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The New Dispensation (Continued)

Discourse

To-day we meet to celebrate the thirty-seventh anniversary of Modern Spiritualism, which, however, does not occur at exactly the present date, for it made its appearance in Germany a year previous to the time you commemorate, and at the same time a movement sprang up spontaneously in France and England of very much the same kind as that which presented itself to you thirty-seven years ago, but some three years earlier. In Russia, also, this same movement began, although in a manner somewhat different and distinct from that which came to you; still the same impulse, the same tidal wave of spirit force, touched Russia, Germany, France, England, Norway, Sweden and America. It would be idle for any one nation to boast that it held all the spiritual power that belonged to the Father when He sent forth His dispensation of love to His children. The sweetest proof of His universal love and tender care is that when He touches one nation, He touches another; that when He gives broad and spontaneous utterance to that might of His, all children belong to Him irrespective of nationality, irrespective of race.

Germany has, indeed, the greater right to boast in this movement, for when this power swept in among her savants, when it touched with its light and power the intelligence of her people, it smote against her materialism with a force that she herself could not withstand. It was not largely known to the world that Germany had thus been seized with a spiritual epidemic; it was not known for some time; it was kept as close as possible; those people hugged it to their bosoms because it was something so unusual among them as metaphysicians and philosophers to be obliged to take this little babe which the Father had sent, this little infant of spiritual light and power, and hold it to their bosoms of intelligence, hold it to their metaphysical hearts, and feel it leap and throb and beat against them, until neither their philosophy nor their materialism could withstand it.

When the movement broke out upon your shores, an envoy was sent from there to investigate it and prove whether or not that which came to you was the same which came to them; for Germany, like all metaphysical nations, loves dearly to make a science of anything, every form and manifestation must be in equal concurrence with the others. Therefore, when this envoy returned and reported that the manifestations were very nearly the same, that there was very little difference, perhaps greater freedom and less restraint, that the power and intelligence which exhibited itself came with greater force among the people of America than among themselves, it set them thinking, and they asked themselves why it was so. The answer came in later years to them. When they who dwelt upon its movements knew, when they proved as clearly to themselves as you have proved to yourselves, that this great and beautiful light is a fact, something that may be taken hold of, something that may be held, something that will help and protect and shield them, when they came to study its laws, and understand more fully what it meant, then they knew that the geniality of your climate, the great power that comes out from your hearts, the freedom of your country, its great national enthusiasm, its great openness of soul, its great, throbbing, beating, warm, true heart singing its songs of liberty for all, and reaping for itself the sweetest liberty of spiritual truth, made it more possible for you than for them. Germany today keeps not so largely as yourselves the public anniversary of this great event, but Germany today holds close within her heart that which she has gained, and which has proved a leaven that has run through that heavy lump of metaphysical and intellectual learning, and made their hearts lighter and their souls stronger.

When this wave struck the shores of England, it made there an entrance so deep and profound that all the ecclesiasticism of the Church was not able to withstand it. Crowned heads bowed before it; the peasant in the cottage lighted his lamp by its glow; the spirit within him shone outside because of it; and little children there today feel the enthusiasm of that power within their souls. If it were possible for man to see that this movement of Modern Spiritualism needed any justification for being here upon your shores today, how fine a sarcasm against the intelligence of the present age we spirits might point out to you! That any, leaning out of the window of the narrow soul of their own intelligence, should need to ask of any neighbor or friend, "What of this light? How clear is the shining? What does it mean? What good has it done? What power does it hold?" is accounted for by the fact that man is not sufficiently awakened, spiritually, to acknowledge the glory of the light which streams out from this home of ours, and feel how deep and true and lasting are the rays thereof.

Today, we as spirits gathered here, have not come merely to recognize a birthday, to note down that thirty-seven years ago this beautiful infant stepped inside a humble door, reaching out its hands so sweetly and tenderly, its heart filled with a love that embraced all this continent, but to celebrate a double birthday. We have come with tender longing to speak our eulogies over the past, and we have also come with more light, with stronger convictions, with mightier power, to reach forward and take into our hands the new dispensation of the now.

