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[The Spiritual Magazine, January 1, 1866.
our humble labours have called forth to our list of contributors on the wrapper of the present number.
In this new series we hope to retain the valued services of most of our old contributors, and to enlist the support of new
It has been, and will continue to be our aim to present Spiritualism from no narrow or sectarian point of view, but, so far as we are able to appreciate it, in its own Christian, Catholic spirit. And while chronicling its passing events, we hope not to lose sight of those deep questions they awaken, and which have ever a perennial freshness and an abiding interest; that thus our Magazine may be not undeserving of after reference, and may take its place among those solid and standard works to which this movement has given birth. At all events, we feel sure that the result will be not the worse, but the better, for setting this before us for our aim, though our arrows may fall short of the mark. We rejoice to know that during the past six years the evidences of spirit-life have been more varied and wide-spread among us,
and have been more generally recognised, especially by the educated and thinking men and women of our land who have gone more fairly into its investigation, than ever before. And it has been a pleasing part of our duty to chronicle the many valuable additions to the literature of Spiritualism which these years have furnished.
We have no fear of exhausting the interest of our great theme, though we are painfully conscious how inadequately we are able to represent it. Ere entering upon our work, we looked anxiously around in the hope to see it undertaken by worthier men; but having now put our hand to the plough we do not mean to turn back; and if we have in any degree, established or strengthened any in the great faith of the immortal life and a present spiritual communion, and in all which that faith rightly understood implies, we feel how great in this respect is the privilege to which we have been called.
We can most truly aver that the magnitude of this faith, with its wide and varied applications grows upon us the more we think of them. And as the years come and go, and the shadows deepen on life's journey,—the new world, at first looming small and hazily in the distance, grows larger and brighter; and as we near it our eyes and hearts are gladdened to see the first beams of the morning sun fall on the peaks of the Delectable Mountains, and the balmy gales comfort and strengthen us on our way. And when we cross the separating river, no longer dark, but bright with the shining ones who troop to meet us, may you, and we, dear readers, feel as we pass through the gates of the golden city, that we have indeed entered upon an ETERNAL and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
The Spiritual Magazine, January 1, 1866. 1
THE ARTESIAN WELL OF CHICAGO, AND
THE silly people—and they outnumber the wise ones in a vast proportion--are often asking what is the good of some of God's facts, which happened to be new to them for the moment. The cui bono part of our population goes whimpering about, repeating its cuckoo note, and looking very wise, whenever it comes upon something which it does not understand. The sweet Psalmist of Israel, whose very soul was penetrated not only with the mercy but with the power of the Creation, sings, “In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the Earth is full of thy riches, are told that when the Allwise and Allmerciful God looked upon His work, He saw that it was good. This, however, is not enough for them. It is not enough for them that in the vast range of discoveries hitherto made through human intelligence, nothing has yet been found which has not proved of everincreasing usefulness to man, and that its usefulness is only limited by our knowledge. But still, with each new discovery, and before there has been time to develope its uses, these poor people wander about the vestibule, dropping their mournful words, cui bono. They are the very Herods of the time, striving to strangle the babes as they are born, and their parents have for the time to fly with them to Egypt to save their lives. All new truths, it seems, must be born, like the Christ himself, in a manger and an outhouse, for there is no room for them in the inn, which is fully occupied by these well-dressed stupid guests.
And yet it is well, and of God's Providence that it should be so. If the positions were reversed, and these poor creatures were born in mangers they would never get out of them, for there is no force of life residing in them competent to the operation; whereas truth has dynamics, which make it good for it that it should be born in the lowest place, and even amongst the animals, that they may have the occasional tendency, at all events, to rise, if it be only by the force of the vacuum which the truth leaves behind it as it ascends.
We have a very mean opinion of the cui bonos, and we almost fail to follow out our own statement of the case, for it is difficult
what is the good of them, at all events in that peculiar phase of their minds to which we refer. It must be left to explorers of some future day to designate their uses. Perhaps some borer into the artesian wells of the soul, at some time in the long future may sink through the rocks which cover them, and tap a spring of pellucid flowing crystal which lies too deep for our discovery now.
