in us vile passions, to impart to societies and nations turbulent doctrines, provoking wars, seditions, and other public calamities, and then tell you ‘that all of these is the work of the gods.’ . . . These spirits pass their time in cheating and deceiving mortals, creating around them illusions and prodigies; their greatest ambition is to pass as gods and souls (disembodied spirits).”
Iamblichus, the great theurgist of the Neo-platonic school, a man skilled in sacred magic, teaches that “good daemons appear to us in reality, while the bad ones can manifest themselves but under the shadowy forms of phantoms.” Further, he corroborates Porphyry, and tells that ” . . . the good ones fear not the light, while the wicked ones require darkness. . . . The sensations they excite in us make us believe in the presence and reality of things they show, though these things be absent.”
Even the most practiced theurgists found danger sometimes in their dealings with certain elementaries, and we have Iamblichus stating that, “The gods, the angels, and the daemons, as well as the souls, may be summoned through evocation and prayer. . . . But when, during theurgic operations, a mistake is made, beware! Do not imagine that you are communicating with beneficent divinities, who have answered your earnest prayer; no, for they are bad daemons, only under the guise of good ones! For the elementaries often clothe themselves with the similitude of the good, and assume a rank very much superior to that they really occupy. Their boasting betrays them.
” Some twenty years since, Baron Du Potet, disgusted with the indifference of the scientists, who persisted in seeing in the greatest psychological phenomena only the result of clever trickery, gave vent to his indignation in the following terms:
“Here am I, on my way, I may truly say, to the land of marvels! I am preparing to shock every opinion, and provoke laughter in our most illustrious scientists . . . for I am convinced that agents of an immense potency exist outside of us; that they can enter in us; move our limbs and organs; and use us as they please. It was, after all, the belief of our fathers and of the whole of antiquity. Every religion admitted the reality of spiritual agents. . . . Recalling innumerable phenomena which I have produced in the sight of thousands of persons, seeing the beastly indifference of official science, in presence of a discovery which transports the mind into the regions of the unknown [sic]; an old man, at the very moment when I ought to be just being born. . . . I am not
sure if it would not have been better for me to have shared the common ignorance.
“I have suffered calumnies to be written without refuting them. . . . At one time it is simple ignorance which speaks, and I am silent; at another still, superficiality, raising its voice, makes a bluster, and I find myself hesitating whether or not to speak. Is this indifference or laziness? Has fear the power to paralyze my spirit? No; none of these causes affect me; I know simply that it is necessary to prove what one asserts, and this restrains me. For, in justifying my assertions, in showing the living FACT, which proves my sincerity and the truth, I translate OUTSIDE THE PRECINCTS OF THE TEMPLE the sacred inscription, WHICH NO PROFANE EYE SHOULD EVER READ.
“You doubt sorcery and magic? O, truth! thy possession is a heavy burden!”
With a bigotry which one might search for in vain outside the church in whose interest he writes, des Mousseaux quotes the above language, as proof positive that this devoted savant, and all who share his belief, have given themselves over to the dominion of the Evil One!
Self-complacency is the most serious obstacle to the enlightenment of the modern spiritualist. His thirty years’ experience with the phenomena seem to him sufficient to have established intermundane intercourse upon an unassailable basis. His thirty years have not only brought to him the conviction that the dead communicate and thus prove the spirit’s immortality, but also settled in his mind an idea that little or nothing can be learned of the other world, except through mediums.