Published in 1878

The Spirit of Benjamin Franklin Speaking Through The Mediumship of Cora L.V. Richmond 
After Being In The Spirit World At Least 80 Years.

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CORA L.V. Scott Hatch Tappan RICHMOND 
1840 - 1923

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    Book Excerpt Taken From:                                                             SCIENCE


    Published in 1878

    Part  6  of  12 Parts,  page 77:*
    The Spirit of Benjamin Franklin Speaking Through The Mediumship of Cora L.V. Richmond 
    After Being In The Spirit World At Least 80 Years.

    A Few Historical Facts About The Earth Life of Benjamin Franklin :
    Born in Boston in 1706, he pasted into the spirit world 1790.  He became one of the greatest statesman of the American Revolution and of the new born nation.   He was the delegate to the Continental Congress, was appointed Postmaster General.  In 1776 he was appointed to the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, which he signed. 

    Benjamin Franklin, the son of a tallow chandler and soap maker,  left school at 10 years of age to help his father.  He  apprenticed to his half brother, a printer and publisher of the New England Courant, to which young Ben secretly contributed.  Going on to be a printer, scientists, inventor and writer, owning various publishing interests, he extended his own knowledge by studying foreign languages.   Published from 1732 to 1757,  the well known:  Poor Richard's Almanac.   Franklin also interested himself in selling books, established a circulating library, organized a debating club that developed into the American Philosophical Society and helped  to establish (1751) an academy that eventually became the University of Pennsylvania. 

     He brought about civic reforms.   He had studied  philosophy and science;  repeated the experiments of other scientists and showed his usual practical bent by inventing such diverse things as the Franklin stove, bifocal eyeglasses, and a glass harmonica to name just a few.  The phenomenon of electricity interested him deeply. 

     It is therefor  not surprising with all his exceptional talent, which space does not permit to be listed here, that  he was quite prepared and ready to continue his work for the improvement for humanity on arriving into the spirit world.

     Note: Benjamin Franklin is a fine example of the universal law.  His soul was well developed by  the service he gave because of his love for humanity.  Gaining knowledge through that loving experience,  'is'  the alignment, the becoming a part of the creative Life-Force, the powerful wisdom of a higher truth.  This power is creative energy,  eternally being used for progression of the earth and the spirit worlds. 





The Spirit of Benjamin Franklin Speaking 

Through The Mediumship of Cora L.V. Richmond 

After Being In The Spirit World At Nearly 90 Years.

Mr. CHAIRMAN AND FRIENDS--The words of my chosen theme this evening have not been idly selected:  " The Occupation, Capabilities and Possibilities of Disembodied Spirits."

Into the region of that world which lies beyond death, and into that portion of it which it has been my good fortune to dwell for many years, I invite your cordial presence; a presence which is possible if you will only free your minds from all fears concerning death, and assume that it is simply a voyage through another country, narrated to you by a traveler who has sojourned there.

It is usual to you to disencumber your minds so much of time and space that, either with panoramic view, or with the aid of word pictures which the traveler can portray, you easily traverse distant countries, become accustomed to the habits and manners of the inhabitants there, familiar with their laws, and, indeed, know as much of them as though you were really there in person.  This is possible concerning the spiritual life.  If you unbar the doors of death, take away from the gateway of the angels the terror and fear that have so long sat there, and disencumber your minds of the thought that there is aught in connection with the future life of which man has need to be afraid, you will then easily perform the journey.

Death is no barrier at the gate of life; death is no fiend, shaped in hideous image to frighten you from the precincts of immortality, only a natural change--one which all must inherit, and sooner or later pass through; the method of it is familiar to those who have watched the departure of friends or dearly loved ones; the consciousness of it is present ever, alike to the studious and to the thoughtless.   Surely in this theme there is nothing that should inspire with fear nor profane the silent shadow with terror or despair.  Birth into your world were a more fitting opportunity for sadness and mourning, since you do not know into what scene of terror or misfortune the newly born infant way be plunged in after life; but in the spirit world, when the body has fulfilled its outward function, and is again gathered to dust, there is nothing to fear aside from what a man way take with him into that world, namely, his own spiritual condition.  No fiends of terror await to plunge him into abysmal torment; no one watchful with vindictive glance to judge of his slightest look, word, or deed in life; he has no more severe monitor than his own conscience; than consciousness, when disrobed from outward life, of being in spirit, perhaps impoverished by a lack of excellence in his external life and knowledge.

