25 Jan. 1874.
CONVICTION AND CONVERSION
Gerald Massey, the Famous Poet and Philosopher,
Tells How and Why he Became a Spiritualist.
Startling Personal and Family Experiences—Groping for Light
Through Fogs of Doubt and Conjecture.
The Continuity and Intimate Relations of Spiritual
Life in This World and the Next Explained.
Death, the Process of Birth Into a New Existence—
The Immortal Progress of the Soul.
I begin with my own facts, because they are more to me than anybody else's
facts received on hearsay. Indeed, if I had not known certain things were
true and real, I think I
never could have believed them at second hand, no matter what the amount
of testimony might be. I may say with Horatio, "Before my God I might not
this believe, without
the sensible and true avouch of mine eyes and ears." Dear me! how I
doubted, and doubted in the presence of the phenomenon itself! In truth,
it seems to me that I only
arrived at belief by doubting and doubting until I doubted my doubts.
I see it stated that Prof. Agassis saw at one single glance the whole thing
as all imposture. It took a
great wrench to lift me out of the old ruts of thinking. I did not reach
my present conclusions for years.
SLOW TO BELIEVE.
It has been remarked on as an oversight of Shakspeare's that he should
have shown the great sceptic, Hamlet, as positively doubting the continued
existence of the soul,
just after it had been revealed and demonstrated to him by the spirit of
his own father, who came to prove his identity by word of mouth and to
unfold the secrets of both
worlds. My own experience leads me to look on this not as an oversight,
but as one of the poet's profoundest insights. He knew how hard it is for
many to accept those
facts of the spiritual, even though (as was said of old), "one came from
the dead." The facts I shall make use of are those that I recorded just as
they occurred. I will answer
for most of my facts with as much certitude as Mr. Crooks can for his. I
speak in all sincerity, meaning exactly what I say, and do not doubt that
the truth, truly spoken, will
ring true on the touchstone of all true souls.
WONDERFUL CLAIRVOYANT POWERS.
Some twenty-two years ago I was invited to see a young clairvoyant read
without the use of the eyes. So little did I know of the subject, that
when I was asked to hold the
eyelids down whilst she read, I left my fingers as far apart as possible,
so that she might see through them if she liked. I did not wish to prevent
her reading. Possibly my
intended kindness told in my favour, for that clairvoyant became my wife,
and her first consciousness of meeting me, I found afterwards, was when
she was in the magnetic
trance. I was indignant at the treatment and the torture to which I
thought she was subjected to gratify people's curiosity, and it ended in
our running away from it. I afterwards
found that this reading by some abnormal vision was a fact, however
unbelievable. She had manifested the power from nine years of age. I have
seen her read so hundreds of
times, and convince hundreds of people, including men like Brewster,
Hallam, late Earl of Carlyle, and the present Duke of Argyle and Bishop of
Winchester. Many persons
were prepared for the phenomena of Spiritualism by what they saw of her
The speaker then detailed at some length the various methods which himself
and others had taken to prevent the lady from reading in this manner, and
the uniform failure of
these plans, and specified several instances of the remarkable clairvoyant
powers possessed by her, which in time broadened to the shores of a wider
mediumship, and then proceeded in touching language to refer to his
departed daughter and the sickness of his wife.
MENTAL ECLIPSE NO INSANITY OF SOUL.
The loss a of peculiarly dear little child had preyed on the mother's
mind. This was our "wee white rose of the world." Also the brain had been
injured in childhood by ignorant
parents. Indeed, a spirit once said to me, "She is one of those who
receive the mortal wound from before birth."
I take it that was a part of the conditions. The partition that divided
one kind of consciousness from another was very thin—the mind would waver
at times. I am satisfied,
though, that a great deal of supposed insanity is only a disordered kind of
somnambulism, as will be seen when the subject comes to
be judged from the
spiritual side. You may remember what Charles Lamb says about his poor
sister's brilliant, witty talk; when her mind wandered, as we say, it was
incomparably better than
most sane people. When the aberration became most apparent, if I could
only induce the magnetic trance I found there was no such thing as
insanity of the soul, however
the brain consciousness might be arrested. There was serenity and
clearness in the depths of the spirit-life, while the troubled life of the
brain ran on a river of oblivion above;
so I saw how in madness, idiocy, under chloroform or in infancy, the
spirit that is eclipsed for the time being and shut in darkly from us, may
have its lucidity and be fed with
light from the spirit world to which it is united, with which it
communicates through life, and into which we pass in death with an
CONTINUED MENTAL ILLNESS.
I am bound to admit there were times when I could not mesmerize, that the
been righted again in response to prayer. You see I did not know there was
any natural law
opposed to such a possibility, and no doubt was very much in earnest. Our
knowledge and recognition of the impossible is often just the thing that
prevents the possible.
In the year 1863 this mental illness took a bad turn. For seven days and
nights it had been permanent. Doctors insisted that I must put her away. Hitherto I had held out
against them, for it seemed to me that I knew so much more about the case
than they did.
But now I wavered. I could not get her mesmerized to consult her. One
Sunday night I held a consultation with the doctors. They insisted on her
removal. I said I would
decide next morning. I got to bed about 11 o'clock, having given my wife
some medicine; put out the light, and lay down beside her.
Still she was violent, but in spite of that, I heard a strange noise at
the foot of the bed. At first I thought it must be her feet pushing the
hot water bottle against the foot-board
of the bedstead. At length the noise arrested her attention, and
she blamed me for not keeping my feet still. I told her it was not
me. This seemed to steady her mind
somewhat in a listening and fearful attitude. The noise again began, and
increased, I got a light, and removed the hot water bottle. The sounds
still went on. My wife drew up
her feet instinctively from the bed-foot, for by this time, the sound were
partly as though a rat were gnawing the mattress, or a dog's tail whisking
the foot-board. I thought perhaps one of the dogs was in the
room—no, I did not think so; I tried to feel that it might be so. My
wife insisted that one of the dogs was
in the room. We called, and I
got out of bed to look. There was no dog—nothing to account for the
noise. I turned up the bed and mattress at the foot to search. There was
no explanation there. I returned
to bed again. The noise began anew—a scratching, scribbling sound on the
board, with an occasional slight rap, in which the sound culminated, or
made itself out more
perfectly. My wife screamed that she could not stand it, and would not lie
in the bed any longer. I tried to quiet her—for the sounds were quite
enough for me to attend to.
I bore it for some twenty minutes after being convinced that it was
produced by neither or us.
Once indeed, I wondered whether it was possible for thieves to be in the
room underneath with an electric battery, trying to occupy our attention
by shaking our bedstead
electrically while they robbed the room. I invented all sorts at natural
or unnatural explanations. The sounds continued. Then I called the
servant, to see what effect the
sounds would have on another person not a poet, but of cool and
unimaginative temperament. I did not tell her why I called her. She
thought it was because her mistress
was worse. She sat down and leaned against the bed. The sounds came again
louder and clearer. She passed through a similar stage of wonderment,
looked at me, as she
said afterwards, to see if I were frightened, and finding I was not, she
did not see why she should be, and so she did not bolt and leave me.
The servant girl's mother was then called, but the fact produced no effect
upon the continuance of the sounds. Mr. Massey was convinced by this time
that they proceeded
from some other source than a mortal one, but could not seem to attach
them, on account of their grovelling nature, with spirits according to his
conception of such beings. If
a spirit were making these noises, he thought it must be one of a low
kind, and therefore bade it begone several times, but to no effect.
SPIRITUAL SPIRITUAL PRESENCE.
Finally the spirits rapped, and he, by requesting them to give three raps
for yes, obtained from them the information that his daughter Marian and
his wife's mother were
present, though invisible, and had come to help his wife's head. Strong
physical phenomena supervened, the bedstead being rocked, and the feet of Mr. Massey being "heaved up
with force." After which he says:
My wife, who had leaned back, now rose up white and rigid, and straight as
a corpse might rise from a coffin, with the fixed, staring eyes, not yet
able to pierce the grave
gloom, but bursting through it. When quite upright, the face lighted. She
leaned a little forward, looking out over the bed foot, and in a weird,
intense whisper said with an
ineffable smile, "Mother, Marian!" and then sank gently back on my arm,
and soon lay breathing softly, with two tears steaming out of her closed
presences, apparently recognisable to her as persons, had succeeded in
putting her into the trance condition. In this state, consciousness began
where it left off a week
before; all was a blank between, as was shown by her first question. Of
what we had passed through that night, she knew nothing. The noise began
again. "Oh, what's that?"
she said. I told her what had occurred. We continued the conversation a
long time that night. The upshot of the communication was this: I was not
to put her away on the
morrow, though she would be worse than she had yet been, and on the
following Sunday night she would be permanently better. And at ten minutes
to 12 o'clock on that
night week she was comparatively well. Thus in all likelihood she was
saved from spending some years in a mad house. That purported to be the
object of what I now
consider the spiritual world audibly breaking through, to communicate
intelligently with me; proving, in doing so, that invisible beings could
see us, hear us, talk with us, help
MULLER AND SHAKSPEARE.
From that time forward he had plenty of proofs of the possibility of
spirit communication, among them being the raps carried to a greater
perfection of telegraph
signification—a species of planchette—and the visions and descriptions
by his wife. Among other remarkable things given him, was a written
communication relating to Muller,
the railway carriage murderer, who was captured on this side of the water,
and was undergoing his trial, said communication citing facts to show that
he was not fully
responsible for the homicide. On the strength of this, the speaker sent a
communication to the London press, calling attention to these
circumstances, but, as it happened, it was printed in only one of the
papers, the News, but the writer did not
learn of its appearance till long afterwards. However, Muller was found
guilty and hanged, and after his
death came to them in spirit, and thanked the lecturer for the pains he
had taken to save "his poor neck."
The aid which the speaker had received from the invisibles in unravelling
the mystery attached to Shakspeare's sonnets—through the mazes of which
neither the medium of
Mr. M had any intellectual clue— was to him simply wonderful, and to it
he bore willing testimony. He had frequently in perusing the work, been
referred by the spirit to books
thoroughly unknown to the medium or himself, and on searching up the
volumes, had found therein the corroborating proof promised.
THERE IS NO DEATH.
The speaker then related a story concerning his experience at a new
residence whither he had just removed—said narrative being of a nature
akin to the various "haunted
houses," the stories of which so frequently of late have filled the
columns of the secular press.
Before passing away to the spirit-side of his wife, he formed an agreement
with her that raps should be made upon the clock, where none had sounded
subsequent to her decease raps were heard in abundance. On his first
sitting with the medium, Home [Ed. — Daniel Dunglas Home,
a famed Victorian medium], a spirit took possession purporting to be
his wife and said "Oh,
Gerald, when I turned upon my left side to pass that night, and had got
through, I could not believe it. I kept on talking, and thought that you
had gone suddenly deaf, as I could not hear you answer me." That was
exactly what had occurred with
me on this side of death. I kept on talking and she did not hear. I have
no doubt but that truly
represents the continuity of consciousness in death. There is no break—no
cessation of motion: it is like the top when we say it sleeps—that seems
to stand still when it spins
It is not my purpose merely to tell you a wonderful story, or I might have
filled my lecture with personal details. But I would rather set people's
brains at work inside their
skulls, than see hair standing on end outside of it.
Since my first gropings in the darkness of this subject, light has dawned
on me more and more, and the facts have gone on unfolding their meanings
until the presence of the
spiritual world is to me as real as that of the natural world; the
unfeatured darkness has unveiled a living face. I have felt the touch of
spirit hands with nobody within seven
yards of me, and have had my own hand impelled to write massages without
any volition of mine.
Standing on this side of my facts, how should I care to argue with
those who stand on the other to assert they can't be true? Where is the
use of arguing when sheer
ignorance of the subject is to be the base of our opponent's reasoning,
and his fundamental assumptions are false, which are that he sufficiently
divines the relationship of
mind and matter in the life which is known, so as to say that these things
are impossible to their relationship in a life that is to him unknown!
Sergeant Cox will tell you that this sort of abnormal action implies a new
force in nature: he calls it "Psychic Force." But our "Psychic Force"
friends do not touch physically
the veriest fringe of the phenomena. They have made a study of one ripple,
registered on the sand by the great ocean that is out of sight.
