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Problems of the Spiritual


V. Is there a danger in attending Séances, on the ground that at such meetings evil and deceiving spirits may be attracted?

There is; and we have to consider more particularly the character of that danger and the conditions out of which it arises. The possibility of evil and deceiving spirits coming into communication with persons living in the earth-life has been discussed in the foregoing Article. It has been pointed out that the mental and moral condition of persons in the Spirit-World cannot be defined by the two terms—"good" and "bad." Between these two extremes there lie every conceivable type of mind and character. There are numbers of spirit-men and women, who may rightly be described as evil; though not in the sense of the popular idea that they are non-human beings; a malignant race distinct from humanity, and known as demons. They are evil in the same sense as those persons in this world are spoken of as evil, not when they are irretrievably bad, with no point whatever of goodness within them; but when in character and life they are more attuned to what is wicked than to what is good. We describe as evil the immoral, drunken and debased person, the one of low tastes and habits, the scoffer at Religion and virtue, and the one who finds a delight in lying, deceiving, and physically or mentally harming others. Not all of good has been extinguished in such ones, but the evil is predominant. There are beings in the Spirit-World of this description, who sometimes come to us. They are not devils; they are discarnate human beings who are undeveloped, unenlightened, and sufficiently morally bad to justify us in calling them "evil " spirits. We do not believe that they will everlastingly remain as such; we think they will advance. They are earth-bound in their ideas, their tastes and their seekings. They left the earth-life unfitted for the Spirit-life, and their instincts and longings gravitate towards the former rather than towards the latter. It is only in harmony with the better Theological thought of the present day, and with the recorded utterance of the Saviour as to "seeking and saving the lost," to think that the judgments of God will cause them to rise from this condition. Nay, further, we will venture to say that the reason why such evilly-conditioned ones as these are at times permitted to renew their relationship with the Physical, is that they, by the very experiences they obtain through such renewal, may realize the futility of remaining earth-bound, and have enkindled in them the desire for better life.

A person who possessed in a very high degree the gift of clairvoyance, once told me that often as he passed the open door of gin-palaces in London and elsewhere, he could see spiritual beings intermingling with the half-drunken men and women who were thronging the drinking bars. Why were those spirits permitted to be there? it may be asked. We may account for it in two ways. First, the great law of affinity—the law which attracts like to like—was operating in regard to them. By their habits and mode of living while on earth, those spirits had moulded for themselves a certain character, and had so identified themselves with base things, as to make the taste and craving for those things the controlling power of their mind and the determining principle of their actions. While in the flesh, they had been drunkards and companions of the lewd and depraved. After death, they found themselves unchanged, except that the physical body, through which the perverted mind and will had expressed themselves, was gone. Earth-bound, and with, as yet, no desire for, or possibility of attaining, higher thoughts and higher experiences, they were drawn by an impulse, which they had no power or wish to resist, viz., to re-visit the haunts and associates connected with their past life of vice. As discarnate ones, they themselves are no longer able to indulge in the intoxication of the grossnesses and vices of the physical; but a certain satisfaction is derived from mingling with and inciting others who can still do so. After death they have gone, as it was said of Judas, "to their own place." The evil of two worlds meet in such a scene as we have just described.

The other way in which we may account for discarnate ones being allowed to re-associate themselves with evil physical surroundings, is as has already been suggested. It may be one of the means, one of the judgments of a Father-God, whereby His debased creatures may learn the folly, the futility and the horror of persisting in a course marked by the perversion of the mind and spirit. It may be one of His methods of bringing those wretched ones to see that no satisfaction, no sense of hope and restfulness can come to any soul until the thoughts have been averted from the evil and turned towards good. That beautiful parable told by Jesus justifies this thought. Those very experiences of the Prodigal which connected him with what was base, degraded and shameful, brought him at length to the point of wishing for better things, and of arising and going to his father.