Into the spiritual state, therefore, the usual human being enters as freely and as gladly as you would pass from the winter clime of the frigid zone to the regions of tropical warmth and beauty.  Into the spiritual life usually the spirit enters gladly, as though freed from a prison, unfettered from chains, and released from the thralldom of the encasing physical clay, that even to the best of human beings is to some extent a bond upon the spirit.  I can therefore say that with the fullness of years and the consciousness of having tried to do my duty, death came to me as a welcome messenger.

I knew little of the state into which I would enter, but I had an abiding faith that the Infinite Power over rules these things and that we enter that state for which we are best fitted, and that to me there could come nothing worse than, what I had encountered, and in some way triumphed over during my earthly pilgrimage.

I assure you, friends, the consciousness of this fact abode with me for many years before my departure from the earthly life, I assure you that I had gleamings of this sublime philosophy that fills the void between the outer and the loftier life, and that I therefore was somewhat prepared for the reception which seemed to await me in the spiritual spheres; a reception that more than surpassed all earthly recognition, all visitation to home and friends, all possible conceptions of outward life, since it was not marred by any thought of the absent, or by any approaching severance of the chord by another change of death.

The needs of the human spirit speedily force themselves upon the consciousness of the newly departed.

I found that affection, kindness, charity, the graces and thoughts that I had admired in my earthly friends, were the real inheritance into which I came when I entered spiritual life.  I found that external surroundings, shapes of beauty, or usefulness, were in accordance simply with the needs of the spirit, and secondary to it, while all that pertained to the vital existence of life--I mean to the thought of life, to its good qualities, to those things that make up the real man or woman--these were apparent and manifest in the surroundings that awaited me.

Hence, in the abode of family affections, to which I was first admitted, I found the kindred of my fireside, and of my spirit awaiting me as joyously as though I had been in long banishment, or exile, and was returning to them.  I found my youth, all impulses and hopes of early manhood, every form of young life, restored and more than fulfilled in the fruition of the spirit, I found that the physiological change of death had wrought a greater miracle than Arabian wonders; it had wrought the miracle of absolute departure of age, of infirmity, of pain, and the consciousness of it--of all things connected with matter, so far as physical suffering was concerned.

I found to my sorrow that much of my life was not perfect, and that the portion which was not perfect was reflected in my brain, to which my friends, however, kindly seemed to turn a blind eye and deaf ear, and only allowed me to discover the imperfections.  These imperfections were the results which, of course, every human being possesses, and must ultimately become aware of--any lack in the mental or moral perfection of the nature on earth.  Such lack is distinctly portrayed in the spirit, and unless there is very great moral perversion the spirit becomes distinctly aware of it the moment disenthrallment from the earthly body takes place.

Nevertheless I was admitted into the abode prepared for me by the aspirations of love and the loved ones, who were present.  I did not find the distance far, although I presume upon actual measurement it would be many thousand leagues from the earth; but so rapid was the transition, and so sudden was the rising from earth, that it seemed an instant and I was there, though I could look back upon the earth, and it appeared as a speck or atom of dust in the atmosphere.

I found that the spheres of spiritual life are not of necessity connected with the earth's atmosphere, except by mental or spiritual ties, and that those having friends upon earth still hold an interlinking chain; but the orbit that connects them with the earth and with the spiritual state may be far away.

I found the sphere into which I entered was a vast belt of interstellar light, which seemed at first, as I approached it, to be like the Milky Way, of those nebulous masses that the astronomer discovers when contemplating the heavens.  This    belt was not limited to any especial planet or world, but seemed to stretch far away in different directions through the orbed spaces, and each planet seemed to have an interlinking avenue connecting with this interstellar belt.

I asked one who appeared to me as a luminous star of light what sphere, by name or number, I had entered.
He said:  "The spheres are not numbered to us, but for the purpose of external information they are frequently numbered.  This is the second or interstellar sphere--the heavens indirectly removed from the earth or other planets--that state which the spirit enters in its second stage of spiritual growth."

I said:  "Then is there another sphere nearer the earth?" "You have passed through one,"  he says, "which connects those spirits with the earth who are more nearly allied to it, and whose affections and ties are of an external nature.  Such spirits are earth bound, and have yet their passions, their prejudices, their human proclivities, to overcome.  Look back !"

I looked back, and I discovered what I had not seen while passing through it.  Dense masses, seemingly of vapor, floating over the speck that I called the earth.  These dense masses the spirit, who seemed luminous and orbed with light, told me were the first spheres of spiritual life beyond the earth into which those spirits entered that from moral obliquity, earthly ties, selfish habits, or any external cause whatever, were still bound near the earth.

I noticed, however, that even the dark masses swept away toward towards other planets, and he said there was a connecting link between the atmosphere of earth and the atmosphere of every other planet in a similar stage of spiritual growth, so that these lower spirits, or spirits less spiritually developed, were connected with whatever planet represented their average state, and frequently received an augmentation of their own shadow by the shadow reflected from the planet equally undeveloped.

