"RAYMOND" SOME CRITICISMS A LECTURE Given at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, February
14, 1917, with the addition of a Preface
By Viscount Halifax A.R. MOWBRAY & CO. LTD.
LONDON, OXFORD, MILWAUKEE
I HAVE been asked by some whose opinions I value to publish the Paper on Raymond, the recent book by Sir Oliver Lodge, which, at the request of the Rev. H. R. L. Sheppard, I gave at St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Wednesday, February 14th. I do so as it was given, but with a few words of preface, which I hope may be useful.
As finite beings, we cannot pretend to comprehend the Infinite, but God has revealed to us certain things about His relations to the world which put us in possession of facts we could not otherwise have known, but which, being revealed, we can see fit in with, and supply the key to, our own dim imaginings. But God has not only revealed certain facts we could not have known apart from revelation, He has also endowed us with intellect--intellect which enables us to draw inferences from the revelation vouchsafed. Such inferences will have, some a greater and some a lesser, authority, but I suppose that being concerned with matters outside our natural ken, of which we can only know what has been revealed, no such inferences can claim to be complete and exhaustive statements. Difficulties may suggest themselves in regard to so much as has been revealed to us which would disappear at once did we see all, and know "as clearly as we are known." With this caution, certain inferences from what has been revealed may supply a useful preface to the following pages.
The history of Creation tells us that "God saw everything He had made," and beheld "that it was very good." So we are told it was in the beginning, but, as we know the world and ourselves, none can say that such words are applicable to us or to the world we see around us. Death reigns in the world, sorrow, trouble, oppression, injustice, sin, are everywhere. In regard to ourselves, every one must be conscious of weakness, contradictions, propensities, and appetites, which have to be controlled, and which, if given way to, are disastrous in their consequences. In a word, we are conscious, both in regard to the world and to ourselves, of two opposing forces which are always soliciting our adherence and influencing our lives on one side or the other. Revelation confirms and interprets this experience: there are two opposing leaders, two opposing camps, two opposing cities and kingdoms, with which we are concerned; Christ and Satan, the armies of heaven and the hosts of hell, Zion and Babylon, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. Revelation, and the inferences which may be drawn from it, also suggest that Satan and his hosts " in the beginning " had a place and interest in this world, which they have lost; that this place having been given to man, Satan has been ever since endeavouring to regain something of his original dominion, by working on the wills of the members of the human race with the object of subjecting them to his purposes, and that, through the power thus obtained, he has regained something of his original dominion. It would have been easy for Omnipotence to have crushed any such endeavour, but if the original purpose of the creation of man were to be accomplished, the victory had to be won by man, and in the exercise of the free-will with which he had been endowed, not by any intervention of Divine Omnipotence. It is in the fact of this permission by Almighty God of temporary evil, in the view of ultimate good, that the key to the history of the world and its attendant perplexities is to be found.
The words of Cardinal Newman, in his Dream of Gerontius, at once suggest themselves:--
"O loving wisdom of our God,
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.
O wisest love! that flesh and blood,
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail;
And that a higher gift than grace
Should flesh and blood refine,
God's Presence and His very Self,
And Essence all-divine.
O generous love! that He Who smote
In Man for man the foe,
The double agony in Man
For man should undergo."
That is the history of the Incarnation, and the Redemption of mankind. That is the explanation of the Cross on the one side, and the relation of Satan to the kingdoms of this world--which he claims as his own--on the other. It explains why we, the members of Christ's Body, like our Head, have to fight not merely with flesh and blood, but with "principalities and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, and with spiritual wickedness in high places." "He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways," is balanced by the statement, "the devil goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith." Man has the choice of yielding or resisting, of fitting himself for the enjoyment of heaven, or for sharing in the destruction prepared for the devil and his angels. The time for making that choice is now; as he fits himself for the one or the other, so will his end be. Can anything be more in harmony with what we know of the purposes of creation and redemption, or more consonant with the desire of Satan to hinder the accomplishment of God's purposes, than that he who can transform himself into an angel of light so as, if possible, to deceive the very elect, of whose devices Apostles were not ignorant, and who put it into the heart of Judas to betray Christ, and of the Jews to crucify Him, should, from envy of the human race--to whom has been given the place he has forfeited--exhaust all his powers to defeat the purposes of God and accomplish the ruin of mankind?
I do not say that the manifestations described in Sir Oliver Lodge's book are the work of spiritual agencies. To me they seem attributable to natural causes, to be due to the mysterious power exercised by mind over matter, and to be largely the result of imposture, which is often almost unconscious and does not necessarily involve any desire to deceive. What I do say is that they are the work of spiritual agencies, and other than merely living human intelligences, as Sir Oliver Lodge claims, then there is every reason to suspect their source, and to believe that their origin is not from above, but below. What kind of security can Sir Oliver Lodge, or any one else, have that these spiritual agencies are the agencies they profess to be? How can the utterances so given be verified as those of Raymond or of any other spirit men may have loved on earth? Why may they not be the utterances of agencies intending to deceive--agencies evil in themselves and intending evil to those with whom they are brought into contact? Is there not every reason to suspect that such an intention to deceive is probable, and in accordance with what we know are the objects and direct purposes of the Evil one? Satan has different temptations for different people: can he desire anything better than to persuade men of another gospel which is not the Gospel? can he wish for anything more than to persuade men of his non-existence? He can transform himself into an angel of light. "If I, or an angel from heaven, preach another gospel than that which is preached, let him be accursed," so writes St. Paul. Is the gospel preached by Raymond like the Gospel St. Paul preaches to us? Where is the perception of the horror and the malignity of sin which is such a distinguishing feature of the Gospel of Christ? Where the sense of judgement to come? Where any realization of the terror of the Lord and the account which each one has to give of himself at the particular judgement after death? All this is absent.
Compare the revelation of the future state given in Raymond with that which is found in the Dream of Gerontius. Which best fits in with Scripture and the teaching which has been handed down from the beginning by the Christian Church, the teaching of Cardinal Newman or that which Sir Oliver Lodge would have us accept? Sir Oliver Lodge may think that I have only quoted the more foolish examples from the messages purporting to come from Raymond, and have omitted some of a different nature also given in the second part of the book. The last thing that I should wish would be to be guilty of any unfairness or injustice in this matter. Let me, then, quote from some such messages as those to which Sir Oliver may allude. Under the record of February 4, 1916, Lady Lodge gives the following as messages from Raymond:--
"Mother, I went to a gorgeous place the other day. I was permitted, so that I might see what was going on in the Highest Sphere. Generally the High Spirits come to us. I wonder if I can tell you what it looked like!" (The description Raymond gave to his mother is not given in the book.) He goes on: "I felt exalted, purified, lifted up. I was kneeling, I could not stand up, I wanted to kneel. Mother, I thrilled from head to foot. He didn't come near me, and I didn't feel I wanted to be near Him. Didn't feel I ought. The Voice was like a bell. I can't tell you what He was dressed or robed in. All seemed a mixture of shining colours. Can you imagine what I felt like when He put those beautiful rays on to me? I don't know what I've ever done that I should have been given that wonderful experience. I never thought of such a thing being possible, not, at any rate, for years, and years, and years. No one could tell what I felt, I can't explain it. I didn't walk. I had to be taken back to Summerland (his plane). I've asked if Christ will go and be seen by everybody; but was told, ' Not quite in the same sense as you saw Him.' I was told Christ was always in spirit on earth--a sort of projection something like those rays, something of Him in every one. People think He is a Spirit, walking about in a particular place. Christ is everywhere, not as a personality. There is a Christ, and He lives on the higher plane, and that is the one I was permitted to see."
