THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK
LONDON, MAY 24, 1872.
No. 112.—VOL. III.
GERALD MASSEY'S SECOND LECTURE AT
ST. GEORGE'S HALL.
The subject of Mr. Massey's second lecture was:
"Concerning a Spirit-World revealed to the Natural World by means of
Objective Manifestations; with a New Theory of the Tree of Knowledge of
Good and Evil." He commenced by saying that there were two theories
of man's origin: one assumed that he was struck off perfect from the mint
of creation, stamped with the image of God; the other, that he was
developed from the animal kingdom, and is gradually approximating to the
divine image. He held that the spirit of man was as much a growth of
nature as his physical form. Man did not begin his career on this
earth an angel ready made. It took ages for him to arrive at the
most rudimentary perceptions of morality. Nor did this knowledge
come from on high; it came by gradual unfoldment. It was a
reflection from man's inner perceptions. Man could not be the image
of God until that image was properly received. Man was not formed in
the image of God merely because he went on two legs instead of four.
The likeness had to be evolved in the spiritual life from within.
There was no such thing identifiable in the past as the image of God.
We could hardly imagine that such ideas were likely to spring up in the
human mind, when we see how hard it is to keep them alive after all the
revelations we have had. Anthropologists and physiologists had done
much by their researches towards bringing about a right estimate as to the
origin of man. They had raked together the dead bones of fact, which
Spiritualism would now put together and endue with life. It was
generally supposed that the consciousness of a God had begun with the
Hebrew race. It was a well-known fact that polytheism had preceded
monotheism; although Max Müller and other
philologists of his school argued that man could not conceive of gods
without first having the idea of one God; polytheism must therefore have
been an outgrowth of theism, they concluded. He, however, considered
this an erroneous conclusion, it being evident that polytheism came first.
What idea had the peoples which preceded the Hebrews of a God? These
ideas did not belong to the world of nature, as distinguished from the
spiritual. They must have been evolved spiritually. There were
some peoples that had no idea of a God, others that had no idea of
immortality. There were languages which had no word for "God" or
"soul." Atheism was the night of the purely savage mind. Such
must have been the state of humanity in the prehistoric times—in the Stone
"How did the invisible make itself known to the cave-dwellers
of the human mind?" continued Mr. Massey. "By becoming visible to
them," he answered. The first notion of man's fate after death and
of the existence of a spiritual world was received from visible phenomenal
demonstration. It was not excogitated, but the result of experience.
There were savages who did not believe because they had not seen, while
others believed because they had seen. Having had tangible evidence
in the form of spiritual apparitions, they received their first notions of
a spiritual state. It was generally acknowledge that faith was the
belief in things unseen. The primal fact in connection with Jesus
and his mission was, that he rose again and revealed himself in person.
He appeared to fulfil a promise, and to prove continuity of existence.
This was the foundation of fact the Christian faith rested on. With
all their spiritual manifestations and intercourse with another world, his
disciples never seemed to grasp the idea of immortality before.
Jesus was truly the "first-born" of that people to reveal eternal life;
and although he had authenticated his mission time after time by objective
manifestations, he only established it by a belief in a physical
The lecturer here went into a clear and minute examination of
the origin of spiritual manifestations showing that apparitions were,
beyond doubt, the first form of the phenomena. And so physical were
these manifestations in many cases, that the seers of them took the
spirits for real men, as, for instance, when the angels appeared to
Abraham and to Lot. This, he maintained, followed by the vision and
the inward illumination, was the earliest form of spiritual manifestation.
It was very likely that the earliest apparitions were of a very low kind,
and their continued appearance may have given rise to the various forms of
belief in supernatural beings which are found amongst all peoples.
Fairies may have been the spirits of the Old World. They were seen
small of size, because they were small of soul. Better spirits
afterwards took their places; but the traditions of seers would naturally
remain, doubtless giving rise to the still lingering fancies about
sprites, gnomes, sylphs, brownies, &c. As a curious instance of the
gradual development of the idea of the dual nature of man and human
immortality, Mr. Massey noticed the fact that amongst many primitive
peoples the same word meant both "shadow'' and "spirit."