I know that Mr. Crooks has seen a thousand-fold more than he can
scientifically demonstrate to others. If the force be spiritual, as we
contend, it follows that physical
science can only deal with that registered record in the sand of the
ripple passed away.
The speaker then paid his respects to Dr. Carpenter and the "unconscious
cerebration" theory, giving the subject caustic treatment; cited the fact
that the mesmeric
phenomena, once ignored by the scientist, were not brought forward to
explain away those of Spiritualism, and said: But it is too late. Our
"Like the hindermost chariot wheels, are curst
Still to be nearer, but never to be first."
When a medium
goes into the trance condition now, we presume it to be under spirit
influence. A spirit is the magnetizer. You will find by the Bible, that
this is an
ancient form of mesmerism. "Where is the angel Uriel," says Esdras, "the
angel who came to me at the first? for he hath caused me to fall into many
trances. And as I was
speaking these words, behold he came unto me, and looked upon me, and lo! I lay as one who had been dead!" At other times the hand is used in this
spiritual process, as
it might be in magnetism. The hand of the Lord, that is, of some spiritual
presence, came upon the head of the seer, Eliuan, and he saw and
When the fact of the power of the mesmerist over his subject was called to
mind, we could see what a vision of possibilities—seemingly limited only
by the communicating power, and the receptivity of the medium—was opened,
if we came to accept as a fact that a spirit, an inhabitant of another
world, could become the magnetizer. There was such a thing as "unconscious
cerebration" of thought. Half our mental life was passed in the process of
thus drawing from the wells of the world of the unknown. But, so far from
this "unconscious cerebration" furnishing an argument against
Spiritualism, it was one of the most vital proofs of its truth, the brain
being shown to be not the cause of action, but merely the agent of the
spirit's will. The spirit itself, said the speaker, dwells and lives a
life of which we on the outside catch only the shadows of its motion on
the curtain—the lightning of its presence, flashing through its cloud.
THE BRAIN A
MEANS, NOT A CAUSE.
Unconscious cerebration is simply an automatic motion of brain in
signifying the wish or will, of the spirit consciousness;
and the brain is not the cause, but the means of the external
consciousness. Here we may get a glimpse of the spirit's living on, even
though the brain becomes unconscious in sleep, feeble in age, decayed by
disease, or destroyed by death—the sun shining on after it has set, and
gathering to itself the rays that once illuminated and warmed the world of
sense. His experience was like living in a kind of half way house, having
windows in it, through which he could look into two worlds. We did not
know our own mental life anywhere as beginning, but only as
becoming. There was an undredged ocean in our mental world which has
no bottom. Deep as we might plumb, we could not sound it. There is
illimitable continuity. It was because the mere physicists failed to
appreciate the world of spiritual causes that they had no beginning, no
origin for phenomena; they tried to commence with the atom which had no
existence as a postulate, and ignored the subtler phenomena which
preceded such supposed atom. Plate was right when he proclaimed that man
was a plant not of the earth, but of heaven. As the tree which drew by its
leaves from Sun and dew the power to send down its roots into the earth,
so men, rooted for a while in the natural, drew from the spiritual world
his true soul sustenance—he existing at the same time—a denizen of two
worlds, which blended in his being, and between which he was the
Spiritualism claims to have established objective communication with this
veritable world of being, which has been subjectively whittled away to a
vanishing point by Metaphysics and Theology. Through our magnetic mediums
it used to murmur strange things to us—like one talking in a dream. But
now we can get at it, as it were, in the waking state, and know the force
behind the veil of matter in a mental form, as Intelligence, Affection,
If it were possible to set aside our facts, we should still only be acting
on a belief professed by the whole Christian world. It is asserted by them
that the soul of man is forever influenced by good or evil suggestions,
invisibly conveyed of course. Neither God nor Devil could get at our souls
without impinging somehow, somewhere; without contact no force could be
brought to bear; there must be a spirit communication—no matter by
what name you call it. Also, the suggestion must come from beyond our
consciousness—which is just what we say, only we act on it as a living
truth; the orthodox and scientific mind, as if it were a lying force.
It is difficult to demonstrate to those physicists—who are the only
fossil specimens on Earth, I think, of the petrified soul—that we are
living spirits; difficult to prove the existence and presence of spirits
outside of us to those who have not realized a spirit within us. Still,
it is impossible to fully discuss natural laws apart from spiritual
the two are indissolubly bound up together. You cannot treat the
natural by ignoring the spiritual; you cannot insulate the most material man,
like a metal in a
non-conductor, so as to be sure that the spiritual world is not brought to
bear in the production of certain phenomena. In man it is with the natural
and the spiritual as the
Hindoos say of the melon; you can hold a melon in one hand which contains
seven handfuls of seeds. And such is the spiritual relationship here to
the natural facts.
I think it is greatly owing to our dim and distant conception of a spirit
world that it seems so impossible for our spirit friends to be near us and
to communicate with us. Our
ideas have been so limited to the more visible relations of time and
space. Metaphysics have so dissipated all spiritual reality. And then,
What is spirit? we say or think,
trying to feel the texture of it, as if to see how much it would sell for,
and mentally figure it forth from the sense-perceptions, and realize it in
a material form. We conceive of
spirit as attenuated matter, forgetting that no attenuation of matter will
ever arrive at spirit. In doing thus, we are somewhat like those English
people who, when in a foreign land, seem to fancy the more they make their
own language un-English, the more it must be like the language spoken
there! The only startling point, I think, is this: We are spirits here
and now; spirits in a material form, but not spirits because of this
THE AFFECTIONS DIVINELY PERSONIFIED.
And in trying to conceive spirits out of the present body, I don't think
we can do better than remember what constitutes us as spirits in
the body, which is this: a man's real, spiritual self is his will
and his affections personified. Take a man's love for
example; you cannot know that by its weight, or texture, or material presence;
you can only know it by its own manifestations, whether it embodies itself
to us or not, and where it may not manifest itself publicly, it will do so by
many secret ways. We cannot see it in itself; we can only know it
by its signs. But this love and this will are the very being
that lives on as the crystallized, immortal self called a spirit, not
likely to be commonly visible to us in the sense, though very real and
quite near to us still. In fact, nearness would be the most natural
manifestation of love directed by will in whatever state of existence it
I prefer, then, to speak of spirits as human affections more divinely
personified; increasingly in their power as they increase in the intensity
of their life, just as I prefer to think of God as "our Father" to all
chemical considerations of His nature, or metaphysical
mysteries of His attributes. We know this will, this love,
will find another fitting form of embodiment, because they have proved it
to us again and again, and are always ready to prove it by the will
coming back to us and demonstrating the continuity of the love in
person; not only influencing us in the secret places of the soul, but with
a presence palpable to the commonest sense.
ANGEL SPIRITS NEVER NEAR.
Thousands ignore the spiritual world because, as they
think, it is so far off—out of sight with them being out of mind. But once in
the presence of our facts, and fully possessed by them, you cannot adopt the
ostrich policy, and try to get rid of the other world by sticking your
head in any sand hole in this!
You lose the power to self-deceive
With shallow forms of make-believe!
Let men but
truly realize that the better angels of themselves, whether in the shape of
a loving wife, or mother, or child gone before, can still see them, are
with them still, and try to get nearer to them than ever they could in
this life, that they look at their sins and failings, their worldliness
and greed with rebuking eyes, divinely grave, filled with their larger,
purer love, and they must take thought and strive not to turn them away
when they seek to draw near on their mission of comfort and errand of
love; they should try not to do that which would make them veil their eyes
in anguish. They should not continue the life of selfishness that darkens
round their souls like the black cloud of the ink-fish, and rises up
betwixt them and their darlings, to sully their innocent brightness, and
put them out as the darkest midnight may put out the stars!
You would not dare linger thoughtlessly in the palace or hovel of sin if you
felt the spirit touch you upon your shoulder, or heard the whisper at your ear
of a voice you know. "I'm glad that my poor dead mother does not know what
I have come to," says some wretched outcaste who thinks the ache was all
over for her when the grave sod covered up that bowed frame and broken
heart from human sight. But my God! she does know, and sees
more than ever, and suffers with the strength of a thousand heart-breaks
for that miserable but dearly loved daughter.
GOLD THE VERIEST DROSS.
You may remember the wreck of a large steam vessel some years
ago, called the "Central
America." She had about 500 people
on board, the greater portion of whom were miners returning from
California. They were coming home from El Dorado, bringing their
treasure with them. They had toiled terribly to accumulate their
wealth, and now they were going to invest it and live sumptuously and
dwell at their ease.
Often and often their eyes turned to the bags of gold dust
with a golden sparkle of delight. But, says the account, as the
storm continued, the gold was less and less thought of; and when it became
evident that they might at any moment go to the bottom, men pulled off
their belts of treasure, and opened their bags of gold, and scattered
their riches on the cabin floors, telling those who liked to take it, for
aught they cared. Full purses containing $2,000 were lying untouched
on sofas. Carpet bags were opened by their owners, and the shining
stream poured forth on the floors. One passenger opened a bag and
dashed about the cabin $20,000 in gold dust, and told any man who wanted
to gratify his greed to take it; but it was left untouched as the veriest
dross. A little while before he would have struck down any man who
dared to touch a single grain of it! The other world had looked
closely into their faces, and greatly changed the relative value of
things. In its immediate presence the glittering hoards were the
veriest tinsel, and undistinguishable from the other dust of Earth.
When the ship was sinking a brig was described, and boat after boat put
off to save the women and the children. These were all that
could be rescued.
Fathers perished from their children, husbands parted from
their wives, with a resolute resignation. They saw the women and
little ones push off in the boats; there were no boats for them.
Nevertheless, not one of those rough gold diggers rushed at the last
chance of saving himself. All selfishness had died out of them with
the other world in the presence. Each heart knew its own
bitterness—each was busy with its own peculiar sorrow. A last look
at the boats vanishing forever in the distance—a last thought of home and
friends far away—a last silent prayer to God above, but no sign of
selfishness was seen or heard, with death within arm's length of them and
staring close into their faces. As the last boat put off with its
precious freight, the ship went down, head first, to the bottom. But
those hardy, bronzed fellows had first touched bottom, and in that trying
time their manhood range heroically true.
A CONSTANT REMINDER AND APPEAL.
I think that Spiritualism must have partly an effect upon
those whom it really and truly lays arresting hands on, for the other
world to look closer into their face. Surely if the other world once
demonstrates its immediate presence in life as well as in death, the
result must be living and life-long—once brought home to us in this way,
with a continual appeal to your moral consciousness and reminder of your
spiritual destiny. The spirit world is always trying to influence
us, but ordinarily it is like sewing without a knot in the thread, that
slides through unfelt. Our facts put a knot in the thread for the
first time, so that they can hold on and pull, and draw us nearer to them.
For lack of our facts, the other world has become a far-off country, which
men traded with of old, but the current of commerce has set in other
directions, and it has drifted out of sight, and almost lives in legend
alone! There was greater need of news from it—signs of
existence—than now: it has become so dim and far away as to look like an
evening cloud on the horizon across the dark water of death, which may not
be solid land, or habitable, after all, when we try to set foot on it in
Eternity! And the "Word" we had from it so long ago is as much
doubted as any old traveller's enthusiastic story!
"THIS TINY AND ARRESTING RAP."
See the myriads whose thoughts are trying to reach that other
world by grave-digging and body-snatching and hopes of physical
What matters the shape in which it may prove its
existence?—its actual presence with us? Shipwrecked people do not usually
quarrel with the message sent from the land they seek, even though it
comes to them in the form of muddy water and sea-drifted weed.
And this tiny, and arresting rap may be and has been the
turning point in many lives, where all other modes of appeal had been
resisted. I believe that, as evidence of a future life, one single
proof in spiritual manifestation is worth the hear-say revelation of a
world. It is the resurrection and the life of all the rest.
Immortality is no longer a glorious possibility or a desolate 'perhaps';
it is a positive fact.
Once our immortality has been grasped in this way, as a fact,
all mere words on the subject, or about it, seem impertinent, and are as
much superseded as the leaves of other years. A man who has once
felt assured of actual spirit presence, once heard the voice of a spirit,
once recognized the spirit touch, or been breathed upon consciously with
spirit breath, is in a different position, and far above the pulpit, for
resting his lever to move the world and lift the soul. His has found
the firmest fulcrum known.