Into the sphere, however, which I had entered, there seemed no absolute moral obliquity.  There were imperfections enough, the results no doubt of failures in earthly life to fully comprehend the nature of the spirit and its latent powers.  I could readily see that these failures were not the result of intention, and that they were soon overcome, as indeed my own delinquencies seemed to be overcome by my earnest desire to have them overcome.  I prayed, that is, I strove earnestly with myself to overcome whatever of personal pride, ambition or earthliness might remain with me, and I beheld, as I entered nearer and nearer the abode of my loved ones, a shining stream that seemed to flow all around the borders of this sphere into which I bad entered, through which I must pass to enter their abode..

Without hesitation I plunged into the stream, but instead of water, according to the standard of that substance upon earth, I found each globule seemed life like, and was laden with some essential pungent power, that probed the weakness of my moral nature and expurgated it from me.  Every globule seemed distinct, and like a lash would scourge, at the same time leaving no sting but the consciousness of renovation.

This was the sphere or state of self examination; and during my passage through this stream I distinctly remember that all of the faults and failings and mental imperfections of my earthly life seemed to pass before my mind.  I distinctly remember that I judged them all, one by one, and wished that they might pass from me.

As I emerged upon the other side I beheld my dearest friends extending to meet me; the members of my own family fireside group who had long since passed from gaze were there awaiting me.  These had prepared, as it were, an encircling bower, that shut out all view of the surroundings and scenery, but at the same time might open out any time directing my volition to it.

Here was my wealth, here was my greeting; here was the reception which for a long time I had awaited; how long I know not, for an age would seem as nothing and a moment an age in the consciousness of the joy of being disenthralled from earthly sense, and in greeting again the friends whom I knew upon earth.

As we passed out again into what seemed an open space, I was led by the spirit that appeared from a luminous body of spirits, to contemplate the change that had come upon me.  I found substances, new in name, but apparently as tangible as those of earth life, and I found structures that had no resemblance to earthly things, but at the same time were typical of the thought, wish or desire of those who inhabited them.  I found that the atoms of these spiritual existences were transparent; that I could see all the performances of life within my own frame as well as in the frames of those with whom I came in contact.  Thought itself seemed luminous, and I could distinctly tell by the radiations of light around my companions and friends that their thoughts were toward me.   I soon understood that we had no speech; that it was not necessary to make vocal signs, as the thought itself became palpable to the comprehension of the spiritual vision or consciousness of the other.

I then said: "Have we no physical senses here?  Speech does not seem to be necessary, and I do not require to hear when you think."

"Physical senses," was the answer, "are but the measure of the human body and its weakness.  The spirit only wants avenues of expression and avenues of understanding.  If senses were here they would blockade and prevent the expression which you so much covet."

"They do upon the earth,"  I said.  "The sight is limited, the hearing can only be relied upon at random, and the physical senses impede frequently the expression of the spirit."
"How much more, then, in the spiritual state will they do so,"  said my attendant, "when the spirit itself requires none of these outward avenues, but has avenues of expression according to its own state !"

I then speedily discovered that every mental vibration produced as distinct an impression upon the atmosphere as though a photographic plate had been there to receive its rays, and that this aura surrounding a spirit was at once a sign and token of the condition of the spirit, and of the, different thoughts emanating from the brain.

"Is thought then a substance?"  said I.

"Not a substance per se, but it affiliates with the substance of spiritual life, producing vibrations upon it, as sound does upon the external or earthly air.  Hence if a person thinks in spiritual life it is equivalent to speaking in earthly life, the effect being just as palpable on the finer substances of spiritual existence as is the vibration of sound upon outward substance."

"Then in what manner is thought received?"  I said.

"By vibrations.   The corresponding wave of thought reaches your own spirit and produces impression there, just as the wave of sound reaches the hearing and produces impression there."

"Then,"  I said, "of what use is this form?" for I perceived that I had a form distinct and conforming in shape, and I judged in appearance, with my earthly form, except that there were no lines of age, or care, or pain upon it.

He said:  "The organs of physical sensation are but the expression outwardly of spiritual sensation, hence they are a symbolic representation externally of what, the spirit really possesses in a greater degree. Hence, sight and physical touch, then, in spiritual life become submerged into one sense, but each of the avenues are preserved to complete the oneness, just as a complete sound or chord is made by several notes in unison; so the senses of the spirit are as separate notes of music out of which a chord of melody is made;  or better still, are as separate rays of light, of which a single perfect beam of light is made.   You do not use the senses separately in spirit life, as on earth, but all sensation is alive at once through all the avenues, quickening, or receiving, in proportion as the spirit thinks, or is acted upon, by surrounding spiritual intelligence."