Is such a record in any way consistent with what we believe of Him Who is Very God of Very God, equal to the Father, and by Whom the world was made?
Again, in Part III, chapter 17, under "The Christian Idea of God," I find such utterances of Sir Oliver Lodge himself as the following: " Christ was a planetary manifestation of Deity, a revelation to the human race, the highest and simplest it has yet had; a revelation in the only form accessible to man, a revelation in the full-bodied form of humanity. Little conception had they in those days of the whole universe as we know it now. The earth was the whole world to them, and that which revealed God to the earth was naturally regarded as the whole Cosmic Deity. Yet it was a truly divine Incarnation." And again: "The sunshine is not the sun, but it is the human and terrestrial aspect of the sun. Christ is the sunshine -- that fraction of transcendental Cosmic Deity which suffices for the earth."
Is this Christian teaching? There are detached phrases in reference to our Lord open to a Christian interpretation, such as "a truly divine Incarnation"-- but in what sense are they used? Is it a Christian sense, and what are we to say to Christ our Lord being described as "a planetary manifestation of Deity"; or how can such words as "Cosmic Deity" be applied to Him? Are not all such expressions abhorrent to Christian ears? It is because I felt this so strongly that I did not refer to them in my lecture; but, indeed, were it otherwise, such utterances cannot be separated from those other utterances which were quoted in my lecture, or be relieved from the consequences of association with them.
I will not further pursue this subject, for I should wish to conclude these few words of introduction on another note.
There are passages in the third part of Raymond which make me think that Sir Oliver Lodge may not be unprepared to listen to the earnest appeal I would make to him. Let me quote one such: "There was a real risk about creation directly it went beyond the inert and mechanical. The granting of choice and freewill involved a risk. Thenceforward things could go wrong. They might be kept right by main force, but that would not be loyalty to the conditions. The creation of free creatures who, in so far as they go right, did so because they will, not because they must: that was the divine problem, and it is the highest of which we have any conception. Yes; there was a real risk in making a human race on this planet. Ultimate good was not guaranteed. The power of evil may here and there get the upper hand; although it must ultimately lead to suicidal destructive failure. This planet is surely not going to fail. Its destinies have been more and more entrusted to us. For millions of years it laboured, and now it has produced a human race, only recently arrived, only partly civilized as yet. But already it has produced Plato and Newton and Shakespeare; yes, and it has been the dwelling-place of Christ. Surely it is going to succeed, and in good time to be the theatre of such a magnificent development of human energy and power and joy as to compensate, and more than compensate, for all the pain and suffering, all the blood and tears, which have gone to prepare the way. But the struggle is a real one. Nor is the effort confined to humanity alone: according to the Christian conception God has shared in it. ' God so loved the world that He gave' --we know the text. The earth's case was not hopeless: the world was bad, but it could be redeemed; and the redemption was worth the painful effort which then was undergone, and which the disciples of the Cross have since in their measure shared. Ay, that is the Christian conception; not of a God apart from His creatures, looking on, taking no personal interest in their behaviour, sitting aloof only to judge them; but One Who anxiously takes measures for their betterment, takes trouble, takes pains--a pregnant phrase, takes pains -- One Who suffers when they go wrong, One Who feels painfully the miseries and wrongdoings and sins and cruelties of the creatures whom He has endowed with freewill; One Who actively enters into the storm and the conflict; One Who actually took flesh and dwelt among us, to save us from the slough into which we might have fallen, to show us what the beauty and dignity of man might be."
One who can so write despite the criticisms--and they are serious criticisms--we should be compelled to make, has travelled a long way on the road to Damascus. Will he not complete the journey? Will he not consider the harm which such a book as Raymond may do? It will not injure instructed Christians, but there are, alas! multitudes of uninstructed Christians, and a still greater multitude who have no background of religion to keep them straight, or supply them with any principle or test by which to judge such matters. There are many persons whose imperfect hold of the Faith may be impaired and weakened by the perusal of this book; there are many whose acceptance of the Faith may be hindered by it. Others, whose hopes may be excited at the thought of being brought into contact with those they have loved and lost, may be encouraged to put their trust in what in the end can only lead to disappointment, sometimes even to despair. There is something infinitely pathetic in the number of people who have lost those dear to them in this terrible war, and who are yearning for some word which shall tell them how they can renew their intercourse with those they have lost. A common fear, a common anxiety, a common sense of loss--possible, if not realized--has made us all, as it were, the members of one family; one common wave of sympathy, of apprehension, it may be of completed sorrow, unites us all. How pathetic to think of the yearning, the heartache, which is common to so many, their earnest longing to make the past live again and bring their loved ones back; how infinitely piteous therefore that they should be diverted from the fountain where that thirst, those longings, can be quenched and satisfied; and instead be invited to such a miserable substitute for the Communion of Saints as that which is supplied by listening, through the intervention of a "medium," under the influence of a "control," to such utterances as those which, for the most part, make up the second part of the book under review. If such consolations had been intended for us, if they could have helped a single soul to bear the sorrows which press upon us all, is it possible to suppose that Christ our Lord, Who loves every child of man with a love which exceeds the deepest, most self-sacrificing love of which we have experience here on earth, would have failed to give us every consolation available under such circumstances? He has given us the greatest of possible consolations by telling us of a union with Him and, in Him, with those we have lost, here and now, which binds us in a fellowship deeper and more fundamental than the heart of man can conceive, and of which we shall have a still further fruition hereafter. But He has also been silent, and His silence is as eloquent as His words. Let us respect that silence, and while we make the most of all that is revealed to us in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints, let us fear lest by attempting to withdraw a curtain which He has not withdrawn, we expose ourselves and these we love to consequences of which we have no means of gauging the danger or the extent.
OR LIFE AFTER DEATH
"RAYMOND" is a book by Sir Oliver Lodge, called after his son who was born in 1889, and who was killed near Hooge on September 14, 1915, at the age of twenty-six.
