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Christian Spiritualism Combines And Unites Christianity And Spiritualism

Ironically, yet perhaps demonstrating something of the pioneer path, many mainstream Christians (and some Spiritualists), dismiss Christian Spiritualism as something a little obscure and separate from either Christianity or Spiritualism. The irony is that Christian Spiritualism draws both Spiritualism and Christianity together in a wholesome way of life with unending revelation of Truth.

The following is an address given by the Rev. W. Horsley, in support of Christian Spiritualism...

253, Livingston Road, Marrickville, Sydney, N.S.W. Australi
(published early twentieth century)

The original cover of the pamphlet: An Address In Support Of Christian Spiritualism By Rev. W. T. Horsley An Address In Support Of Christian Spiritualism By Rev. W. T. Horsley

"Very often I am asked the following and other like questions: 'Why do you speak on behalf of Christian Spiritualism?' 'Do you honestly believe in these new ideas?' 'Are you justified in supporting them?' 'Are they prompted by Satanic influences?'

"In the first place - I am a Christian Spiritualist. Why? Because it appeals to me. I find God's Word a means of communication. There is nothing new in such belief. If the inspired mind today would combine with the expressions of those wise seers of ancient days, there would be an awakening of those slumbering souls which appear so inactive respecting God's spiritual truths.

"While we must all admit that evil influences are ever at work, the idea that Christian Spiritualism is the outcome of Satanic influences is not justified.

"The faith of a Christian Spiritualist is moulded by the character of Christ - such faith is a preparation for the Life Eternal. Belief in spirit return and spirit communion is not new. It is very ancient. But such belief was put aside by the school of theology. We would not say that theology was prompted by evil influence; but it would seem that it was fostered in an atmosphere of misdirected power.

"Christian Spiritualism has a distinctly religious influence on human nature, and enables it to blend with the Divine. It has an inspiring influence, which calls for the best in man, and devotion to the highest ideals. Love is its Guardian Angel, Truth its ministering Spirit.

"Christian Spiritualism is not an experimental religion, it is a faith based on morality and on God's spiritual truth. By some it is considered as a menace to the Church; such an idea is without foundation. It is not a stumbling block to any good work; on the contrary, it is the means to a good spiritual life, it has no quarrel with the orthodox, its followers simply claim the right to worship God according to their light and prompting of the heart. They place their confidence in God, and trust to the guidance of God's ministering angels; not to Church authority, which is largely the outcome of theological experiment.

"The object of Christian Spiritualism is to bring about a spirit of true friendship among God's people, and a close communion between God and man. Its influence is being felt by thousands of souls desiring closer spiritual fellowship. Such desire is fed by Divine Grace which strengthens faith, supplies courage and enables every seeker to realize the beauty of God's glory.

"Every Christian, no matter of what denomination, should recognise his own responsibility, and endeavour to carry out the high standard of Christ's teachings: Service to others.

"Differences of opinion will always exist. Does it really matter? If each individual would endeavour to live up to his own light there would be a greater influence for good in the world. To concentrate upon God's message to mankind will help to beautify our lives and make us useful in the cause of truth. The saving of the individual soul is God's special care. Christ always appealed to man's spiritual life; yet He never failed to help in the material life: 'I am among you as he that serveth' - Luke, 22-27.

"No matter how much we may differ in our mode of worship, no matter what our creed may be, to worship God in Spirit and in Truth is required of each and every one. The Christian Spiritual Sanctuary does not pride itself in being the only true Church, such bigotry would be unsupportable. If as Christians we were humble, we would see some good in every faith, we would learn how much we owe to others and how little to self.

"Many of our ecclesiastics are not sure of their message, they appear to be very anxious to get away from the old superstitious ideas, but too nervous to proclaim the new, which, in their hearts they believe. One of our local ministers has openly stated that, if he were sure of a following, he would come out for Christian Spiritualism. If - what a stumbling block! The Christian Spiritualist movement needs men who have the courage of a Daniel, men who have implicit faith in God's power to protect and sustain. It does not invite any man to turn his back on the Church of his adoption, but its doors are open to all investigators, and earnest seekers of spiritual truths. The Christian Spiritualist has no desire to reduce the Christian faith to a pious sentiment. It believes in Christ, it claims to have a clear vision, a true apprehension of Him Whose Life was spent in denying self for mankind generally, and endeavours to generate the spirit of true fellowship with God and man.

"The worth of our movement is seen in its efforts to mould the souls of men to the conditions of a changed life, realising like St. Paul that we are one body, members one of another (Romans, 12 - 5). We may support the Church, we may give to the poor, but such giving does not in itself constitute fellowship. At times it is but an inglorious substitute to avoid another importunity. The value of any service to God is the sacrifice it entails. The great ideal of the Christian Spiritualist movement is to serve; ah, but some folk will say: 'You do not believe in Jesus'. Unfortunately there are some spiritualists who do not hold the same idea of Jesus as the Christian Spiritualist. How can they, if they do not know Him? Christ did much to help and to enlighten mankind; what can we know of Him if we have given nothing in return? We fully realise there may a few black sheep in our flock; there was a traitor in the Apostolic camp. You will find one or more in every Church, but why condemn the whole because of the false one?