Of course  I then discovered that the methods of this life must be widely different from those of earth, that the slowness and inadaptability of earthly life are vastly unfitted and unqualified to sustain anything like the rapidity with which thought itself acts upon the mind and brain of another.   Speech itself is slow to human consciousness;  thought is rapid in its vibrations.   The movements of the physical form are necessarily cumbersome, and vary in grace according to the ability or construction of form.  In spirit life gracefulness of thought depends upon its perfection, not upon the external expression, and he represents the most perfect beauty and symmetry of form and shape of life whose thoughts are the most perfectly formed, and therefore who expresses them the most perfectly.

I saw an entire change to my comprehension in the manner of construction of things.  In the external life, you will observe that all things proceed from organic properties and functions, and that life unfolds gradually from the germ that is acted upon by extraneous influences and substances.  I discovered in spirit life that all emanations proceed from the spirit itself; all attractions, or accretions of matter, are the result of a greater or less degree of perfection in the mind or in the spirit, and that therefore there is no necessity for organic construction; that whatever construction takes place in spiritual life, is what you term subjective in earthly life, but to the spirit is certainly objective; while all forms of earthly substance and organic life upon earth seem to the spirit in my stage of existence purely subjective and shadowy.

I see the radiations of matter, as I shall presently show you, not from the external but from the spiritual standpoint, and will endeavor to portray the changes in my senses and consciousness, while comparing the two stages of life, and my observation of substances in each.

As I soon became interested in these forms of external observation concerning myself, of course my immediate interest in home ties and home friends disappeared, and I became anxious to enter a wider range of observation, where, I could discover the various processes of the life into which I had entered.  I perceived forms all about me, of beauty and comeliness, some of them similar to forms on earth.  I mean external objects, but all of them seemingly dependent upon the radiations of some given mind.   Hence if I approached the habitation of a spirit there were flowers and forms of beauty, foliage, external objects it is true, but these all, seemed dependent upon and radiating around the spirit that was their life and centre.   If that spirit moved, the whole of this structure seemed scintillant with the thought of the spirit; if there, was a pulsation of joy it seemed as though the leaves and foliage were conscious of it;  and even the habitation in which the spirit dwelt became more luminous; and I speedily discovered that the thought of the inhabiting spirit affected all substances within the orb of its life, and hence that the attraction of other spirits, the home ties and all, were a congregation of spirits of similar grade, who formed their habitation by the attraction of as much substance as their own minds could control; and that the power of the spiritual will, its volition or consciousness, became the secret spring where with these substances were attracted.

I then said: "how was it that my own habitation was prepared without my presence here?"
"You have been living upon earth," the attendant spirit said; "you have had thoughts and occupations there, and whatever thought belonged to this stage of life, instead of to the earthly, produced its impression upon this stage and upon the corresponding substances here;  so that your spiritual structure was fashioned by you while you were an inhabitant of the earth life."
"Then we build our spiritual habitations,"  I said, "while upon the earth?"
"Yes and perfectly or imperfectly; the structure is fashioned according to the perfection or imperfection of your thoughts; if they are continually broken and shattered by external things, or if the ties of matter encroach too strongly upon the spirit, it makes habitation appear fragmentary and frequently very imperfect, but that is speedily remedied by the spirit when it comes to this state of existence."

"Then,"  I said, "Is there a continual connecting link between the earthly state and this state of spiritual life?"

"Most certainly; there are connecting links," says the attendant spirit, "between all atoms of matter in the universe, and certainly there are connecting links between all atoms of spiritual substances that make up the vast spheres of spiritual life."

I then discovered that the occupations of the spirit begin not externally, as they do upon earth, but inwardly.  For instance, if on earth a young man wishes to build a home he saves up a few dollars, he gathers together his earnings, and he makes a habitation out of such substances as accord with his means.  While his mind may be very lofty, his aspirations very meritorious, he cannot build a greater habitation than the dollars which he has will warrant him in erecting.  He, builds his habitation and takes his companion, and they together make up the home; first, of course, from their affections, but the external property from the substances around them.

In spirit life the novice enters seemingly without a possession, but be soon finds that he has laid up his treasures, or his lack of them, in heaven.  His lack of them will consist of a vacant  space, which certainly he may occupy, and which, if he has any friends or kindred or loving thoughts, will be measurably peopled by their kindness; but if he has been entirely lacking in spiritual graces and aspirations it will seem to be an impoverished country into which he has entered.  I am told that in the lower stratum of spiritual existences there are vast barren plains inhabited by persons who have not had aspirations sufficiently spiritual to make  populous their home with any living thing.

