PICKINGS FROM OUR CONTEMPORARIES
[The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 7, April, 1883, pp. 166-67]
La Revue Spirite of Paris for February publishes a communication from a medium named L. Cephas—which it calls quite pertinently “very original.” It is headed GAMBETTA NAPOLEON and announces the stupendous news that the late French Dictator was no other than Napoleon
reincarnated. This reincarnation having been predestined and preordained by God and the Spirits, there was no fatality in Gambetta’s death. The modern Chingîz-Khân had “reflected and repented” between his two lives and come to the conclusion that the republic was after all the best form of government for-the French people. And now “Gambetta has expiated a portion of the sins of Napoleon.” If so, it hardly behooves Bonapartists and the next of kin of the great Napoleon to go on rebelling against “spirits” in trying to restore the lost Dynasty. The best means of cutting the Gordian knot of France’s present difficulties would be to convert all the Napoleonides and their partisans to spiritism. We offer this advice to the serious consideration of our friends and brothers in France.
Le Bon Sens, a Radical journal of Carcassone, France, publishes another interesting communication from the same source. It is a prophecy and emanates from the cerebral ganglia of another medium and seer. We translate it verbatim et literatim.
“France has made a great loss, you say, in the persons of two of her sons. Do not despair. Two others will cone in their stead [reincarnations of the two departed ones, as we understand] to replace them.
Alsace and Lorraine will be restored to use after a terrible war which is going to take place between Germany and Russia, a war into which France will be dragged. It will be favourable to the allied armies. Austria will be at first with Prussia; but she will soon forsake her; for Hungary and all the Slavonians of that Empire will compel her to it.
Be full of hope, oh dear friends.
(Signed) LEON GAMBETTA.”
At this revelation, a spiritist present exclaimed, “Oh, if it were true!”
Thereupon the “Spirit” (of Gambetta) answered with great animation:
“I swear by the holy name of God, in whom I had the misfortune to disbelieve, that all will come to pass as I say.
“Oh God of Justice! Thou wilt not permit that the monstrous iniquity of the spoil of such a beautiful portion of my France should continue!—Adieu.”
The world of “Spirits” we see, is rife with politics. The latter entering very little into our programme we will leave it for what it is worth with this short remark, however, that it does seem puzzling, why on the same principle of divine equity, Lothaire II, or Stanislas Leszczynski, or some other respectable ghost whose life preceded the treaties of Munster and Ryswick should not equally claim Alsace and Lorraine as “a beautiful portion of their Austria and Germany?”
The Banner of Light and the R.-P. Journal of the U. S. A. notify us of the death of Dr. George Beard, the most fierce opponent of Spiritualism. The world of science loses an earnest worker, and believers in “spirit” communication acquire thereby a new ally. We prophesy that, as in the case of our much-lamented Brothers D. M. Bennett, Dr. Britten and many other illustrious departed, a week will not pass after his demise that this uncompromising enemy of materialized and other “spirits” will come himself in that role and deliver pseudo-scientific lectures “through the organism” of some inspirational medium repenting of what he had done and recanting all he had ever said against Spiritualism. Verily, bitter is the thought of death, so long as there exists no law to prevent inspired mediums from making any one’s “spirit” say platitudes that would have forced the living man to cut off his tongue in despair rather than to utter them. We invite the reasonable Spiritualist to ponder over the post-mortem orations of—the great DARWIN—for instance.
The Indian Witness of Calcutta, after the manner of the majority of the professional modern witnesses in India who, to use the words of a native Judge, “for the consideration of four annas to ten rupees, will give evidence damaging enough to hang four consecutive generations of innocent men”—is once more at its old slanders. Speaking of the “Ghostology of the Theosophists,” it calls it “an imposture,
which the average sceptic thoroughly despises.” The Indian Witness in saying this fibs as usual; moreover it fathers upon the Theosophists a belief which is thoroughly its own. The Theosophist, unless he happens to be a rabid Spiritualist of the coarser kind, believes in neither holy nor unholy ghost and ghosts. Moreover, what the “average sceptic thoroughly despises” is superstition, or, belief in a supernatural religion full of divine and satanic miracles—precisely the position of our well-wisher the Indian Witness; and what the educated Sceptic has a thorough contempt for—one shared in this by every refined Christian—is the disgusting cant and at the same time the backbiting propensity of the half-educated preacher and missionary; the noisy impertinence of the religious snob and zealot of that class so well represented by some Yankee orators; and—the mountebank performances of half-witted fanatics throwing discredit upon the religion they try to preach. All of these—spiteful padris, Christian snobs, and irresponsible fanatics, are the subjects of the gushing reverence and respectful patronage of the Indian Witness. . . . What Theosophist under the circumstances but will prefer vilification to laudation at such hands and in such a motley company!