DEATH A TREMENDOUS BUGBEAR.
Spiritualism shows us the visible foothold before it gets too
dark to see to take the step. We know the other world is soundly
based before leaving this. Our faith does not only conquer death in
the last grim moment, at the edge of the grave, but is triumphant the
whole life through. Our thoughts have been climbing upward, by
palpable means, all along. And with such an irradiation as this
faith sheds, a man can walk right through the shadow of Death itself and
turn round with an amused smile as if asking if that were the tremendous
bugbear which has frightened so many poor mortals from ever living.
We cannot say farewell with the old desolate feeling of
sadness and uncertainty, who know how surely we are one still in the eye
of God, and how the spiritual relationship lives on and holds good when
the hands unclasp in parting and the temporary tie is severed.
What care we for the broken shell who
The free chirp of the fledged immortal bird?
Death is no longer Lord of Life
for us; 'tis but the attendant shadow of Life's presence.
The cloud is lifted from the vapoury
With recognition sweet, our dead return
To dry the mourner's tear and hush the wail,
There's nothing twixt us but a Viewless veil!
(Massey: A Tale of Eternity)
Indeed, they reappear in front of the drop scene,
after the last act of the Life-Drama is over, and give us the greeting of
IT IS A REAL REVELATION.
....which makes you feel at times as if the lease of your
existence has been renewed on far more satisfactory terms and placed in
your hand visibly by God, and dated "forever".
Here was the vast difference betwixt Jesus
Christ and his professed followers. [His was a living] intercourse
with a living God, a daily converse with Heaven, from which he was
freshly fed day by day with its dews of healing and waters of life.
The others drew mainly from a dead well whose waters have been collecting
and getting stagnant for centuries, but seldom troubled by any descending
angel that stirred them into brightness, or brought a breath of freshness,
and the waters have become tainted through their muddy mediumship; they
have been filtered of their heavenly properties and discoloured with
earthiness, and dreadfully impregnated with those sulphur springs from
below. They have become the drainage of earth and the oozings of
Hell, rather than a drinking fountain fresh from Heaven, giving disease
instead of medicating it.
A LIVING WORD TO A LIVING PEOPLE.
Things that have been looked to and clasped as the pillars of
Heaven itself, and prop and stay of sinking souls on Earth, are holding
the heavens aloof from us—keeping them afar off, and interposing between
us and God be preventing the descent of Heaven itself into the human soul,
and hindering the coming of the Kingdom in this life by their very
exaltation of it for show-purposes, to make us look up to it and aspire to
it as something only to be possessed hereafter. They prohibit any
further revelation, lest it should not tally with that shut up in the
Book. They have no vision, no divination, no word from the living
God for living people—no Bread of Life to break up for the famishing souls
The lamp still burns upon their altars. It did good
service in the dark night of the past, but it contends in vain with its
tiny twinkle against the flood of broad daylight poured direct from Heaven
in the world outside.
WE CANNOT INHERIT OUR FAITH.
The life of their Urim and Thummin has gone out, and its
glory has departed. Though worn upon the breastplate for show, there
is no sign of the divine presence there. There is not warmth enough
at heart to quicken the mystic splendours into life. Nor is it a
divine response to the yearnings of humanity, eighteen hundred years ago,
that will satisfy the yearnings of today. We can't live on the manna
that fell from Heaven to feed the Israelites. However sedulously we
garner up the treasure of past experience, we cannot start in these or in
other life-matters just where the wisest and best of all time left off.
Every man for himself must live his spiritual life from a king of primal
beginning. He must make out his own belief by such illumination that
God gives to his individual soul, and it is by that he must read all other
revelation. We cannot inherit our faith, then, ready made, or
perfected to pattern. Those who think most, and live their life at
the deepest, will be most perplexed before they can make it out for
themselves. Therefore there is a never ceasing need for revelation
and manifestation of spirit world, and a revelation for all, which gives
an anchorage of fact to trust to. Possibly you thought Spiritualism
was the turning and tipping of tables? Spiritualism means just what you
have the ability to make of it, when once you have grasped it.
Spiritualism as I understand it means a new light of
revelation in the world from the old eternal source, and you cannot have a
new light let in without seeing many old acquaintances with a new face!
Many aspects of things will change, and some things that we mistook for
living faces will turn into the sheerest masks of mockery, and whiten with
the sweat of dissolution running down them. But no letting in of new
light will change the nature of that which is eternally true. It is
only falsehood that needs to shrink from the transfiguring touch of light.
That need must shrink and shrivel away. Spiritualism, as I
interpret it, means a new life in the world, and new life is not born
without pain and partings, and sheddings of old decay. But new light
and life do not come to impoverish; they come to enrich.
Spiritualism will prove a mighty iconoclast, but the fetishes and idols it
destroys will yield up their concealed treasure of innermost truth, as did
the statue which was destroyed by Mahmoud, the image breaker. The
priestly defenders offered him an enormous sum to spare their god, but he
resisted the bribe and smote with his iron mace. Down fell the
image, and as it broke, there rolled out a river of pent-up wealth which
had been hoarded and hidden within it.
THE GREAT SOLVENT OF DOGMAS.
And so it will be with Spiritualism and the blows it strikes.
It has already proved itself the greatest of dogmas yet known. It is
the truth that sets you free for good as well as for evil. It has
acted and is acting like Hannibal's vinegar on the most stupendous
obstacles of progress, and an imposture cannot do that. It will
finally break up many a poor miserable effigy of God to fully reveal the
Divinity himself to the unfettered human soul.
Ed. In 1857 the paddle-steamer SS Central America
was on passage to New York City laden with gold coins, ingots and
specimen gold fresh from the California Gold Rush, when it foundered in a
hurricane off the coast of North Carolina.
DENVER DAILY TIMES
23 Apr. 1874.
Gerald Massey, Gen. John C. Fremont and Josh
Billings, forming a unique trio, breakfasted together at Laramie, Tuesday,
and passed on eastward.
[Massey admired Billings' writing; see Massey's essay, "Yankee
Humour" - Ed.]
10 May. 1874.
We announced a few weeks since the probability of a
visit to Denver from the distinguished poet and orator, Gerald Massey, who
is about to sail for England, but will at some future time we trust
revisit this country, where he has accomplished so much, and where his
friends and admirers can by numbered by the tens of thousands. In reply to
numerous letters of enquiry from all parts of the Territory, we deem it
not improper to publish an explanatory statement, which will account for
the disappointment we experienced in common with hundreds of others in
Denver and adjacent towns, over Mr. Massey's failure to include this city
in his lecturing tour of the Pacific coast.
Last march we addressed a letter of invitation to Mr. Massey,
urging him to come to Denver to deliver one or more of his famous
lectures. The following acknowledgement of
its receipt from the author of the [Western Rural], owing to faulty
address, we did not receive until last Tuesday:
March 16, 1874
S. G. Fowler, Esq.:
Massey passed through Chicago from Cincinnati to Minnesota on Friday
night, receiving a letter from you among others, which he showed me.
He will write to you from Minneapolis. I hope he may give you
an evening at least on his return from California. He has done a
great work in Chicago.
How are you "getting on" at Denver? Your paper is excellent.
H. N. F. LEWIS
In due course of time Mr. Massey wrote us from St.
Paul, Minn., as follows:
go straight through from Omaha to San Francisco, with engagements
made. Nor have I the time or means to speculate or run risks.
Nor can I fill in, Westward, half the possible engagements offered,
my time is so limited, and I have fixed dates to go back on, in
Boston and elsewhere.
At the present moment I think I could offer one or two
evenings for Denver on my way back, or rather I am open to an offer:
terms $100 per lecture, which is not large considering I shall
travel 18,000 miles (sic) for it. I cannot judge of
places for myself but I do not want any risks run by others where
they are not likely to succeed. Time, towards the end of the
third week in April, or beginning of the fourth week—this to be
Please see what can be done and address me care of T. L.
Kimball, railway manager, Omaha, where I pass on Tuesday, 24th, for
San Francisco, where I am due on Saturday night, 28th. Address
there, care of Albert Kendrick, 201 Montgomery street, San
The same date the above letter
reached us, a prominent and wealthy resident, who was in our office,
signed his obligation guaranteeing Mr. Massey $200 for two lectures, to be
delivered here in the month of April. We enclosed it as directed, to care
of our valued friend Thos. L. Kimball, at Omaha, at the same time
addressing Mr. Massey another letter, stating that every provision would
be made on the part of friends here to render his stay agreeable.
We never understood why no attention was paid to these
letters, and charitably attributed Mr. Massey's neglect to overwhelming
pressure of engagements, and inability to arrange his programme of travel
so as to meet the wishes of his many friends here, until a letter came to
hand on Thursday last from friend Kimball. he will pardon us from quoting
Neb., May 6, 1874
Stanley G. Fowler, Esp.,
I had been at home when your letters regarding Massey's lectures
were received, I have no doubt that arrangements could have been
made to secure him for Denver. As it was, his plans were sadly
bungled, and by the failure to receive a telegram from San
Francisco, he lost the opportunity of speaking in many points in the
est. I am sorry on your account, as it is a rare treat to hear him
in public, and rarer still in private. He is a wonderful man,—
gifted beyond his fellows, cultivated to a degree that is rare among
self-made men, and inspired by love, truth, and intense hatred of
all forms of mental thraldom. I know you would have heartily enjoyed
his visit. He promised to visit this country again, and take time
enough to speak wherever there is a desire to hear him.
The above correspondence fully
elucidates "why and wherefore" Mr. Massey failed to take in Denver on his
Western trip. Another year, should Providence spare his life, we
hope he will visit this city in person, where his "thoughts that breathe
and words that burn" have already made themselves felt, and where he will
most cordially be welcomed.
BANNER OF LIGHT
May 2, 1874.
From England, will commence a two weeks' engagement at the Music Hall,
Boston, on the afternoon of Sunday, May 3, taking for his subject "The
Serpent Symbol; its Spiritual and Physical Significance." On the
following Sabbath (10th) Mr. Massey will give his closing address in
Boston by a delineation of "The Coming Religion." The San Francisco,
Cal., papers speak well of his late discourses in that city, and from
their accounts we select the following paragraphs. The Daily
Evening Bulletin of April 16 stated in the commencement of its report:
"Gerald Massey, the renowned poet and agitator, appeared in his special
field last evening as an exponent of the views of advanced scepticism of
the English school, the subject of his lecture being the startling query,
'Why don't God kill the Devil?' The discussion of a question of such
direct interest to the generality of the people attracted a large
attendance, and Platt's Hall (seating capacity, 3,000 persons) was
completely filled on the occasion by a very earnest and attentive
audience." Concerning his lecture on "The Coming Religion," the
Daily Morning Call of April 18 said: "Gerald Massey had a splendid
house in Platt's Hall last evening, to lecture on the 'Coming Religion.'
It was his last public appearance on his present visit to the Pacific
Coast, and there were doubtless not a few in the Hall who wanted to see
him, whatever their desire might be as to the lecture. On what the
coming religion is of which he was to spark, hardly anyone could have been
in perplexity. Mr. Massey fearlessly espoused Spiritualism, was
vituperative and startling on the modern creeds, and lugged in the
devil-and-brimstone terrors very frequently for the purpose of railing at
them and whacking them with ridicule. Some of his strongest
passages—for the utterance of which a couple of centuries ago he would
reverently have been burned—were warmly applauded, though not by many
persons; and at no time was there the slightest indication of
THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK.
GERALD MASSEY'S SECOND LECTURE.
Sunday was a glorious day, altogether too sunny and pleasant to go within
doors and get immersed in a profoundly intellectual disquisition, yet a
quite satisfactory audience elected so to spend Sunday afternoon in St.
George's Hall. The Lecturer appeared to be in excellent health, much
stronger after one week's contact with the world. He proceeded with
greater confidence and comfort, and was quite himself when compared with
his best appearances. The greeting of the audience was hearty and
free, and the intimacy between platform and auditorium increased as the
lecture went on. The finish of the discourse was of a more popular
character, though the matter was quite as profound and important.
There was a brilliant allusion now and again to the peaks of thought that
are visible on the surface of human society, and these humorous hits were
eagerly responded to by the pleased listeners, who seemed to augment in
appreciation the more boldly and dexterously the speaker annihilated the
strongholds of popular superstition.
