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them until we know something about them. How much did we know of China a few hundred years ago? But now we learn from to-day's paper what happened in Peking yesterday.
The modern temper, then, will probably not accede to any suppression of the intellectual virtues; and though too much time may be given by this or that individual to psychical research-in the opinion of others—it is for himself to decide, and our faith is that the research is good. Anything can be overdone. Darwin regretted his too great absorption in science, which robbed him of power to appreciate poetry and music; but the fact of his too great absorption does not condemn biology. And psychical research is as scientific as biology, and as justifiable. “The least justifiable attitude," says Sir Oliver Lodge, “is that which holds that there are certain departments of truth in the universe which it is not lawful to investigate.” We must guard against excess, which is possible in any direction; but we must also guard against any attempt to bar the way to knowledge, or any attempt to dictate its methods. The mystic finds knowledge by the inner way; well and good; but he must not try to force his way upon us. We also have our inner light, and for us it is right to try the outer way. Both are legitimate and each should tolerate the other. The hill of Zion
. is one, but there are different methods of approach.
SOME PROTESTANT OBJECTIONS
N current Protestant criticisms of Spiritualism we
find a great deal of regrettable ignorance. For example, in a weekly paper called The Christian, for March ist, 1917, there was a leading article on "The Snare of Spiritualism,” which contains the following remarkable piece of rhetoric:
Granting, for the sake of argument, that some of the alleged Spiritualistic phenomena are genuine, would we really wish to subject our holy dead to the will and whim of a medium, and the clumsy and undignified expedient of “table-turning" Would we not rather agree with Joseph Conrad that it is intolerable to suppose that the august dead are at the mercy of the incantations of Eusapia Palladino or Mrs. Piper ? We would indeed; and we do not suppose anything of the kind; nor does any Spiritualist known to me.'
Spiritualists make no claim to be able to “call up” any particular spirit. They seek to give good conditions, the chief of which is a quiet passivity and harmony, and leave the initiative to those on the other side. However greatly we may differ from the Spir
· The Bishop of Chelmsford similarly is reported to have said that, “it is beneath the dignity of the future life to think that the souls of men and women who are gone to be with Christ should be at the beck of any one who wishes to call them up" (Church Times, March 1, 1918).
itualists, no antagonist who has investigated or even read in the most elementary way can make such absurd statements about the dead being liable to “the will and whim of a medium” or “at the mercy of the incantations of Eusapia Palladino or Mrs. Piper.” Spiritualists know well enough, and say so continually, that they have to take what comes. Results cannot be commanded. Such "criticism” as the foregoing almost makes one despair. Instructed criticism is always welcome, and there are many points at which Spiritualism is open to attack; but this necromantic charge is sheer, unqualified, abysmal ignorance, and it is astonishing and depressing to find people in responsible positions exerting their influence to the utmost of their power in a definite direction, on a subject which they obviously know nothing about.
Here may be mentioned and illustrated the eager and reckless way in which some of these critics seize on anything that supports their prejudices, without stopping to test the truth of their weapons.
“New York is said to have one asylum devoted solely to people who lose their reason through trafficking in Spiritualism, and our own asylums are said to receive many victims.' It seems that these things "are said,” but there is a notable absence of information as to who says them; and though they may be true, it is clear that ordinary fair play requires that some evidence should be given when such a serious charge is made. It is quite likely that there are insane Spiritualists, as there are insane people of all colours and sizes and sects; but it has never yet been proved or even rendered probable that insanity occurs in a higher proportion among Spiritualists than among other people. My own impression is that the kind of orthodoxy represented by Joyful News has been responsible for more insanity than Spiritualism has. It is comprehensible enough that people should go mad when told repeatedly and emphatically that they will suffer everlasting torture if they do not "believe” as they are ordered to. I know of several such cases; religious melancholia and mania are common; but I have not yet known a spiritualist who has become insane, and my experience is confirmed by that of several magistrates who sign certificates of lunacy. Testimony from one of them will be found in The Two Worlds for August 24th, 1917. Mr. Jones offered £100 to any charity if Dr. Robertson could substantiate his statements about Spiritualism causing insanity. The challenge was not accepted.
* Joyful News, October 4, 1917, a Wesleyan paper. Article by the editor.
I am informed by Mr. Ernest W. Oaten, President of the Spiritualists' National Union, that during his twenty-five years' close association with Spiritualism he has known of three spiritualists, and three only, who have been taken to lunatic asylums. In each case other members of the family, not spiritualists, had previously become insane; in other words, there was a congenital taint, and to this the insanity must be attributed rather than to the Spiritualism. Moreover, in one of the three cases the man had had so much trouble by bereavement and in other ways—which Mr. Oaten, having known him well, described to me in detail—that great depression would have been inevitable in anyone passing through such an accumulation of disaster and tragedy. But the man was confined as a precautionary measure only, and he was out in fourteen weeks. He has been all right ever since, and has built up a prosperous business.
* Just after writing the foregoing, I received a pathetic and wellexpressed letter from an asylum patient who, it appeared, had just seen a statement of Sir A. Conan Doyle's that there is no everlasting hell. He asked if he might rely on this. Orthodoxy had driven the man mad on this point, and had ruined a useful life.
And if it is claimed that though spiritualists themselves do not go mad but that the (apparently weakerminded) non-spiritualists do when they touch the subject, the answer is that insanity has decreased during the last two years, for the first time since 1859; and these two years have admittedly seen a greater increase in spiritualistic interest among the general public. According to the Evening News (London) of November 5th, 1917, quoting the report of the Board of Control, there were 134,029 lunatics under control in England · and Wales at the beginning of the year. “This shows a decrease of 3,159 on the figures of the previous year, although in 1915 there was a decline of 3,278 cases. These are the only occasions since 1859 when the lunacy returns have failed to show a rise.”
This is a sufficient answer to those who assert, without proof, that Spiritualism is filling the asylums. It would almost seem to indicate that, on the contrary, the consolations of spiritualistic belief are saving from insanity many who otherwise would have lost their reason through grief. Several people have indeed told me that in their case it has been so; the new knowledge has saved them from mental disaster.