I am told that there are barren deserts stretching far away into space, the outgrowth of the earth and other planets, which souls must for a time inhabit, because they themselves have failed to create beauty in their thoughts.  But in this sphere which I entered there was no such desolate places;  there were certainly many imperfect, and many that seemed devoid of what  I would consider grace and beauty.  My habitation, when I entered that part of it that I myself had created, was sufficiently imperfect, and I found it like another famous place in history "paved with good intentions,"  and I speedily set to work to rear upon this somewhat substantial basis the edifice of my new life.  In doing this I did not look around for wood or marble, or any outward substance;  I was told that I had to build from within.   I said, "How shall I do this?  I know the trees grow and all things unfold from within upon earth by attraction of atoms from the sunlight and the various substances of the soil;  but I am not aware of any such property in man, except indirectly."

"You shall see," answered my attendant.  "Give yourself no uneasiness about your habitation, but try to reform the methods of your thought."

"Reform the methods of my thought?  Have I then been inebriate?  Have I been imprudent?  Have I been immoral?  Have I misjudged my kind? "

"You are to decide."

 I looked within my mental structure, and I discovered that the walls had largely crumbled away since I passed from earth-life; that things very real and very substantial to me in the external life were nothing; that precepts and maxims which I had considered essential and important, became as nothing; that they were mere shreds and sophisms.  For instance, I discovered that the external policy of honesty, unless accompanied by the genuine impulse, is void.  Of course I always thought so, but I stated it wrongly.  I discovered that an external morality typical of life is void, unless there be a corresponding probity of spirit.  I understood this, but I was not sufficiently alert to its importance of being first a Spiritual state.  I was of the opinion upon the earth that the external inculcation will eventually produce the right kind of state, and that the semblance of it ought to be cultivated that the real may come.  I discovered that no semblance can imitate the reality; that the real foundation of all moral excellence must be by inculcation of it from within.

I believed in modern science that outward observation and the pursuit of various mechanical and mathematical discoveries would eventually lead to the perfection of truth.   I now perceived that wall, also, crumbling away, and an insight entering my mind that outward science is but the form or clothing of the spiritual principle, and if that principle be not correct the science itself is void.

 In religion also I found that while I had no creed which made a barrier between me and my Deity, or between myself and my kind, there was still a mistake in the fact that I failed to recognize the absolute nature of the Divine Personality in the guidance of all worlds and men.   Of course I believed that too much can be done by man himself;  I recognized too little the unseen agencies that are alive in the universe to shape and govern all things.

I must be pardoned if I seem prolix, but in order to arrive at an accurate comprehension of the change which every spirit must pass through, I must give these individual experiences.

I then discovered that as I unraveled one by one the meshes of external sophism or external philosophy,  I seemed to be ensphered in an atmosphere far more luminous.  There were certain indications of fabric growing around me;  I perceived that as my thoughts regulated themselves harmoniously there were spherical arches, and various forms of beauty like rainbow lights, around me. 

I said,  "What is this?"  The attendant, seemingly watching me from without, said,  "You will soon discover."  And I at last found that my entire method of thought became inverted, or introverted; that I looked upon substance as a shadow, and upon what men call shadow as substance; that I discovered in the external life no organic property separate from spirit.  Remember this:  "In atoms no organic property separate from spirit"--that I probed to the very foundation of my philosophy and discovered that nature has of herself no activity independent of the spirit inhabiting nature.  I found this out in my own structure, and in the spiritual body which my soul animated and the life into which I was admitted.

I then said:  "From this standpoint can I investigate outward science?  Can I now become familiar with the processes of the contact of elements in external nature?"

The attendant said: "From this standpoint only can you understand the processes;  the external scientific man has no groundwork; he perceives at random; he discovers seemingly, by accident; he follows no line of investigation, and if he arrive at the truth it is simply because the truth is in his way, not because he has a correct aim. "

Then I said:   "I may safely study the elements of than earth's atmosphere and planetary substances, and the laws governing their control?"

"Most certainly," he said.  "But you are not fitted to enter upon this study until you shall have at first perfected your own habitation.  By this I mean,"  he says, "until you shall have become self-centered, properly poised in your own sphere of life, and understand thoroughly the scenes by which you are surrounded."

I then said: "I will follow your Instructions;  I seek only for guidance.  Let me know the methods."

"The methods are still self-examination, still self-scrutiny, still the undoing or perhaps the overthrowing of the thoughts that were with you on earth."