What have we as spirits been doing in your midst for the past thirty-seven years? What have you done with this little infant that we placed among you? What power did we give its tender voice in speaking? What did we bid it say? Why, that little infant was so small it seemed as if your hands must let it drop; you could not hold it! What did it tell the world? With a voice of thunder it hurled its bolts against the doors of superstition and skepticism; with a great power and might it tore and hurled down the pointed steeples of the past; with a great eloquence it persuaded hearts to come to itself, and when hearts came, it closed its little waxen lids, and with its softest breath, it said to fathers and mothers, to brothers and sisters, "Behold me! I am the mirror; I, this little infant that shows the faces of your loved ones."

And what fell down upon it. Tears of blessing, great drops from the eyes of men whose hearts had been contracted with the sorrow of the loss of their little ones, and tears of joy from the eyes of mothers. The infant face smiled, those waxen lids opened slowly, those little eyes looked into the faces of those fathers and mothers and it said, "Behold I not only seem to be, but I am."

What did it do to those whose hearts were stronger than their intellectual powers, whose tender, loving emotions, as they welled up from their hearts, held in their keeping experiences so deep, so sad, so bitter, that life took on the hues of despair and discouragement? It caused the hearts of those who looked down into its little face to grow glad and hopeful and strong and tender, thus proving that this wave of Modern Spiritualism, touching your shores as it did, gave consolation, courage and hope to hearts grown weary, sad and fearful along the way.

When men of letters, roused by the thunder which came pealing even from this little child, turned and gazed upon it, what did they do? Strove with all the force of opposition, with all the might within them, to slay this infant, as it lay in that cradle, and had it not been placed there by angel hands, had not that cradle been made in heaven by us, these strong assaults would have crushed it, and not a shadow would have remained of what it was. But when they attacked it, lo! from that shining face there went out a power so strong, an eloquence so mighty, a tone so deep, that all their assaults were turned back upon themselves, and they who lingered long enough to look upon the face of that little one, turned back, thoughtful and careful, and grown wiser for the lesson they had learned.

When our friend, the Church, turned her stern face toward this little one, her children, coming out with eager faces no further than the door, reached out their hands to see if aught came from that cradle that they could touch, but never in one instance, as we have looked down, have we seen a strong, earnest, true, brave man come forth from the church door to bend with love over the cradle of our little one. Fearless and dauntless it stood, with hands upraised, and when they ventured out a little further, and saw that the infant sleeping there wore the tender look of him who was sent and who was slain, they shrank back within themselves, and barred their doors against the glory and the light which streamed from the upturned face of that little sleeper, for so far this child has been sleeping, so far it has only sent out power enough for the world to come forward and be drawn to it, some close beside it, who had hearts spiritual enough, others afar off, who had intellects quickened enough, and others still peering back because there were not proofs enough, or because they feared to learn that that which they had beheld so long in the Church did not rest there, but rested outside their doors.

The sleeping infant in its little cradle has had only power enough to draw these people sufficiently close that they might see why it is here. It has had its eyes closed by the Father, that the light, shining from them need not paralyze the minds of those who came to gaze. Little by little it has drawn them out, and yet it sleeps; little by little it has aroused the full intelligence of the country in many ways, and yet it sleeps; little by little it has drawn the full battery of opposition against it, and yet it sleeps; little by little, crowned heads and brave hearts and great lights have softly come forward to look upon it, and yet it sleeps. And it sleeps for this reason: that the world as it stood could not bear its greater waking. It sleeps, but in that trance of slumber, what power it holds within itself! What eloquence of silence, which, without speech, has drawn the world to look upon it. And what may it not do when He who rules o'er us all gives it voice and utterance?

If, sleeping, it has awakened the thunder tones of opposition; if, sleeping, it has roused nation after nation to look to it; if, sleeping, it has broken the trance of that death-like stupor of superstition, ignorance and prejudice; if, sleeping, it has called forth men and women, who, for its sake, have borne the taunts and scoffs of others, and boldly proclaimed that that little child is within their homes; that they have touched its cradle, looked into its face, and felt the power from it; if, sleeping, it has done these things, wrenched from thrones themselves, the power to not know themselves, wrenched from the Church herself, this great proof of immortality if, sleeping, it has done these things, waking and walking in your midst, what may it not do?