As is stated on the title-page, it is a record of life and death, with examples of the evidence for survival of memory and affection after death. It is a book to prove the continuity of existence of those who have died, and a record of methods of communication between them and persons still living in the world. It is divided into three parts, the first being some account of Raymond Lodge himself, together with letters from him after he went to the Front. The second part is an account of communications made by Raymond Lodge to his family after his death: in regard to which Sir Oliver says that he should not have published them "were it not that the number of bereavements at the present time is so appalling that the pain caused by exposing one's own sorrow and its alleviation to possible scoffers becomes almost negligible in view of the service which it is legitimate to hope may thus be rendered to mourners if they can learn comfort from the thought that communication across the gulf is possible." The third part, in Sir Oliver's own words, is "of a more expository character, and is called 'Life and Death,' the two great undeniable facts which concern everybody, and in which every one must feel a keen interest if they once begin to realize that it is possible to learn something real about them." In this third part Sir Oliver explains the methods by which communications are claimed to be established between the living and the departed.
The first part of the book calls for no special comment beyond a cordial recognition of the attractive character of Raymond Lodge, the great reason Sir Oliver and Lady Lodge have to be proud of the son they have lost, together with an expression of the sympathy which all who read the book must have for them in their bereavement, and a hope that nothing that may be said in discussing the book may be such as in any way to give them pain.
The second part of the book, which relates to the communications made by Raymond Lodge to his family, is the part that concerns us chiefly: the interest of the book is here, and it will be well to state at once the claim made by Sir Oliver in regard to it. It is nothing less than that Spiritualism has made clear that there is no real breach of continuity between the dead and the living, and that methods of intercommunion across what has seemed to be an impassable gulf can be set going in response to the urgent demands of affection.
The third part of the book sums up the result of the evidence given in the second part, discusses various matters raised by it, and gives an account of the methods employed for entering into communication with the spirits of the departed. There are various methods by which these messages can 'be conveyed, automatic writing being one of the simplest, as, for example, when the writer or medium, leaving his hand at liberty, writes whatever comes without any attempt to control it. The kind of method, however, chiefly dealt with in this book is that in which the medium by waiting quietly goes more or less into a trance, and then speaks or writes in a manner different from his own normal or customary manner, under the control of the separate intelligence known as the "control." Some suppose the "control" to be a sort of secondary personality of the medium, a personality possessed of a degree of clairvoyance or lucidity beyond that of the medium's own natural consciousness, and known by the name of the "subliminal self." This control or second personality, which speaks through the medium, appears to be more closely in touch with the spiritual world, or what, in psychical parlance, is spoken of as "the other side," and is accordingly able to get messages from the departed, transmitting them through the speech or writing of the medium. Sir Oliver himself, however, expresses the opinion that so clearly is the personality of the "controls" brought out in some cases, so definitely do they exhibit a character, personality, and memory of their own, and so clear are the statements of the communicators, that is, of the departed spirits speaking through the controls, that he regards the "controls" as real persons, permanently existing on the other side, and occupied on that side in much the same functions as the medium on this.
There are, thus, four persons, or groups of persons, concerned: the "communicators" (that is, the spirits of the deceased), who send the message, the "controls," through whom the message is conveyed to the medium, the "medium," through whom the message is conveyed, and the sitters or inquirers, to whom the message is delivered.
Sometimes, however, the communicator takes control, and speaks or writes in his own person. Other means of communication may be through a table or some other similar rough instrument, in regard to which the communicators on the other side say that they feel more directly in touch with the sitter than when they act through a medium or control. A light table under these conditions seems no longer inert; it behaves as if animate, and the dramatic action thus obtained is very remarkable. A table, Sir Oliver says, "can exhibit hesitation, it can exhibit certainty, it can seek for information, it can convey it, it can apparently ponder before giving a reply, it can welcome a newcomer, it can indicate joy or sorrow, fun or gravity; it can keep time with a song as if joining in a chorus, and, most notable of all, it can exhibit affection in an unmistakable manner."
In regard to all these manifestations, Sir Oliver tells us that what we have to realize is that matter in any form is able to act as agent to the spirit, and that in consequence, granting the reality of spiritual agencies on the other side, it is not unreasonable to suppose that table-tilting may be used as a means of communication by such agencies. He concludes by saying that he has gradually become convinced by direct experience that such communications are undeniable facts. "If," he says, "we can establish the survival of any single ordinary individual, we have established it for all." And it is for this reason he has published, fully and frankly, the evidence for the persistent existence of one of the multitude of youths who have sacrificed their lives for their country. He adds that he had himself considered the case of survival practically proved before by the efforts of Mr. Myers and others on "the other side," but the messages he has now received from his son leave no room for doubt.
It will be seen from this statement that the book is not written for instructed Christians. The question of survival after death, and of continued personal identity, is a settled one for them, they require no proof of such survival. They are already in possession of the fact of the survival and personal identity of the Head of the human race after death, and they know that that survival carries with it the survival of the rest of mankind. The book, therefore, in this respect, can have only a subsidiary interest for them; it is primarily addressed to others, and the question may perhaps be asked whether, in view of the Gospel narrative, the witness of the Christian Church from the beginning, and the whole tenor of Christian history, the record given by Sir Oliver, even admitting the alleged facts to be indisputably established, is of any particular evidential value. This, however, by the way. The claim is made, and it is the object of this paper to examine it. Before doing so, however, it will be convenient to give a short sketch of the history and development of Spiritualism in more recent times.
The movement had its origin in America, and was begun by Andrew Jackson Davis, called the "Swedenborg of the New World," from his claim to hold intercourse with the spirits of the dead. He was born in New York in 1816, and was liable to fits of somnambulism. About the year 1843 he fell into the hands of a magnetizer, who found him a promising medium for his experiments. When thrown into a state of somnambulism he claimed to be brought into communication with the spirits of the departed, and in that state dictated works dealing with spiritual matters, which had a large circulation. About the same time mysterious knockings, not dissimilar to the knocking disturbances which are said to have troubled the Rectory of John Wesley, at Epworth, near Doncaster, in 1715, of which Southey has written an account, occurred at the small village of Hydesville, in Wayne County. A Mrs. Fox, who, with her family, inhabited the house, inquired if the knocks were produced by a spirit, and asked if this were so that an affirmative answer should be given by two knocks. Two knocks were given; the facts got bruited abroad, and crowds came to hear the knocks, which were frequently repeated. The Fox's shortly afterwards removed to Rochester (State of New York), where the knocks were repeated; crowds again came to hear the unusual noises, and on one occasion, while some of the visitors were seated at a large table, the knocks were perceived to come from it. Movements of the table were recognized, and then the fact was realized that the noises and movements did not occur in the presence of every one, but only in that of a selected few. The events at Rochester were, however, soon surpassed by occurrences of the same character at the house of the Rev. Dr. Phelps, at Stratford (State of New York). Knockings and table movements were here repeated, chairs were raised to the ceiling and then let fall with a crash. Andrew Jackson Davis was called in, and had no hesitation in pronouncing that both at Hydesville and Stratford, whenever the table gave back knocks, there the spirits were at work. The result was increasing excitement on the subject; mediums announced themselves, spirits were declared to be the agents of the knockings and movements of the tables and other bits of furniture, and the movement spread to such an extent that it soon became impossible to ignore it. Professors and scientific men took sides in the controversy, some maintaining that spirits caused the knockings and movements of furniture, while others ascribed the phenomena to fraud, accompanied by hypnotic conditions on the part of the medium.