Then I leaned still more toward inward contemplation, and thought that I had not sufficient  power of spiritual growth to reach the point of my desire in the pursuit of the investigation of the sciences connected with the elements of the earth and the heavenly bodies.  Soon, however,  I became tranquil, and my mind was breathed upon by a consciousness of humility.

I said: "I will study as a little child, and listen to these spirits or witness what they shall do until II learn."

I then perceived groups further and further away nearing us, and that each seemed to be occupied with their own pursuits, not intruding nor interfering with the others, but ranged in family groupings and in social order and occupation.

I said:  "How busily and constantly employed they seem to be! and yet I have no clue as to what their occupation may mean, or the effect that it may have upon themselves or others."

I sat down in contemplation with the habitation unfinished, much as one would sit on an unbuilt edifice for which he had no capital to proceed further.   My capital was gone;  I had nothing further to invest;  I did not know how to proceed.  By observation  I discovered lines of sympathetic light extending from one spirit to another, that formed these groups.  These lines of sympathetic light radiated, or scintillated, as they approached one another, and of one accord they seemed to understand, as I described previously.  They then seemed to pass off in groups further and further away, either into space, or sometimes they seemed to me to descend into darkness.

I said. "What do they do?   I then thought intently with a desire to know their occupation.  I discovered that these were self-centered family groups, or social circles, who had a distinct line of thought and occupation in spiritual life, and that this line of thought and occupation was connected with some social state beneath them, or some planet to which they might be attracted for use or for work.

Then I said: "I have the clue: it mast be what they do for others that gives them capacity to increase their power of building their own habitations."  Instantly all the atoms in the fabric of my own habitation thrilled with this new light.

I said: "I will seek some person, or spirit, or state, that is not as attractive as my own, and see what good I can accomplish."   I was not long in seeking.  I seemed to pass into a stratum of atmosphere beneath and darker than my own, among persons who seemed to be without the power to rise, and some without the aspiration; and I thought, as I breathed upon them from my mind--this breathing being a real exhalation of my spirit--"Would you like to enter a region of greater brightness?"  And a spirit looked upward and said:  "Oh, I cannot; there seems to be no way; I am hopeless.  I have no unhappiness, no fixed condition of misery, but I am inert."

I said:  "Do something," giving the same advice that I myself had sought.

"What shall I do? there is no outward work for me to perform.  Clothing is unnecessary, we wave it seemingly of our thoughts; we, do not feed upon substances like those upon earth.   I have no necessity for these things; and one cannot always think; it is too inactive."

But I said:  "Do you not know one in outward life whom you wish to benefit?  Is there no such one living upon earth?"  I ventured this without even knowing that I myself could do it.   "Is there no one that you would wish to benefit upon the earth?"

Oh, if I might," said be, "communicate with some one whom I love, that I might tell of the inertia that fills my mind, it would even be a  blessing to do that !"

I said:  "Think intently of the one whom you would like to communicate with."   And I saw that he was thinking, and with that thought he disappeared toward earth, and there followed a portion of the light which seemed to come from the sphere that I inhabited with him as he went upon his way.

I returned to my spiritual habitation, and behold! a recognition had taken place; the formless portions were shaped and in order, and all around the base  was seemingly the foundation of a perfect structure.  It is well, I thought;  I will try again; and so little by little I went beyond the precincts of my own habitation, seeking to influence minds that were evidently less employed than myself.  To my utter delight  I discovered on each return from such a visitation that my habitation grew more and more complete; and when I had finished it so far as it is possible for any spiritual state to be finished, I then was conscious of the presence of the attendant who had advised me.  He said:  "You have found the process now of increasing your activity and powers; now you are fitted to study the elements."  I said:  "Why now?"  "Because the spiritual is the centre here, and that must be in order and well balanced before any material thing can be touched.   You cannot even become conscious the methods of outward life until you are conscious of the methods of spiritual life."

Then I said:   "Are there no spirits in communication with the planets and with the external elements save those that are spiritually self-centered? "

Then I said:   "Are there no spirits in communication with the planets and with the external elements save those that are spiritually self-centered? "

"Certainly;  but they are not consciously so, and have no knowledge of their office or employment; they perform it mechanically, and act under the impulsion of higher minds.  I take it that you wish to act intelligently."

"Certainly I do."

"Then," he says, "come with me."

I passed to the  stratum of atmosphere that we had seen as I was passing from earthly life.  I found there various unemployed spirits upon barren plains; found them in habitations that seemed to be void of beauty and intelligence.

He said:  Do you wish to perform anything upon earth?"

I said:  " I would like to find out, if possible, the methods whereby spiritual beings, or spiritual forces, control and act upon earthly beings."

