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accustomed position; strange sea-birds whirled by; storms danced their demon-dances in the rigging; but a divine current, seemingly, swept them on, till a new world gladdened their vision. Such a faith is the fountain-head, the mighty, propelling force we see manifest in the field, the shop, the academy, the commercial mart, the studio of the artist, the observatory of the astronomer, and the literary altitudes attained in American and English universities.
Beautiful, truly, is a calm, abiding faith-faith in the measureless possibilities of humanity-faith in the governing guidance of the spiritual heavens—faith in the unchangeability of the divine laws, and faith in the ceaseless, outflowing love of the Infinite. This kind of faith has more to do with the moral nature than the intellect. Science, if touching the intellect only, is cold and chilling, though clear as crystal. And philosophy alone, without the warming religious influences of love and sympathy, faith and trust, is comparable to a glistening iceberg, hugging the human soul into a resurrectionless death.
How sweet and perfect the little child's faith in the parent; and how firm should be ours in the innate goodness of every human being! Under the ice the water runs; above the clouds the sun shines; upon the moldering piles of India and the marbled ruins of Greece, mosses are green; and wild vipes, clinging, climb sunward. So, nestling under the roughest exterior, and growing out from every conscious soul, there is something fair and heavenly. Aye, an angel is hidden there, awaiting the better, higher conditions to produce the Eden-blooms of good works. In every fainting, struggling Magdalen are all the divine elements of a Virgin Mary; and in every denying, weeping Peter are all the soulprophecies of angelic life—a structural pillar in the present to be hewn, polished and fitted into the living church of humanity.
Cherishing this deep faith in the divinity of humanity, in the good, the beautiful and the true, Spiritualists should
cultivate the tenderest charities, encourage the widest sympathies, and, despising none, despairing of none, should strive everywhere to bring out and build up the pure and the holy.
“Where'er we go in weal or woe, whatever fate befall,
Thinkers, ignoring the forms of faith and theologic dogmas of churchmen, consider the creeds fashioned in the last century hardly fitted for spittoons in the present. Asserting & true manhood, they stamp them under their feet, and clasping the hands of the immortalized, walk up daily on to some mount of ascension, to commune with nature and talk with the gods. But faith in man and woman, in law and God, and faith in an endless progressive existence, involving its demonstration ever approximating the divine perfections, are necessities of the soul and beautiful as holy.
“Thither our weak and weary steps are tending ;-
« Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
"Oh, for those humble, contrite tears,
Which from repentance flow."
“How oft in still communion known,
Those spirits have been sent
And show it what they meant."
Repentance implies genuine reformation. The Greek word is Metanoia, and literally denotes the soul's recollections of its own actions, in such a way, as to produce both sorrow and the purpose of amendment. The word occurs about sixty times in the New Testament.
John, the precursor of the Nazarenean Spiritualist, preaching in the mountains and wildernesses of Syria, under the psychologic control and inspiration of Esaias—Isaiah—cried, “ Repent ye;" that is, reform, for the kingdom of heavena more spiritual dispensation—is ripening for acceptance, destined to kindle into a richer, rapturous glow our national life.
Repentance in no way indicates security from punishment; nor is it logically allied to any system that promises escape from the legitimate consequences attending the violations of natural law. Nature, though rigid, is a righteous master. Poised, she holds the golden scales of justice-obey and enjoy-transgress and suffer.
Vicarious atonements, cradled in ignorance, belong originally to the lower social strata of Egyptian life, Jewish ceremonies and Christian superstitions—all mere devices to evade just penalties. Pythagoras, Plato, Jesus, and other intuitive thinkers of the eldest ages, avoided introducing atoning substitutions into their religious instructions. Not from Jesus, but from the policy-inspired Pauline writings of the New Testament, do churchmen gather their dogmas of atonement and imputed righteousness.
The soul keenly alive to justice-a justice that would punish the guilty only-repudiates such popular church doctrines as these, expressed in verse:
No crimson sacrifices of slain goats and kids, no sacred waters of Gunga, in India, no Grecian draughts of hemlock, nor streaming blood from Calvaries, can avail anything, even judicially, in saving from the consequences of those just penalties, threading Nature's laws, as cause and effect.
The inebriate's repentance does not save him from the past shame, debility, degradation and torment, resulting from years of physical transgression. The poisoned libations daily consumed, impregnating every bone, muscle, sinew, nerve, deadening the finer emotions and benumbing the mind, leave their stings and scars upon the vital organism; while memory—the “undying worm "_lives to torture the mental with humiliation and remorse. These cannot be forgiven in the sense of blotting them into a forgetless oblivion. The universe knows no loss. But repentance in the sense of reformation, lifting the drunkard from the condition and further practice of the habit, will, by destroying the cause, save him from further disciplinary punishment.
Effects, however, linger long after the operating causes have ceased to act, as rills continue to flow after the storm-clouds have settled away in the distance.
While accepting repentance upon a philosophical basis, Spiritualism has no forgiveness in the sense of negating justice-none in the sense of warding off just and deserved punishment. The original Greek word for forgiveness is Aphiemi in the verbal, and Aphesis in the substantive form, literally implying “putting or sending away, removal, or deliverance from." It is sometimes translated by the English words (Luke iv: 18), “ deliverance” and “liberty thus: “to preach deliverance to the captives, and to set at liberty them that are bound.” Punishment, repentance and forgiveness, are all clearly illustrated in the wanderings, sufferings and return to a father's embrace of the Prodigal Son.
Repentance, implying sorrow and reformation, Jesus taught that there was “joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth." This work continues in the future life. The republic of the angels spans all worlds. According to the “ Apostles' creed,” Jesus, “crucified, dead and buried, descended into hell'—the invisible state—the under-world of departed spirits. Speaking of this descent into hell, the celebrated Dr. Campbell confesses that “ Jesus' descriptions of the abodes of departed souls, were not drawn from the writings of the Old Testament, but have a remarkable affinity to the descriptions which the Grecian poets have given of them.” Enriched by the scholarship and companionship of the evangelist John, and conversant with the Indian, Egyptian and Grecian philosophies, this would be perfectly natural in Jesus' parabolic descriptions of the future existence.
Admitting, as the “ Apostles' creed ” affirms—the descent into hell-what the purpose ? That prominent disciple, Peter, answers : “ Jesus put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit by which he also went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which were sometimes disobedient * * *