Our comments must not be construed into a report, which could
only be supplied by a verbatim statement. Some of the ideas
presented may be found in Mr. Bengough's article on another page.
The opening reminded us of the fears, even of modern men, when a new path
is placed before them. Many dread the evils that may be contained in
Spiritualism, and have a grave suspicion that all ghosts are devils.
So man's first ideas were in relation to those elements in nature which
caused him discomfort and suffering. Do we not see here the prime
necessity of "evil" as a factor in man's progress?
There were seven of these dire pests of man's early life,
which became reproduced in series after series, and were the "Elohim"
after whose image man was created, according to Moses. The number
seven occupies an important position in biblical records; and the origin
of this Mr. Massey went into at length. The same series was
presented as Zootypes, then as constellations: timekeepers who, on account
of the precessional action of the planet, were unfaithful, fell beneath
the horizon, and were not reinstated till after the great cycle 26,000
years. Then the subject was elaborately traced into the Mount, the
pole, the tree, the birthplace of the gods in the North, where the
superseded constellations again came into view. Thus it appeared
that these celestial phenomena had been made record of for 52,000 years.
Stonohenge as a representative of Paradise was alluded to, and the thirty
years festival was explained. In some points it was apparent that
Mr. Massey and Mr. Oxley were touching on the same subjects.
The planetary gods occupied a second series of seven.
The "Church" you know would not look through Galileo's pipe with a bit of
glass in it, in case it would see more planets than the mythical number.
The moon was the lowest planetary sphere, the spiritual dustbin,
"lunatic," while Saturn was the highest. Buddhism recognised the
moon as the lowest of the seven, and Nirvana as the last of seven, and the
elucidation given by Mr. Massey answered a question on the subject put by
Dr. Wyld. The views advanced were adduced as the true explanation of
the book of Revelation, and which was also paralleled by an Indian
scripture. The identification of the Ram with Christ was given, and
a vast amount of matter of a similar kind, having a bearing on a great
many dogmas and details of church work.
Then the subject was presented on the physiological plane.
It was stellar, not human, personages that "fell." Mythology did not
recognise a primeval pair. It was a true system when understood on
the grounds on which it originated. The theories of creation
entertained by primitive peoples throughout the world were explained, and
the loss of innocence and origin of guilt set forth. This was a
section of the lecture which cannot be touched on to do it any kind of
justice; it involved so much. It was shown that when man rose above
the bestial state he began to improve upon his habits, the basis being a
more strict regard for the laws of reproduction, unnatural misdirections
in this respect were reprobated; while the normal and healthy generation
of offspring was accounted virtuous and honourable. A moral system
thus originated, based on physiology. A wise conservation of man's
vital resources, as at present expressed in the Blue Ribbon movement, was
shown to be of very ancient practice. The sacredness of woman and
the consecration of puberty were treated at length, and gave rise to much
suggestive 'thought. A stronger, a more appropriate plea for purity
could not be imagined. The subject merged into the idea of a saviour
on the basis of reproductive continuity of the race, and the phallic
element took a position of a very different character from that which it
is made to hold in many minds. In previous lectures it was shown
what an important part grease or fat played in ancient symbolism.
The mummy was thus smeared, and became the ceremonial representative of
the saviour idea. Mr. Massey quoted an Egyptian word which had a
sound something resembling "christ " and "grease," and he derived both
words from that source, and of cognate meaning.
The lecturer traced the idea of a fall into its later forms,
such as the descent of soul into matter, remarking that the cause is last
seen. Ancient ideas of the soul being the salt that kept matter from
corruption reminded of the "Ye are the salt of the earth" expression,
which if it "lost its savour, wherewith could it be salted?" Wisdom,
purity was held to be the true saviour, but incidentally the idea of a
blood atonement was explained, and its relationship pointed out.
The Christian dogmas on the crucifixion of a God were
relegated to their true origins, and severely dealt with. No man
possibly is a more consummate master of sarcasm than Mr. Massey, but he
always employs it with strict regard to the defence of truth and the
overthrow of error. The irreligious scoff is not to be heard from
his lips. A deep religious feeling accompanies all his utterances,
and the hearer is impressed with the great gain which would ensue to
religion if all these fables which he explodes were cleared away for ever.
This lecture abounded in beautiful thoughts, expressed in
fitting and poetical language. The audience was deeply interested,
and applause was frequent. A joyful hope was held out for the
"salvation" of mankind. He was yet only partly up the declivity, up
which he is so painfully yet pleasantly toiling. The wisdom of the
Creator was set forth in a manner much more in consonance with man's
religious aspirations than the doctrines of the Churches imply.
A clairvoyant seer had a report of the proceedings of a very
interesting kind. She is so defective of hearing that she did not
know what the speaker was talking about. Her observations could not
therefore be subjective creations derived from the topics listened to.
During the lecture a glorious panorama passed before her, which, as far as
we can learn, was a pictorial or dramatic representation of the spoken
lecture. The characters were of dusky hue. There was a
beautiful woman with long hair; a fine youth; and a babe hold out by its
mother. It was described as a smiling, almond-eyed little one.
All these scenes were richly filled out with accessories, and will be
regarded by those who heard the lecture as "ideographs " of its most
There is more in this ideograph system than can be grasped.
It means everything, in fact. Twelve years ago scenes were similarly
seen round Mr. Massey, representative of subject matter. Are these
surroundings objective or subjective; what is the difference between the
terms? We are travelling upwards; and enough it is if we wisely
apply our present advantages.
THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK.
GERALD MASSEY'S THIRD LECTURE.
When in ten thousand churches, last Sunday, the usual
sleepy afternoon service was being duly performed, the officiating
ministers thereat little knew what was going on at St. George's Hall,
Langham Place. If they had known they might have been excused for
suffering from that choking sensation in the throat which sometimes
accompanies a shock to the nervous system, occasioned by sudden terror or
unwelcome surprise. For some weeks there had been an announcement
outside the doors, that on that afternoon the Non-Historic Nature of the
Canonical Gospels would be indubitably demonstrated by means of a Mythos,
now for the first time recovered from the Sacred Books of Egypt. It
is a fact that concerns some millions of nominal Christians in London, to
say nothing of tens of millions elsewhere, that the Lecturer's promise was
fulfilled. In other words, an hour and a half was expended in
reading off from the Egyptian Ritual of the Dead the most important
portions of those same Gospels on which the religious life of Christendom
and its hopes for eternity are understood to rest.
Mr. Massey's audience was appreciative and enthusiastic.
It has become more so every week. But it is scarcely to be wondered
at, that the Hall was not full. Long and painful experience has
taught us that English people brought up in orthodoxy are, for the most
part, absolutely devoid of any curiosity, openness of mind, or rationality
in religious matters. And during the last forty years the Gospels
have been the subject of such endless criticism, and their authority as a
so-called "Revelation" has been so completely pulverised, that
free-thinkers are perhaps rather tired of the whole thing. But we
can confidently assure the most learned student of Christianity, that in
Mr. Massey's treatment of the subject he would have met with something
almost entirely fresh, of surpassing interest, historical, ethnological,
and religious, and a delightful contrast, both to merely negative
criticism, and that imaginative evolution of the writer's consciousness,
which forms the staple of most "Lives of Jesus."
The Lecturer began by saying that he regarded two things as
constituting the unpardonable sin of the parent against the helplessness
and innocency of infancy—the one consisting in the father allowing his
child to run the risk of blood-contamination, such as was once suffered by
a child of his through the filthy fraud of vaccination—the other in his
permitting the soul of his child to be inoculated with the still more
virulent poison of the theological vaccine. ' Children who accept as truth
whatsoever is seriously affirmed by those whom they love—those who are
their sole protectors—are taught that the fables of mythology
misconceived are the sacred and true "Word of God," if they are found in
the Hebrew Scripture! And it takes the latter half of one's
life-time to slough off the mass of corrupting error instilled into us
during the earlier half; even when we do break out and slough it off in a
mental eruption, and find ourselves in rebellion against things as they
are. The mass of people never get rid of the infection; they still
pass on the old hereditary disease in this life; and, if we are to believe
certain reports, they go on for a time after death persisting that the
ancient errors are true, and still try, to infect healthier souls by
communicating their old hereditary disease from the next life.
"I," pursued the lecturer, "in common with others, was
vaccinated body and soul, and have to spend the rest of my life in trying
to get rid of the evil effects of the virus. When I lectured ten
years ago, I had not found out the fraud by which we have been
unfathomably befooled. I accepted the canonical gospels as
containing a human history. At that time the facts of Modern
Spiritualism had been forced upon me during many years. Now the
first effect of these on some natures is to make a profound appeal to the
feeling of religious awe, and therefore, to confirm the orthodox in all
the errors of their early thought. If certain extensions of
recognised laws take place in the present, why may not all the mythical
miracles of the past be veritable matters of fact? Of course they
may if we have no means of distinguishing between them. Thus the
primary tendency of Spiritism is to rehabilitate the old Beliefs that have
been founded on misinterpreted Mythology, and which have been and are the
cause of enmity between men of science and the facts of Spiritualism.
I soon saw that if the old Book were plumped into the new boat,
unexplained, it would scuttle it, and might sink it. The Christian
Spiritualists, for example, are never tired of proclaiming that the facts
of Spiritualism and the miracles of the Bible are identical; and that if
the one are true, the others were. But supposing some comparative
mythologist comes and shows that Hebrew miracles are Egyptian myths, and
explains their symbolical nature, proving that the assumed miracle never
meant what has been taken for granted, then the tables are turned on the
Christian Spiritualists who had vouched for too much too soon."
Having thus explained his stand-point as regards
Spiritualism—a matter of especial interest to the readers of the MEDIUM—Mr.
Massey proceeded with the proper subject of his lecture. In his view the
only historical Jesus, the only Jesus known to the Jews, was one Jehoshua
ben Pandira, who had learned the arts of magic in Egypt, and was put to
death as a sorcerer. He was not crucified in Roman fashion, but, in the
phraseology of the Acts of the Apostles, "hanged upon a tree." The year of
his death is not certain, but there are reasons for thinking it took place
about 70 B.C. The Jesus of the Gospels is an entirely mythical personage,
the salient points of whose history from beginning to end, and even some
of those very matters of detail which constitute the hopeless
discrepancies between the several gospels, may be recognised in more or
less obvious form in the Egyptian Ritual. In the annotations to this
precious document the Text is said to have been found in the reign of King Uousap-ti (the Usaphais of Manetho) who was the fifth king of the first
Dynasty, and who consequently lived over 6,000 years ago. At that time
certain parts of the Sacred Books then discovered were so ancient that the
tradition of their origin had been lost. Anything more interesting than an
exposition of the parallelism between this ancient Ritual and our
so-called Gospel History can hardly be conceived. It forms the subject of
the last Section of the Natural Genesis, to which all the previous work
leads up; and the principle features were given by Mr. Massey to his
favoured hearers last Sunday. We were shown how the circumstances of the
Annunciation and Immaculate Conception, the Birth, the Time and details of
the Baptism, the Temptation, the most Mystical sayings in John's Gospel,
the Parables, Miracles, the Crucifixion, Resurection, and Risen Life,
recorded in the Canonical Gospels were reproductions of the Religious
Mysteries of Horus and Osiris, performed, portrayed and recorded thousands
of years before in the Egyptian Ritual of the Dead.
In brief space to render such an achievement intelligible,
would of course be impossible. We will only state our belief, that with
the publication of this and other allied knowledge, the great Christian
controversy which has lasted now for so many years will enter upon a new
phase. Nay more, perhaps at some indefinite time nearer than may now seem
probable may be accomplished that prophecy with which the lecturer
concluded the most momentous discourse that was ever delivered in St.
George's Hall, often as its walls have echoed to the voices of
heresiarchs. The prophecy ran somewhat thus:—
The cult of Equinoctial Christolatry is responsible for
enthroning the cross of death in heaven, with a deity on it doing public
penance for a private failure in the commencement of creation. It has
divinised a figure of human suffering, and a face of piteous pain; as if
there were nought but a great heartache at the core of all things. In the
young pagan world men deified the beautiful, the glad; as they will again
upon a loftier pedestal, when the tale of the fictitious fall of man and
false redemption by the cloud-begotten God has passed away like a phantasm
of the night, and men awake to learn that they are here to preclude
poverty, to wage ceaseless war upon sordid suffering and preventable
pain, and not to apotheosize an effigy of sorrow as a type of the Eternal; for the most beneficent is most beautiful; the happiest are the
healthiest; the most God-like is the most glad.