"You then," he said,  "wish to enter the sphere of study of the elements in connection with spiritual beings and intelligences?" 

I said: "yes."

He said:  "Select from these persons whom you see those whom you consider most fitted to act upon."

"How am I to select?"  I said.   "Think toward them," said he.

As I fixed my mind upon one and another,  I saw them in various degrees of promptitude or slowness turn toward me and gradually come near.  Those who came the most readily, and those who seemed the most anxious to respond to my thought, were chosen.

He said:  "Now, anything that you will these persons to do they can perform, but it must be through your will and your knowledge, and not theirs."

I then became aware that other spirits had in the same manner gathered around these groups of spirits that occupy the plane nearest the earth; that they were intent upon solving the problem of communication between the outward sphere, which is the earth-life, and the spiritual spheres; not only in the manner of impression and guardianship, which I discovered to be a distinct spiritual power, but in the manner of affecting the currents of the atmosphere and occult forces lying around the earth.  I joined this school.  I speedily found that my attendant was one of the number, and that  in the second sphere, which was my home, in a higher grade beyond me, was their habitation and group, or council, and that I really was to be admitted to this council as one of the message-bearers to the earth !  One of the message-bearers!  The thought itself electrified me.  Could it be possible then to open a direct line of communication?

I bethough me of the subtle force that a portion of my life had occupied intently my thought and mind.   Could it be through some such force as electricity  in one or other or both of its vibrations?  Was there some method whereby this substance which was spiritual and yet tangible to me, could be brought in direct contact with matter, and made to reveal the consciousness of man's spiritual life by the stepping-stone of physical science?  Here was a problem.

I commenced first studying gradually the forces surrounding the earth.  I discarded the idea of electricity very soon, as I found it too material in its vibrations and too directly connected with the elemental contact of the earth.

Magnetism I found also governed by the laws and currents affecting the earth and its atmospheres. Then I said there must be a still more subtle force, which is amenable to the direct control of the individual  will, and is not so sensitive to the casual currents or changes of the external atmosphere as electricity seems to be.

To my surprise I found electricity to be a simple vibration, and the result of counteracting currents of magnetic life upon the earth, and which in their various orders and rotations may be easily measured and guarded against, and placed In accord with the various electric mechanisms of the earth, and adjusted according to human wants and needs.

This certainly was not the force to be employed in connection with the contact of spiritual beings with earth, or with earthly matter.  I looked still further.  I discovered a subtle force or aura, surrounding minerals, and surrounding all vegetable substances, and finally surrounding all human beings.  I found that the aura surrounding mineral substances was not amenable to the action of spiritual volition or will-power.  I found that the aura surrounding vegetable substances was not amenable to the action of will-power in the individual capacity.  I found the substances surrounding animals, especially the dog and horse, or bird, to some degree amenable;  so that under some circumstances of human contact or surroundings, these animals could be made to express an unusual degree of supposed intelligence, and to give tokens or signs of what would seem to be supernatural power.

By experimenting upon these, I found that gradually the substances surrounding human beings, by an action upon the organs of the brain and sensation, would become susceptible to the expression of volition, independently of the human being.

This was the desired element.  'Upon this element, then, all the force in the school of message-bearers, to which I belonged, was intently fixed, and into a particular vein or current of thought, which we, by converging our minds at a given time and place, were able to send into that centre of thought.

We made our first expression of individual contact with matter, in connection with the modern phase of  Spiritualism.  (See Rochester Knockings.)  I then said, "Is this a new thing?  Is it for the first time discovered?"

"By no means,"  "said the eldest and centre of the band;  "this has been known for ages, was practiced in all the various forms of magic in ancient times, and is the key that will finally unravel all these ancient mysteries"

"Of course," he says,  " It is the first time that it has systematically been presented to the thought of modern science, in the light of science;  but it will soon grow to that degree of observation externally that it can be tested, at least, by the usual methods of scientific observation, and finally tested by actual scientific apparatus."

   I found that no measure of electricity or external mineral magnetism could affect, or alter in any degree, the manifestations from our world.  I found that the outward atmosphere only affected them, by depressing or changing the nervous currents of the medial organization, and not because of any superabundance of electricity or magnetism.
   I found that the nerve-aura consists of minute particles or globules, that form in themselves a radiating atmosphere around every human being, and which, when properly directed, constitute the means of motion of the physical organism, as well as constitute the means whereby a disembodied spirit independently of that organism moves bodies and produces concussions in the atmosphere.  The concussions in the atmosphere are not the result of what may be called vacuum, are not the result of electric vibrations, but are the result of this nerve-aura which is centered at a given place, and which produces by the rapidity of action, or volition, the action upon table, chair, musical instrument., or the atmosphere itself.

