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CHAPTER XX.

SPIRIT PHENOMENA.

“He who, outside of pure mathematics, pronounces the word impossible, lacks prudence." -Arago.

“The Angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it.” Matthew.

“Peter, sleeping between two soldiers, bound with chains, the keepers at the door of the prison ! the Angel of the Lord came and smote him, and the chains fell from his hands.

" Passing the first and second wards and coming to an iron gate, it opened of its own accord, and they went out.

* When Peter knocked at the door of the gate; a damsel came, who knowing his voice opened the door with gladness, and returning told them Peter stood at the gate. “They said to her, thou art mad.

* It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking.

“When they had opened the door and saw him, they were astonished." - Acts.

*

"The thing that hath been, is that which shall be, and that which is done, is that which shall be done.”—Ecclesiastes.

“ Loved ones are rapping to-night!

Heaven seems not far away!
Death's sweeping river is bright!

Soft is the sheen of its spray.
Oh, bid them welcome in garments of white
To hearts that are pure and illumined with light.”-SEERESS.

The rappings !— listen, theologians !

The « Rochester knockings!”_sweet æolian-toned echoes from spirit-lands in demonstration of immortality!

“Behold,” said Jesus, “I stand at the door and knock." That apostolic “cloud of witnesses”—our sainted loved ones, approaching the doors of our understanding through sounds, dreams, visions, premonitions and inspirations, plead for recognition and admission !

“ The love which survives the tomb," says Irving, “is one of the noblest attributes of the soul."

Golden memories are undying. Pure love is immortal. The bud of friendship that begins to bloom on earth, bears precious fruitage in heaven. Holy remembrances call the ascended hither. Death, the silent key that unlocks life's portal to let earth-encoffined spirits up one step higher, severs no sweet attraction. Sympathies between the two worlds, are as natural as between the two continents. The translated mother looks down lovingly upon her weeping child. Delicate the electric table-touch-musical the “rap -blessed the intelligent response—sacred the message! and happy each glory-bathed soul, who, catching, cherishes the whisper-accents breathed from those angel dwellers upon the shadowless shores of immortality.

Minute the initial steps of all great movements! How pale the thinkers face, standing in that retired mechanic's workshop! He paces the cinder-paved floor crazily, while riveting processes are being adjusted through a succession of little continuous “raps.” Rivet after rivet fastened-wheels poised-machinery arranged, and lo! steam engines bidding defiance to winds and waves—crossing continents and whitening oceans—dash the gifts of commerce at our feet. Robert Fulton, inspired by inventors of the better land, is on earth immortal!

Bouchard, digging in 1799, in the fort of St. Julian, discovered the Rosetta stone written over in speaking characters, epistolary, hieroglyphic and symbolic. This, with subsequent discoveries, equally important, led to a full verification of the historic records of Herodotus. These figures and hieroglyphs carved upon Lydian stones, on obelisks and pyramids, permitted ancient Egypt to tell the world, in her

own native language, of prior golden ages, putting to shame the boasted civilizations of Greece and Rome.

Newton, on a summer's afternoon, saw an apple drop to the earth. It was an effect. Investigating, studying inductively, the great law of gravitation flashed upon his mind. Arkwright, carefully watching the vibratory motions of a cog in a wheel, was repaid by discovering the principles of a new mechanical law, resulting in the saving of labor and life. Franklin, with kite and string, called subtle electric firefluids from the storm-clouds above him, and chaining them to machinery, threw an eternal truth into the face of all the sere-mantled ages. Now telegraphic wires girdle the globe, and words from Americans to Asians, outfly the winds and sunbeams. Joshua, Grecianized into Jesus, awoke to outer conscious life in a Judean “manger.” Humble and unpropitious the advent! But there lay concealed causes destined to shake kingdoms, and give practical force to a higher civilization. Few attend the birth of genius. All newlyconceived truths are cradled in mangers. No age appreciates the martyr souls that take advanced positions.