The lecturer now entered into an elaborate examination of the
origin of forms of worship, tending to show that they were ever the result
of objective experiences, not of metaphysical deductions. The
religious systems of all uncivilised peoples were based on the evidences
of the senses. The West Indian islanders had carved idols in the
shape of spirits that had appeared to them in apparition. Religion
in the abstract, he continued, came from the seeing of spirits. In
Florida the natives worshipped evil spirits, because they considered they
needed propitiating, while the good ones did not. Thus primitive
worship was a sheer grovelling fear. It was a well-known fact that
amongst the Sioux Indians the fear of spirits had deterred from murder.
Thus we obtained an insight into the might of propitiatory sacrifices,
But we must hurry over this portion of the lecture, as space will not
permit us even to make mention of many very interesting points that were
touched upon, as, for instance, the worship of ancestors amongst many
savage tribes, the forms of divination used by others, and the gradual
development of the idea of immortality—all of which should have been heard
to be appreciated. Such, said Mr. Massey, was the manner in which
man had groped his way towards God. One thus saw how some form of
worship would originate. Seers, standing, as it were, betwixt heaven
and earth, would become sacred, and priesthoods would be established.
How natural it would be to found churches where spirits had manifested
themselves, and so give them a house for their use. Consider Peter's
first exclamation on beholding the transfiguration of Christ: "Master, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles."
The lecturer said he knew of very few facts in modern
Spiritualism which might not be traced in the past. The spirit-voice
was heard by Moses on the occasion of the manifestation of the burning
bush. It was in this way that Socrates apprehended the warning of
his daemon: he heard the spirit speaking with the audible voice. The
fact of the spirit-voice speaking through a medium must be granted by
those who believe that Balaam's ass spoke to his master. Again, in
the case of Belshazzar's feast, we had the direct spirit-writing.
The modern mediumistic circle was the earliest form of worship known.
From the Druidic circle, the round towers of Ireland, the magic circle of
the necromancers, to the modern English "church," Scotch "kirk," German "kirche,"
French "cirque," and the term "domestic circle," all had their origin in
the early spiritualistic practices. Christ alluded to this primitive
circle when he said: "When two or three gather together in my name, I will
be with them." He would not limit his meaning to the fact that
objective signs were to be given, but it was known that these signs were
given. The Pentecostal service was the link between the two worlds.
The early church arose out of the manifestations, and the word "prophet"
originally signified "medium." Thus "the Lord"—the Israelites spoke
of all spirits manifesting as "the Lord," or in similar terms—in speaking
to Aaron and Miriam, said: "If there be a prophet among you, I, the Lord,
will make myself known unto him in a vision." The so-called "men of
God," too, were mediums, occupying a similar position to those of the
present day, that is, they were consulted on all manner of things,
important or unimportant, and they likewise received pay for their
services. Thus Saul had only 7½d with him when he went to consult
"the Lord," through Samuel, about his father's lost asses.
After speaking of the ancient belief in a man's familiar
spirit or genius, and instancing the scene with the soothsayer in "Antony
and Cleopatra," the lecturer said the staff of Hermes was the wand of the
magnetisers, but that, like many other facts of the same kind, had come to
be looked upon as mere fable. The Fijian still magnetised himself by
looking at a whale's tooth. There were many ways of producing the
magnetic sleep or abnormal vision. Fasting was one way, and one very
much practised both in olden times and amongst savage tribes even at the
present day. The Egyptians and other ancient people knew of animal
magnetism. Tobacco and various drugs had even produced this
condition. While speaking of potions, the lecturer mentioned the
case of Esdras, who was the greatest writing medium the world had seen, he
having professed to have re-written the whole of the lost books of the
law. This immense work was done in a trance produced by a drink
prepared by spirits, and it took him forty days and nights, assisted by
five ready writers.
It was well known that the Soma juice was made use of in the
rites of the Hindoos, though it was hardly known what it was. There
were few persons living who were masters of the ancient mysteries, and the
ritual was fast dying out. Six thousand years ago this Soma-juice
was used to produce the divine intoxication. The tree which produced
this divine juice was supposed to be the religious fig-tree. In the
second Rig Veda there was reference made to this
tree. Birds sat on it, eating the fruit. But this tree, which
bore the fruit used in the Soma sacrifices to produce intoxication and the
somnambulic sleep, was lost. The Hindoos imagined all creation
originated in this fig-tree. Bearing fruit that had the power to
induce somnambulism, it was considered to place man on a par with the
gods. Its branches were looked upon as the meeting place of gods and
men, and the Soma drink became the drink of immortality. The
Egyptians also had their sacred fig-tree—the sycamore fig-tree—and they
frequently pictured the souls of the deceased as birds perching on its
branches. The Athenians had their religious fig-tree; it was planted
all along the sacred road between Athens and Eleusis, and the Soma of the
Hindoos, suggested the lecturer, became the Nepenthe of the Greeks.