These occurrences took place about the year 1848; the movement spread to Europe, and I myself can well remember, about the years 1854, 1855, the excitement in England caused by table-turning, and the answers supposed to be obtained at such table-turnings by knockings which, by means of an arranged alphabet, spelt out answers to the questions asked. The matter indeed became one of general interest, and in the year 1866 Dr. Russel Wallace, who shared with Darwin the announcement of the Theory of Evolution, gave the weight of his authority to the reality of the results obtained at spiritualistic séances, which he ended by referring to the agency of spirits. Sir William Crookes, now President of the Royal Society, then took the matter up, and declared, despite elaborate precautions taken against trickery, that he had alphabetic communications given by flashes occurring before him in the air, whilst his hand was moving amongst the letters of the alphabet; that more than once he had had a solid luminous body placed in his hand by a hand that belonged to no one in the room, and that he had also seen a luminous cloud materialize into a hand and carry small objects about. He also testified to the weight of a body, or the pull of gravity, being altered by the agency of Daniel Dunglas Home, the American medium, who Lord Crawford (then Lord Lindsay, the great-grandfather of the present Lord Crawford) stated that he had seen float out of a window seventy feet from the ground and in at the adjoining window, about seven feet six inches from it, there being no foothold or means of communication between them. Later, Sir William Crookes, with a view to investigating materializing phenomena, i.e. the actual appearance of a figure or part of a figure, or of other material objects, selected as a medium a girl called Florence Cook, who professed to bring into the region of the visible the spirit of a certain Katie King, and another spirit called Mary. This narrative, however, I pass over, for, although Sir William Grookes had satisfied himself of the reality of materialization in one instance, the medium was eventually exposed at a séance in January 1880, when some of those present seized the materialized spirit Mary, who was found to be Miss Cook (then Mrs. Corner) herself.
Shortly before this, in 1876, the séances of the American medium, Slade, had attracted a good deal of attention, until, at a séance attended by Professor Ray Lankester, at which Slade was to obtain writing on shut-up slates by spirit agency, as Slade was in the act of placing the ostensibly blank slates under the table, the professor suddenly snatched them out of his hands, and the spirit message was found to be already written.
In 1882 the Psychical Research Society, in connection with which the names of Professor Sidgwick and Mr. Myers will at once occur to every one, undertook an inquiry into these supposed occurrences. Mr. Myers' name occurs frequently in Sir Oliver Lodge's book. I pass over any reference to Madame Blavatsky, whose frauds were exposed by Dr. Hodgson, a member of the Psychical Research Society, who was sent to India to investigate her claims, with the result that he declared her to be the cleverest, most resourceful and interesting deceiver that he was acquainted with in history. I also pass over any detailed account of the Italian medium--Eusapia Palladino--who was invited to England by the Psychical Research Society in 1895. Séances were held after her arrival at Mr. Myers' house in Cambridge, with the result that she and everything connected with her was declared from beginning to end to be a fraud.
I go on to Mrs. Piper, perhaps the most celebrated of American mediums, who is referred to several times in Sir Oliver Lodge's present book. Mrs. Piper began, in a kind of trance, to perceive so-called spiritualistic phenomena as far back as 1844. In the following year the well-known American philosopher, Professor William James, who introduced her to Sir Oliver Lodge, attended several of Mrs. Piper's séances. He concludes his report by saying: "I am persuaded of the medium's honesty, and though at first disposed to think that the hits she made were lucky coincidences, or the result of knowledge on her part of the sitter and his affairs, I now believe her to be in possession of a power as yet unexplained." Dr. Hodgson, the exposer of Madame Blavatsky and Eusapia Palladino, after numerous strictly-arranged tests, also came to the conclusion that she was possessed of some supra-normal capacity.
Mrs. Piper was invited by the Psychical Research Society to come to England, and was met at Liverpool by Sir Oliver Lodge. Accompanied by him, she went to Mr. Myers' house in Cambridge, where she displayed her powers of making known to her audience things that were outside her ordinary experience, and had even passed from the memory of any one present. Sir Oliver Lodge was fully convinced of Mrs. Piper's extraordinary powers. Thus far, however, there was no real proof of spirit interference. The information which Mrs. Piper conveyed was, or had been, known to some one. A crucial test from the spiritualistic standpoint would be her furnishing knowledge not actually known to any mortal. Such a test was furnished by Miss H. Wild, who wrote, with this end in view, some days before her death, on July 28, 1886, a letter which was sealed and which was to be given by her sister to Professor James. It was proposed to Mrs. Piper that she should reveal the contents of this letter, but, although the control spirit--Dr. Phinuit (who was Mrs. Piper's general informant), asserted that he had actually spoken to Miss Wild, his information as to the contents of the letter was entirely false. It is worth noting here that "Dr. Phinuit," or "Rector," the designation of the control spirit who operated through Mrs. Piper, described himself as having been born at Marseilles in 1790, and as having died in 1860, and also as having studied at Metz and other places, of which he gave the names. Careful investigations were made in regard to these assertions by a Professor Richet, who was present at one or more of Mrs. Piper's séances, with the result that it was established that Dr. Phinuit had never existed at all, a fact which would explain how the assumed Frenchman had lost his native tongue and could only convey, through Mrs. Piper, messages in a mixed American and Nigger dialect. Further, a Monsieur Sage, who has written a book on Mrs. Piper, which has been translated into English and published with a preface by Sir Oliver Lodge, discussing Dr. Phinuit at some length, from an analysis of his utterances which sometimes lasted an hour, 'states that he was vulgar, inconsistent, and a liar; lying, not for the sake of lying, but showing no hesitation in resorting to it when it got him out of a difficulty.
It is also to be noted that, notwithstanding the eminence of some of Mrs. Piper's patrons and the witness they bear to her honesty, other observers, equally well-placed, are not at one with them. Professor A. McAllister, a Fellow of the Royal Society, for example, who attended Mrs. Piper's séances, writing to Mr. Myers, says: "If you ask my private opinion it is that the whole thing is an imposture, and a poor one." [See Psychical Research Society, Proceedings, 1889-90, p. 606.]