The capabilities of spirits in connection with these manifestations must be limited at the present time by their own knowledge, by the nature of the instruments that they have to employ upon earth or other planets, and by the intermediate stages of thought and observation that qualify human beings to understand, step by step, the stages of these manifestations.  The capabilities at the present time are limited, as I say, by these things, and by another--that accompanying every external step in any science, and preceding it there must be a prophecy of the philosophy itself.  Spiritualism has had that prophecy and that philosophy, and these must go hand in hand, or the attestation of the physical proof of it will have no corresponding soul to vitalize it and keep pace with it.

Hence the manifestations are continually checked by falsehood, by deception, by discoveries of fraud, by the various temptation to which humanity is liable, for the reason that the soul and its growth must keep parallel to the manifestation and its demonstration;  but remember that this is only in connection with an intelligent contact of the two worlds, physically.  Behind all this is a substratum of spiritual laws and forces of interlinking sympathies and amenities, that continually unites the two worlds, whether there is any outward demonstration or not, and makes up a complete chain of inspiration, even if there had never been a physical manifestation in the world.   Remember that the external expression is only the smallest portion of the sublime contact of the earthly and spiritual states, and of your subjection to spiritual beings and impressions by them.  In whatever sphere of life, or in whatever state, morally or spiritually, you may be, you are acted upon continually by spiritual powers, for good or ill, for your elevation or depression.  These spiritual powers, by continually acting upon your affections and sympathies, move your capabilities to surpassing excellencies, or gravitate with you toward those darksome places and conditions that at some time form the bane of human life.

The possibilities of spiritual existence I can only portray to you in a faint and dim outline, an outline itself so glorious that it can scarcely be believed by those still immured in the external plane, but of which I as much have assurance as I have of my existence as a disembodied spirit.

If a spirit can move one atom of external substance to do its bidding in response to its intelligent wish and will, then it solves all the problems of the heavenly bodies, places us in communication with the great forces that lie behind nature, and makes the revelation to our consciousness that planets and
systems, as well as men and immortal souls, are under the guidance of angelic powers as the agents of the Divine Mind.

No orb is left to perform its functions and rotations without an ever-present and ever-active intelligence;  and yon lovely flower, [referring to a bouquet on the table] that is painted in the summer sunlight or destroyed by the cold wintry blast, is in its every atom and function guided by the intelligent power that lies behind the ray of light and behind the wintry blast, to the end of doing the work of the spirit.

These possibilities are within the human grasp.  Do you not govern substances?  Is not the earth itself amenable to you?  Is there any place upon it that man does not intend to inspect? And may you not with the power of mechanism, with the grand inventions of human thought, with the continued explorations and impressions from spiritual sources, finally hope to vanquish that which has been nearly vanquished--time and space and substance--altogether?

If the swift-winged messenger of electricity has already made the distance between the two opposite portions of the world almost nothing, may not the more rapid method of thought itself finally supplant the slow method of electricity, until at last you shall converse together by vibrations of human thought?

If the power of steam hag caused the ancient coach to disappear and the methods of usual locomotion to seem tedious and heavy, may not the more rapid transit of aerial navigation, by some still more occult force, become within the possibility and grasp of the next half or full century of time? And is it too much to suppose that that mind which sets upon these substances from the external with so great success, is also able, when freed from the external form and fetters, to act upon it with still greater success, if not by moving worlds in their orbed places and guiding the elements to their
appointed tasks, doing lesser things, not for the individual benefit of sections or classes of people or conditions upon earth, but for the great expression of the perfection of the planet or world ?

I see behind all these forces and mechanisms of nature the guidance of an intelligent power and will.  I see, as you see behind the helm of the ship; as you see behind the engine that bears you across the country; as you see behind the messenger that carries with lightning speed your thought to the dearly loved one; so behind all these forces I see the powers of great disembodied minds that have risen from the limited comprehension of the narrow place upon earth to a loftier and diviner comprehension of the elements of life.  They lie in the comprehension and the possibility of the soul of man.

I find it no fable that Jupiter commanded lightnings or that Hercules might overturn the world.  I find these powers embodied in the thought of man; and the divine intelligence that shapes the infant's feet to do the simple act of uplifting the body for the first time from the dust, is capable of shaping the winged angel to the fulfillment of the task of moving a world or a solar system.

These are some of the gradations of thought that have come to me since I understand the glimmerings of that science by which man as an external and man as a spiritual being can rise from the dust and triumph over human clay. --END.

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CORA L.V. Scott Hatch Tappan RICHMOND 
1840 - 1923

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