Uriah Clark 1863 Plain Guide to Spiritualism

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Uriah Clark 1863 Plain Guide to Spiritualism

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:10 am

Hi All,

As a follow on to my previous post thoughts on Spiritualism I was looking through some old books and this was one of the first detailed Guides to Spiritualism only 15 years after Hydesville. I think we often forget the sheer enthusiasm of the day and the impact of the ability to communicate with the loved ones on the other side.

Here is wonderful Victorian Prose Uriah cuts loose about the impact.
"The morning dawneth!

For more than a quarter of a century the Christian press and church were filled with prayers and predictions that God would open the heavens anew, that the Holy Ghost would come down with. power, that Jesus Christ would descend in glory and majesty, that angel armies would marshal themselves for fresh battles with earth and hell, that some mighty manifestations would be made from the skies to flood earth with overwhelming showers and flame-like tongues of fire, and thunder with vibrations to quake the dead souls of the apathetic masses, and jar from their centre the very walls and foundations where multitudes congregated. But the very first, faint sound coming in response to these prayers and predictions sent terror into the heart of modern Christendom. While in the very act of praying and predicting that some celestial manifestations of power and majesty might be made, lo, a feeble sound was heard on the altar floor or pulpit case, and priest and people were seized with alarm; they turn pale with affright; their prayers shake them, and they take them back; they pray God to forgive them for asking for more than they were prepared to receive; Catholics cross themselves and Protestants beg to be absolved; through the blue goggles of their dogmas they see " hydras, gorgons and chimeras dire," pale phantoms of alarm, shrieking ghosts, wandering wild in the midnight air and weird hags, like those mumbling in Macbeth; and they cry cut, Delusion, Beelzebub! Back, demons damned, ye legioned throngs clothed in the alluring light of the spheres!

In spite of all opposing obstacles, history affords nothing parallel with the progress of Modern ← Spiritualism → . Only fifteen years, and its journals are numbered by scores, its volumes and public evangels by hundreds, its mediums by thousinds, its believers by millions. Conservative to all good, and radically revolutionary to all evil, beneath its angel influences the church, state and society of today are rocking like stranded barks amid ocean-waves.

Adapting its manifestations to every phase of life, to the lowliest hamlets and loftiest palaces, the home and the wilderness, the field and the workshop, the highway and the fanes of holiest worship; teaching man all his duties and relations, and expanding his being with great thoughts, mounting beyond the moldering vault of death; breaking down all barriers dividing the children of God; lighting the material universe, as the temple of Deity vocal with anthems of harmony; opening communion between man and the myriads peopling the spiritual empires; flooding our hemisphere with glory-gleams of the Divine and eternal; flashing the fires of celestial influx through the massive walls of materialism standing for ages between earth and heaven, - why need we wonder that multitudes are startled into new-born gladness, shouting, "Glory to God in the highest!"

Before the advent of ← Spiritualism → , the masses of the people lay in spiritual night. Zion was mournful and desolate, watching in vain for the millennial morn to break. The multitudes plodded on with no certain light of the future. Children huddled in silent awe over the dead. Death was a blinding, frightful mystery. Homes sounded hollow with the wail and woe of bereaved hearts. Mary’s watched lonely at the sepulchre, but no resurrection morn dawned on their tear-dimmed eyes. Young men and maidens, aged and middle-aged, mourners all, hung desolate over grave-yards and blasted hearth-stones, calling for the dear departed; and the dying lifted their wan hands and faces towards that drear unknown from whose bourn no traveller had been supposed to return. Amid the silence which for ages had hung like a pall almost unbroken over the grave, sounds were heard; gentle sounds like " footfalls on the boundary of another world."

They came again and again. From home to home they vibrated, till oceans and continents were crossed, till every ear was startled, till the whole globe trembled as beneath shocks from off some celestial battery touched by the fingers of Omnipotence, flashing the electric flames and rolling the thunders of Sinai over the angel-trod mountain-tops of the century. Messages came startling the world with overwhelming evidences of immortality. The weary, working masses lifted up their eyes with joy and wonder, and new hopes gleamed on their toiling way. The young crouched in terror no more, but talked of brothers and sisters only gone on before; and the orphan saw a dead mother transformed into a guardian angel, watching over the lone one by night and day, and singing songs of the everlasting home. Young men and maidens tripped on their gladsome way, with new hopes and loves. The lost son of the lone widow came back, and wiped away her tears with hands reached out from the spirit-land where the prodigal shall wander no more. Fathers and mothers, and the long train of mourners who wept and wailed over the dead, lifted their faces heavenward, and, lo! the veil was parted by beloved ones, and the home of "many mansions" hymned to earth the song of angel-loves forever sheltered beneath that Father's dome where no clouds lower or storms beat on the bared soul. Old men and women, tottering over the grave in despair,; started up on their staves, bent low their eager ears, and, lo! the dear departed of other years came back to guide their trembling steps up the mount of God, where age blooms in eternal youth, and the sainted dead are gathered to their fathers. A gospel like this cannot be resisted!

