The spirit becomes gentle and tender, amenable to influences of good. The hard, cold, repellent tone is gone, and the soul progresses. So the results of former sin are purged away, and the length and bitterness of punishment alleviated. This is true for all time. It was on this principle that we told you of the folly which dictates your dealings with the transgressors of your laws. Were we to deal with the offenders so, there would be no restoration, and the spheres of the depraved would be crowded with lost and ruined souls. But God is wiser, and we are His ministers.