So much for some of the antecedents of Spiritualism here and in America. I return to Sir Oliver Lodge's own narrative.
The second part of Raymond begins with a message from Mrs. Piper in America, purporting to come from Mr. Myers to Sir Oliver Lodge. It may be mentioned here that Mr. Myers had been dead for some fourteen years at the time of the message. The message was as follows: "Myers says, you take the part of the poet, and he will act as Faunus." This message, on investigation, and after reference to a Mrs. Verrall mentioned by Myers in connection with it, appeared to allude to Horace, Odes II. xvii. 27-30, where the poet, struck by a falling tree, is protected by Faunus. Sir Oliver considered this to be a warning of some impending disaster, and to have been intended by Myers to soften the blow of his son's death, which happened shortly afterwards, F. W. Myers playing the part of Faunus; and the rest of Part II is, he tells us, the record of how Myers carried out his implied promise of softening the blow of his son's death, by messages through the intervention of various mediums, evidencing his son's survival. It is impossible to do more than give a selection of the messages. I have, however, endeavoured to take them, as far as possible, in the order in which they come.
Raymond Lodge was killed on September 14, 1915, and on the 25th Lady Lodge was having a sitting for a friend with a Mrs. Leonard, when a message came from Raymond to say he had met Myers; and on September 27th Sir Oliver Lodge himself, at a sitting with Mrs. Leonard, who informed him that her "guide," or "control," was a young girl named "Feda," was told by Feda, speaking through Mrs. Leonard, that "He (Raymond) finds it difficult to communicate, but has got many kind friends who are helping him; that he had not thought he was going to be happy, but that he was now happy and going to be happier."
In the afternoon of the same day Lady Lodge had a sitting with another medium, a Mr. A. Vout Peters, whose chief "control" was known as "Moonstone." Moonstone, after certain references to Myers and other circumstances which might be supposed to be connected with Raymond, and after emphasizing the importance of what was coming, made the following statement: "Not only is the partition so thin that you can hear the operators on the other side, but a big hole has been made," i.e. between this world and the next. Raymond himself exclaimed: "Good God, how Father will be able to speak out, much firmer than he has ever done."
At a sitting on October 29th a message came from Raymond through Moonstone, stating that Myers was helping him because Sir Oliver was to break away the dam that people had set up between the living and the departed. "You will break down the opposition," Raymond said, "because of me," adding: "For God's sake, Father, do it, because if you only knew and could see what I see, hundreds of men and women heartbroken, and the boys on our side shut up, you would throw the whole strength of yourself into this work," adding, "This is a time when men and women have had the crust broken off them, the crust of convention, of indifference; it has to be smashed," and that by his passing away many hundreds would be benefited.
Various other sittings took place, at one of which Moonstone gave way to another control, called "Redfeather." On another occasion the voice of the medium in trance became extraordinarily like that of Raymond himself.
At a sitting with Mrs. Leonard on November 17th, at which Lionel Lodge was present, the control Feda, speaking through Mrs. Leonard, announced that Raymond had been trying to come home. After other communications, Raymond explained that he had felt rather upset at first, but that what had reconciled him to his new surroundings was that he lived in a house, and that there were trees and flowers, that the ground was solid, and that if you knelt down in the mud you got your clothes soiled. There was always something rising from the earth, which solidified on their plane, that makes the trees and flowers. He has something to do with father, though his work still lies at the war, helping on poor chaps shot into the spirit world.
Again, at a sitting with Mrs. Leonard on November 26th, Raymond announced that he would be with his family on Christmas Day, but that if he came there must be no sadness, as that gives him the "hump." He also asked if they could fancy him in white robes, which he said he did not care for at first, and would not wear; but that he had been allowed to have his earth clothes until he got acclimatized. He also said that he visits his mother when she is in bed, and mentioned that William and Lily (a long-deceased brother and sister) had come to be with him.
At a subsequent sitting with Mrs. Leonard on December 3rd, Raymond informed his father that his body was very like the one he had before, that he pinches himself sometimes to see if it is real. The internal organs do not seem constituted on the same lines as before. He has never seen any one bleed. On being asked by Sir Oliver whether he had ears and eyes, he answered: "Yes; and eyebrows and eyelashes, and a tongue and teeth; he had even got a new tooth in the place of one that had gone. He knew a man who had lost his arm, but had got another." Sir Oliver asked what about a limb lost in battle, and was told that if it was only just lost it made no difference. Raymond added that he had been told, though he does not know this himself, that when any one is blown to pieces it takes some time for the spirit body to complete itself. He was asked what happened when bodies are burnt. If bodies are burnt, he said, by accident, they know it on that side, and detach the spirit first; a spirit doctor goes round and helps, but bodies should not be burnt on purpose. We have terrible trouble, he says, over bodies that have been cremated too soon; nobody should be cremated before seven days.
Sir Oliver asked whether on the other side they could tell any difference between men and women. Raymond replied, talking through Feda: "There are men and women here, but they do not stand to each other quite the same as they did on the earth plane. There don't seem to be any children born here," he adds; "but there is a feeling of love between men and women here which is of a different quality to that between two men and two women. Some want to eat and drink; if they do, the food given is to all appearance like an earth food. The people on the other side try to provide everything that is wanted; his Father is not to think he is 'stretching it' when he says they can manufacture whiskey-sodas; a chap," he added, "came over the other day," he says, "who would have a cigar. He did not try one himself, but the other chap jumped at it; but when he began to smoke he did not think much of it; he had four altogether, but now does not look at one."
Raymond again mentions his brother and sister. He says he has a dog, and that he has seen horses, cats, dogs, and birds: his father knows the dog: it has nice hair, a little wavy, with a pointed face and darkish colour. In this description of the dog Sir Oliver recognizes a dog called "Curly," whose death had been specially mentioned by Myers through another medium some years before.
On Sir Oliver saying: "Raymond, you know you want to give me some proof--have you talked it over with Mr. Myers, and have you decided what kind of proof will be most influential?" Raymond replied that he was divided between two ways: one, to give objective proof, such as materialization and direct voice, or else to give information through a table or in some other way. And he then asks his father whether he would think it selfish if he said that he did not wish to be back on earth, that he would not give up his present life for anything, but that he did not like to put it that way to his mother.
At another sitting on December 21st, at Mrs. Leonard's, Raymond told his brother that he had been trying hard to get home, that he thinks he has got through, but not satisfactorily; he gets so far and then flounders. He is making discoveries every day. There is a library on the other side into which he has been; the books there are the same as you have: some books are there which are not yet published on the earth plane. Not everybody on his plane is allowed to read these books. He tells his brother that none of them are to regret his going, as he has more to do than he could ever have done on the earth plane; that there are just as many jokes where he is as where he was before.
