[Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 8, April, 1888, pp. 164-165]
[The author of this small book is Rev. Wm. Stainton Moses, who wrote under the pseudonym of “M. A. Oxon.” The review is unsigned, but the manner in which the subject-matter is treated suggests H.P.B.’s authorship. It contains several important keys of a psycho-spiritual nature.]
In his Introduction to this little pamphlet, “M. A. Oxon.” strikes the key-note of his Visions. They are “teaching” or “instruction” to those whose wants they meet. In saying this, the author has, perhaps unwittingly, expressed a great fact, i.e., that for each one of us that is truth which meets our greatest need—whether moral, intellectual or emotional. As the author seems to feel, it matters very little whether these visions were subjective or objective. They conveyed to him certain moral truths with a directness and vividness which no other method of teaching could have attained. And whether we consider that these “Visions” were the thoughts of the intelligence teaching him impressed and objectivised in the recipient’s brain; or whether we think that in these visions the seer beheld
objective things—does not in any way alter their value as expressions of subtle truth. In many respects they resemble the visions seen by Swedenborg, and they share with the writings of that wonderful man the same curious personal colouring or shaping of the form in which they are cast, in accordance with the intellectual views and beliefs held by the seer.
The “Visions” are instructive from several points of view. They offer a curious study to the student of psychology, who will trace in them the various elements due to the Seer and to the influences acting upon him. To the man in search of moral light, they will express truths of the inner life, known and recorded in many forms during the past ages of man’s life-history. They teach most impressively the cardinal doctrine of that inner life, viz., that man is absolutely his own creator. To the student of practical psychic development, they speak of the difficulties which attend the opening of the psychic senses, of the difficulty of distinguishing between the creation of man’s own imagination and the more permanent creations of nature.
There is a pathetic touch here and there, bringing out clearly the difficulties just mentioned. The seer longs for the personal contact of earth and is told “to leave the personal.” How long will it be before this, the deepest truth of Theosophy, is in any sense realised even by such seers as M. A. Oxon?
The clinging to personality is so strong that it is felt even in another state of consciousness. How then can it fail to colour and distort the pure truth, which is and must be absolutely impersonal? But this lesson is one hard to learn, so hard that many lives suffice not even for its comprehension.
The statements on page 21 would seem to show that the visions recorded are those of the Devachanic state. For it [is] said that all the scenery and surroundings, the natural world of that plane in short, are the creations of the particular spirit with whose sphere the seer is in contact. This coincides perfectly with the Theosophic view, and when once this truth is really grasped, Spiritualists will realise how mistaken they have been in attacking a doctrine
which is in reality what they have so long been seeking for, and which offers them the logical and philosophic system which they need as a basis for their investigations.
The beauty of the thoughts expressed in the pages of this little book is very striking, and although the author expressly disclaims any literary merit, no one can fail to recognise the ability and truthfulness of expressions which characterise the work. All students will assuredly be grateful to M. A. Oxon for rendering these “Visions” easily accessible.
[Col. Henry S. Olcott reviewed the same work in The Theosophist, Vol. IX, May, 1888, pp. 505-06. He pointed out that these “Visions” of Rev. Wm. Stainton Moses were the record of his psychic experiences on the 4th, 5th and 6th of September, 1877, during which he was instructed on the post-mortem condition of man by what appeared to him to be an outside agency of high degree of evolution and knowledge. Col. Olcott especially stresses the teaching regarding the nature of the after-death consciousness, and the fact that its world is of its own creation. He illustrates this point by saying: “In the course of my psychical researches I was once so fortunate as to be for a short time in literary collaboration with a noble English scholar who died several generations ago. He worked in a vast subjective library in ‘his castle in Spain,’ without a thought of rising higher towards Samadhi, but with all his vast intellectual power bent upon the pursuit of the philosophical study to which his earth-life had been devoted. . . .”
This interesting statement has reference to the English Platonist Henry More (1614-1687), whose collaboration in the production of Isis Unveiled is fully described by Col. Olcott in his Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, chap. xv. In the same work, chapters xviii, xix and xx, contain a considerable amount of interesting data concerning Rev. Wm. Stainton Moses or Moseyn, and the earnest student would do well to peruse them with close attention.— Compiler.]