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WHAT DOES THE NEW YEAR HOLD FOR SPIRITUALISM?
The past year has been one of considerable activity and progress. The searchlight of publicity has once again been turned upon our movement, most of it exposing our weaknesses and in some cases highlighting the limitations of some members of our movement. However, there occasionally emerges the one great central factor which is the foundation of Spiritualism - man's survival beyond the grave.
As we advance, so too will the forces who attempt to retard our progress double their efforts to oppose us.
I remind you of the immortal words spoken to Mrs. Estelle Roberts, one of the world’s finest mediums, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the Royal Albert Hall Remembrance Service in November 1934. "Go forward! Prove to the world the continuity of life after death and don’t give an inch.” I believe these words mean as much for Spiritualism today as they did fifty-eight years ago. Our mediums must make every effort to prove that life continues after so-called death.
We have travelled a long way since the pioneering days of the 1800’s. We can be proud of our achievements but we must not be satisfied. There are still millions of mourning hearts asking to be comforted and billions of tears of bereavement to be changed into smiles of happy knowledge. This is the work set for us by our spirit friends: "Tell the world we have not died."
Although many people despair of the collapse of the moral fabric of modern civilisation, those with vision who see beyond the eyes of the modern world know that all the time the soul of heaven is gradually becoming at one with the soul of the earth. Nothing can stop the upward march of Spiritualism if we who work within its ranks are ever true to the inspiration which comes from a larger, fuller life. With no thought of self but with only a desire to serve, Spiritualists can look forward to the coming days as an era in which the spiritual truths embedded in our knowledge must find a response in the life of every man, woman and child that walks on earth. Given the opportunity and dedicated mediums, the spirit world can teach man how to save himself.
A tremendous spiritual power is covering our earth; a vital change is already taking place. The Great Spirit’s plan is working and there will be a new earth and a glorious heaven. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and helpers beyond the range of our sense organs.
The real fact is that after 150 years of Modern Spiritualism, we find ourselves in the midst of a spiritual world which dominates our material one. It constitutes the great and omnipresent reality whose powers exhaust our understanding and admiration. We know that these tremendous spiritual energies are all controlled by a beneficent, fatherly Power whose name is Love and Truth.
Einstein was once asked the question "How can we build a better world?" and he replied "You need better people!”
Until mankind makes an earnest attempt to discover the meaning and purpose of life and a reason to respect moral values and to treat each man as a brother, there will never be a peaceful or better world. While today’s world is concerned only with gold, wealth and a materialistic God, distraught millions of Earth dwellers are hungering for absolute certainty of a divinity that shapes their ends, something which they cannot find save in spiritualised Spiritualism. It is the spirit alone that vivifies the body, quickens the mind and exalts the soul. Bodies without spirits are corpses. Religions without that unseen quickening power that comes as quietly but forcefully as come the winds are no longer attractive to today’s minds and are doomed to abandonment by the spiritually awakened man and woman.
Millions of today’s young people have left religion because the Age of Faith is rapidly passing. No longer will religious devotees shrink from unfettered thought, fearing that it will snap the slender props of faith. Religious faith of the future must be grounded in direct knowledge and will therefore be unshakable. If religions are to survive the next century, they must prove beyond all reasonable doubt their doctrine and principles.
Life is progressive, and living is an experience. The mistake of many religions is that they endeavour to state in static and final terms the whole eternal plan of Creation. The mental and spiritual limitations of a past age are assumed to be the eternal horizon of humanity, beyond which nothing is, or can be, known. Spiritualist knowledge has given us a greater understanding of God and Creation.
For one like myself who is aware of the fact of human survival of physical death and who has rea1ised through repeated experiments that there is no finality to knowledge, the idea of a static religion is both untenable and an outrage to reason.
Knowledge is a growing quantity. That which I hold today is corrected by that which I discover tomorrow. Every avenue of human interest and discovery contributes to my knowledge of life and my personal relation to it. That freedom and knowledge is covering the earth and mankind must cease to sacrifice his reason on the altar of man-made ideas and truths.
I believe every man and woman needs a religion - a normal man and woman desire it. The question of origin and destiny and the loneliness of the human heart indicate the need of religion. During the last 150 years, the religion of Spiritualism has touched millions of hearts and taken away their fear of death; death is no longer a punishment but a promotion. Life is more than a sigh, a song and a silence. It is something other than birth, a breath and a death. Every man and woman, if they are to be true to the very best in their inner self, must choose the best to live by in today’s world.