We welcome it as the richest legacy of life.
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Re: Uriah Clark 1863 Plain Guide to Spiritualism

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:32 am

Interesting as I suggested I found the Victorian Prose in this book a little heavy going. However I was filing away a whole pile of research papers when I came upon a printed version of the following pages. Now they stem from my interest in how our philosophy and principles developed . I find that the following which came out of the, then, largest Convention Of Spiritualists, in Providence 1860, shows not only the earliest terminology of our final principles with all of their essential elements covered but also it gives an overview of many of the ideas which were generally accepted. It is also noteworthy in it highlights that each group of Spiritualists may have different views.

Page 84 PLAIN GUIDE TO SPIRITUALISM.
Most of the names by which the sects are now known were first applied by their opponents, and afterwards became adopted as titles of convenience. Who first used the term Spiritualist or Spiritualism we are unable to state, though none will deny its appropriateness. In adopting names to designate classes of individuals, it is impossible to avoid a tendency in some minds to extremes. Whatever title is adopted is found susceptible of being tortured into something opposite to that which is intended by its originators. Every name under heaven may be charged as having some tendency to partyism or sectarianism. The terms Freethinker, Infidel, Friend of Progress, Harmonial Philosopher or Reformer, are just as open to the charge of sectarianism as the term Spiritualist or Spiritualism. And yet some persons have objected to the latter, while they have insisted on thrusting forward one or more of the former names, as though they were thereby going to accomplish some extraordinary results. We can find no term more free from objections, more natural or appropriate, than the one in general use to designate spiritual intercourse, viz., SPIRITUALISM . The mightiest laws and forces in the universe are SPIRITUAL. God is a SPIRIT; man is the SPIRITUAL image and offspring of the Infinite Father; his highest attributes and noblest triumphs are SPIRITUAL; as a SPIRIT he is immortal, and through SPIRIT-BIRTH he passes into the SPIRIT-WORLD; our loftiest joys and grandest achievements are in communion with the SPIRIT-WORLD, and the highest hopes of humanity are centred in the inauguration of a SPIRITUAL or celestial kingdom on earth in fellowship with SPIRITUAL hosts of heaven. Spiritualism, therefore, becomes significant of all that is great, good, glorious, grand and divinely ideal. No term in the English language can be found so appropriate and full of meaning. The name may sound unpopular and opprobrious to certain itching ears, but to the believing soul it is significant of the sublimest inspirations, and becomes the

Page 85 THE PROVIDENCE CONVENTION.
password of eternal progress in all that is godlike and angelic. Let scoffers, skeptics and bigots sneer at us and ironically exclaim,"Spiritualists!“ But what care we, save to glory in that glorious epithet and repeat it as significant of our loftiest ideals and aspirations? The invisible world is peopled with myriads of spirits gazing down on the highway in which we are called to walk with heroic footsteps, and may no coward souls prove unworthy of the guardianship of God's celestial monitors. The largest Convention of Spiritualist lecturers, mediums and believers ever assembled, was held in Providence, R. I., in 1860.
The following "definitions of Spiritualism and its aims "was unanimously adopted by that body, though the author does not confine himself to the letter of the original statement: — 1. Who are Spiritualists? Those who believe man is an immortal spirit; that human spirits exist after the death of the body, and can and do come back, so to speak, manifesting themselves and communicating to mortals, in the use of various methods demonstrating immortality, the reality of a spirit world, and tangible intercourse with the inhabitants of earth.
2. All who recognize the fact of spiritual intercourse may be regarded as Spiritualists in theory, without reference to life, character or profession; while practical Spiritualists, the true, the genuine, the reliable, are those who seek to make their lives, characters and professions in harmony with the teachings and inspirations of the purest spiritual intelligences communicating with mortals and the divinest standard of the unfolded soul. 3. Spiritualists as a body claim no authority to dictate systems of philosophy, morality, reform, civil policy, theology or religion, for the arbitrary government of individuals, nor do they claim any uniformity of sentiment on any other ground than the fact of spiritual