Speaking to his father, he says: "Tell Mother her son will be with her all Christmas Day. There will be thousands and thousands of us back in the homes on that day; but the horrid part is that so many of the fellows do not get welcomed. Please keep a place for me."
On December 27th Sir Oliver was talking to Mrs. Kennedy, when her hand began to write; and he had a short conversation with Raymond, during which Raymond went to fetch Myers, who told Sir Oliver "not to allow himself to be trammelled" in regard to Spiritualism.
At a sitting on February 4, 1916, with Mrs. Leonard, Raymond said that he had been very uneasy on Monday night; that he had tried to come near, but there was a band round him. On Lady Lodge saying that the Zeppelins had come that Monday, but had not touched them, Raymond replied: "They worked in a circular way, east and west of you, awful;" he "did not want them to come too close"; he "knew you were not nervous, but" he "feared for you, and that if he had been on the earth plane he would have been flying home."
The same day Raymond informed his mother that "he had seen boys pass on who had nasty ideas and vices; they went to a place he was glad he did not have to go to, not hell exactly, but more like a reformatory, a place where you are given a chance." He tells her there are places in his sphere where they can listen to beautiful music when they choose. "Every one," he says, "does not care for music even here, so it is not in my sphere compulsory." He likes music and singing, but would not like to live in the middle of it always. "We are expecting," he says, "on this side that a few years will make a great difference in the condition of the people on the earth plane. In five years ever so many more will be wanting to know about the world to come, and how to live on the earth plane so that they shall have a pretty good time when they pass on. They will do it if only as a wise precaution." He adds, "I am going to stop father from feeling tired. Chap with red feather helping."
At another sitting on March 3rd, Raymond informs his father that Myers says that in ten years' time from now the world will be a different place: about fifty per cent, of the civilized portion of the globe will be either spiritualists or coming into it.
At a sitting with Mrs. Leonard on March 24th, Sir Oliver and Lady Lodge both being present, Raymond informed his parents that he had been attending lectures at what they called " Halls of Learning." The first part of the ceremony was given in a lecture in which one of the guides was telling them how to teach others on the lower spheres and earth plane to come more into the spiritual life. He had been on the sixth sphere: it was more beautiful than the fifth, but he did not wish to stay there.
At some of these sittings Raymond was asked to give tests, and at one such sitting he gave answers about a peacock (a pet of Lady Lodge's, which went by the name of " Mr. Jackson"), which his father considered evidential.
It is useless, however, to give further extracts from the accounts of the sittings, which are all very much alike. I will only add an account of one other sitting, in connection with a table, which ought to be recorded. At this sitting Lady Lodge and three others were present; the only light in the room was from the gas fire, a large one, so that the sitters round the table could see each other and the things in the room fairly distinctly. The table was a small octagonal one, weighty for its size, with strong centre stem supported on three strong legs. For some time nothing whatever happened. After about half an hour Lady Lodge said: "I don't think anything is going to happen to-night, we will just wait a little longer and then go." Shortly after Lady Lodge said: "Is there no one here to-night to speak to us; Raymond, dear, do you think you can come to us?" To which there was no answer. Lady Lodge asked again: "Is anyone coming? we should be so pleased if any one could come, we have been sitting here some time very patiently." Nothing happening, Lady Lodge said: "I don't think it is any good." Presently, however, the table began to move, and Lady Lodge asked: "Raymond, is that you?" The table rocked three times in the affirmative. And on Lady Lodge saying, "It is good of you to come," the table rocked to and fro with a pleased motion. Other rockings followed and questions were asked. Soon after the table began to show signs of restlessness, and one of the sitters said: " I expect he wants-to send a message." Lady Lodge asked: "Do you want to send a message?" The answer "Yes" was rapped out. In the course of the knockings that followed the word "sister" was made out, and on Lady Lodge asking, "Do you mean Lily?" "Yes," was the answer. "Is she here?" "Yes." "Are you here in the room?" "Yes." Lady Lodge then said: "Lily, your Mother loves you dearly; thank you for coming to help Raymond, and coming to the table sometimes until he can come himself." At this the table made most caressing movements to and fro, as if it could not get close enough to Lady Lodge, and seemed to wish to get into her lap. At this point those present realizing that Raymond was wanting to go, asked him if this was so, and on his saying "Yes," they wished him good-night.
To complete the evidence adduced by Sir Oliver, the incident of the photograph must also be given. The photograph is one of a party of officers, of the existence of which Sir Oliver was in ignorance at the time of the sitting. In it the medium described Raymond as seated, with a walking-stick, and with an arm appearing to be on his neck or shoulder; there were also lines going down across the background, which description was verified when the photograph came into Sir Oliver's possession. This, as evidential proof of the source of the information communicated by the medium, Sir Oliver thought important.
I pass on to the third part of the book.
In this part Sir Oliver himself discusses the nature of the evidence given in the second part. He begins by denying the right of Scientific Materialism to declare that nothing in the universe exists which is not fully expressible in terms of matter and motion, and to call upon humanity to shut its eyes to the facts of common experience which render such an assertion ridiculous. The main thread, he tells us, which links all the facts narrated in the second part of his book together, and gives them their real interest, is the hypothesis not only of continued, personal existence, but the definite interlocking or interacting between two grades of existence, the two in which we are most immediately interested; that of the present and that of the future. This hypothesis of continued existence in another set of conditions, and of possible communications across the boundary, is a hypothesis which, Sir Oliver tells us, has been gradually forced upon him, as it has upon many others, by the stringent coercion of definite experience. "It must not be supposed," he says, "that my outlook has changed appreciably since the event, [i.e. Raymond's death], and the particular experiences related in the foregoing pages. My conclusion has been gradually forming itself for years, though undoubtedly it is based on experiences of the same kind, but this event has strengthened and liberated my testimony. I am as convinced of continued existence on the other side of death as I am of existence here, and speaking for myself, and with full and cautious responsibility, I have to state that as the outcome of my investigation into psychical claims, I have at length and quite gradually become convinced, after thirty years of study, not only that persistent personal individual existence after death is a fact, but that across the chasm communications are possible." It is not, he says, a subject on which one comes lightly or easily to a conclusion, but clearly the conclusion is either folly and self-deception, or it is a truth of the utmost importance to humanity, and of importance to us in connection with our present subject (i.e. Life and Death and the Christian idea of God and religion generally), for it is a conclusion which cannot stand alone. If personal existence continues after death, if departed beings can communicate with us, can advise us and help us, can have any influence on our actions, then clearly the doors are open to a wealth of spiritual intercourse beyond what we have ever imagined. Of continued personal existence after death Christians, as I have already said, are in no doubt; it is part of the Christian revelation, and so far Sir Oliver only tells them that of which they have always been assured.