[The Spiritual Magazine, January 1, 1866.
Somewhat allied to these, too—for the various types of nature run pretty closely out of one another, according to the theory of development—are they who are always looking for tests, and seeking for a sign. It is interesting enough, and necessary up to a certain point, but these make it the business of their lives to be seeking after tests, and, however many they get, their appetites are only whetted for more. Like the children of Israel in their forty years of the wilderness, they want to be converted afresh every morning and every night. A pillar of cloud each day, and a pillar of fire each night-manna for breakfast, dinner, and teaquails when they hankered after the flesh pots of Egypt-water when they murmured at the rock of Horeb-and shoes that waxed not old. They conquer, too, when Moses holds up his hand with the rod of God in it. Well did Moses understand the people who want tests, and how soon they forget them, when he said, “Fill an omer of it, to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness." And yet after this had been going on daily and nightly for forty years, and when the time was come when their pilgrimage was over, and they were about to enter on their promised land-on that great day when all was to culminate on Mount Sinai, and Moses reminded them of all that had been done for them; after the most solemn adjurations, amidst thunders and lightnings and the thick cloud, and when he had brought them out of the camp even to meet with God—when “Sinai was altogether on smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire, and the whole Mount quaked greatly ”—when they were so near that, "the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish”. when the decalogue had been given to them, and Moses had gone again up the Mount, and remained for only forty days instead of forty years—then they shewed the true value of tests.
“ When the people found that Moses delayed to come down out of the Mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods which shall go before us; for, as for this Moses, we wot not what is become of him.” And they wanted another god so much, that they sacrificed even their jewellery to him—the golden ear-rings in the ears of your wives and your sons and your daughters”—and then they made them into a golden calf, and built an altar, and worshipped and danced around it. Well might Moses, when he came down with the tables of stone in his hands, and found them dancing naked round the calf, break the stones in his rage that his people were so utterly unfitted for such knowledge. Where were their tests then, when they had expressed themselves in this act of poetic justice? Surely they must have fallen upon stony ground,
The Spiritual Magazine, January 1, 1866.)
like the minds of those who are always looking for tests in our day. Colenso himself can hardly snuff out a story like this by arithmetic. It is a tale of the human soul, true to-day as it was thousands of years ago.
It has the verisimilitude of man in it, and can be recognized at once, and applied by each one of us to fifty of our acquaintances, though we may fail to apply it to ourselves. What matters it whether or not shoes are made now of those enduring materials—we had almost said whether they ever were made so or not.
loses none of its humanity for want of such a test as an old shoe.
Our readers must by this time be wondering what all this has to do with an Artesian Well at Chicago. Perhaps it may have a connexion with it notwithstanding, for it has all come into our mind when we sat down to give them an account of how this well was found. There have been many tests before this given to the world, and its appetite only grows the more, the more it devours. Artesian wells have often enough before been sunk into the depths, and it is only thus that the living waters have ever sprung gushing through the soul of man; but no sooner does one spring through, but we forget it and begin looking for another—and so, obedient to the murmurings of these Israelites, here, in mercy, is another for them. We shall notice with interest how long it will last them.
We find this last test in a little book, the title of which is History of the Chicago Artesian Well—a Demonstration of the Truth of the Spiritual" Philosophy: by George A. Shufeldt, jun., Chicago. 1865."
Chicago is the newest and most go-ahead city of the world. Water is, of course, one of the first necessities of its inhabitants, and one can hardly imagine that of the teeming thousands of its people, there is not some one who would not have been overjoyed if he could have discovered an unfailing spring of what is said to be the finest water in the world, in quantity sufficient for all the town. It remained, however, undiscovered, until now it appears in the form of a test of Spiritualism, and it will elicit from the cui bonos and from the test-seekers the observation, “ Well, that is very curious indeed,” and then we suppose they will relapse into the cui bono and test state again.