Turning to Zoroaster, we met with two trees, one
named the "white fig," and the other the "painlesstree." Both these,
it was thought, were the same as the one the Hindoos believed the world to
be made from. Now the fruit of this tree was supposed to give
immortality to whomsoever drank of its juice; the other produced a
narcotic which destroyed pain. Here again we found a fig-tree which
produced the sleep-giving fruit, the fruit of immortality. We had
the same two trees planted in the garden of Eden—tree tree of life, and
the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were doubtless the same
as the tree of life and the painless tree of Zoroaster, which were
fig-trees, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil was doubtless a
fig-tree also. How it ever came to be called an apple-tree the
lecturer could not imagine. The effect of eating the fruit of the
tree of knowledge was to make the partaker thereof wise. "The wise,"
in the Zendavesta, meant the spirits, and from
time immemorial seers had been called "wise men" and "wise women."
In the Zendavesta we had the fact with reference to the trees, in Genesis
the mere allegory of the fact.
Passing to Mr. Massey's deductions from these facts, he said
his summing up of the whole matter was that Moses, like Zoroaster, wished
to put an end to the dark worship of spirits, which had become a fearful
abomination, in favour of the God of life and light, the idea of whom was
then dawning on the world. He accordingly worked out that system of
theology which has played so important a part in the world's history; and
to make the whole of more effect, he introduced the famous myth of the
fig-tree, whose mortal taste, in the words of Milton, "brought death into
the world, and all our woe, with loss of Eden." "And so much," said
the lecturer, "for the famous forbidden fruit tree, the shadow of which
has darkened and dwarfed the souls of men for thousands of years; so much
for the dread curse of humanity, the 'fall,' which was the cause of our
natural depravity—the 'original sin;' and penalty of everlasting pain
inherited by us all through the transgression of Adam. With the
doctrine of the 'fall' down goes the doctrine of the 'atonement,' as
vulgarly understood; for it was out of the wood of that
much-misrepresented fig-tree that they cut the Calvinistic Cross of
We have had to give the merest synopsis of Mr. Massey's full
and minute line of argument, as space would not permit us to do more.
In speaking of the later Spiritualism of the Jews, the lecturer said they
made the common mistake to believe that all spiritual manifestations must
be divine. Moses, however, had reason to know better; he recognised
what we know at the present time—that when the sight was open abnormally,
it was so for the evil as well as the good. Diseased conditions were
the natural playground for spirits. We must bear in mind that
spirit-communion did not depend on moral purity. The most immoral
persons might be mediums, in which cases immoral spirits would be
co-workers. This was why the witchcraft and black magic of the
middle ages were prohibited. It was necessary to remember that it
was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The law
that like attracts like governs in the other world as well as here.
Fleshly purposes would ensure fleshly results. There were spirits
who administered to fleshly devices; they could derive more pleasure from
such than we could. Indeed, we could have but a faint idea of what
spirits were capable. Papal bulls were not made against certain
kinds of spirit-intercourse for nothing, nor was the idea of a personal
devil founded on nothing. Think of a personal motive on the other
side—of a spirit having a vested interest in all your ill-doing!
Moses looked upon the old religions as devil-worship, and not
without warrant, thought Mr. Massey. Hideous customs, horrible
rites, underlie those old scriptural allusions. The "broth of
abomination" meant the eating of infants. Such abominations were
demanded by their oracles; there were spirits who delighted in the sight
of blood. This was the belief of the early Christian Fathers, and
the sight of blood had been such a temptation to many that it could not be
explained in any other way. To Moses these things were facts, and he
tried to rid the world of such iniquities; he made a parable which had
been misunderstood ever since; he tried to lead the Israelites out of
Egypt by many ways; he made a strenuous effort to get at the One God.
The lecturer did not believe that, when on Mount Sinai, Moses really
conversed with the Almighty, as is generally believed. It was the
common custom amongst the Hebrews to consider spirit-influences as coming
direct from God. In this connection we give the following passage on
THE HEBREW MEDIUMS.
