Spirit Teachings thought The Mediumship of William Stainton Moses



[As a specimen of a message written at a later period, I append the following. It is a fair example of some of the more elevated teaching. It was written with vast rapidity, and is printed precisely as written. There was no need to alter a word. As it was being given, I was conscious of a most powerful and elevating influence which permeated my whole being.]



The blessing of the Blessed One rest on you. We have opportunity now which may not recur of answering some of your inquiries, and of conveying to you some necessary truth. From letters which you have received of late you will be led to see that the times of trouble and distress which we have warned you of are expected by others as well as by us. Be prepared for trouble: it will assuredly come. It is necessary that afflictions come. Jesus knew and taught that. It is necessary for the training of the soul. It is as necessary as physical discipline for the body. No deep knowledge is to be had without it. None is permitted to scale the glorious heights but after discipline of sorrow. The key of knowledge is in spirit-hands, and none may wrest it to himself but the earnest soul which is disciplined by trial. Bear that in mind.


Ease and luxury are the pleasant paths in which the soul lingers and dreams away the summer day. Self-denial, self-sacrifice, self-discipline are the upward tracks, thorn-vexed and rocky, which lead to the heights of knowledge and power. Study the life of Jesus and be wise.


Moreover, the present is a time of hard and bitter conflict between us and our foes. We have told you that you feel the reflex of that struggle. It accompanies every great development of Divine Truth. It is, as it were, the darkness that precedes the dawn: the gloom which is the pre-requisite for growth: the period of trial wherein the earnest soul is purified, “Your hour and the power of darkness,” said Jesus as He agonised in Gethsemane. It is so now: and it will not pass lightly. The cup must be drained.


As each revelation of the Supreme grows old, it is overlaid by man’s errors, and loaded with his inventions. It dies gradually, and loses its hold on men. Bit by bit human error is pared away, unable to stand the shock of criticism, and man’s faith is shaken, and they ask with old Pilate—What is truth? Then comes the answer in the new birth of a higher revelation. The throes of its birth shake the world, and around its cradle the powers of the Spiritual world contend. Great is the dust and din of the contention.


As the light dawns upon the world, and the clouds lift, the watchers, whose eyes are spiritually opened to discern the signs of the times, they who stand on the watch-towers to catch the first gleams, these are ready and welcome with joy the break of day. “Joy comes in the morning.” “Sorrow and sighing flee away.” The terrors of the night, “the powers of darkness,” are past. But not for all. Full many there will always be for whom no ray of light is visible till the sun has gained his meridian and splendour. They slumber on, heedless of the light that is breaking on the world.


Hence the days will never come to your world when all equally will know of the truth. There will always be many for whom it has no charms, for whom it would be fraught with danger to tread the upward paths of progress, and who prefer the beaten track worn by the feet of those who have trod it through the ages past. There will be such always, even as there will be souls who catch the foregleams that herald the dawn. So do not hope that the open vision will ever be the same to all. No such dream of equality is possible. Nor is it more desirable than possible. To some are given powers that can safely pry into mysteries which others must perforce avoid. These must be the leaders and guides among men. And those who are so called are they on whom lies the most solemn duty of personal preparation and earnest, life-long struggle with self, until it is dominated and subdued, and the free soul soars untrammelled. We have long since told you of this. See you heed it.


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Do not be discouraged that so much of what most believe as truth seems to you hollow and uncertain. It is so. There are divers degrees of truth. From the many-sided crystal gleams are shot off in many directions. And it is not every soul that can receive even one ray of unclouded. To few, very few, comes more than a stray glimpse, and even that is filtered through many a medium, until its clearness is all dimmed. It must needs be so. Hence the varied views of truth. Hence the divergent notions, the errors, the mistakes, the fallacies that pass current among you. Men think they see a momentary gleam. They grasp some view, enlarge on it, add to it, develop it, until the tiny light is quenched, and what was a ray of truth is distorted and destroyed. And so the truth is maligned, whereas it should be the imperfection of the intervening medium that is blamed.


Or, to take another view. That which came as the answer to the yearnings of some aspiring soul is deemed to be of universal application. The truth was so beautiful, so ennobling, so pure and holy in its essence, that it must surely be so to all. And the jewel is dragged out from its casket, and prepared for open exhibition. The lily is plucked from its stem, and paraded before men. And it loses it purity; its vitality diminishes; it withers and dies; and he to whom it was so fair, so lovely, wonders to find that it loses its freshness in the heat and dust of the world’s busy strife. He marvels that what was so pure and true to him in the heart’s secluded temple should seem tame and out of place when advertised to the world. He learns, if he is wise, that the dew of Hermon is distilled in the silence and solitude of the heart; that the flower springs up in the gloom of night, and withers beneath the noon­day beams; that truth, the holiest and purest, comes direct from spirit to spirit, and may not be proclaimed on the world’s house-top.


