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“ Free your mind, grandmother: it will do you good.” “Why, you will drag us all down to hell!”
"No danger of you, grandmother,” he coaxingly said, patting her on the shoulder: “don't you believe the Bible? We nowhere read of the damnation or salvation of women."
Well, now, that's just like you; always turning sacred things into fun; always just as full of your sin as you can be. Dear James, why don't you repent? Why don't you, before it is too late? A Baptist, a Universalist, a SPIRITUALIST! where will you go next?”
“Where? Ha, ha! If there's anything better, I am going, going for it. But to be serious, grandmother, I am going where truth points the way. The soul should be free to make its choice. Man is dangerous only when caged and chained. Slavery is a far greater element of disturbance than freedom. The stream of life must flow freely or it will break its barriers and devastate the villages. Who gave to the black-frocked pastors the keys of life and death? No, no grandmother, be not overawed by this black-frocked gentry who have spread their nets for truth unworthily, but who have never found her! Believe, we must live the truth and walk the perfect way in freedom, if we would see the divine perfections."
Seated on the shore of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, one afternoon with his friend, J. O. Barrett, the conversation turned on the subject of death. Mr. Peebles was full of frolic, and when his friend grew serious, he suddenly exclaimed:
“When I kick out of this old shell, I want my head cut off, and, after being cleaned up, the skull given to Dr. Dunn for use in his lectures, he stating to the audience whose it once was, whilst hitting it a ringing crack to arrest attention. This disposal of my head is understood by my wife and sister, Mrs. C. C. Beach, who consented to my plea, amid tears, at which I laughed. At my funeral, I want a brass band playing a good lively air; and for bearers I must have an Indian, a Chinese, a German, a Frenchman, an Englishman, an Italian, an American, and as many other national representatives as can conveniently be selected. Now, remember! Put the body in
a white coffin. Go to the cemetery on a lively trot
no moping. Be sure and have singing at the grave. Engage two inspirational speakers, one of whom I shall entrance to address the people. You may be there, J. H. Harter, Elder Evans, Dr. Dunn, Mrs. S. A. Horton, Mrs. M. S. Wood, and I shall be there! Will not that be a good time? Then plant upon my grave no marble slab or monument, but simply flowers and a fruit-tree, that my very dust may be of practical use, still blessing those who stand there in after years and wonder who's the owner and where he is.”
Writing a poetical article for The Banner of Light, Mr. Peebles says,
WHEN I GO HENCE. “Life and death are two golden links in the chain of endless being; demonstrating the goodness of the Divine Existence. That was a beautiful superstition, those ever-burning lamps in ancient tombs, imaging immortality, and the upward tendency of all things. Death is but the severing of the physical and the spiritual, — a passing point in the drama of each soul's endless experiences,- a withdrawing of the curtain to show us those we love. It may be likened to a star, that, fading from our skies, illumines some summer clime in the sidereal heavens; or to a rose twining up the garden wall to bloom on the other side ; or to a grand triumphal archway, through which millions yearly walk to those sunlit islands of God, where, among the mountains of the beautiful and delicious perfumes, praises ascend with matin and vesper. Musing thus, I sang in better rhyme that rhythm “When I go, let no wail in the mansion be heard,
No wavelet on soul-sea or heart-chord be stirred;
“Let the hour be morn: while the first breeze is stealing
O'er forest and flower, in sweet voices revealing
“O'er the tomb let no willow in minor tones moan,
Nor the false phrase, 'died,' be carved on the stone; For such breathe not the truths that gleam through the portals, That gladden evermore the homes of immortals. “Oh, these death-scenes are sweet! for the soul then receives Vast volumes of thought on its unwritten leaves; While each throe of despair, of sorrow and pain, Will have burnished the links in Life's mystical chain. "Let the harp of the 'morn-queen' be newly restrung; There's mirth to be made, there are songs to be sung; For a mortal has passed from the care-lands of earth
To the realms of the loved, where music had birth. “Oh! 'tis joy to stand near this glorified throng,
Whose goodness and love are the themes of each song;
Writing of death in the London Spiritualist, and assuring its readers that though justice and mercy span all worlds, and though all religions treat of death, Spiritualism, the synonym of apostolic Christianity,- Spiritualism is the only religion that does not say "good night " in the solemn hour of death, but rather gives the glad assurance of a most welcome “good morning,” just across the crystal river. It does not drape the mourner's home in gloom, but lifts the grim curtain, permitting us to hear the responsive words of undying affection from those we love across the grim divide.
It would see no mourning garments worn, it would see none draped in crape, but see at funerals only opening buds and blossoms and hear only resurrection songs of music. It would see cemeteries made as beautiful as gardens and the groves of spring time, with wild briars twining around tombstones, and everything else that can remind us of the evergreen shores of immortality.
“He finds the laurel budding yet,
From love transfigured and tear-wet:
In June, 1866, Mr. Peebles was unexpectedly invited to the editorship of the Western Department of the Banner of Light, the controlling influences as the oracles of this stable journal so advised. No better choice could have been made. His editorials in that paper immediately became so popular that the subscriptions began to multiply, and the Banner's circulation steadily augmented during the four years in which Mr. Peebles maintained his connection with it. These editorials for earnestness, warmth, and brilliancy, bore a strong resemblance to Theodore Tilton's leaders in the New York Independent, when he was its editor. Possessing a fine library, conversant with history and general literature, gifted with an exuberant fancy, and matter of a pleading literary style, he had exceptional qualifications for the new work upon which he was now entering.
The Banner firm - William White, chairman of circle room, Luther Colby, editor-in-chief; Isaac B. Rich, treasurer; in connection with others interested editorially or officially with this leading spiritual journal, and Mr. Peebles, editor of the Western Department — were indeed a “band of brothers,” confiding as school-fellows, faithful as teachers, true to the aims of that institution - the ministry of spirits — to whom they ever appealed for advice in matters of importance. The reminiscences of those councils held in the "circle-room." whose central figure was Mrs. J. H. Conant, are cherished by those who remain among the soul's deepest affections.
We extract from his editorials some choice gems, bubbling with the freshness of inspiration :
Readers, grace be with you from the Infinite, peace from the angel-world, blessings from those beautiful spirits commissioned to minister unto mortals, and a conscious fellowship with the good, the beautiful, and the true, be yours now and evermore!
"Earnest in the advocacy of what I deem right, true, and reformatory, I shall be tolerant to differences of opinion; holding the olive-branch of peace; exercising that charity which thinketh no evil; encouraging all mediatorial persons whose aims are highly purposed; and glorying ever in that freedom of discussion so natural to Western life and enterprise, yet insisting that it be conducted in the spirit of sincerity, kindness, and brotherly love; considering myself responsible for only such articles as I may furnish.”
“ As friction from the contact of Aint and steel eliminates the spark, so mind is the result of two conditions of substance, physical and spiritual. Essential spirit, the positive principle, is everywhere dependent upon matter for the production of manifestations, and the molding of forms visible to the sensuous eye. Births from blending is the universal law.
Though absolute spirit can not become less than spirit, and though philosophically true that nothing can affect it in its nature and essence, it is equally true that it may be buried, clogged, and its legitimate aims and efforts for a season be thwarted. It is generally conceded by sound thinkers and scientists, that gross thoughts, gaming saloons, alcoholic drinks, and licentious practices, not only destroy the health and harmonies of the body, but ruin the mind; that is, ruin it practically for high, divine uses.
The organ that manifests mind in the highest degree is the brain, and the nerves are the channels through which it