In support of the assertion that the spirits of the dead can be brought back to earth, of the reality of the communications between the living and those they have lost, and that the phenomena encountered in psychical research are due to other than living human intelligence, Sir Oliver refers us to the evidence for the fact of such communications with the other world which has been before the human race from remote antiquity. The same sort of occurrences, he reminds us, were known to Virgil and the ancients, and the same sort of experiences are found by folklore students in every part of the earth. "These things," he says, "have to be investigated; they are either true or false, and if true they are profoundly important."
There is, however, another question that has to be asked about them--the question not merely whether they are true, but what their nature is, and whether, in their origin, they are good or evil.
Before, however, discussing this question, let us consider some of the alleged evidence for the reality of the communications from the other side given in Part II. Take the message in regard to Faunus, and Myers' alleged interposition in order to soften the blow about to fall on Sir Oliver by the news of Raymond's death. Can any one really believe that in such a crisis as that of a son's death, an allusion to some heathen poet, and an allusion in itself so obscure that it had to be interpreted by somebody else, as was the case in this instance, a Mrs. Verrall being referred to to explain the message, should be thought likely to bring comfort to a bereaved parent, or could be adduced as evidential value of survival after death, as Sir Oliver seems to have considered. I think this would occur to few, and assuredly to none who were not looking out for any proof, however insufficient, to strengthen a preconceived opinion.
Again, is one unduly incredulous if one were to say in regard to the incident of the photograph that it would not be a hazardous guess to suppose that in the case of a regiment abroad a photograph of a group of officers might be taken, that if taken the subalterns were likely to be grouped round the superior officers, and that for this purpose some of them would probably have been sitting on the ground, with others standing or sitting behind, that canes are not unusually carried by officers, while as to the arm on the neck or shoulder, such a posture was by no means unlikely as between those sitting in front and those in the second row; in fact, if one may judge from the copy of the photograph given in the book, not only in the case of Raymond arms appear to be very much in the position described.
Then, what can one say about such a sitting as that described in which the table apparently tried to get into Lady Lodge's lap? Is it possible, with the best will in the world, to put ourselves in the position of those concerned? Can we help saying that for people to sit in a subdued light round an uncovered wooden table is a most singular method of obtaining spiritual manifestations? Have we not the right to ask what is the precise connection between sitting with your hands on a table and receiving communications from the spiritual world? Why, or how, or in what manner can such methods attract spiritual beings who may be in the vicinity, or incline them to manifest their presence by knockings and tiltings? Acknowledging how much there is that is mysterious in the relation of mind to matter, all that may be attributed to telepathy and the subliminal consciousness, what is there in any of the facts recorded to carry any sort of conviction? Is there anything in the account of any of the sittings to show any knowledge of facts which a clever medium might not have guessed, or have contrived to ascertain, or to state in such a way as to make it consistent with whatever interpretation those concerned might desire to put upon them? I will venture to say, without fear of contradiction, that there is not one of them which would carry the slightest conviction to any one not already convinced of the reality of spiritualistic communication with the departed.
But in truth the matter at issue involves something deeper and more fundamental than any question of personal conviction. The claim made by Sir Oliver for dealings with the dead, is, as he says, either true or false. If false, we need not discuss it. If true, it is necromancy (the Greek equivalent for dealings with the dead) pure and simple, the necromancy which was so strictly forbidden to the Jews, and which has ever been forbidden by the Christian Church. That this is the claim made by Sir Oliver is further evidenced by his identification of the psychical phenomena of Spiritualism with the claims made from the earliest times to the possibility of intercourse with the dead, to the power of bringing them back from the regions of the departed, and to all the various accounts of sorcery, witchcraft, and possession, of which such abundant traces are found in all parts of the world down even to the present time.
Sir Oliver will not deny that this is the claim made-- it is of the very essence of his book. Putting on one side for the moment the amount of imposture, conscious and unconscious--for much imposture may be unconscious--which has always accompanied such matters in the past as in the present (a possibility which Sir Oliver himself does not altogether exclude); taking also no account of all the personal reasons why such claims should be brought forward, as, for example, personal gain, personal advantage--the existence of which Sir Oliver does not dispute; ignoring also the evidence afforded by so many of the communications from the "other side" recorded in the second part of the book, of how greatly the war, with all its uncertainties, anxieties, and bereavements, is responsible for the revival of those ancient superstitions which are so often found in similar times of trouble and spiritual unrest like the present, and accepting the reality and truth of all the facts alleged, what essential difference is there between the claims of Spiritualism as put forward by Sir Oliver and those of all those practisers who, in former times, have professed to hold intercourse with the departed, to secure their presence, and to be in communication with the unseen world? What is the difference between the controls--the "Moonstones," the "Fedas," the "Redfeathers"--who profess to transmit communications from the other world through the persons of mediums who are put into a state of trance for the purpose of receiving such communications, and the narratives of the raising of the spirits of the departed, of communications with the unseen, of witches and their familiar spirits, such as "Pluck," "Catch," "Blue," and "Smacks" in the celebrated trial of the year 1593, and the communications made from the other side to witches and warlocks when under the influence of fits and other abnormal physical conditions which are so constant a feature in all such narratives? What is the essential difference between such tales and the accounts, say, of the Delphic Oracle and the Pythonesses with their tripods and the trances into which they were thrown? What, I say, is the difference between all these accounts of ancient necromancy, witchcraft, and dealings with the unseen, and the professed and acknowledged claims of the Spiritualism of to-day? Every instructed: Christian knows that he has no right to meddle in such matters, and why? Because we are not the only inhabitants of this world in which we live, because we are surrounded by, and exposed to, the influence of numberless spiritual agencies, of which, though some are good, some are also bad. This Sir Oliver himself acknowledges. It is quite possible, all experience proves it, for men and women to expose themselves to the most terrible dangers, dangers of which they little know either the extent or the depth, by bringing themselves, through dealing with forbidden things, into the power of those who are ever planning and endeavouring to compass their destruction. Sir Oliver appears to be conscious of this danger. "If I am asked," he says, "whether I recommend all bereaved persons to devote time and attention to getting communications with the departed, I reply most certainly I do not." The question at once arises, Why? and the only reasonable explanation is that Sir Oliver, as one may surmise from other things in his narrative, is not altogether unconscious of the dangers which may be connected with such a practice. There is, however, another claim which Sir Oliver will not deny to be involved in and made by his book, which is in direct contradiction of the teaching of Christianity: the claim that Spiritualism is a new Revelation intended to supplement and correct the Revelation contained in the Bible and handed down by the Christian Church. In addition to the proof of this which may be found in some of the communications made from the other side as recorded in Part II, in the "unverifiable matter" quoted in the third part of Sir Oliver's book, quotations are given from the writings of the Rev. Stainton Moses, formerly connected with University College School in London, who wrote automatically in private note-books at a regular short time each day for nearly twenty years, and felt that he was in touch with helpful and informing intelligences. Amongst these communications the following occur: "Those who have thought about the future life have come to know that they can find out nothing about it except, indeed, that what man pretends to tell is foolish, contradictory, and unsatisfying; that the revelation of God contained very plain marks of human origin; that it will not stand the test of sifting such as is applied to works professedly human; and that the fiction that reason is no measure of revelation is a cunningly-designed means of preventing men from discovering the errors and contradictions which throng the pages of the Bible; that what may have suited a far-off ancestor may be quite unsuited to a struggling soul that lives in other times than those in which such ideas had vitality. The days are coming when these ideas will give place before the enlightenment caused by the spread of our revelation (Spiritualism), for which men are far riper than you think. The time draws nigh apace when the sublime truths of Spiritualism, rational and noble as they are, shall wipe away from the face of God's earth the folly and stupidity which have disgraced the name of religion and the worship of God; and man shall see in a clearer light the supreme Creator and the spirit's eternal destiny. The night of ignorance is passing away, and in place of fanatical folly, ignorant speculation, and superstitious belief, men shall have a reasonable religion. All your fancied theories about God are the creation of minds that were undeveloped, whose notions about God are not yours. God, ye know Him not; one day when the spirit stands within the veil which shrouds the spirit world from mortal gaze, you shall wonder at your ignorance of Him Whom you have so foolishly imagined. He is far other than you have pictured Him. Dwell much on the great, the overwhelming necessity for a clearer revealing of the Supreme, think on the noble creed we teach, the bright future we reveal. Cease to be perplexed by thoughts of an imagined devil, prince of evil, such as theology has feigned. The clouds of sorrow may gather round a man, but no fabled devil can gain dominion over him or prevail to drag down his soul to Hell."