MR. ABRAHAM JAMES.
The author tells us that
The medium through whom the revelation of the existence of this water came, (Mr. Abraham James), was born in Pennsylvania. He is of Quaker origin, and was unfortunate enough in early life to be deprived of even the rudiments of a common school education. As he himself expresses it—"his father, instead of sending him to school in the winter kept him laying stone walls." Later in life he has been employed by different railway companies in the West, sometimes as conductor, at other times as pilot, earning only ordinary wages. It is known to
[The Spiritual Magazine, January 1, 1866.
me to be a fact that he is entirely ignorant of any language except the English ; that he does not know the meaning of a single French, German, Italian, or Spanish word. He is a simple-minded man, perfectly truthful and upright in his character, unostentatious, and seeking no publicity or notoriety, and he pursues his own way in the world, a natural honest man. His mind is as free from a knowledge of the sciences as that of a child of five years. He has had no instruction in drawing, and, in his normal state, bas no knowledge of the art. There are hundreds and thousands of people here among us who know him well, and who can testify to these facts. Now, with a full knowledge of this man-his antecedents, education, and history-I know it to be a perfect impossibility for him, in his natural state, or unaided by the higher powers, to do what he has done and what he is doing every day of his life.
Here on this ground, and in the rooms of this building, can be seen, by all persons who choose to visit the spot, some of the most elaborate and beautiful pencil drawings in the world. A series of geological pictures, illustrating the formation and stratification of the earth's crust--some shewing the simple strata of the formation in this vicinity, which were drawn before the drill was even started, and which were demonstrated to be accurate and truthful by the descent of the drill for over seven hundred feet-other pictures show great caves and caverns in the rock, created either by vast upheavals, or by erosion—the action of water upon soluble rocks. The floors of some of these caverns are composed of great masses of the most beautiful fossil shells, which, in their shadings and perfection, are evidently the work of a master hand. The elaborate character of this shell-work, which runs through all these geological pictures—the millions of accurate pencil strokes necessary to complete them, and the very short time in which they were executed—are matters of great wonder and astonishment to all who have seen them. Many of these drawings are on full-sized sheets of paper, 26 by 40 inches, and cover the entire surface; they were completed in from three to nine hours each—the latter being the longest time given to any one picture. Mr. James has also made many smaller sketches illustrating the same subject, viz., the fossils of earth. These latter are perfect gems of beauty, and all of his work seems to be geologically correct, and is so pronounced by those who understand these matters. By reference to standard works on geology, I find their accuracy proved to a demonstration. A greater work than all is now on exhibition here. It is a diagram of this stream of water, fifteen feet in length and twentysix inches in width. It is understood as a clairvoyant view of the stream from its source in the Rocky Mountains to its outlet on this ground. It may be called a "bird's eye' view. It exhibits on a general scale the principles of artesian wells, and demonstrates the manner in which water finds its way through the rocks and sands of earth, and finally rises to the level of its fountain head. This picture is composed of six sheets of drawing paper, each one of which was finished separately, and without any apparent reference to the others, by the medium, and they were joined together afterwards, when they were all found to match exactly and make one complete work. This was the labour of only sixty hours. Persons familiar with the subject say that no ordinary artist can do the same amount of work in many weeks.
A PORTRAIT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
There has been recently added to this collection a full-length portrait of the martyred President, Abraham Lincoln; this also is a work done through the same medium. The sheet of paper on which this likeness is drawn is seven and a balf feet long by four and a half in width ; it exhibits the President, life-size, as standing upon a rock, the broken chain of African slavery beneath his feet, and in his left hand the scroll of American liberty. This picture was put upon paper in about twenty-four hours, and is in itself a remarkable production, even of the power through which it is claimed to be received.
TH, MEDIUM AT WORK.
A not less wonderful part of the matter is the manner in which the work is dobe.
The medium labours in an unconscious stato, with from two to six