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serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die." And the woman believed the tempter rather than God, and so sinned against the Creator.
Having tempted man to disobedience, so bringing death into the world, what more natural, in the course of deception, than to endeavor to persuade the human family that, after all, there is no death; that what appears so is only an introduction to fuller life and activity? "Ye shall not surely die."
As mankind departed from right and lost the knowledge of God, dead heroes were deified as gods, and much of the pagan worship consisted in sacrifices to the spirits of the dead, supposed to be living still and concerned with affairs in the land of the living. When Israel fell away from God and joined the Moabites in the worship of Baal-peor, the record says of the nature of the service:
"They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead." "Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils." Ps. 106:28, 37.
Instead of dealing with the spirits of the dead, the idolatrous worshipers were really putting themselves in direct touch with the agencies of Satan, the fallen angels.
This explains the severity of the divine warnings against the ancient practice of necromancy, or mediumship. The Lord said:
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God." Lev. 19:31.
"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with
familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord." Deut. 18:9-12. The ancient séance, where the living sought unto the dead for knowledge, was denounced by the prophet Isaiah:
"When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead?" Isa. 8: 19, A. R. V.
"To the law and to the testimony!" the prophet cries. To seek unto the dead for knowledge is to turn from the law and the testimony, and to take the counsel of the direct agencies of Satan, the great deceiver.
What Spiritualism is may best be understood by the prophetic warnings concerning the revival of this great deception in the last days. The apostle spoke of these days as a time when seducing spirits would lead many away from the faith:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 1 Tim. 4: 1.
This deceptive working is an indication of the nearness of Christ's second coming:
"Whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." 2 Thess. 2:9, A. R. V.
True to the sure word, now that the last days have come, there has arisen the movement of modern Spiritualism, with its signs and wonders, purporting to be wrought by the spirits of the dead. Professor Wallace says:
"Modern Spiritualism dates from March, 1848; it being then that, for the first time, intelligent communications were held with the unknown cause of the mysterious knockings and other sounds similar to those which had disturbed the Mompesson and Wesley families in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."-"On Miracles and Modern Spiritualism" (London, 1875), p. 146.
It was in Hydeville, N. Y., in the family of Mr. Fox, that the modern cult originated, it being found that by mysterious but clear sounds of knocking, unseen intelligences were able to communicate answers to questions asked. The rapidity of the spread of the great deception was remarkable. One of the Fox sisters, Mrs. A. Leah Underhill, wrote:
"Since that day, starting from a small country village of western New York, Spiritualism has made its way against tremendous obstacles and resistance, but under an impulse and a guidance from higher spheres -round the civilized globe. Starting from three sisters, two of them children, and the eldest a little beyond that age, its ranks of believers, privately or publicly avowed, have grown within thirty-six years to millions.”—“The Missing Link in Modern Spiritualism," Introduction.
Many at the time thought, as have many since, that the "rappings" with which the manifestations began were caused by some trickery on the part of the Fox sisters, but men of unimpeachable standing and intelligence certified to the contrary. Horace Greeley, famous editor of the New York Tribune, wrote in his paper that the sisters had visited him in his home and courted the fullest investigation as to "the alleged manifestations from the spirit world." As the result of his observations, he wrote:
"Whatever may be the origin or the cause of the 'rappings,' the ladies in whose presence they occur do not make them. We tested this thoroughly and to our entire satisfaction." Id., pp. 160, 161.
that launched this cult
It was no mere sleight of hand upon the world as the last days came. Beyond all the physical manifestations, the religious idea in Spiritualism has leavened the religious thought of millions. No one can deny that the basic idea is the one that the serpent promulgated in Eden, "Ye shall not surely die."
Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten, another of the Fox sisters, says of the discovery of 1848:
"On the night of the thirty-first of March, 1848, we found beyond a shadow of a doubt or peradventure, that death had no power over the spirit. In a word, we found our so-called dead were all living.”— "Nineteenth Century Miracles" (Manchester, England), p. 554.