Equinoctial Christolatry adopted and sanctified the savage
doctrine of blood-sacrifice and vicarious expiation, which is a complete
reversal of the common law of civilization, that all sane persons shall be
hold responsible for their deeds, arid riot acquitted because the innocent
may have suffered for the guilty. A doctrine so cowardly and immoral must
have rotted the backbone out of all manhood, if men were no better than
their professed beliefs, and had not been fed from other and healthier
fountains of life.
Equinoctial Christolatry boasts of having put an end to
individual sacrifice; but it is compatible with the masses of the toiling
people being offered up for ever in one great sacrifice. The other world
has been held as a lure in front of that beast of burden, the Producer, in
order that the scent of future food in another life might make him forego
his right to the common grazing-ground in this world.
The Equinoctial Christolators are responsible for postponing
to a future stage of existence the redress of wrongs and the righting of
irregularities which can only be rectified in this. False believing is
ever the worst enemy of true doing; and every Sunday the teaching of
those legalized kidnappers of the children, for compulsory inoculation of
their minds with the old theological virus, tends to nullify the good done
by education during the other six days of the week. Ever ready to fight
with shadows like the "primal curse," or to promise the "lost paradise"
to those who have faith (in defiance of facts) that it once existed, they
leave it for Communists and Nihilists to force into the sphere of
practical politics the discussion of reforms that have to be effected
before humanity call be saved.
Equinoctial Christolatry has fanatically
fought for its false theory, and waged incessant warfare against Nature
and evolution—Nature's intention made visible—and against some of the
noblest human instincts during eighteen centuries. Seas of human blood
have been spilt to keep the bark of Peter afloat. Earth has been
honeycombed with the graves of the martyrs of free-thought. Heaven has
been filled with a horror of great darkness in the name of God. Eighteen
centuries are a long while in the lifetime of a lie, but a brief span in
tile eternity of truth. The lie is sure to be found out, or fall at last.
And at length the long delusion, based on misinterpreted mythology, is
drawing near its end. The only way to dispose finally of the false history
in the Old Testament or the New, was by recovering the true tradition. This has now been attempted, and the supremest verities of revealed
"truth" are proved to be only falsifications of ancient fables.
In a few weeks the Atlantic Ocean will separate Gerald Massey
from his country. We heartily wish him a warm reception in America, and
yet we cannot do so without a feeling of pain. We are afraid lest
audiences consisting of thousands instead of hundreds of enthusiastic
listeners may so win upon his sympathy that he may not return to us. It is
true that he will leave us a priceless bequest in four noble volumes, but
we want the presence of the man as well as his books. As it is we can only
console ourselves with the thought that, live where he may, Gerald Massey
can never be anything but an Englishman of the finest type.
Next Sunday let him see at least by a crowded hall that he
has a few friends in London who know how to value and sympathise with
sterling English energy and genius consecrated to the severest scientific
toil in search of truth for it own dear sake, rewarded by its discovery,
and spent in its proclamation.
S. E. B.
NEW YORK TIMES.
NOVEMBER 17, 1883.
GERALD MASSEY'S THEORIES.
WHY A BELIEVER IN SPIRITUALISM REJECTS
Mr. Gerald Massey, who has been advertised as the English
orator who can be heard, thought it necessary, before beginning his
lecture in Chickering Hall last evening, to relieve the embarrassment of
the situation by informing the very small audience that he had come here
to sow the seed and not to reap the harvest. He further declared that he
was suffering from a severe cold and hinted that he might not be able to
lecture on Monday night, as announced, in consequence. He is a man of
medium height and slight figure with a thin iron-gray beard, thick hair,
brushed back behind his ears, and a florid complexion. He wore a frock
coat and a waistcoat of black velvet, black cloth trousers, a dark scarf,
and spectacles. He speaks rapidly but distinctly, in a conversational
manner. His subject was "Man's Search for His Soul during 50,000 Years."
Mr. Massey said that he addressed the America of the
future—the America of land nationalization, Spiritualism, and other
issues. Since the ascent of man, as unfolded in the doctrine of evolution,
has succeeded the falsehood of his fall, it became necessary to go back to
the beginning, and judge from the actions of primitive man. The negroes in
Africa today preserve all the baubles of human babyhood, and many other
savage races do the same in degree, while the records of the Egyptians
explain their significance. The earliest mode of burial, dating back
50,000 years, has its primary model in the mother's womb, the idea being
to preserve the body for future birth. This is still represented in the
navel mounds of India, the nave of a church, and the Scottish tumulus.
After citing many other instances of a similar purport, the lecturer
asserted that the certainty of a future after death possessed by primitive
man did not come to him by revelation, for he was neither a metaphysician
nor a victim of diseased subjectivity. The Egyptians, he said, believed in
the existence of seven souls, a belief shared in with them by the Hebrew
Rabbis, the Druids, and the esoteric Buddhists of the present day. These
were the soul of blood, the soul of breath, the soul of eternal
perception, the pubescent soul, the intelligent soul, and the immortal
soul. This belief was typified in the seven days of the Book of Genesis.
The Egyptians' struggle for immortality culminated in the mummy,
preservation being the first form of salvation. They believed that man
gained his fifth soul only at puberty, and his sixth at 20 years of age.
Children consequently had only elementary souls, and from this was derived
the false claim of the Church to save the soul of a child by baptism.
Women also were believed to have imperfect souls, and some of the
Christian fathers have held a similar doctrine. In the Egyptian tombs the
images of the dead are all bearded males, typifying that at the
resurrection women would be reproduced in the image of the male. A similar
belief was held by saint Augustine, and is held today by the Mormons. One
of the ancient souls was symbolized by the marrow. Hence the "Anointed
One," and Christ literally means "The Greased." The esoteric Buddhists say
that most men in the world to-day have not advanced beyond the fifth
stage, a very appropriate classification, as the soul is typified by the
The Egyptians, continued the lecturer, went a step further
and evolved an eight stage, in which were gathered all the perfections of
the seven. This stage was symbolized in Christ, who was a model—not a
real man—. They thought that they might become able in the trance state
to transform themselves into spirits—whence was derived the "conversion"
of Rome—and the means they took to produce that state survive in our
consumption of alcoholic and other stimulants. This belief in a spiritual
entity which could be separated permanently from life, was the first
conception of immortality, a subject of which the Mosaic and other
writings contain no mention. The Egyptians had gone beyond the mummy type.
They did not believe that the body would be resurrected. That theory was
stolen by the Christians who were ignorant of the developed idea and were
ready to swallow all that was impossible, in fact. [Applause.]
Mr. Massey said that although not a seer himself he had had
relations for many years with one who is, and had received sufficient
evidence through his other senses to believe that nature gives us another
existence, which needs only proper interpretation to form the basis of the
religion of the future.
FEBRUARY 2, 1884.
Gerald Massey's Lecture on Demons and Their Influence.
"Why Does Not God Kill the Devil?"—How the Existence of the First Devil
Came to be Believed—The Nemesis Which Constituted the Real Hell—The Author
of English Misery—A Description of Starving London.
Last evening Mr. Gerald Massey delivered the last in his
series of lectures in the old Baptist Church, Clinton avenue, near Myrtle,
the subject being "Why Does Not God Kill the Devil?" There was a
pretty fair attendance. Ex-judge Dailey presided and bespoke an
attentive hearing for the lecturer, whom he introduced by saying that the
one Mr. Massey was now about to deliver would close the series of
discourses they had heard from that gentleman since his coming to
Mr. Gerald Massey then came forward and was slightly
applauded. He began by saying that he recently gave offence by
speaking of "Plato or any other metaphysical impostor." But
metaphysics began in imposture, in the in the imposition of modern
meanings on ancient language and typology. The Gnostics said that
Plato was a minute philosopher. Yet Plato was the chief builder of a
bridge of mist and moonshine by which the ignorant could cross the chasm
that lay betwixt the physics of Egypt and the metaphysics of the Christian
that it was by means of Plato's system that he was enabled to properly
understand the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity
applied to a supposed Divine being, who cuts up all things into three,
Himself included. The speaker then traced the origin of the doctrine
in physics and went on to say that the devil of darkness was the first
divinity, the first power recognised as superior. The simple and
fundamental questionings of the Zulus upset the Bibliolatry of Bishop
Colenso, and the crucial question of the savage Friday was too much for
the theology of Crusoe. When Friday asked: "But if God much strong,
much mighty as the devil, why God not kill the devil? So make him no
more wicked?" Crusoe, imitating other theologists, not knowing what
to say, "pretended not to hear him." The human mind had long
suffered an eclipse and had been darkened and dwarfed in the shadow of
ideas the real meaning of which had been lost to moderns. Myths and
allegories, whose significance was once unfolded to the initiates in the
ancient mysteries, had been adopted in ignorance and reissued in real
truths divinely vouchsafed to mankind for the first and only time in the
Hebrew writings, and a great deal of what had been imposed upon us as
God's direct and sole revelation to man was a mass of inverted myths,
under the shadow of which they had been cowering as timorously as birds in
the stubble when a hawk was hovering overhead. The simple realities
of the earliest times were expressed by signs and symbols, which had been
applied to later thoughts and converted into theological problems and
metaphysical mysteries, for which the theologians had no basis whatever,
and could only wrangle over en l'air. Darkness was the first
great natural adversary recognized by man—simply Darkness was the enemy of
Light. Hence darkness was the primary devil. By the Egyptians
the crocodile was regarded as an idolograph of the swallowing darkness,
who gradually assumed the character of....
MAN'S MORTAL ENEMY
who brought death into the world. The dark power was the devil and
the light the good power. When it came to worshipping, or rather
propitiating, it was the dark power [that] dominated, because it
struck terror and elicited fear. Men had dipped into the dark and
suffered from the shadows of eclipse so long and passed through them
safely that their unreality was at last discovered. There was no
revelation or new point of departure in phenomena, nothing added to nature
or human knowledge in the later views of the metaphysicians and
theosophists. Thus the supposed revelation of a newer truth was
largely founded on a falsification of the old. So it might be said
they were contemporaries of savage man in the manner of their current
customs and beliefs. Their theology had, from the external darkness
of the beginning, extracted and internalized the devil in the end.
There is no devil such as Milton saw, he (Massey) maintained. When
they went close to this devil of theology they found him not alive.
In fact he was a bogus bugbear. The German devil was at one time the
red bearded thunder. The Norsemen had no respect for the devil at
all; and as to hell, why if one did not get to heaven, then hell was the
next best place in the other world—if there were but two.
[Laughter.] The Norsemen new nothing of a hell of everlasting fire.
A missionary once went to Greenland to illustrate the Gospel of good
tidings with the aid of an external fire, but instead of the people being
frightened, there was happiness and jollity; and they sat as if
spiritually warming themselves at the everlasting bonfire that was never
to go out. Luther and Calvin revived and sublimated the theology of
the mythical devil. The Romanish Church did not deify the devil as
the Protestants had done; she was better acquainted with the tradition of
his creation and the earthly nature of his character. Instead of the
arch enemy of God and man, majestic in his divinity, he became a playful
and grotesque image. The popular Satan, therefore, was the popular
monster of mythology. Some people might say, like Charles Lamb, that
this was depriving him of his devil; and this would be like depriving some
people of half their heaven upon earth and the whole of it thereafter.
They had talked of the devil long enough, but to a Spiritualist the devil
exists for the first time in the facts made known to Spiritualism.
Could anything more silly be imagined than to think that there was a
vested interest in our wrong doing, and that spirits were present with us
in the enjoyment of our most secret sins; or the ghosts of dead drunkards
haunting the scenes of their worldly debauchery?
MR. MASSEY'S CREED.
The devil and the hell of my creed, continued the lecturer,
consists of the natural Nemesis which followed upon broken laws and dogged
the law breaker in spite of any belief of his that his sins and their
inevitable results can be so cheaply sponged out, as he has been led to
think through the shedding of innocent blood. Theirs was a far more
terrible way of realizing the hereafter than any abstract idea of hell
could afford. In the ancient days, when immortals were said to come
"There went a youth with an angel
Through the gate of an eastern town.