Now, we have dwelt upon the fact of this law of being—this principle which operates, we believe, throughout the whole universe—viz., that "like attracts like," because it is inseparably connected with all that may take place in regard to Séances. What is a Séance? It is a sitting on the part of persons for the purpose of obtaining communications from spirit-beings. What class of communicators will be attracted thereby? it is naturally asked. "Devils, only devils!" reply some, whose theology is characterized by a super-abundance of the Satanic element. "That is wrong, of course," rejoins the Questioner, "but will not such meetings attract evil and deceiving spirits?" We answer that that will depend entirely on the tone of the mind and the character of the sitters. "Like attracts like." At one Séance there may be drawn evil and deceiving spirits; at another, good and enlightening ones; at a third, mediocre beings who are neither very wise and good, nor very ignorant and bad; while at some Séances the good and indifferent from the Other Side may both alike make the effort to express themselves.

If the circle be composed of those who are frivolous, spiritually undeveloped and ignorant of higher truth, the spirits who will feel the attractive force, and will respond to it, if the door of communication be open for them, will be similar in mind to those who invite them. To look for communications of an exalted nature from such, is as absurd as it would be for a company of ignoramuses to invite another ignoramus into their circle, and expect the latter to enlighten them on subjects concerning which he knows nothing.

If the circle comprise those whose moral tone is low, and whose ideas and tastes are essentially of "the earth, earthy," the spirits who avail themselves of their mediumship will be of the same type as they are. It causes astonishment sometimes that spirits who come to a circle composed of irreligious, worldly-minded individuals, should say nothing but the barest commonplaces, and nought that has the stamp of spiritual knowledge and culture. "How incredible," says someone, "that a being from the Other Life should talk in that way!" "How incredible," we rejoin, "seeing his condition, that he could talk in any other way!" "Like attracts like." If you are able to diagnose the character and disposition of those who draw him to their midst, you will be able pretty accurately to diagnose his character and disposition.

Again, if the circle be made up wholly of those whose minds and lives are in tune with spiritual things, and who approach the subject reverently and prayerfully, the law of attraction will draw from the Other Side only those spirits whose minds are responsive to the minds of the sitters. They will be able to impart to us, not full knowledge of higher truths, but much which is in advance of our own knowledge. It will be in their power to guide, to cheer, to bless, and to stimulate us in our efforts to grasp God and goodness.

I have been present at many Séances of this description—held in the house of a friend, who has himself now passed Beyond the Veil. Those present were all devout and prayerful persons, and the meetings were always opened with earnest prayer that light and blessing might be vouchsafed, and that no undesirable or evil influence might be allowed to intrude. And what was the outcome? At those meetings I have seen the manifestations of spiritual presences, and heard from my friend in trance-condition (in which state I believe his mind to have been controlled by a mind outside himself) such thoughts and ideas and magnificent conceptions of life, as he, unaided, was unable either to think or express.

Again, at a Séance the sitters may exhibit dissimilarity in regard to mind and character. Some may be attuned to the drawing to the circle of good and developed spirits, while some may be an attracting power on non-developed and even evil spirits. What then? The result will be unsatisfactory. Confusion will arise. The presence of the spiritually-minded sitter or sitters in the circle may draw the developed spirit-visitant; but it will be difficult for him to express himself. The conditions will be unfavourable to his doing so. Another influence will be working against him. If, as regards the sitters, the predominating influence be on the side of the unspiritual, then the chances are that the Séance will be controlled by the lower class of communicators. The good control will have suffered a repulse.

We have been asked, again and again—"Do you recommend that anyone should attend Séances?" We answer—"Yes, if the circle be composed of good, spiritually-minded, prayerful persons—those who hold God in their life and are seeking for truth. Their combined influence will constitute an attractive force, and supply the conditions whereby the good in the World of Spirit may be brought into uplifting and helpful communication with us. But no; certainly not, if the circle be that of the unspiritual ones. In assisting in such circles, you will be but helping to open the door to the ones you do not want, and saying to the tramps and undesirables of the Spiritual World—'Come in and make yourselves at home.' "

And lastly, if you possess, as Jesus and the early Christians did, the psychic power of "discerning spirits" (I Cor. xii. 10 v.), and by chance (or rather let us say by God's ordering) you meet a poor unrestful spirit, whom you invited not, but who has crossed your path because the chain of the past is holding him down to the earth-plane—oh! be like the Christ of Love and Pity; help him by letting him know that your prayer has gone up—the prayer that the light of the Holy Spirit of God may break in upon the darkness of an alienated mind, and that he may see, as God's beckoners to him, the Harbour-lights of higher Spheres.

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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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