It is of course impossible to say just how far subjective power might, normally, be employed in the direction indicated, in the absolute dearth of examples where it has been employed with a full knowledge of the laws which govern it. But certain it is that so long as it is exercised under the delusion that it is an extraneous and superior power, over which the objective man possesses no control, just so long will the victim of the delusion be subject to the caprice of an irresponsible power, which will eventually drive him to the horrors of insanity or leave him in the darkness of imbecility.
Of greater importance than either the physical or mental deterioration of the one who habitually exercises subjective power in the production of phenomena, is the moral aspect of the question. One may escape serious physical consequences of mediumship, or he may succeed in maintaining a sufficient outward semblance of mental equilibrium to keep out of the insane asylum; but no well-informed spiritist of the better class will attempt to deny or weaken the force of the statement that a mephitic moral atmosphere surrounds the average spiritistic medium. I do not assert by any means that all mediums are immoral. On the contrary, there are many noble men and pure women who habitually exercise mediumistic power. Otherwise, the tendency to looseness of morals which characterizes so many of them would be difficult to account for on other than physiological grounds. Books have been written to account for this tendency, on the hypothesis that immorality is a consequence of the nervous derangement which follows the practice of mediumship. This hypothesis necessarily presupposes the invariable connection of immorality with a nervous disorder, and the latter with mediumship.
The common experience of mankind may be invoked to prove that there is no invariable connection of the kind existing.
Another cause must therefore be sought for the too-frequent association of immorality with mediumship.
Those who have followed me in my brief analysis of the causes which conspire to bring about the mental deterioration of the spiritistic medium will anticipate me in what I have to say concerning the causes of the moral degradation of the same class. The medium, if he is sincere in his professions of belief in the alleged communication of spirits of the dead through him, believes himself to be under the care and control of a higher and purer mentality than his own. He believes in its lofty assumptions of mental and moral superiority, and he becomes accustomed to ask its advice in all things pertaining to his personal well-being. He frequently finds its advice to be of the best, and he gradually accustoms himself to submit to its guidance in all things. He assumes and believes that in the clearer light of the world of spirits many of the artificialities of mundane civilization are held in pitying contempt, and he frequently comes to believe that many of the restraints of human society are purely artificial, and have no foundation in true morality or religion. He generally regards himself as a reformer, having broken away from the orthodox creed, and becomes the advocate of a new religion.
Like most radical reformers who find the world all wrong in one respect, he immediately assumes that it is wrong in everything; and nothing will satisfy his ambition short of destroying the whole fabric of civilized society, and instituting a new order of things more suited to his ideas of human progress and felicity. It all too frequently happens that one of the first "artificial" institutions of society which becomes the object of private attack by the spiritual medium is the marriage relation. He sees much domestic infelicity surrounding him, and is perhaps tired of the restraints which it imposes upon himself, and he consults his spirit guide as to the propriety of setting at defiance the laws of human society in that regard. Now, if his "spirit guide " were what he believed it to be, or what it assumed to be, - a pure and lofty spirit, disenthralled from the temptations and weaknesses of the flesh, and drawing inspiration from the society of just men made perfect, - there could be no doubt of the character of the advice it would give him. But, being the medium's own subjective entity, bound by the laws of its being to control by the power of suggestion, it necessarily follows the line of thought which is uppermost in the medium's objective mind, and it gives the advice most desired.
Moreover, from the premises suggested by the unhallowed lusts of the medium, it will frame an argument so plausible and convincing to his willing mind that he will fancy that, in following the advice of his "control," he is obeying the holiest impulses implanted in his nature by a God of love.
I do not charge spiritists as a class with being advocates of the doctrines of free love. On the contrary, I am aware that, as a class, they hold the marriage relation in sacred regard. I cannot forget, however, that but a few years ago some of their leading advocates and mediums proclaimed the doctrine of free love in all its hideous deformity from every platform in the land. Nor do I fail to remember that the better class of spiritists everywhere repudiated the doctrine and denounced its advocates and exemplars. Nevertheless, the moral virus took effect here and there all over the country, and it is doing its deadly work in secret in many an otherwise happy home. And I charge a large and constantly growing class of professional mediums with being the leading propagandists of the doctrine of free love. They infest every community in the land, and it is well known to all men and women who are dissatisfied or unhappy in their marriage relations that they can always find sympathy by consulting the average medium, and can, moreover, find justification for illicit love by invoking the spirits of the dead through such mediums.
As before remarked, I do not charge mediums as a class with immoral practices, nor do I say that the exercise of subjective power, per se, has a tendency to induce immoral practices. What I do say is, that through a want of knowledge of the laws which pertain to subjective mental activity, the one who exercises that power in the form of medium-ship is in constant danger of being led astray. He invokes a power that he knows nothing of, - a power which may, at any time, turn and rend him.