They passed a dog by the roadside,
Where dead and rotting it lay,
And the youth at the ghastly odour,
Sickened and turned away."
But the angel's pure sense was not annoyed until a beautiful lady came
upon the scene, whose
"——voice most silvery rang,
And the youth to embrace her beauty
With all his being sprang,
A sweet delightsome lady,
And yet the legend saith
The angel, while he passed her,
Shuddered and held his breath."
[Applause.] Only think of a fine lady who had been wooed and
flattered in this life, finding herself in the next a spiritual leper, at
which all good spirits shuddered when they passed. To realize that,
would work more effectually than much preaching. It was the worst
hell of all for those who infest poor, weak, easily tempted souls to get
them in their clutches and make use of them. They had been amused
with a dolly devil long enough, while all around them the real devil was
working with a most infernal activity and playing the very devil with this
world of ours. [Laughter.] This was not a Satan of God's making, but
a devil that was like themselves. The devil of their own ignorance
and self deification. This was the devil to be wrestled with, and
THE BLASPHEMOUS IMPUDENCE
to make god the author of this dark shadow. Whether there was a God
or not, it was impossible to discuss the matter intelligently until the
doctrine of creation by the process of evolution was taken into account.
And this showed that the evil for which the creator was responsible was a
means of evolving in us a consciousness of good. The lecturer
referred to several instances in support of this view, and continued to
say that in many of them it was absurd to ask God to save them from these
troubles instead of looking to their liver and obeying the laws of nature.
Their mission should be to clear their horrible ignorance of ages and ages
and look forward to its being burned out of human souls by an eternity of
hell fire. He ridiculed the idea of God being the author of all the
sufferings of humanity. The laws that deal with humanity in the
aggregate sub-serve eternal interests which crush many smaller claims of
individual life, and if they did not accept this revelation lovingly the
poor, neglected scum and canaille of the nations rose up, mighty in the
strength of disease, and proved the oneness of humanity by killing them
with the same infection. Mr. Massey here drew a vivid picture of the
awful scenes to be met with, of festering, starving thousands in the great
City of London which the Congregational Union has recently reported.
The poverty there of those who strove to live honestly was appalling and
included such scenes as women and children making sacks at half a cent
each, palliasses at three cents each, and shirt finishing at six cents a
dozen, the operator having to provide her own thread. Accompanying
these disclosures came the customary moan of the wealthy ones that such
people attended neither church nor chapel. He should not wonder that
the panacea for all this would be the building more churches and the
consecration of at least an additional bishop. [Laughter.] In the
midst of all the Providence was pouring everlasting abundance on the land
with plenty for all. Yet there was carefully preserved against these
people vast tracts of idle, fruitful soil. As a remedy the praying
machine of the State was set in motion with a forty thousand parson power
and Providence was forthwith implored to stay his hand and work a miracle
on behalf of those poor human worms. Thousands of Spiritualists
would ask was was meant by the word God, and he (the speaker) was himself
set down by the American press as materialistic. One writer said,
"there is no God yet but there's one coming,"—a profound saying. If
the Deity hitherto set up for worship was a true likeness they should not
become atheists but forthwith commit suicide. It was for this world
that people needed to be saved, and life was not worth living if they
could not do something to allay the misery they saw all around. The
atheist says, if there were an omnipotent God, such things would not be
tolerated by Him. But he (Mr. Massey) would say that God....
GAVE THE LAND FOR ALL
and it was the initial iniquity of absolute private property in land which
brought this about—a system which enabled one man to clutch a county and a
few to claim a country. The national property was doubling every
thirty years and so was the national pauperism. One was allowed to
possess the soil and thousands to be driven off for the support of game.
Yet God said, "I gave the land for all." People in town and country
were being enclosed in a network of monopoly. He learned the other
day that the Civil Service Stores in Bedford street, London, were
prevented from selling fruit, because the Duke of Bedford owned Covent
Garden and the rent depended on the monopoly. The land of England
was being monopolized ever since the 30,000 thieves, who landed at
Hastings, wrote their title deeds in blood. In the face of this they
had 40,000 men in masks, as he might say, paid out of the revenue to act
the part of a secret Sunday police. This English Church was imposing
the most pernicious errors on the people as the paid agents of the State.
If revenues derived from the church for the propagation of false theology
and the gospel of damnation were expended in education there would be a
different story to tell to-day. It would be well to pension off this
lazy body of men, even if it doubled the national debt [applause], for the
whole was a bogus set. They were so anxious that they would pray for
the salvation of everybody but themselves. It was a pitiful farce
for them to commence praying to God to do by miracle what they were doing
all they could to prevent. The struggles for American independence
and the freedom of the coloured man were mighty events, but more glorious
still would be victory to vindicate the battle of free thought which would
have to be continued until the universal human race was freed from the
tyranny of wrong teaching, which was held to be venerable on no other
ground than that it had grown hoary with age, and until the common enemy
was finally overthrown. [Loud applause.] A vote of thanks proposed
and passed by the audience was conveyed by the chairman, and Mr. Massey
having responded, the proceedings came to an end.
THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK.
MAY 16, 1884.
GERALD MASSEY IN AMERICA.
To the Editor,—It gives me much pleasure to report that
Gerald Massey (the eminent Poet and author of the wonderful work lately
published in your country, "The Natural Genesis") has just
delivered a very successful course of five lectures in this city; the
trustees of the Church of the Unity kindly donating the use of their
commodious edifice for that purpose. The subjects were as follow:—
Tuesday evening, April 8th, 8 p.m.: "The Mystery of Evil, or the Devil of
Darkness in the Light of Evolution."
2nd Lecture—Thursday, April 10th: "The Fall of Man, an Astrological Myth,
and a Physiological Fable."
3rd Lecture—Friday, April 11th: "Man in Search of his Soul for 50,000
years, and how he found it."
4th Lecture—Monday, April 14th: "The Historical Jesus and the Mythical
5th Lecture—Wednesday, April 16th: "The Coming Relgion."
The lectures were well attended by the thinking people of
Cleveland, who followed Mr. Massey through the entire course with great
interest. The lectures were too radical for some, who cherish
popular pet theories, and do not wish them disturbed; but Mr. Massey has
evidently spent much time in his search for truth, and has traced
Christian theology to its source, in fact, has traced all systems of
religion to their origin,—and has the manhood to tell of his discoveries,
irrespective of any who may be hurt by the light he brings. With the
exception of the "Cleveland Herald," the papers were afraid to give very
full reports of his lectures, but united in speaking very highly of his
ability and learning, and the thoroughness with which he treated his
subjects. Much discussion has followed the lectures since Mr. Massey
left the city: some of the ministers, in order to counteract the effect,
have been preaching against his line of argument, but whatever controversy
ensues, will only fructify the good seed of truth planted here by him.
Gerald Massey did not forget the "little ones" when here; and
the Sunday before he left, gave a short talk to the Children's Progressive
Lyceum, on "The Origin of some of our everyday Habits and Customs."
It was full of interest and originality, and made perfectly comprehensive
to the youthful
minds, by the simple language in which his remarks were clothed.
It will doubtless be gratifying to your readers to know that
Mr. Massey's health is much improved since he left New York. He left
here on April 18, for Grand Rapids, Mich., intending to stop in Chicago,
Denver, Salt Lake, and San Francisco; from which port he is to take
steamer for Australia. That he may regain his shattered health
(brought on by too close application to his late works), and that the
opportunity may be given to him in his travels to ventilate the great
truths he has ferreted out, but explode by, explaining the many
superstitions of old theology, is the earnest wish of....
Cleveland, Ohio, April 27, 1884.
"The Cleveland Herald" in reporting one of Mr. Massey's lectures, says:
"The church was crowded, notwithstanding the miserable weather, and the
speaker, appreciating the fact, declared his pleasure before commencing
THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK.
OCTOBER 8, 1886.
MR. MASSEY'S LECTURES.
The series of ten lectures at St. George's Hall, closed on
Friday evening, October 1, with the lecture on "The Coming Religion."
There was a large attendance, and a more enthusiastic audience could not
have been desired. The lecturer commenced with a few remarks on the
conduct of some opponent, we think The Rock, which had resorted to
the good old Christian weapons of misrepresentation and abuse. That
Mr. Massey's utterances had found expression in the public press is
evidently a sore point with the Christians, who have still their
hereditary horror of Truth.
The lecture contained a grand plea for Spiritualism, which
was received without opposition. The audience was apparently
composed chiefly of Agnostics, who cheered any allusion to physical
reform, or criticisms of priestcraft. There were as usual many
Spiritualists present. At the close Mr. Massey received such an
ovation as does not frequently fall to the lot of a lecturer. For a
long time the applause was so loud and continuous that Mr. Massey sat
quite overcome, the red blood gradually mounting to his brow and face.
When at last he was permitted to rise, he modestly expressed his
acknowledgments, under very marked emotion.
Mr. Massey has done what no combination of individuals in
London could have had the courage to attempt. We regret that Mr.
Massey thinks of going to the provinces. London is the place for
him. He should commence a series of Sunday evening addresses,
putting far less matter into them, and in a popular way giving expositions
of the structure of the Scriptures. He would be sustained, and make
his mark on the world of thought.
THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK.
JUNE 17, 1887.
MR. MASSEY'S SECOND LECTURE AT ST. GEORGE'S HALL,
THE ROMAN CATACOMBS
is a subject that Mr. Massey has not dealt with in these lectures.
It is one of the stock frauds of Christian apologists; a great deal of
novel and interesting matter may be expected. Mr. Massey's lectures
are full of learning and research. We were glad to see so many of
our readers present on Sunday last.
Subjects and Dates:
JUNE 19, at 3
30.—TESTIMONY OF THE ROMAN CATACOMBS TO THE "TRUTH OF
JUNE 26, at 3.30.—THE
HISTORICAL JESUS AND MYTHICAL CHRIST.
JULY 3, at 3.30.—MOON -
MYTH AND RELIGIOUS LUNIOLATRY.
JULY 10, at 3.30.—THE
MYSTERY OF PAUL, "APOSTLE OF THE
HERETICS," AND NOT OF HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY.
JULY 17, at 3.30.—HOW
LANGUAGE WAS FORMED IN THE HUMAN LIKENESS.
Admission ... 2s.; 1s.;
6d. Doors open at 3 o'clock.
GREAT SUCCESS OF FIRST LECTURE.
On the first bright, balmy summer Sunday after our
exceptionally severe and protracted spring, it was little short of a
miracle to see such a gathering in St. George's Hall as greeted Mr. Massey
on Sunday afternoon. Not that the great hall was by any means full,
but had the audience been placed in one of ordinary capacity, it would
have been well filled.
Again Mr. Massey has shown courage greater than all of us
combined, and he has been rewarded with success. He has faith, which moves
mountains; he has something to know, to rely on, to unite his
efforts with the grand minds who knew and who taught in the past.
The lecture was quite a new presentation of the subject, full
of matter, delivered with animation, and, if anything, a trifle too long,
having occupied one hour and forty minutes in delivery. The
following was the conclusion:—
CHRISTIANITY, AN ANTI-SPIRITUALISTIC
We have Spiritualists to-day who can lay hold of the
Scriptures by means of the Gnosis that remains there as a lure, and
turn it to the account intended, that is, as a decoy towards accepting the
history. And so when the risen Christ reappears in the actual body that is
missing from the tomb, they are prepared to explain away the physical fact
by means of the Spiritual Gnosis. In that way nothing is bottomed, and
nothing can be really understood. In writing to a Christian Spiritualist
the other day, I said: "I know of no better way of waging the battle for
truth than arraying the facts face to face, on either side, and letting
them fight it out!" His reply was: "I do not believe in your facts
because I do not know." Now that is good firm ground to stand upon,
however late in life we take that position. But to be of any real service
we must apply the same reason all round. As an adherent of Historic
Christianity that same writer has all along been a believer in what he
did not know to be facts, and a believer just because he did not know;
and now he finds it too late to correct his early belief by means of later
knowledge. All I ask is that people shall no longer believe because
they don't know! No matter what they may call themselves, they are
traitors to the truth who will not face the facts or examine the genuine
data for themselves, but will go on repeating ignorantly, or in pious
pigheadedness, the orthodox assumptions, and keep on applying the
hypotheses of accommodation to the Christian documents.
