Section I

[After a conversation on this special epoch in the world's history, and its characteristics, it was written:--]

Special efforts are being made now to spread a knowledge of progressive truth: efforts by the messengers of God, which are resisted, now as ever, by the hosts of the adversaries. The history of the world has been the story of the struggle between the evil and the good; between God and goodness on the one side, and ignorance, vice, and evil--spiritual, mental, and corporeal--on the other side. At certain times, of which this is one, extraordinary efforts are made. The army of the messengers of God is massed in greater force: men are influenced: knowledge is spread: and the end draws nigh. Fear for the deserters, the half-hearted, the temporisers, the merely curious. Fear for them: but fear not for the cause of God's truth.

Stainton Moses: Yes. But how are many doubting souls to know what is God's truth? Many look anxiously, but cannot find.

None anxiously look who do not find in the end, though they may have long to wait--yes, even till they reach a higher sphere of being. God tries all: and to those only who are fitted is advanced knowledge granted. The preparation must be complete before the step is gained. This is an unalterable law. Fitness precedes progression. Patience is required.

SM: Yes. The obstacles from internal dissention, from the impossibility of bringing home evidence to many, from prejudice, from many other causes, seems almost invincible.

--To you. Why interfere with that which is God's work? Obstacles! You know not what they are compared with what we have had to endure in times past. Had you lived on earth in the later days of Rome's imperial sway, when everything spiritual had fled in horror from a realm steeped in debauchery, sensuality, and all that is base and bad, you would have known then what the banded powers of darkness can effect. The coldness was the coldness of despair: the darkness was the gloom of the sepulchre. The body, the body was all: and the guardians fled in dismay from a scene on which they could not gaze, and whose pangs they could not alleviate. Faithlessness there was indeed, and worse. The world scorned us and our efforts, laughed at all virtue, derided the Supreme, mocked at immortality, and lived but to eat and drink and wallow in the mire--the degraded, down-striken animals they had made themselves. Ah, yes! Say not that evil is invincible when the power of God and of His Spirits has prevailed to cleanse even such a sink as that.

[ More was said as to the repeated failure of plans for man's benefit through his ignorance and obstinacy. I asked if this were to be another failure. ]

God is giving far more than you think. In all parts are springing up centres from which truth of God is being poured into longing hearts, and permeating thinking minds. There must be many to whom the gospel given of old is satisfying yet, and who are not receptive of further truth. With these we meddle not. But many there are who have learned what the past can teach, and who are thirsting for further knowledge. To these it is given in such measure as the Most High sees fit. And from them it flows to others, and the glorious tidings spread until the day comes when we shall be called on to proclaim them from the mountain top! and lo! God's hidden ones shall start up from the lowly places of the earth to bear witness to that which they have seen and known: and the little rills that man has heeded not shall coalesce, and the river of God's truth, omnipotent in its energy, shall flood the earth, and sweep away in its resistless course the ignorance and unbelief and folly and sin which now dismay and perplex you.

SM: This New Revelation of which you speak: is it contrary to the Old? Many are exercised on that point.

Revelation is from God: and that which He has revealed at one time cannot contradict that which He has revealed at another, seeing that each is, in its kind, a revealing of truth, but of truth revealed in proportion to man's necessities, and in accordance with his capacities. That which seems contradictory is not in the Word of God, but in the mind of man. Man was not content with the simple message. He has adulterated it with his glosses, overlaid it with his deductions and speculations. And so, as years go by, it comes to pass that what came from God is in no sense what it was. It has become contradictory, impure, and earthy. When a further revelation comes, instead of fitting it reasonably, it becomes necessary to clear away much of the superstition that has been built on the old foundations; and the work of destruction must precede the work of addition. The revelations are not contradictory; but it is necessary to destroy man's rubbish before God's truth can be revealed. Man must judge according to the light of reason that is in him. That is the ultimate standard, and the progressive soul will receive what the ignorant or prejudiced will reject. God's truth is forced on none. So for a time, during the previous processes, this must be a special revelation to a special people. It has ever been so. Did Moses obtain universal acceptance even amongst his own people? Did any of the seers? Did Jesus even? Did Paul? Did any reformer in any age, amongst any people? He offers, and they who are prepared receive the message. The ignorant and unfit reject it. It must be so; and the dissensions and differences which you deplore are but for the sifting of the false fromthe true. They spring from unworthy causes, and are impelled by malignant spirits. You must expect annoyance, too, from the banded powers of evil. But cast your eyes beyond the present. Look to the far future, and be of good courage.