"The Christian Spiritual Sanctuary is the House of God, where Christians meet and hold communion with God, and with His Angels, whose presence supports our faith, thrills the soul with joy and prepares the heart and mind for that spiritual unity so essential to the building up of God's Kingdom upon the earth. We may not agree in details with the theology of the orthodox, but we keep in touch with the traditions of the early Apostles; we believe the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, that the power of the Holy Spirit will support our efforts to experience God's spiritual Kingdom here and now.

"The conversion of men to a right way of thinking and living, depends upon the individual effort. The growth of our cause will depend upon the sincerity of its adherents. In Jesus we see the expression and true character of God; but Jesus did more than reveal God to man, He brought man to God, He opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all who will enter. This is the basis of our faith.

"It is quite apparent that those who are satisfied with dogmas, and prefer doctrines to a wholesome search for truth, are lovers of the letter, and not of the spirit; consequently they lose much of the beauty of religion. A stifled theology is an enemy to religious liberty; without liberty there is no progression. A man who has an honest conviction, and a deep intuition, has as much authority for his belief than any Church creed, or ecclesiastical law.

"Truth is not limited, neither has God limited man's power to develop, hence we should be constantly seeking.

"When man endeavours to use his powers to interpret Divine truths, he is developing mentally, morally and spiritually. What is it that animates the soul? The desire to rise in the knowledge of God; and as we seek so will God manifest Himself to us.

"The philosophy of our faith is firmly grounded on the guarantee of God's Word concerning the continuity of life. The more we know of God, the more we realise our dependence upon Him, and our duty to mankind, the duty of service to others.

"Our quest for truth, although our method may not appeal to the strictly orthodox, must be respected. We cannot believe in Christ if we endeavour to crush the spirit of investigation. Jesus Himself said: 'Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you', (Luke 11-9); and again: 'Search the Scriptures' (John 5-39).

"Christ said: 'I am the Truth' (John 14-6). Truth then is part of the Mind of Christ. Again: 'When the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all Truth' (John 16-13).

"Our faith and our experience enable us to realise that the Spirit World is not an undiscovered country, and such faith is characteristic of our desire to be in close communion with God and His ministering Spirits, whose visitations are convincing proof of God's love and forethought for His children.

"Christian Spiritualism is making itself felt the world over, it is being investigated by thousands of intelligent people in almost every land, and they who earnestly seek will certainly find and obtain their reward.

"An open mind is necessary. Hard thinking, sober reasoning, honest discussion and purity of life, must eventually lead to Truth.

"To stand forth as worthy exponents of spiritual truths, we must be vigilant, strong in faith, unselfish, tolerant and possess a moral and spiritual excellence, and be a worthy bearer of supreme spiritual power. No man can successfully advocate a virtue unless he is in possession of such. If we really believe in the guidance of our spirit friends - God's messengers - we should be careful to stress that power and our living faith, not forgetting that the growth of our cause depends not alone on the inspired message, or the demonstration of phenomena, but on the personal worthiness of the individual. We must respond loyally to the demand of our faith by our consistency, and prove ourselves eager to fulfil our obligations. If we do this, and we certainly can, there will be a corresponding effort on the part of those investigating.

"To say that Christian Spiritualism is prompted by evil influence is unworthy of any right-minded man. Are we to understand that a correct interpretation of God's Truth is confined to a few men at one particular period of time? God's Truth is everlasting, unending, and if we would rise to a full understanding, we must continue to ask and seek; to knock at the Door of Wisdom is your privilege and mine.

"The philosophy of Christian Spiritualism is a great comfort to all who have made a study of its truths. Many sad hearts have found relief from doubt in the reassurance that their departed loved ones are very near and dear to them still, and that the death of the physical body cannot tear apart the bond of souls. God, our Creator and Redeemer, does send His Ministering Angels to comfort and guide us as in the days of the Patriarchs. The Word of God has declared it.

"Are we justified in opposing such revelations? Should we accept the security of God's promises? We certainly should!

"Christian Spiritualism has not yet received the credit, the recognition it deserves. Its endeavour to lead men to truth and freedom by mutual fellowship, by communion with God, by acknowledgment of responsibility to God and not to ecclesiastical authority, and its active spiritual life, are in marked contrast to the dullness of many of our established churches, whose spiritual vitality and earnestness are unfortunately very weak.

"Christian Spiritualism may think along new lines. It has already received a new inspiration and its influence is fast becoming universal. It is a vital and practical religion, the reaction of the human spirit to life. It takes Christ at His Word, and puts its experience into practice. It touches the souls of men whose daily cares are lightened by close and sweet communion and the touch of the vanished hand.