Page 86 PLAIN GUIDE TO SPIRITUALISM .
intercourse, nor hold themselves responsible for each other's acts or opinions any farther than they choose to enter into fraternal compacts with an understanding as to the responsibilities to be borne.
4. We believe that differences of opinion and of practice are inevitable to the differences in states of development and planes occupied by different individuals, and that entire harmony can exist only where there is an entire equality in organization, culture and condition. But,
5. We recognize a fraternal plane on which all may come in harmony, on moral and religious ground, where all are identified as brothers and sisters of one common Father-and-Mother-God, and one family in communion with celestial spheres, each with guardian angel influences breathing the divine love Which mortals should ever seek to exercise towards each other, regardless of all transient differences and conditions. The Spiritualist creed is summed up in the Golden Rule and the Christian commandment of love to God made manifest in love to man, and is enforced by all the solemn obligations which belong to intelligent beings made conscious of the dignity, the divinity, the eternal and undivided destiny of the human family.
6. What is Spiritualism? Spiritualism, in its modern, restricted sense, may mean nothing more than the mere fact of spirit existence and spirit intercourse. But the term is often also applied to a system of philosophy or religion based on this cardinal fact; a system embracing all truth relating to man's spiritual nature, capacities, relations, duties, welfare and destiny; all that is now known or can be known relative to other spiritual beings, and the occult forces and laws of the universe. It is thus catholic and comprehensive; and Spiritualism, in short, may be regarded as the culmination, the essence of all truths, inspirations and revelations brought down to the

Page 87 SPIRITUALIST BELIEF.
present age, and demonstrated, confirmed by unmistakable manifestations of spiritual power and intelligence.
7. While modern Spiritualism began with the phenomena in Hydesville, Wayne Co., N. Y., in 1847-8, it likewise recognizes similar phenomena traceable through all past history, and especially in what has been regarded sacred history, though it is no indispensable part of Spiritualism either to affirm or deny the truth or authority of the Bible as interpreted by any of the religious sects, each Spiritualist being at liberty to place his own estimate on the value of that and of all other ancient records, whether called sacred or profane. The masses of believers, however, find abundant evidences in the sacred Scriptures, so called, harmonizing with modern Spiritualism, and are inclined to recognize the pure, primitive teachings and authenticated phenomena recorded in the New Testament as in essential unity with the unfoldings of the present spiritual dispensation.
But there is a diversity of opinion in regard to interpretations of the Bible and the extent of its authority and authenticity, the nature of Deity, the character and mission of Christ, and as to what modifications and rejections should be made in regard to the evangelical doctrines, denominated the "fall of man," "human depravity," "vicarious atonement," "the Trinity," "future judgment," and "endless punishment;" the majority of Spiritualists repudiating these doctrines as they are stated by the sects, and, in accordance with their own intuitions and the teachings they receive from spirits, advocating the law of human progress; the natural tendency to good. in humanity; the need of retributive justice mingling with mercy, instead of a scheme of vicarious salvation; the certainty of present judgment, rewards and punishments, administered according to the natural law of cause and effect, and continued no longer than is necessary to subserve the aims of benevolence in the reformation and consequent

Page 88 PLAIN GUIDE TO SPIRITUALISM.
holiness and happiness of the transgressor; the divinity of Christ as a type of the divinity God has stamped on all his children, and the mission of Christ as representative of the mission of the truly unfolded spiritual man, without any intervention of the so-called miraculous; the unity of the Godhead in contradistinction to the Trinity; and finally a method of interpreting the Bibles of all past ages precisely like the method adopted in the investigation of modern Spiritualism.
The spiritual gospel, therefore, cannot be confounded with any one species of philosophy, science, deism, atheism, pantheism or dogmatic theology, however noted may be the advocates, party or sect, whether they are men still in the form or so called disembodied spirits; none are recognized as infallible authority, though each may afford some truth belonging to Spiritualism.
8. All Spiritualists agree in affirming that the grand aim of Spiritualism is "the quickening and unfolding of the spiritual or divine nature in man, to the end that the animal or selfish nature shall be overcome, and all evil and disorderly affections be rooted out; in other words, that the' works of the flesh' may be supplanted in each individual by the' fruits of the spirit,' and thus mankind become a brotherhood, and God's will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."
9. Its Relation to Specific Reforms. —Since man's spiritual growth and welfare, in this life and the future, is believed to depend in some measure on his physical health, his habits and surroundings, as well as on his beliefs and motives of action, all departments of human improvement and practical reform come legitimately within the scope of a broad Spiritualism. Hence earnest and philanthropic Spiritualists cannot fail to take a deep interest in the promotion of objects like the following, though they may differ in regard to methods of action:

Page 89 REFORM INTERESTS.
10. Physiological reform in general, whether as relates to injurious habits of food, drink, dress, labor, indulgence, or stimulation, or to erroneous systems of medication to the end that every human body may be made a fit temple for the indwelling spirit, and a healthful instrument for its use.
11. Educational reform —that body, mind, and spirit mav be unfolded and cultivated symmetrically, and by the use of the most enlightened methods.
12. Parentage reform — that every child may be secured its right to a healthful organism, and an introduction to life under favorable circumstances.
13. The emancipation of woman from all civil and social oppressions — that she may freely choose her own occupations, and become best fitted to be the mother of noble offspring.
14. The equal enlightenment and consequent ultimate liberty of all human beings, and the abrogation of all oppression, civil inequality, domestic tyranny, or mental and spiritual despotism —because freedom is the birthright of all, and the instinctive demand of every growing spirit.
15. Theological and ecclesiastical reform - since deliverance from error and from external authority is requisite to the best spiritual advancement.
16. Social reform and ultimate re-organization -because the present selfish and antagonistic relations and institutions of society are unsuited to a higher spiritual condition. Lastly, in any and every effort calculated in their individual judgments to improve the condition of mankind.
17. Its Bearing on Organizations.-While Spiritualists have no general organization or authoritative creed, and cannot consistently combine for the purpose of controlling each other's opinions or setting bounds to inquiry, yet they may properly associate for such objects as the following:- The promulgation of what they deem important truth; the promotion of fraternal intercourse;

Page 90 PLAIN GUIDE TO SPIRITUALISLM.
and the affording of mutual encouragement and aid in a true life. While believers have no blind faith in the authority of conventions, or any other large bodies, yet, when such bodies truly represent the masses, they ask their opponents to treat them with due regard. If Spiritualism is assailed, we insist it ought to be assailed on fair ground, free from all caricatures, slanders, and misrepresentations. Opposers are prone to attack us on ground which we do not occupy; they quote books, papers, persons, and opinions which we have never acknowledged as authority. As yet we have adopted no books or individuals as our standard. The foregoing statement is the only one most widely adopted and endorsed. As the leading opinions of all parties and peoples are determined by the principles or platforms adopted by public representative bodies, we ask that Spiritualism be judged in the same manner, and not by unreliable reports.
We have a variety of individual statements of the spiritual philosophy, among which is the subjoined, by Prof. G. Beckwith:
1. That this life is a sphere of existence in which are developed the rudiments of a being which is to exist without end.
2. That after the occurrence of the chemical change called death, mankind continue to exist as conscious spirits.
3. That all spirit-faculties possessed in the body are retained and exercised in the spirit-life.
4. The type of character which an individual has cultivated or sustained in this life determines the state or condition of the spirit in the beginning of the next. In other words, the spirit-life may be compared to a graded school, in which the spirit is assigned to a class for which his discipline in the earth-life has qualified him.
5. That the capacity for improvement and progression, possessed by the spirit while in the form, is retained the spirit-life. Hence,