But it is useless to prolong these quotations: the evil in them is plain, and for a Christian the source of their inspiration is clear. As such it throws a lurid light upon the character and nature of Spiritualism as a whole.
One common feature which distinguishes all such communications is not only that they disregard the whole of the Church's teaching, but that they have no realization of sin and its consequences, and that they all deny that man's time of trial is here and not hereafter. Whatever purification may be necessary after death, we either die in God's grace or we do not. We can indeed put no limit to God's mercy; any soul that really turns to Him at the last moment will, we hope and trust, be accepted by Him--
"Between the stirrup and the ground
He mercy sought and mercy found."
But it is possible--all experience teaches it--for souls in this life, by a constant wrong choice, so to fix themselves in evil as to lose the capacity of turning to God. Of such souls Judas is the supreme example, and for such souls we are not allowed to hope. There can be no surer evidence that Satan is at work than when we find, as in the preceding extracts and as in nearly all other spiritualistic revelations, that his existence, the consequences of sin, and the fact of hell are denied. Can anything suit the purpose of the enemy of mankind better than that people should disbelieve in his existence? Further, we have the tangible results revealed by the actual experiences and proved facts of Spiritualism in regard to individuals. Its consequences may not always be immediate, but of the general results of spiritualistic practices there can be no doubt. They are ruin, intellectual and moral, sometimes actual madness, and, oftener than some may suppose, all the signs that accompany diabolical possession. If any one wants to be enlightened as to the reality of the dangers which beset those who embark in such courses, let him read Mgr. Hugh Benson's Necromancers, which will convey the most serious warnings on that subject by means of a story which there can be no doubt is founded on real and actual experience.
No one can read Sir Oliver Lodge's book without being attracted by Sir Oliver himself; his obvious sincerity, his candour; but even his own narrative is not exempt from the consciousness of the dangers which attach to such investigations.
I would pray Sir Oliver to be warned in time. Let us grant the truth of all the facts recorded in the second part of Raymond, let us accept the fact of the communications Sir Oliver thinks he has received from his son; but what proof has he that the spirits with whom he has been in contact are really the spirits they profess to be, or that it is the spirit of his son with whom he has been in communication? Can he be sure that the knowledge assumed to be possessed by Raymond may not come from an altogether different source? Satan, for his own purposes, can transform himself into an angel of light; can Sir Oliver be certain that it is not he, or some other spirit under his control, who is making use of the mediums who profess to speak in the name of his son? Finally, will not Sir Oliver contrast the communications that he likes to believe have been made to him by his son as to the state and occupations of the departed, with what has been revealed to us by God in regard to the dead in Christ, say in the 15th chapter of the Epistle to the Corinthians? Contrast the two revelations; the folly, vulgarity, the foolishness, the futility of so many of the things purporting to be revealed by Feda, Moonstone, Redfeather, and, must I not say it? by Raymond himself, as to things beyond the veil, a revelation of a hereafter which is but a faint continuation of life here below, with the revelation which is vouchsafed to every individual member of Christ's Church, bringing him into immediate contact with the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with an innumerable company of angels, with the general assembly and Church of the firstborn which are written in heaven, to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; a revelation which teaches that, as it was sin which brought bodily death into the world, so the final annihilation of sin and the restitution of our bodies belongs to the integrity of redeeming work, and that in the Resurrection of Christ, the Head, each member of the Body has the pledge and assurance of his own. Nor is this all; Christ speaks to us now, and, as He unites us to Himself, so does He unite us to all the members of His Body. Who is there who has not felt in Holy Communion, yes, and at other times too, how close he was brought by virtue of that fellowship to those among the departed whom he loved the most? Who is there who has not been conscious of the help of those who have loved him here, but are departed hence? As the Church is both visible and invisible, having a home in two worlds, and as Christ, her Head, is in both of them, so are the members united together; their union is not dissolved because some have entered the inner temple, of which this is the outer court. There is a real communion of living and departed Christians through Christ, to Whose Body both belong; we can speak to them and they to us. The Blessed have their share in the knowledge of their Head, and intercede for those on earth; the brotherly love of the living, which reaches beyond the grave, takes the form of interceding for the departed.
Such books as that of Sir Oliver are the Nemesis which comes of our neglect of the dead. Let us accept the fullness of the Church's teaching in regard to the dead in Christ, in regard to the relations which continue to exist between us and them. Let us ask their prayers, let us pray for them, let us seek their help, let us realize the closeness of the union we have with them. No such union and fellowship with them as is promised by Spiritualism can come near to the reality of that intimate communion vouchsafed to the members of Christ's Body one with the other. Let us pray that the full perception of the blessedness which results from this union may be known by all those who are grieving for those whom they have lost, and that, in the realization of all that is involved in the Communion of Saints, they may find the assurance of their continued and ever-deepening intercourse with the departed members of Christ's Body, which it is the object and claim of Raymond to establish, but which is only to be found in all its fullness and completed happiness in the Communion of the Church.