Under the old dispensation of Spiritualism it has caused men and women, whether they would or not, for the sake of this little child which was placed, sleeping, in your midst, and which must not be swept out of existence, to come forward and stand boldly in front of the church-door and make their presence felt, and in the most unwelcome manner have they been used as battering rams, oftentimes against their will, to sweep with iconoclastic power and fury everything before them, even assaulting the very altar itself, and, with seeming profane-ness, crying out that it must be heard; and all the time these men and women have been tearing into shreds and tatters these creeds and dogmas, and hurling them, in bold defiance, in the face of the Church, the little infant lay sleeping, no quiver of its eyelids to prove that it ever would wake from that trance. Oh, what power is there in silence! Oh, what magic is there in a trance like this a little form, so timid and shrinking, lying in a cradle in your midst, and from it coming forth this of which we have spoken.

Where stands the Church today? While these early pioneers were thundering at her doors, and sweeping through them, throwing down her images, crying out against what she was doing, and hurling her curses back into her teeth, making them feel that the very gate of Hades was open for them; while this necessary work of the old dispensation of Spiritualism was moving on, the power sent forth from this trance gave yet another direction to its little hand, and hearts awoke spontaneously in Germany, in England, in France, in America and in Russia. They quivered and beat with a new life; they thrilled with a new power, and in the silence of their homes through the association of their souls, the light that streamed from them stole like a shadow after those who were sent to demolish and tear down and beat against; stole with wondrous power, with deep hush, while soft palpitating love, upon the spirits that were quivering in terror and indignation against what had been done. The hearts that stood up in anger and hurled their anathemas against them, who had hurled their battering-rams against the door, felt, but did not speak, the subtle influence which the little child sent forth, sleeping.

It made its way into the beautiful hearts in quiet homes, and the priest from the altar, the minister from the pulpit, entering there, soon knew that the little child's influence had preceded them. When death, so-called, smote with heavy hand the loved ones, and left the mourning hearts quaking with terror and anguish, inspired by the devastating power displayed, the Church came to console, to comfort and to cheer; but lo! the angels of consolation and hope had superseded her. Mothers had felt the power from those little hands; fathers had felt the strength emanating from the sleeping child, and when the priest came to console, he went away earnest and thoughtful, for consolation had preceded him. And yet, the child slept, and is sleeping.

Let us claim for Modern Spiritualism of the past its full due; let us claim for it its God-Given origin; let us claim for it all it has done, and Modern Spiritualism of the old dispensation has sent to the world at large three things which we have proven unto you: immortality; the existence, and how they exist, of spirits; the effect of spirits in another world upon life in this. If the child, sleeping, has had power to do this for this world of yours, the child, waking, will have power, oh, what power, to do what? Wake the spirit into life and strength exultant, and, waking it, touch its intellect. So far, it has but knocked at the door; but when it wakes fully and leaps from its cradle, it will walk boldly forth among you, and if in the garb of a man, stand proudly erect, saying, "Behold me," or if in the garb of a woman, trail its beautiful garments far behind it, saying, "Feel me, acknowledge me."

All these things will the new dispensation do. In the silent solemn watches, while men and women sleep, this little infant will step forth from its cradle, and the old dispensation, waking up some beautiful morning and rushing towards the shrine from which it has gained its power, will look into the empty cradle. It will see the little garment of faith folded up and lying in the tomb so long ago. It will mark how deep is the impress upon the pillow of trust where the little child has lain. It will longingly bend over it to catch what power and strength and life may linger there, for it will feel that all the old dispensation has done is old. It will clasp this little cradle in its arms as men and women love to clasp, for the last embrace, the forms of those they love, when life has stamped the spirit with sense and power, and death has kindly rocked the body into sleep. It will long for the voice that spoke from within it; it will list for its welcome sound; but the babe was only sleeping; it has waked now and fled, and the lesson that empty cradle will teach the old dispensation will be this: We held so little of the full truth; we thought we held it all.

Concluded on the next page:


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