ePub 版

stances, though mostly not of the same order as that great early one. The modern phenomena are, for the most part, in a lower key than those of the Gospel records; but they amply confirm and justify the belief which was based on the events there described. These phenomena spiritualists make the basis of their philosophy and religion, as the early Christians did with their experiences.

It may seem strange that we have had to wait nearly nineteen hundred years for a recurrence of this kind of fact; or, rather, for adequate recognition of it—for it is probable that these things have always been happening more or less without receiving systematic attention. But there is no doubt a reason for it. Each age has its own function in the scheme of evolution, and it cannot attend to everything.

It is only in the fulness of time that each new advance is made. The Jews and the Greeks had to teach their lessons before we were ready for Bacon and the objective method. Then we had to have three hundred years of application of the method, to ground us well in physical science and the faith in nature's orderliness which it teaches, before we could be trusted to direct much attention to those difficult residual psychic phenomena which the early spiritualists discovered or rediscovered.' It may be worth while to remind ourselves that it was a re-discovery by glancing for a moment at the literature of earlier periods.

The Bible is naturally the first source that occurs to *This point, that science did well to limit itself at first to the physical side, is emphasised in the presidential address of the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour to the S.P.R., "Proceedings," Vol. X., and in that of Professor Henri Bergson, Vol. XXVI.-translation in Vol. XXVII.

[ocr errors]

us. Almost all modern alleged psychical phenomena can be paralleled from the pages of Scripture. Says the Rev. H. R. Haweis:

Take up your Bible and you will find that there is not a single phenomenon which is recorded there which does not occur at séances to-day. Whether it be lights, sounds, the shaking of the house, the coming through closed doors, the mighty rushing winds, levitation, automatic writing, the speaking in tongues, we are acquainted with all these phenomena; they occur every day in London as well as in the Acts of the Apostles. It is incontestable that such things do occur, that in the main the phenomena of Spiritualism are reliable, and happen over and over again, under test conditions, in the presence of witnesses; and that similar phenomena are recorded in the Bible, which is written for our learning. It is not an opinion, not a theory, but a fact. There is chapter and verse for it, and this is what has rehabilitated the Bible. The clergy ought to be very grateful to Spiritualism for this, for they could not have done it themselves.2

Samuel referred to inspirational, or even trance, speaking when he said in his instructions to Saul: "The spirit of the Lord will come mightily upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man,” (1 Sam. x. 6)?; and we remember Samuel's clairvoyance regarding the strayed asses (ix. 3-20), also that Saul paid him a fee of a quarter of a shekel of silver, which might have led to Samuel's appearance in the police court if the thing had happened


* Address, London Spiritualist Alliance. Wallis's "Spiritualism in the Bible," p. 8.

*Cf. "Be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak but the Holy Ghost.” (Mark xiii. 11.)

in 20th century London. So with Balaam, who saw spirits and was a trance speaker. Abraham entertained agents, who were probably men, as indeed they are called (Gen. xviii. xix.); also the angel who appeared to Cornelius is called a young man (Acts x. 30) and the same with the angels at the sepulchre of Jesus (Luke xxiv. 4). Angel (angelos) means "messenger,” without any necessary suggestion of non-humanity. Jacob wrestled with a man until daybreak (Gen. xxxii. 24-30). Jesus talked with Moses and Elias on the mountain-top, and the spirits were visible to Peter, John, and James also (Luke ix. 30-32). Saul of Tarsus saw a great light and heard the memorable voice (Acts ix.) Peter had visions both symbolic and directly informative (Acts xi. xii.) and was delivered from prison by an angel, who, again, was probably a human ghost, for when the delivered Peter came to the house of Mary, the mother of John, and the maid told those within who was at the gate, they would not believe, saying: "It is his angel” (Acts xii. 15). These are taken at random; it is unnecessary to labour the proof that the Bible contains spiritualistic experiences, whatever opinion we may hold of the credibility of this or that portion.

Turning to other books, we find many psychical happenings, though in the earlier ones they are more in the nature of premonitions and the like than of communications from departed human beings. It is hardly worth while speculating on the reason for this, the accounts being so remote and so scanty. Some would perhaps surmise that man has not always been endowed with the potentiality of survival—that in his early days he had no soul or that at death it rejoined the general psychic mass from which future souls were carried out. Be this as it may, many early records are of the kind given by Plutarch regarding Dion.

* See F. W. H. Myers on Greek Oracles in "Classical Essays."

While this conspiracy was afoot, a strange and dreadful apparition was seen by Dion. As he sat one evening in a gallery in his house, alone and thoughtful, hearing a sudden noise he turned about, and saw at the end of the colonnade, by clear daylight, a tall woman, in her countenance and garb like one of the tragical Furies, with a broom in her hand, sweeping the floor. Being amazed and extremely affrighted, he sent for some of his friends, and told them what he had seen, entreating them to stay with him and keep him company all night; for he was excessively discomposed and alarmed, fearing that if he were left alone the spectre would again appear to him. He saw it no more. But a few days after, his only son, being almost grown up to man's estate, upon some displeasure and pet he had taken upon a childish and frivolous occasion, threw himself headlong from the top of the house and broke his neck.

In the Æneid, however, we come across several narratives of definitely spiritualistic character; and, though the Æneid is poetry and not history or science, it is not entirely fantastic poetry, and we may suppose that the spiritualistic stories were believed not only by people in general but by the poet also. They are quite in line with modern experiences, and it is probable enough that Virgil had actual knowledge of well-authenticated accounts of such things happening in his own time and country. He describes Hector's appearing to Æneas and warning him to flee at once, for the foes are on the ramparts and Troy is tumbling from her topmost spire. This was in a dream; but, on obeying the order to flee, Æneas soon afterwards has a full-blown hallucination which is "evidential.” Carrying his father on his shoulders, and leading the little boy lulus, Æneas loses his wife Creusa in the haste and confusion of the flight; he turns back alone, calling her name in frenzy, and is met by her ghost, which tells him of her fate and of his own future.

* Such "achieved” immortality is somewhat in line with the late Old Testament belief that only the righteous survived death.

* “Lives,” iii., p. 368, Everyman Ed., Life of Dion.

As I was seeking her, and unceasingly raving through the houses of the city, the hapless phantom and shade of Creusa herself appeared to me before my eyes, and her form larger than I had known it. I was amazed, and my hair stood up, and my voice clung to my throat. Then she thus began to address me, and to remove my cares by these words: “What avails it to give way so far to frenzied grief, my sweet husband? These events happen not without the will of heaven, nor is it permitted you to convey hence Creusa as your partner. . .. And now farewell, and preserve your love for our common son.”

Earlier in Book I. is the account of Dido's dream, in which her dead husband appears and tells her the de

*This appearance of the phantom as larger than life may have some significance. The same thing is said in Plutarch's Life of Cæsar, of the phantom which appeared to Brutus—though it is not definitely stated that the ghost was Cæsar's or, indeed, human-and Mr. Edward Carpenter has said it of the form of his mother, which he saw regularly for some time after her death ("My Days and Dreams," p. 106). Also, it is a notable fact that at the sittings described in my book, "Psychical Investigations,” the medium often described people as being bigger than they were in life, though I attributed it to comparison with his own stature. However, it is curious to find the same thing cropping up so frequently, and it fits in with the Theosophical idea of the astral body being larger than the physical one.

« 上一頁繼續 »