I have been told many times that I could develop clairvoyance, clairaudience, or sit as a materialising medium, but have had no desire to go further in these matters. I have seen quite as much as I wish to see, I have heard quite as much as I wish to hear, and should be very sorry personally to increase either of these psychic possibilities by the practice that makes more perfect.
In the early days of Christianity, as I said, you find the idea; but it has largely vanished from the Churches as a living truth, and they think of Jesus, the Christian Master, as risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. And the materialising spirit of ignorance has made the ascent a going away, and the Man has gone, although the God remains.
'The time will come, said Lichtenberg, in scorn at the materialising tendencies of modern thought; 'the time will come when the belief in God will be as the tales with which old women frighten children; when the world will be a machine, the ether a gas, and God will be a force. Mankind, if they last long enough on the earth, may develope strange things out of themselves; and the growth of what is called the Positive Philosophy is a curious commentary on Lichtenberg's prophecy.
As a rule they cannot stand that, and whenever I have turned a pocket flashlight on them, they have at once dematerialised; often, however, materialising again immediately the light has been turned off. This, however, is a fallacy.
There was no formal engagement between them. Cyril seemed to shrink from the materialising of his love by any thought of marriage. To him she was an ideal of womanhood rather than a flesh-and-blood woman. His love for her was a religion; it had no taint of earthly passion in its composition.
At a third materialising séance at the same house an excitable Italian friend of mine, who had never seen anything of the kind before, came with much the same prejudices as I had felt at the Boston séance, and disturbed the conditions very much by his attitude of determined antagonism; whilst his comparative ignorance of English, and my feeble Italian, made explanations, under the circumstances, rather hopeless.
In the condition of Europe, again, at the time of the downfall of the Roman Empire, the invasion, the triumph, and the rapid conversion of the barbarians, the chief causes of the materialising transformation which Christian ideas underwent appeared abundantly evident; and it became clear to me that some such transformation was inevitable, and essential to their enduring influence.
The Spanish Jews who perished by one of the most excruciating deaths rather than forswear their faith may be numbered by thousands, and those who preferred exile and spoliation to apostasy, by hundreds of thousands. Even in our own sceptical and materialising age the conduct of the Russian Jews under the recent savage persecution shows that the old spirit is not extinct.
They seem to start from the declaration of the Lucianic creed, that the Lord's sonship is not an idle name. Now if we reject materialising views of the Divine Sonship, its primary meaning will be found to lie in similarity of essence. On this ground the Sirmian manifesto is condemned. Then follow eighteen anathemas, alternately aimed at Aetius and Marcellus.
Silence resumed, after a moment's consideration, "and a considerable portion of the actual material of his physical body. So the physical body that remains behind is depleted, not only of force, but of matter. You would see it small, shrunken, dropped together, just like the body of a materialising medium at a seance.