"There is nothing extraordinary in our idea of God and His method of making Himself known to His people. The interpretation of God's truth is varied. Who can say: 'I am right, all others are wrong?' Who would dare to say of any religious body that it is destitute of truth? What is truth? It is the outflow of goodness. Goodness is derived from God, the Source of all goodness, and the beauty of goodness is to make God's Will our will by endeavouring to live up to the divine standard of purity and love.

"Are we to understand that God is confined to one little spot in the universe, that He belongs to one little creed or denomination? If so, would He not be finite, and not infinite? If man would try to realise his own limitations, he would live in a much clearer atmosphere and understand God much better. When a man desires to rise spiritually, God will stoop to assist him. An interpretation of God's truth that does not appeal to the mind, soften the heart and strengthen one's faith, cannot establish confidence. God's Word is the means of communication and He will manifest Himself in His own way and by His own method.

"One of our leading professors has stated: 'No organisation is so effective as that of a free community of men and women inspired by a common idea.' Such is the characteristic ideal of Christian Spiritualism. Its great desire is to help in bringing men together as brothers, to dwell together in unity and in the bond of peace.

"Its great concern is not so much regarding a future Heaven, but that we may enjoy the bliss of Heaven here and now, believing that we can walk and talk with God, Who dwells in the garden of the soul. Such faith is a preparation for the Life beyond.

"By trying to live up to the standard of Christ's teaching, we are doing a great deal towards the transforming of the old world. Service to others should be the motto of every individual! Speaking generally, men to-day are striving to get all they can from others. We can never experience real happiness until we endeavour to do what we can to assist others.

"Christian Spiritualism, like every new movement, is meeting with opposition and, we might say, a mild persecution. It is not concerned. It must and will succeed. Persecution has never yet prevented the growth of a just cause. It has been said that our faith is mystical. It is. But it is not new. After the Reformation there was a wonderful pressing on towards the mystical. Men and women endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation between God and His people, but their faith alone was not sufficient. They looked for, and obtained, a close communion with God and His Ministering Angels.

"Men will never be converted by the continued fault-finding of their faith. Such a religion is simply frozen sentiment and must be replaced by the warmth of true fellowship and tolerance.

"Again, we are credited with being seekers after inferior spiritual company, whereas we seek the guidance of God through His Ministering Angels. We commune with God in the spirit of faith and love. A well-known divine once said: 'You ought never to have broken away, as a separate movement, from the Christian faith or Church.' This then is the sting! If the ministry of the Church has been inadequate for the spiritual need of its flock, who is to blame? Did we break away or were we driven out through the sheer want of spiritual nourishment? Everywhere ministers admit that the Church has been neglectful of its flock. For this they will be called upon to explain: 'Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord. Ye have scattered my flock and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold I will visit upon you the evil of your doings saith the Lord.' (JER. 23/1-2)

"We realise that all spiritual enterprise needs preparation and soul-development. The act of worship is not merely the attending of some particular Church service. The significance of worship is reverence, faith, love, repentance; the heart and mind must be attuned to the working of the Divine Spirit.

"The Sanctuary is the place of Spirit Communion, where the soul is filled with the wealth of Divine Love and the mind with spiritual aspiration. A fuller knowledge of God, loyalty to the faith, and a life lived in keeping with its glorious truth is the aspiration of the Christian Spiritualist. We ask: Is it possible that such desire is prompted by evil influence?

"We hear a great deal about democracy. The great need to-day is democracy of the heart. If we would be loved, we must love. Behind all that is moral and spiritual, is a force ever at work. The triumph of such force is the upliftment of man. That force is love. If then we have faith in the philosophy of our Cause, we must attach ourselves to it and grow with it. We are living in an age of vast opportunity and great responsibility. If our faith is large, it will inspire us to a much greater service. Faith will not only give us strength to work, to fight - it will bring dismay to all opposing forces. This fact has been proved again and again.

"The truth of Christian Spiritualism is a mighty message for the sorrowing heart desiring spiritual comfort.

"The great Reformation was the outcome of individual thinking. It did not form a new Church or create a new faith. It cleared the atmosphere by scattering many faults, one of which was ecclesiastical interference with man's spiritual liberty. We claim that liberty for which many have fought.

"We should not worry about the opposition or questioning of the various denominations. They also are seeking more light. Ministers are frequently complaining of the inability of the Church to hold the people together. If, while the Church hesitated, the flock sought for and found new pastures, who is to blame?

"The Christian religion, no matter of what creed or denomination, no matter what our method of worship may be, is mystical. If there were no mystery, there would be no need for faith. Faith is the outcome of experience. We are not saved by faith alone, nor by creed or denominational theology. Theologies differ. Who then is right? Theology is not a satisfactory basis on which the Church could rest as a united body.

"The faith of a Christian Spiritualist is supported by works. He endeavours to help God's people to a good spiritual life. He looks forward to the time when the various Christian Churches will be united in one common faith and method of worship, when all conflicting theories will cease.

"The World is our field for labour."    W.T.H.

"What God wants of us is that outreaching bigness that ignores all littleness of aims, or loves, or creeds and clasps all Earth and Heaven in its embrace."   
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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