Doubtless there are coarse views of truth, rude blocks which man has hewn, and which all may use alike. These are the foundation-stones which every builder must use. But the richest and purest gems must be preserved in the spirit-shrine, and be gazed upon in silence and alone. So when John the Seer told of the jewelled walls and pearly gates of the Heavenly City, he spoke of the outer truths which all must see; but in the inner temple he placed nor jewel nor purest ray of light, but only the Presence and the Glory of the Lord.


Marvellous it is that you do not see this. That which to you is Divine Truth is only that atom, that speck of the whole unbroken circle which has been cast off in answer to your cry. You needed it, and it came. To you it is perfection; it is God. To another it would be incomprehensible, without a voice to answer to his cry, without any beauty that he should desire it. You cannot parade it if you would. It would die, and its hidden charm would make no convert. It is yours and yours alone, a special creation for a special want, an answer from the great Spirit to the yearning aspiration of your soul.


This Truth will always be esoteric. It must be so; for only to the soul that is prepared can it be given. Its fragrance is too evanescent for daily common use. Its subtle perfume is shed only in the inner chamber of the spirit. Remember this; and remember too that violence is done to Truth by forcing it on unprepared minds, while harm, great and far-reaching, is done to those who cannot receive what is a revelation to you but not to them.


Moreover, remember that the pursuit of Truth for its own sake as the altogether lovely and desirable end of life is the highest aim of spirit on your plane of being, higher than earth’s ambitions, nobler than any work that man can do. We do not now take note of any of the vulgar aims that fill up human life. The struggles and ambitions that exercise mankind, born of vanity, nurtured in jealousy, and ending in disappointment—these are plain to view as Sodom apples. But there is a subtler temptation to more refined souls—that of doing good to their fellows and adding another stone to the cairn that the pioneers of the past have raised. To them comes the desire to proclaim in accents of enthusiasm some truth which has taken hold upon their lives. They are possessed with it; the fire burns within them, and they speak. It may be a noble word they utter, and, if it meets the needs of men, it is re-echoed and taken up by other souls like-minded, and developed till men are stirred and benefited by it. But it may be the reverse. The Truth, so true to one, is true to him alone, and his voice is the voice of one crying in the wilderness, a proclaimer of idle tales. He speaks in vain, and it had been well that he had saved his energies for the quest of Truth, and have learned more before he spake to men.


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It is well to teach, but better still to learn: nor is it impossible to do both. Only remember that learning must precede teaching: and be sure that the truth is one that man needs. The student who dives deep into mysteries that enshrine Truth will not recklessly violate the seclusion in which alone she dwells at ease. He will tell of her beauties, and proclaim to those who have ears to hear the words of healing which his inner sense has caught from her lips: but there will always be to him a sacred reserve, a holy silence, an esoteric revelation too pure, too dear for utterance.


[In answer to some unimportant question it was written:—]


Nay: you will be informed in time. We may not save you the exercise which is part of your discipline. Be content to walk in the path. It leads direct to truth; but you must tread it in care and pain. We have directed you to it because it is well for you to garner up the wisdom of the past, and to learn of those who are gone before you. We foresaw long ago that those who should faithfully pursue the study of the intercourse between our world and yours, would receive rude shocks from the follies and falsities that cluster round the subject in its most exoteric aspect. We looked with confidence for the time when these should force themselves into prominence, and we prepared for it. We would teach you that there are, and ever must be, two sides to this science, as there were in the mysteries of the ages past. Having passed the one, it is necessary that you penetrate the other.


To this end you must learn who and what are those who do communicate with men. Not otherwise can you read aright the riddle that now perplexes you. You must know how and under what conditions truth can be had: and how error and deceit, and frivolity and folly may be warded off. All this man must know if he is safely to meddle with our world. And when he has learned this, or while he is learning it, he must see, too, that on himself depends most or all of the success. Let him crush self, purify his inmost spirit, driving out impurity as a plague, and elevating his aims to their highest possible; let him love Truth as his Deity, to which all else shall bow; let him follow it as his sole aim, careless whither the quest may lead him, and round him shall circle the Messengers of the Most High, and in his inmost soul he shall see light.