Their inspiration, Mr. Massey contended, was by no means so
free from evil interference or so unmixed with error as has been believed.
It was as natural in the early times for the lowest forms of one's own
spirit-manifestation to be attributed to the immediate presence and agency
of Deity, as it may be in our day for the loftiest to be set down to the
Devil. "I venture to doubt whether the Hebrews had any more
certitude in the matter than we have to-day. Then, as now, the tree
must be judged by its fruits, good or evil. I do not think they had
so much, as they had not the same openness to the Spirit of Truth; had not
our means of judging betwixt truth and error; had not that revelation in
Christ—the illuminated image of immortal love—which we have to judge the
spirit-messengers by. Their "Thus saith the Lord" might often have
been announced as "This saith the Devil," because the thing said was
devilish. "God spake these words." Well, that depends on
whether the words are like God. It could not be our God, nor a true
messenger of his, that ordered the wanton slaughter of men, women, and
children as if they were not creatures of God's making. It could not
be our God that held the sun still in his hand like a stopped watch until
the Israelites should glut themselves with slaughter, and reel back
drunken with human gore. This was a mistake of theirs. Their
fervour may have been divine, but it must have been devilishly fed.
The later writer of the "Acts" calls that an angel of the Lord—simply a
spirit—who appeared in the burning bush, and who spake to Moses in Mount
Sinai, and gave them living oracles in the wilderness. Moses himself
calls it God. In his account of the burning bush, the angel of God
and the Deity are mixed in one. The difficulty of identification in
the case of good or bad spirits must have been great. Why should the
lying spirit that foretold falsely in the mouths of Ahab's four hundred
prophets have been limited to that single deception? Ezekiel assures
us that these prophets had often misled them with lies, and foretold vain
things; proclaimed visions when they had seen nothing; divined falsely,
and raised their "Thus saith the Lord," when He had not spoken to them.
If half-a-dozen pretended angels of the Lord were to come to any
Spiritualist of the present day and tell him to get up and sharpen his
knife and slay his child as a sacrifice pleasing to God, I doubt if he
would believe them. He might wonder whether the good angel that was
to prevent it might arrive in time. The Hebrew mediums often
misinterpreted their messages; the character of God was frequently
misinterpreted in consequence, and the Christian world has been misled
ever since, because it ignorantly assumed that there was an infallible
inspiration, and anything opposed to it must come from the Devil. It
has endeavoured to discredit and ignore all other revelation on purpose to
set this up as the only divine, in utter ignorance that as regards the
modes of manifestation all other revelation of God amongst all peoples was
based on the same natural facts.
They did all eat the same spiritual meat, and all drink the
same spiritual drink, as did the Hebrew mediums. God's light is
hidden under all that shines, and there has never been known such a thing
as infallible mortal mediumship. We can trace progress all through
it, from the most shadowy representation of the spiritual world made to
the savage mind up to the revelation made in Christ, who came to
inaugurate the reign of the Holy Spirit in place of devil, or demon, of
The same book that chronicles the turning of water into wine
by Jesus Christ also credits the Egyptian magi with turning water into
blood. And they were Persian magi—that is, spiritual mediums —who
had their intimation of the Star that had risen on earth by the star which
shone for them in heaven. They knew, as we say, as if by magic, of
the coming of Christ, and started on their way, nothing doubting, with
their presents. And when they had found him, they were warned in a
dream by God not to return the way they came, lest they should fall into
the hands of Herod.
Mr. Massey brought his lecture to a close with the following
well-merited allusion to the manner in which Spiritualism is treated by
the conservators of public opinion:—
Scientific Philistinism and Cockney impudence, having climbed
nearly to the summit of the nineteenth century, will turn round and assure
you that the whole phenomena called Spiritualism are an illusion of the
sense and a delusion of the soul. All that ever was seen has been
glamour, and all that ever was heard is hallucination. The veil of
visible things has never been lifted, never grown diaphanous with
spiritual light, and the forms and figures of things to come have never
been shadowed forth from the other side. It is all a phantasmagoria
projected on the curtain by the magic lantern of a diseased subjectivity,
flickering reflections of fever, and dancing images of delirium thrown on
it from the morbid brains of those who stand on this side. Mr. Tyler
has carefully collected a vast amount of illustration of primitive
Spiritualism for the purpose of showing that there is nothing spiritual in
it—that one half the phenomena comes from an over-full stomach, the other
half from an over-empty stomach. That "other world " is but a mirage
seen by the wanderers in the wilderness of this. "Pat," said a
passer-by, "what are the bells ringing so for to-day?" "Bells ringing?"