The riveting—then the engine whose motive force lies behind the gracefully folding sails that whiten oceans; the kite and silken strings—then telegraphic communications belting the planet with burning thoughts; the vacated manger adjoining Bethlehem—then nations and swarming empires bowing to the “cross of Christ;" the “rappings" near Rochester, the heavens opened—then overjoyed multitudes, shouting-See !—behold! a tangible demonstration of a future existence !

This has ever been the divine formula for inaugurating new dispensations. God was not in the whirlwind bending Lebanon's cedars; but in the “still small voice." To inductive plodders, however, the more potent causes employed in the establishment of these tidal eras, pass unnoticed, because spiritual. Scientists deal only with phenomena and forms of substance. They see mountains; but not the hidden volcanic fires that rend them. They discern oaks in

the distance; but not the electricity that shivers them to atoms. They behold parlor tables move without visible contact; yet are blind to those potential spirit-forces connected with the motions. Science needs spiritualizing. The gods playing upon the harp-strings of unseen causes, ever conquer. In spirit-life, wisely to plan is to perfect.

The mediative heralds of higher, brighter cycles—the standard-bearers of newly-conceived truths, bathing their pale foreheads in the first pearling sprays from celestial fountains, unappreciated, persecuted, pronounced “mad," banished from aristocratic circles—generally suffer social martyrdom, or are put to slow torturous deaths by the prevailing “respectable” conservatism of the times.

Reformers of all ages, whose mystic words startled the world, and whose inspired thoughts streamed like pearls down the future, unrecognized by Church or State, were branded “infidels !” But the future didwill do justice to such, erecting over their lifeless remains splendid monuments, where millions each spring morning shall delight to scatter flowers and evergreens, beautiful emblems of a fadeless immortality.

When the philosophically inclined heard of these phenomena, starting almost simultaneously in different portions of the world, they earnestly sought the producing cause. This, natural to cultured "Germans, was especially praiseworthy in Americans. Truly great men are not only critical reasoners, but rigid investigators of newly-announced subjects or sciences. Theologic darkness trembles at every flash of advancing light. Bigots and moss-wreathed clergymen, fearing, heard in those gentle tappings from loved ones, only ghostly mutterings of the devil. Sectarists religiously canned, sealed and creed-encrusted, cried in tones fearful and sepulchral—humbug !an exclamation distinguishable for ponderous lungs and liliputian mentality. A parrot can assume grave platitudes and mouth the word with pious grace!

Progress daily invites to fresh feasts. “Let the church take care,” says Carlyle “when God lets loose a great thought.” Inspiration, art, science, theories, discoveries, “knockings !” each, all, the results of hidden spirit forces, exert their legitimate influences. Nebulæ—then through methods formative and systematic—worlds. Cells, combinations—then orderly systems. Rappings—then acknowledged angel ministries whispered in millions of homecircles

-This is not a matter of to-day
Or yesterday, but hath been from all time
And none hath told us whence it comes, or how."

Egypt had its wierd augural staves from which were elicited meaning sounds rhythmic with melodies of immortality. The spirit-pendulum, mysterious to the masses, was employed in the ancient services of Hydromantia. The alphabet was successfully employed by the initiated few in the times of the Emperor Valens. Melancthon mentions rappings occurring in Germany in his day.

Though mysterious sounds and voices of deep import had been heard in the palmier periods of the Orient, and at brightning intervals for hundreds of years, in different European countries, as historic testimonies and the older British reviews abundantly prove; yet it remained for impulsive, inspirational Americans to translate (March, 1848) those disturbing forces and noises, into intelligible communications.

The genius of our institutions, tending to the widest individual freedom, had ripened the intellectual soil of the continent for a rich spiritual seeding. Spirits were to be the sowers. John's prophetic angel was already in the overarching heavens, waiting to preach the “everlasting gospel." The seventh trumpet had sounded. The time had come for “ loosening of the seals of the book of life,” that a future existence might no longer be considered a matter of faith; but of absolute knowledge.

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