SM: Touching Spirit-guides. How are they appointed?

Spirit-guides are not always attracted to those whom they direct, though this is usually the case. Sometimes they are selected for their own fitness. They are naturally apt to teach. Sometimes they are charged with a special commission. Sometimes they are picked because they are able to supply what is wanting in the characters which they train. Sometimes they themselves select a character which they wish to mould. This is a great pleasure to the higher spirits. Sometimes they desire, for their own spiritual progress, to be attached to a soul the training which is irksome and difficult. They toil upward along with the soul. Sometimes they are attracted by pure affinity, or by the remains of earth-love. Very frequently, when there is no special mission for the soul, the guides are changed as the soul progresses.

SM: Who are the Spirits who return to earth? Of what class?

Principally those who are nearest to the earth, in the three lower spheres or states of being. They converse most readily with you. Of the higher spirits, those who are able to return are they who have what is analogous to mediumistic power on earth. We cannot tell you more than that we higher spirits find it very difficult to find a medium through whom we can communicate. Many spirits would gladly converse, but for the want of a suitable medium, and from their unwillingness to prolong their research for one they not risk the waste of time. Hence, too, communications vary much at times. Communications which you discover to be false are not always wilfully so. As time goes on we shall know more on the conditions which affect communication.

SM: You have spoken of adversaries. Who are they?

The antagonistic spirits who range themselves against our mission; who strive to mar its progress by counterfeiting our influence and work, and by setting men and other spirits against us and it. These are spirits who have chosen the evil, have put aside promptings and influences of good, and have banded themselves under the leadership of intelligence still more evil to malign us and to hamper our work. Such are powerful for mischief, and their activity shows itself in evil passions, in imitating our work, and so gaining influence over the deluded, and most of all, in presenting to inquiring souls that which is mean and base, where we would tenderly lead to the noble and refined. They are the foes of God and man; enemies of goodness; ministers of evil. Against them we wage perpetual war.

SM: It is very startling to hear of such a powerful organisation of evil. There are some, you know, who deny the existence of evil altogether, and teach that all is good though disguised.

Alas! Alas! most sad is the abandonment of good and choice of evil. You wonder that so many evil spirits obstruct. Friend, it is even so, and it is not astonishing. As the soul lives in the earth-life, so does it go to spirit-life. Its tastes, its predilections, its habits, its antipathies, they are with it still. It is not changed save in the accident of being freed from the body. The soul that on earth has been low in taste and impure in habit does not change its nature by passing from the earth-sphere, any more than the soul that has been truthful, pure, and progressive becomes base and bad by death. Wonderful that you do not recognise this truth! You would not fancy a pure and upright soul degenerating after it has passed from your gaze. Yet you fable a purification of that which has become by habit impure and unholy, hating God and goodness, and choosing sensuality and sin. The one is no more possible than the other. The soul's character has been a daily, hourly growth. It has not been an overlaying of the soul with that which can be thrown off. Rather it has been a weaving into the nature of the spirit that which becomes part of itself, identified with its nature, inseparable from its character. It is no more possible that that character should be undone, save by the slow process of obliteration, than that the woven fabric should rudely cut and the threads remain intact. Nay more. The soul has cultivated habits that have become so engrained as to be essential parts of its individuality. The spirit that has yielded to the lusts of a sensual body becomes in the end their slave. It would not be happy in the midst of purity and refinement. It would sigh for its old haunts and habits. They are of its essence. So you see that the legions of the adversaries are simply the masses of unprogressed, undeveloped spirits, who have banded together from affinity against all that is pure and good. They can only progress by penitence, through the instruction of higher intelligences, and by gradual and laborious undoing of sin and sinful habit. There are many such, and they are the adversaries. The idea that there is no such thing as evil, no antagonism to good, no banded company of adversaries who resist progress and truth, and fight against dissemination of what advantages humanity, is an open device of the evil ones for your bewilderment.

SM: Have they a Chief--a Devil?

Chiefs many who govern; but not such a Devil as theologians have feigned. Spirits, good and bad alike, are subject to the rule of commanding Intelligences.