says Pat—"divil a bit; it's only a singing I've got in me ears; that is
all!" It's only a singing we've got in our ears, a glamour in our
eyes. Spiritualism is the world-wide hysteria epidemical in all
times and among all peoples. As to the seers and visionists, not
only did they not see any other world when they shut their eyes on
this—not only were they pitiable poor blind beggars whom all scientific
men ought to rush at and "give them two black eyes for being blind," but
they are charged with shamming their blindness. First, it is
impossible to believe in them, because they were so blind; and next, we
are not to credit them because they were such impostors as to sham their
The phenomena is real for as to-day, therefore it is real for
us in the past; and it is altogether useless to wriggle and try to make a
distinction between what they call sacred and profane history. The
facts are one. They stand together, or together fall. The
whole phenomena rest on the same basis of absolute fact, and are not open
to be made a question of relative belief by those who recognise no facts
to go upon, and therefore refuse to believe; or those who, having no
belief, altogether deny the facts; or those whose professed belief is for
the first time tested in the presence of facts.
Did you ever read by the light of a glow-worm laid on the
page of a book? I have so read in the dark, and next morning by the
grey light of open day found my little lamp had gone out; there was no
glow whatever—it was nothing more than a little grey worm. My reading must
surely be hallucination, the merest illusion of the night, in the face of
this common daylight fact to which every person could testify—that the
thing could not shine by day.
Spiritualism is that luminous worm which has shone with its
tiny lamp divinely lit through all the darkness of the past. I have
read some curious pages to-day by the light or it. Nevertheless, the
physical seer will take it up in the broad, open day of science, and show
you that it has no lamp—it does not shine; therefore it never did shine,
and all stories told of its luminosity are lies. For all that, it is
a glow-worm still, and goes on shining under its own conditions.
Moreover, it begins to shine by day, and lives on with an enlarging light
by which we can for the first time see to read many mysteries of the past,
decipher the inscriptions written on old torture-rooms and prison-cells
and graves of those who were before their time, and make out the features
of primitive facts which have been almost effaced or overgrown with fable.
It is at once the oldest and the
newest spiritual light in the world.
Sanskritist and philologist. Born at Dessauin
Germany, he became a naturalized British citizen in 1855. Following
studies in Berlin and Paris, Müller moved to London
in 1846 and to Oxford in 1848. He became a member of Christ Church College
in 1851, when he gave his first series of lectures on comparative
philology, and remained connected with the University for the rest of his
life. Müller was suspicious of Darwin's work on human evolution, and
attacked his view of the development of human faculties. He analysed
mythologies as rationalisations of natural phenomena, primitive beginnings
that we might denominate "protoscience" within a cultural evolution.
His pioneering work in the fields of Vedic studies, comparative philology,
comparative mythology, and comparative religion, became obsolete within
his life owing to the rapid advance of knowledge in these fields. His work
in comparative mythology and comparative religion was largely based on
philological identifications which were later demonstrated to be
untenable, and his philological methodology was replaced by the nascent
science of anthropology. Nevertheless, he remains a notable pioneering
researcher in these fields.
The Rig Veda — a collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns counted
among the four Hindu religious texts known as the Vedas. Likely
composed around 1500–1300 BC, it the oldest texts of any Indo-Iranian
language, one of the world's oldest religious texts, and the oldest of a
religious tradition with unbroken continuity.
Zarathushtra, usually known in English as Zoroaster,
was an ancient Persian prophet, famous in classical antiquity as the
founder of the religion of the Magi. The teachings of Zoroaster are
presented in seventeen liturgical, texts, or "hymns", the yasna which is
divided into groups called Gāthās, its fundamental precepts being Humata,
Hukhta, Huvarshta (Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds). Generally
accepted as a historical figure, efforts to date Zoroaster range between
the 18th and the 6th centuries BC, but around 1000 BC is generally
accepted making Zoroaster a candidate as the founder of the earliest
religion based on revealed scripture.
Zendavesta — a collection of
the sacred texts of the Zoroastrian religion (see Zoroaster above).