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Problems of the Spiritual


II. Is the fact that trickery and imposture have been associated with Spiritualism, a proof that it is the outcome of falsehood and credulity?

No; and such reasoning is wholly inconsequent. Throughout the history of the world, falsehood has been constantly associated with truth; but, while it has damaged the cause of truth, it has constituted no real objection against the truth itself. A thing may be true, and, as such, commend itself to persons of the highest intelligence, and yet may become so mixed up with that which is false and foolish, as to cause the indiscriminating observer to be unable to perceive the truth because of the falsehood. It has ever been so; nay more, it seems as if the greater and more important any truth is, the more does it lend itself to the possibility of admixture with error and falsehood. Take, e.g., the greatest of all truths—that which is connected with the Person and character of God. No truth has ever been so overlaid with error, so encrusted with superstition, and so associated with untruth, as this truth. Yet the truth itself concerning God is not discarded by us because of this. The honest "seeker after God" tries to dissociate the truth from the falsehood. Take another instance—the Christian Religion. We believe that it has its foundation in that which is essentially true. Its Founder called Himself, "the Truth."

And yet the vilest deeds and some of the greatest impostures have been practised in its sacred name. Good men and women have been persecuted, imprisoned and burnt at the stake by the professors of it. All sorts of ecclesiastical frauds and deceptions have been resorted to, for the purpose of upholding the authority of the Church, and of stimulating the religious credulity of the masses.

"Very shocking!" says the man who has enlightened moral instincts, but is not a discriminator, "the whole thing is falsehood and evil." He makes a mistake. He allows the increment of error and falsehood, which has been imposed on truth, to blind him to the truth itself. In regard to Religion, to Science and a thousand-and-one other things, the truth exists in spite of all the falsehood which may have been associated with it.

The case is precisely the same with respect to Spiritualism. The thing itself is true. The phenomena connected with it are verifiable facts. The testimony of thousands of persons now living—including that of some of the foremost scientific men —has been adduced, that these phenomena have been witnessed by them under conditions making trickery, or hallucination, an impossibility. The truth of the thing can be, and has been, proved. Tricksters and impostors may from time to time be detected in their dishonest practices in the name of Spiritualism, and rightfully made to answer the charge in the Law Courts; judges and counsel, in their ignorance of present-day facts, and their anxiety to provoke the laugh of an uninformed crowd, may cast ridicule upon the thing; but the fact remains that there are to-day great numbers of enlightened and cultured persons—men and women of sound discriminating power—who are believers in Spiritualism, in spite of all their antecedent prejudices against it. These are not the class who would openly avow their belief in a thing which has no basis but in falsehood and sham.

We admit that in some cases—in many cases, if you like—Spiritualism has become associated with impostors and rascals. But what of that? The same thing can be said of Religion, of the Medical Profession, and of a host of other things. We must discriminate between what is true and what is false. Religion is not labelled as "imposture and humbug," because unbelievable dogmas, as parasites, have fastened themselves upon it, and religious charlatans have endangered its reputation. Nor are the sciences of Medicine and Astronomy accounted as nonsense, because there are quacks and fortunetellers.

The trickery and imposture which have sometimes been associated with Spiritualism afford no argument against the latter, but only against the falsification of it. The true Spiritualist, no less than the true Christian and the true Scientist, deplores that the truth he holds should at times be subject to the invasion of misrepresentation and falsehood. But so it is. The experience of the past has taught us that no truth is so conditioned as to be safe-guarded against an association with stupidity, error and evil. The wise man is he who seeks for the truth, and is not misled and made purblind by any falsehood he may detect in company with it; but who discriminates between the two, and separates the true from the false.

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Other Books by Rev. Chambers:

"Man and the Spiritual World" (1903 UK Edition)
"Thoughts of the Spiritual" (1905 American Edition)

Rev. Arthur Chambers Returns From "Death" To Speak Through The Zodiac Circle

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