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CHAPTER XXIX.

BAPTISM.

“ Teach me Thy Truth to know,
That this new light which now I see
May both the work and workman show;
Then by baptismal love, I'll climb to Thee."

In tropical countries of the East, ablutions were common. Since water was efficacious in removing effete substances from the body, it became, in time, an accepted emblem of moral purification. Immersion was doubtless the outward method. The Christian church has contended that Jesus dictated a fixed formula of baptism, when he charged the apostles to “ Teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" but the apostles themselves thought differently, and baptized simply in the name of Jesus. Spiritually interpreted and applied, the Father may signify the absolute religion ; the Son, the religion of humanity; and the Holy Spirit the religion of the conscience and affectional nature, kindled into holy aspiration by the magnetisms of angels.

The Greek word baptisma, rendered baptism from the verb baptizo, implies rite or ceremony. Relative to this matter of baptism we accept the following Pauline teaching:

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.

« One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."--Eph. iv: 5-6.

This one genuine baptism, however, is not, never was, water baptism. All outward baptisms are Mosaic. After every act of defilement, the Israelites were commanded to bathe and wash themselves clean with water.

John the Baptist, seemingly disorderly and fanatical, a partially developed medium, controlled by Elias to cry in Judean forests, never embraced Christianity as taught by the Nazarene; neither did he spiritually enter in fulness the Messiah’s “Kingdom of Heaven.” Hence, said Jesus, " He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.John came under the law dispensation. Immersion in some flowing stream was his manner of initiating converts. Many of his more aspirational disciples soon left him, however, and followed the man of Nazareth. John, by the aid of his mediumship, caught a glimpse of this superior teacher and testifier: “I indeed baptized you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." “But Jesus himself baptized notwith water.

His disciples in a few instances baptized by immersion; so, not having attained unto the higher and more spiritual, they also, in the earlier years of their mediumship, occasionally circumcised and practiced other Jewish ceremonies. None of them, save John the Evangelist, understood Jesus, or the import of his spiritual kingdom. They received the Nazarenean baptism of fire, of love, of consecration and holy spirit influx, only in part, and hence their doubts, fears and tergiversations. Honoring John the Baptist for his zeal, admiring his immersion rites because of their cleanly and invigorating effects in that dusty tropical country, and believing also in the necessity of present physical ablutions, we recommend daily baptisms in summer-time, and their frequency in winter.

There is, however, an efficacy of water baptism, under spiritual control, not yet understood or appreciated by the church-a baptism which the spirits were able to induce

through John, in one of his exalted mediumistic states, whilst baptising Jesus in Jordan. It is well known that water can be magnetically spiritualized by repeatedly touching and agitating it; and that water being a conductor of electric action, can thus be made a powerful agency in curing diseases and spiritualizing body and mind. It is said that an angel, at certain times, stirred the pool of Bethesda, and whosoever then stepped into it, was healed of any disease. No doubt the angel magnetized it-charged it with spiritual vitality. A baptism therein was efficacious to the well and the sick. The water that closed over Jesus in baptism, was spiritualized by spirits through the mediumship of John, and therefore was more than a sign of purity. Spirits have been known of late to sprinkle a whole circle of inquirers with spiritualized water, the influence of which was most benefi. cent to harmonize the mediumistic conditions. We do not dissent from such uses of water, but recommend them. We, however, would have no special formality. Let all elements be spiritualized, even the food we eat, as an every-day eucharist. When we are intromitted into the real spiritual life, and all our being is thus harmonized to the music-ripples of “the water of life”-the divine inflowings—not only are we in person, but all things around us, are truly baptized and consecrated to holiness. There is, then, but one true Christbaptism-the baptism of the “Holy Spirit,”—the descending, divine afflatus, lifting the soul into that sweeter, calmer fellowship of the more heavenly intelligences. In this divine baptism, whether from good men or women, or angels, we believe, and unto it continually seek.

CHAPTER XXX.

INSPIRATION.

“ There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth it understanding."

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“ Inspiration clothes creation in a robe of day.”

Inspiration-God's outflowing breath-is man's inbreathed life—a constant power. The universe is a many-toned harp with strings swept by the forces of the Infinite. Aspirations are the vibrations. All souls feel them. Uplifted, they measure the divine light poured into receptive spirits.

Spiritual illuminations,—exalted and original thoughts evidently emanate from an over-arching world of subtile principles and invisible powers. The heavens vivify the earth.

“Every soul is aflame with God.”

From the Latin, inspiro, comes the word inspiration; implying inbreathings, impregnating and opening the avenues of perception, the infusion of feeling, influence, ideas from the All-perfect and the angelic—from the immortalized, and from mortals—from forests, fields, flowers, and the beautiful in nature everywhere. As God is infinite, filling immensity, inspiration is necessarily universal and perpetual as the river of life. Not creating within us new faculties, it arouses and kindles into keener activities all the hidden forces of our conscious beings. Pertaining more to souls

than books or traditionary legends, it oversweeps the epochs of all the dust-buried ages, and is even more perfect now than in those earlier mornings of time.

As water, crystal or clouded, assumes the shape of its vases, so inspiration is graded in quantity and quality. Who has not, in the higher moments of thought or aspiration, felt a sweet, hallowed inbreathing from the great pulsing soul of nature? Who has stood upon some emerald-carpeted mountains in the hush of evening, and not felt the soul expand as it caught glimpses of immortal truths ? Who, walking among the lilies of the field, has not been startled and thrilled with the consciousness of those eternal principles that stream in liquid pearls through universal being?

Rising liking shafts of flame from the abysınal past, we see in Hesiod a poet, Jeremiah a weeper, Pythagoras a thinker, Socrates a philosopher, Pericles a constructor, Appeles an artist, Jesus a Spiritualist, John a mystic, Perasee a scientist, Mozart a musician, Bacon a logician, Ballou a theologian. These, with others, yielding to what Emerson facetiously terms “the broodings of the oversoul,” enriching their receptive minds by the study of the spiritual laws that map the universe, and mentally appropriating the living sermons preached daily in the great Temple of Nature, with birds for singers and oceans for organs — these, we repeat, speaking words that burned, or breathing music that charmed-touched the world's heart and left their psychological imprint thereon—touched it, because divinely inspired.

Not the sacred books of India or China-not the manyversioned Bibles in use by Jews or Christians, are inspired; but rather the truths they mirror.

All truth, in Bibles or out of them all truth, scientific philosophic or religious—is inspired. Truth is a unity. It is only in the seeming that truths clash. Octave notes do not jar. The unripe peaches of July do not contradict the blushing and mellowed ones of October. They only manifest the different stages consequent upon the law of growth. Our media, like the seers of Egypt, Greece and Rome, like

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