Phenomenal Spiritualists who go on philandering with the
fallacies of the Christian faith, and want to make out that it is
identical with Modern Spiritualism, have to face the great indubitable
fact that Historic Christianity was established as a non-Spiritualist
and an antispiritualistic religion. Its primary fact, its initial
point of departure, its first bit of foothold for a new departure was the
acknowledgment of the physical resurrection of the dead Historic Christ. The reappearance of the Corpus Christi is the fundamental fact of
the faith. The strings are pulled so that the puppet, the realistic
figment, may be forced to exclaim that he is not a bodiless ghost, not a
fleshless phantom, not a spirit anyway; and he offers the proof palpable
that he is none of your Gnostic Christs or the spirit of anybody!
Moreover this is the veritable dead body that is missing from
the tomb. And still further, the passage has been altered from Marcion's
"Gospel of the Lord" on purpose to substitute the corporeal Christ of
Historic Christianity for the spiritual representation of the Gnostics. In Marcion's rendering, the word phantasma is used; and this has not
only been omitted, the phantom has been made to swear very emphatically
that he is not in any wise phantasmal but is a being of flesh and blood;
and after demonstrating the fact he clinches it by asking if they have got
anything there for him to eat.
As a Spiritualist, I assert that the new Christian
Dispensation was founded upon the death and burial of the Ancient
Spiritualism; or at least, upon the gagging of it, and getting it
underground dead or alive! And the tomb out of which a corporeal Christ
was believed to have emerged as the saviour of the world, and brought
immortality to light by a physical resurrection from the dead, has been
the burial-place of genuine Spiritualism for 1800 years.
The founders of the Catholic Church were the de-spirializers
of Primitive Christianity, and the destroyers of the Gnostic religion, as
such, by placing their ban upon all Spiritualistic phenomena. The
foundations of the ancient cult were to be built upon no longer.
Two distinct charges are brought against the carnalizers
by Tatian in the second century. He cries out shame upon the Catholic
Church, and exclaims: "You have given the Nazarite wine to drink, and
commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not"; they are debauching
the Christian community, and destroying the primitive Nazarite purity. Next they have determined to put an end to practical Spiritualism on
behalf of the new faith. And this is treated by Tatian as part of a subtle
scheme for destroying the purity and spirituality of that Christianity
which was primitive and prehistoric too. Historic Christianity originated
with turning the Gnostic and Esoteric teachings inside out, and
externalizing the mythical allegory in a personal human history. All that
was interior with the Knowers was made objective for the ignorant. All that was Spiritual in significance was embodied to be made palpable
and plain: a Christ who came without instead of the one who must be
evolved from within, —Extractum Carnis being substituted
for the Spiritual Christ. They shut up the mouth of the other world. Because the reports from the other side were fatal to the historic
fiction; they broke down the bridge between the two worlds, and proclaimed
a great gulf fixed for ever, which could only be crossed by faith in the
Historic Jesus! And this perversion of the Ancient Wisdom has half-filled
our world with pious lunatics, for whom it offers no cure, and who are
told to look forward for an asylum in the world hereafter. But such
pernicious teaching will make people as insane for another life as for
this. Here or there falsehood must be fraudulent though found out too
late. What of the myriads of suffering souls who were forced to wear the
blinkers of ignorance all through this life for fear they should learn
to see for themselves: who were drugged and deceived from birth till
death with the nostrums of a false deluding faith,—what of them when they
awake from their stupor in death to find out they have been foully,
cruelly, hocussed with a creed that supplied an illusion for this life and
a damnable delusion for, the next,—
Delusion that is perfectly complete
For those who die to find out the deceit.
If the teachers of the Fleshly Faith could but see
how their fallacies dissolve in death,—how the false ideal set up in this
life dislimns and fades as the terrible light of reality whitens in the
next; if they could but see that mournful multitude of the helplessly
deceived who staked their all upon the truth of what they had been taught,
and find that they have lost because the teaching was false! If you could
see them wander up and down on the other side of the Dark River, and wring
their hands over their blighted hopes and broken hearts; hear the pitiful
wailings for the Christ that is no more objective there than he was here;
for the visionary glory that they may not grasp, the distant rainbows that
they can never reach; for the life-boat gone to wreck and shattered on
the wrong shore because of the false beacon lights; if you could only
dream how these poor souls desire to have the deception made known on this
side of life,—how they want to send the warning message to their
friends,—how they will almost hiss at me through the mouths of mediums
whenever they have the chance, as if their fierce feelings had turned into
tongues of flame, praying me to work on faster, and cry louder against the
established lie, for the time is getting short and the helpers are few,
and the atmosphere around each live soul is so deathly dense with
This would be unbearable but for those calm other voices of
the Gnostics, who in this life walked our world with inward glory crowned,
and who lived on after the Gnosis was suppressed and the ancient oracles
were made dumb; who live on yet, and are working with us still; who fill
and inflate us at times with their influence as if each single soul were a
hundred thousand (cent mille, as his men used to call Napoleon).
They who are joining hands with us to-day to bridge over that dark gulf
betwixt two worlds which the Historic and Fleshly Faith first made, and
has been deepening and widening now for 1800 years. This is the
resurrection day of the pre-Christian Gnosticism, as shown by the recent
revival of Spiritualism, by the restoration of the Tree of Knowledge, by
the elevation of Womankind, instead of the Fall of Man. We are
the living witnesses to the fact that—
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes with pain
And dies among his worshippers. . .
BANNER OF LIGHT
December 15, 1888.
"The Coming Religion."
On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9th the ninth discourse in
the Independent Club Series in Berkeley Hall, Boston, was delivered—the
lecturer on that occasion being the world-famous author of "The
People's Advent"—GERALD MASSEY!
His theme was "The Coming Religion," and his remarks were replete with
gems of crystallized thought, which were ably and eloquently enunciated.
His illustrations were rendered with a pointedness which was quickly
appreciated by his attentive auditors.
Those who have been fortunate enough to hear the lectures
previously delivered by him in this course do not hesitate to say that Mr.
Massey excelled himself in this latter one. It abounded in evidence
of studious labor and patient research, combined with comprehensive
thought. If is a matter of regret that his whole series of lectures
cannot, upon his recent visit be placed before the thinkers of Boston.
The following synopsis from the Boston Post of Dec. 10th gives a
good outline of his positions taken in treatment of the above quoted
Orthodox Christianity, he said, is mainly built up of
outworks or scaffolding. The ordinary worshipper stands outside and
mistakes the scaffolding for the real building, and looks upon it as it
rises, tier above tier, like so many landing stages on the upward way to
The so-called "revealing religion" is simply unrevealed
mythology. A spurious system of salvation was proffered to those who
would accept the ancient mythology transmogrified into historic
Christianity, and be bribed into changing their old lamps for new ones.
Orthodox preachers will go asserting in the name of God any number of
things which their hearers do not believe, only they have heard them
repeated so often that their sense is too wearied to rebel. They
have taught us to look for God in the wrong way. They have based
religion of erroneous grounds and have made us the victims of false
The fact must be faced that these teachings are not true.
The meek do not inherit the earth, and are not going to. We are not
forgiven because we are forgiving. Nature does not keep her book of
accounts in that way. No death of Jesus can save us from ourselves.
It was taught that he came to abrogate certain Jewish laws, but no Jesus
can upset the natural law of development. No blood of the lamb will
wash out one single internal blot. Nothing but life can work any
transformation of character here or hereafter: death does not, cannot do
It is not in sorrow but in joy that we can attain the
greatest unconsciousness of self and live the larger objective life for
others. We are often told that our civilization is infinitely
indebted to Christianity, but it is a fact that the redemption preached
for eighteen hundred years has failed to save the world, and it must now
give way to other workers with other methods, applied to such matters as
poverty, the distribution of wealth and the ownership of land.
What is going to take the place of the cast-out faith?
It is not going to be established by the blood and fire of the Salvation
Army, nor by presenting our cast-off clothes to the aborigines. It
is being rejected at home faster than you can give it away abroad.
Nature works by transformation, not be repetition. Her changes imply
growth as the outcome of a new life. It is not possible for us to
swap creeds, or formulate a new religion. Religion is not a set of
precepts or a mode of worship. It is not what we believe or profess,
but what we are.
Nothing avails but the life lived. Our past deeds must
and will make our future fate. The only way of showing love to God
is in working for humanity. The Lord does not want your long and
loud laudations or offerings of false money. The coming religion
must be founded on knowledge, and the phenomenal Spiritualist stands
level-footed on the only ground of fact that is for ever being offered by
nature for human foothold in the unseen.
Spiritualism alone reveals a bridge which we can get any bit
of actual foothold for crossing the bridge of death. Spiritualism is
going to be a mighty agent in carrying on the work of this world, in
producing loftier souls for the life of another world, of which it gives
us glimpses on the way.
My coming religion may suggest a coming revolution. We
mean, for one thing, to rescue our Sunday from the sacerdotal ring.
We mean to try and rescue this world from the clutches of those who
profess to have the keys and the keeping of the other. We mean to
show that the wage system is a relic of barbarism: we mean for women to
have perfect equality with men, social, religious and political. We
will have a sincerity of life in place of pretended belief: a religion of
joy instead of sorrow, of work rather than worship, a religion of life —
life actual, life here, life now, as well as the promise of life
Mr. Massey will remain in this country several months longer,
and expects in that time to deliver lectures in the principal cities of
America, and also to make arrangements for the publication of a new
American edition of his works. His lectures have been privately
printed and are on sale at the BANNER OF LIGHT
Bookstore, 9 Bosworth Street, by Colby & Rich.
CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE
June 23, 1907.
MASSEY IN HIS LAST FIGHT.
STRUGGLING AGAINST POVERTY TO FINISH THE BOOK.
One Time Famous Poet of Democracy at 79 Prays for Three Years More in
Which to Write "Finis" to His "Ancient Egypt"—Has sacrificed Property for
Work on Which He Has Been Engaged More than Thirty Years.
[FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT OF THE TRIBUNE.]
LONDON, June 10.—In a plain little
house in Norwood, in one of London's suburbs, where the green country
lanes he loves are still to be found, Gerald Massey, the one time poet of
democracy, who awoke fifty years ago to find himself famous, is struggling
hard against poverty, the infirmities of old age, and ill health to
complete the great work of his life, "Ancient Egypt."
Greater sacrifices no man of letters has ever made to reach
the hour when he can write "Finis" to his magnum opus. At the age of
79 he has given up almost all the accumulations of long years of hard
work, even going so far as to sell his home to scrape together the funds
wherewith to publish his book. With his daughter he is living on a
civil list pension, which does not amount to more then $10 a week.
"I should like to live three years more," he said to me when
I congratulated him on the birthday he had just passed. "I think I
could complete the task I have set myself in that time. It is a work
which has occupied me over thirty years, and I shall be well content if in
another century my ideas are acknowledged as correct."
Love Made Him a Poet.
His life is a romance. The son of a canal boatman, he
knew as a boy what it was to live in a wretched hovel and often went
without a meal when not even dry bread was to be obtained. He picked
up his early learning by prowling about second hand bookstalls.
Frequently he went hungry that he might gratify his thirst for knowledge.
He was not a poet born. "Until I fell In love," he said, "and began
to rhyme as a matter of consequence I never had the slightest predilection
for poetry. The first real verses I ever wrote were upon 'Hope' when
I was utterly hopeless, and after I had begun I never ceased for about
four years, at the end of which I rushed into print."
It is just halt a century since his first volume of verse,
entitled "The Ballad of Babe Christabel and Other Poems," was hailed with
delight by critics capable of discerning the genius and lyric power of the
young man's poetry. In its first year five editions were called for.
Perhaps no man of the century—certainly no living poet—has given such
passionate lyrical expression to the cause of the toilers, or embodied in
nobler verse the Chartist ideals which time has done so much to convert
into realities. Tennyson, Browning, Ruskin, Walter Savage Landor,
and the literary giants of the Victorian era were Massey's friends and
"Your poems," wrote Ruskin, "have been a helpful and precious
gift to the working classes."