Page 91 OTHER STATEMENTS.
6. That the state (sometimes called sphere) into which a spirit at first enters on leaving the form is not of necessity fixed; but the spirit, at its own volition, can attract more refined and elevated spirits, by whose cooperating influence it can pursue an endless course of progression in purity and excellence, forever assimilating itself more and more to the ultimate of DIVINE PERFECTION.
7. That under certain favorable conditions spirits can and do manifest themselves to, and communicate with, persons in the flesh; and for this purpose they sometimes make sounds upon material substances, or move such substances, and sometimes employ the organism of mortals who are susceptible to their influence, inspiring them to write, speak, personate those who have died, of whom they had no knowledge, tell the events of the past, present, and future, perform acts of healing, and do many other things commonly classed as miracles.
8. That observation has shown, that by our mental, moral, and physical state we can aid or hinder the approach of the spirits to the earth. But the laws by which we are able to do this are as yet but imperfectly understood.
9. That persons who are susceptible to the influence of departed spirits are likely to attract those which are of a like character with themselves.
10. That the spirits which can influence one organism may not be able to affect another; and in case where the same spirit influences different persons, it will be likely to do it in different ways, and for different uses, according to the varying organism.
The following is another valuable statement, modified from A. E. Newton's Tract No. 2
1. Spiritualism demonstrates that the spirits of departed human beings now hold tangible, intelligible intercourse with man on earth.
2. Man has a spiritual nature surviving the material body, and is born into spirit-life at the dissolution of the material.
3. The spirit-world is a "house of many mansions," or spheres, in which all take their place or plane, according to their character, though none are debarred from progress.
4. The spirit-world is not essentially a fixed locality, but rather condition, though it may be difficult to divest mortals of all ideas of location.

Page 92 PLAIN GUIDE TO SPIRITUALISM .
5. Spirits are endowed with power to act on the human mind and body without destroying human responsibility, and under certain conditions call act on material objects, affording physical manifestations.
6. All human beings have spiritual senses, which, when cultivated and unfolded, render them mediumistic; hence, spiritual gifts and inspirations corresponding with those of ancient times, confirming the past, and demonstrating past and present phenomena as in harmony with the laws of nature.
7. No inspirations, manifestations, or communications, either ancient or modern, can be regarded perfect or infallible, since all come through finite, fallible mediums, and must be tested by individuals receiving them. "Prove all things."
8. Heaven and hell are states or conditions, rather than fixed places, and so are what are called spheres.
9. All human spirits are destined to endless progress towards an ultimate state of universal harmony, in accordance with the laws of Him who "doeth his will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth."
10. All the mightiest forces in the universe are spiritual. "The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
11. There is one Supreme Intelligence, "the Father of all spirits."
12. Spiritualism enables man not merely to believe but to realize immortality, and to receive constant aids and inspirations in spiritual life.
13. All inordinate fear and mourning are banished, and the future life is revealed with hope and joy.
14. The idea of constant angel guardianship elevates all human aims and aspirations, restrains evil, quickens the noblest faculties, aids in purifying the heart and life, and uplifts the affections in, communion with the beloved and beatified ones gone on before. 15. Constant communion with the spirit-world, peopled by the myriads of all past ages, aids man in becoming more conscious of the individuality, dignity and divinity of his own nature, enables him to throw off all false, external authority, and to stand up heeding the voice of God within the temple of his own being.

Page 93 BIBLE SPIRITUALISM
16. This communion keeps alive the holiest affections for the living and the dead, or departed, and enables us to realize the whole family of man as one on earth and in the heavens;
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Re: Uriah Clark 1863 Plain Guide to Spiritualism

Post by hiorta on Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:18 am

A mighty work attempting a mighty outcome - all of it true if fragmented.
The human difficulty lies in not having a means of measuring the (to us) invisible and so necessarily having to rely on clumsy words which have varying meanings as time passes.

For me, Arthus Findlay's Principles come top of all 'explanations' as will other views match best the current understandings.
The one-size-fits-all approach of those who would teach seems doomed to fail, no doubt because of the transient nature on human understanding.
Principles, however, look fine on a wall but are useless unless woven into the fabric of the individual's life after long, searching scrutiny prior to their acceptance.
Thank you for he article Admin,
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Re: Uriah Clark 1863 Plain Guide to Spiritualism

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:28 am

Hi Hiorta,

The beauty of this, to me, is to see what they thought about in those days. They accepted a much more eclectic view of what could or could not be, albeit within certain parameters, I note the reference to the growth of the Spirit includes no reference to reincarnation but growth within the Spheres.

This part of a major early work caught me out, its why we need to look at history because we should never have to reinvent the wheel if we know how it came about. In honesty I like watching Marc Demarest's blog Chasing Emma because as history is re discovered I note there is a dichotomy, a lady who clearly had abilities, who was happy with this unique opportunity, that only Spiritualism offered, to be an equal with males in debate. The other side is she was heavily involved in the "magical" area and also she would borrow the ideas of others. None of that is surprising nor bad, in the end she gathered the thoughts of others and presented them coherently.
We can clearly see, from this section, where the 7 principles came from. However, we can also see that Emma pulled it together in a coherent way. She was also much stronger in intellectual rigour to Cora Scott Richmond..

Cheers
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