But his fame as a poet belongs to a past generation. "I
do not fancy the lyrical impulse continued beyond a certain age as a
rule," he said. "In my own case, my interest in other matters has so
much absorbed my thought that I ceased to write poetry many years ago."
They were not matters in which he could hope to win
popularity and ducats. But that made no difference to him. He
always has been true to his ideals.
Man Originated in Egypt.
"How did you come to take such an interest in Egyptology?" I
"I began my study in 1870, with the idea, which has grown
stronger every year, that the human race originated in equatorial Africa.
I have gone over the groundwork of my research again and again as later
views have come to me. My first result is found in 'The Book of
Beginnings,' two volumes, in which I treated the subject from a
philological standpoint. Then came two more volumes, entitled 'The
Natural Genesis,' which is typological. Next I have been studying
the astronomical mythology—all with the idea of proving the Egyptian
origin of the Babylonian mythology. Egypt I hold to be the home of
knowledge, the light of the world. All the research in Egypt goes to
prove how much older the country is than students thought, and I believe
as time goes on we shall arrive at a solution of some of the greatest
puzzles that face us now."
And yet, it is pathetic to think, his slender means have
never permitted him to visit the land whose mystery has enthralled him.
Over 700 pages of his "Ancient Egypt" now are in type, and the publication
will cost between $2,500 and $3,000 dollars.
THE TWO WORLDS
Nov. 8, 1907.
will be found Mr. Keyworth's appreciative Summerland notice of Gerald
Massey, who last week joined the immortals in the Summerland, at the end
of a lengthy illness, after spending eighty years upon the earth plane.
The public notices revived many memories of the writer's early days when
he often met this grand man, whose strenuous life was an honour to his
heart and head. A frequent visitor at James Burns' establishment in
London in the early 70's, his breezy personality diffused an atmosphere of
energy whenever he called. His first public appearance upon our
platform was on the occasion of a welcome to to Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten,
held at the old St. George's Hall, Langham Place, which spacious building
was crowded in every portion. Mr. Massey took the chair, and we well
remember the remarkable address he then delivered. It was
subsequently published as a little volume called "Concerning
Spiritualism," and few deliverances since have possessed the grip and
vigour of that famous speech. He lectured for us up and down the
Kingdom, and presently launched out upon radical religious utterances,
which still remain classics.
the notices of his departure we do not recall any mention of big
remarkable poem, "A Tale of Eternity,"
in which he set forth his experiences of the haunted house in which he
lived. When published its beauty was unstintedly admitted, but it
was treated as poetry, and not as the recital of facts expressed in
poetry. It remains unequalled. It should be read by
MASSEY was an independent thinker, and his frankness
cost him dear. He took up Egyptology, and at much cost of time,
labour, and means he published two bulky volumes tracing the origins of
religions among the Egyptians. His work played havoc with orthodox
opinions, and a titled lady patroness immediately withdrew her aid from
the man who dared to speak out. The last years of his life were
devoted to a further elucidation of his favourite, topic, and he spent his
all in securing the publication of his latest ' work thereon.
MASSEY visited the United States, delivering many
lectures there, and eliciting warm encomiums from public and press alike.
In Melbourne, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other large cities he
received warm welcomes. In later years he lived retired, and devoted
himself to literary pursuits. We remember him telling us that on one
occasion he met a lady medium in Halifax, a very illiterate woman, he
said, but singular to say, through her he received some important
information upon Egyptian matters, and some drawings which enabled him to
clear up some points which had perplexed him exceedingly. We are
pleased to pay a small tribute to this man who as poet, thinker, and
reformer, has left a name we may be proud of. He sang the sorrows,
and urged the betterment of the workers long before modern Socialism came
upon the scene. He was one of the poets of Chartism. He was of
the people, for the people, and served the people well. His words
still burn, his work will yet come into its own.
THE TWO WORLDS
Nov. 8, 1907.
Gerald Massey—as Egyptologist and Spiritualist.
WITH the departure of Gerald Massey
there is removed from this scene an Egyptologist of a new order, and one
of the old guard of Modern Spiritualism.
The main incidents of his outer life have already been given
out by the daily press. His lowly birth at Tring—son of bargeman—one
of a family of thirteen. His early struggles against adversity as
factory lad and errand boy in the West End. His love of books and
thirst for knowledge. First effusions of poetic genius—editorship at
twenty-one—contact with the Christian Socialists of the forties, Kingsley
and Maurace—attraction to the Chartist movement—the fiery lyrics, "The
Cries of '48," warm from a quick-beating heart—then the beautiful poem of
Christabel—all this, and much more, has been told in the rush of a few
days—it needs no repetition. It pictures to us a child of stirring
period—a young man touched by the epoch-making scenes and realities around
him. He felt the tragedy of oppression—"the iron entered into
his soul." The poor man must be either a slave or a rebel—he became
a rebel; that is, a rebel of the mental sphere—such as England produces.
But there were other movements besides Chartism.
In the early fifties it was mooted that the "silent land" had
sent forth a voice—the "dead" (so it was said) had come back! They
were manifesting their actual nearness by moving tables, by voices, by
visible forms. Massey heard, and investigated for himself. The
evidence was sufficient. He was convinced. At the close of the
decade another "bolt from the blue" startled the world—Darwin's great book
on evolution. This opened still another world of thought. At
the same time the old land of Egypt was coming back into life, bringing
startling facts, upsetting all notions of history and religion.
In those days we find Gerald Massey busy, taking the chair at
Spiritualistic meetings, welcoming mediums, lecturing and writing.
But in our last interview he told me that it was at his own
home, chiefly through his wife (his first wife) he became convinced of the
fact that the dead were not dead. He never forgot those days.
And here is the most potent thing to remember. His spiritual science
concerning phenomena, psychology, and present-day manifestations became
the lamp which threw that lurid light on the inexplicable gloom and
mystery of ancient Egypt, a light now to be found in his books.
On one occasion we were talking of another remarkable man who
had used a similar lamp to illumine the land of the Sphynx. Mr.
William Oxley had then lately passed away. As I spoke of him to Mr.
Massey interest was revived. "I never knew him," said the latter,
"but I have heard of his books." Oxley had visited Egypt; but,
strange to say, Gerald Massey never set foot there. The two men
explored in the same country—the sphere of Spiritual science and
philosophy—but they took distinctly different routes, as their several
works show. They resemble each other in this: They were consciously
helped by invisible agents in the inner planes of existence.
Cardinal Newman was right when he wrote that inspiration was not an
exclusive, but a world-wide act or gift. The literary career of the
one now departed is a further illustration that influx or inspiration is a
thing apart from any orthodoxy or sectarianism.
One point more. Gerald Massey was behind the times in one
thing. He was not a money-hoarder. What money he obtained by his
writings he handed over to "John Gutenberg," as he calls him. He has
died a comparatively poor man, exhausted in pocket by the expense of
His departure synchronises with the issue of this new book
"Ancient Egypt," and he seemed to me to feel a special interest in this
work. He has just lived to finish it. He had an intuition that he
would do so.—SAMUEL KEYWORTH.
GERALD MASSEY was
buried at Old Southgate to-day, Nov. 4th. Mrs. and Miss Massey and a
few friends came in two carriages. The coffin was carried straight
to the grave, and a young gentleman, who preferred not to give his name,*
gave a brief address. There were about twelve wreaths on the coffin,
including one from my father. It was a very quiet affair, only about
fifteen, all told, being present. The bodies of two of his daughters
are already in the same grave:—ARCHIE GLENDINNING.
* Ed. —
The 'young gentleman' was James Milne - see 'Pages
THE TWO WORLDS
Dec. 18, 1908.
The Late Gerald Massey.
W. H. SIMPSON.
ONE of the greatest Spiritualists that
ever lived has recently passed on to the higher life—Gerald Massey.
If one mentions the name of this writer to any educated and intelligent
person, the reply is usually something to this effect: "Gerald Massey! let
me see, he was a poet, wasn't he?" That the outside public, the
unthinking majority, should know nothing of this remarkable man, is not
surprising; but that Spiritualists should be entirely ignorant of the
nature and scope of his work, is a standing reproach to the Cause.
If his works were more read, studied, and understood by Spiritualists,
especially by platform speakers—those who come forward as teachers—the
Cause would soon be raised to a higher intellectual level, and many
intellectual, philosophical, and thoughtful people who now stand aloof
from the Cause would join our ranks.
The subject of Gerald Massey's investigations is somewhat out
of the main track of ordinary practical matter-of-fact science. He
has applied the evolutionary method of procedure to another branch of
learning, man's mental and psychical development, and he has done this
more thoroughly than any previous writer on the subject. He begins
at the very beginning, ages before the commencement of history. To
discover the origin of language, it is necessary to start before language
began, when a few vocal sounds, eked out by descriptive gestures, sufficed
to express the wants and wishes, hopes and fears, desires and
satisfactions of primitive man. Gesture signs are older than words,
and this mode of communicating ideas, talking by means of signs, has been
preserved by savage races—up to quite recent times—and many of these signs
still remain to be read in the Egyptian hieroglyphics to-day.
Gerald Massey was an Egyptologist, pioneer and discoverer in
his own line of research; he ransacked the records of the past-of all
ages, times, and countries Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and India—he sought
out, inquired into, and examined traditions, fables, and myths of all
races of mankind, savage and civilised, including the barbarous tribes
still remaining upon earth. The result of his forty years' labours
in this field of knowledge is summed up and placed before us in his three
important and learned works, "Natural Genesis," "The Book of Beginnings,"
and "Egypt, the Light of the World." Therein, he clearly shows that
Egypt, not India, was man's birthplace, and that Egypt subsequently became
the centre and source of languages, civilisation, the arts, and religion.
These three works are a veritable mine of learning and research in which
the student may delve and quarry, finding there still greater treasures of
truth from day to day. No one hitherto has been able to give any
rational account of the origin or meaning of the myths to be found in all
countries. The myths all had a common origin, and originated in
Africa. Gerald Massey's interpretation of ancient mythology and
typology has thrown a flood of light upon man's intellectual development
and spiritual unfoldment. The patience, perseverance, and
pertinacity this wonderful man evinced in his quest throughout is above
all praise; year after year he continued his researches with an interest
that never flagged, and a courage that never failed.
By some happy inspiration he discovered a lost trail of
knowledge; this trail he followed further and further back into the
remote, far-off prehistoric times. Finally, he disinterred for us
the buried past of the earth, revivified the forgotten fossilised
fragments, breathed the breath of life into the dry bones, clothed them
with flesh and blood, and made them live again. Steadily he pursued
his course with an ingenuity almost superhuman; threading his way through
the labyrinth, he reached at last the heart of the mystery. By
laboriously welding together a myriad pieces of a scattered puzzle, he
evolved harmony from discord, sequence from confusion, brought forth light
from darkness, evolved order from chaos, solved the enigma, and answered
the riddle of the Sphinx. Gerald Massey's knowledge of
Spiritualism—apart altogether from any direct help the spirits may have
given him—his knowledge of Spiritualistic phenomena alone has been a lamp
to guide his footsteps back along the track that man has traversed in the
darkness of a far away prehistoric past, before the light of a higher
truth had dawned upon the souls of men. When the full significance
of the truth declared by Massey is realised, appreciated, and understood,
a new era of thought will be inaugurated, and all past superstition will
be swept away. Then, every form of Christianity will become
impossible, from Papal pronouncement at the Vatican down to Salvation Army
antics in the gutter. For Christianity is simply a perverse
representation of spiritual symbolism—a cult of sacerdotal
supernaturalism—begun, continued, and perpetuated in ignorance, the
theological form of intellectual dishonesty, self deception, and spiritual
cowardice. The more the fraud of carnal Christianity is twisted and
turned, altered and trimmed to resemble the truth, the more mischievous
and misleading it becomes—"It is not and it cannot come to good."
The temple of spiritual truth can never be upreared upon the
shifting quicksands of hesitation, doubt, and compromise—called
Unitarianism. This would seem to be what most Spiritualistic
Societies—in London, at least—are attempting to do. The Cause is so
hampered and hindered in every direction by biblical apologists,
Protestant temporisers, and Unitarian trimmers, that the movement is
sinking down to the level of another Christian sect, and Spiritualists are
using the lamp of truth to light themselves and others along the wrong