This section is from the book "Free Love: Or, A Philosophical Demonstration Of The Non-Exclusive Nature Of Connubial Love", by Austin Kent. Also available from Amazon: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures.
A. J. Davis, as a Clairvoyant Medium, is the miracle of the age. We think him, in some sense, justly entitled to the appellation of "head," as a teacher of the Harmonial Philosophy. We say, as a teacher, for, with Paul, we make a distinction between a teacher and a father, and we do not consider him the latter. The mass of spiritualism which has since flooded us with its intellectual and moral blessings, and also with its fanaticisms, has produced nothing like him, as a whole. Several minds in this and in the other sphere, have successfully criticised some parts of his works. Many of his moral writings are like prophecy, far in advance of his own actual moral elevation. Perhaps this is true, in a degree, of all reformers. Mr. Davis, as a teacher, occupies a field of vast extent, and of overwhelming importance. Through him, wisdom is uttering her voice to the sons of men. He now writes directly to, and for, a large class of minds. Many of these minds, though of reformatory blood, are not yet past the star-light of harmonial truth.
If there was a Divine wisdom in the thing signified, by the "vail" over the face of Moses, when giving the Law to the Jews, - and I believe there was, - a like wisdom, for like reasons, may hide from our seer and teacher some of the higher freedom of the more glorious future, by its spiritual veil. Mr. Davis, evidently to us, does "not see to the end" of some of the law phases, which still linger in the infancy of his harmonial philosophy. As a believer in a wise and holy expediency, we cannot complain of Mr. D.'s spirit teachers for this; - and they may be alike untaught. We in no way find fault with the Providence. Even the ancient Jesus found it necessary to leave the world without revealing all of his highest perceptions of truth to his dearest and best beloved disciples; - much less to the world in general. They - the disciples, - could "not bear it." Moses, Jesus, and every reformer since, were likely to be the best judges, each for himself in this matter. We only wish to see all highly inspired minds so write as not to cross the track of the future, and come directly in collision with it.
But we wave this desire or seeming objection.
We love Mr. Davis. Fromapartial diversity in our mental "temperament;" he is not our first masculine mental love. But no other man living ever instructed us as much as he. We have been taught much higher moral or spiritual truths by another. We reverence A. J. Davis as a teacher.
We now approach no written testimony with more reverence than we do his. We love and respect his guiding angels. But God has created in all of us our own separate individuality. He will never recall it; - I speak reverently. Nor should we ever yield the first iota of it to any being below Him. When Mr. Davis writes to my understanding, new and important truths, I most thankfully receive them. When he, or any other mind, writes what I cannot understand, I leave it, but with care not to oppose it. But when he opposes what I know to be truth, I have no fear to review and criticise him. The reader will bear with my confidence. Such an assurance is not necessarily dogmatism. Every man knows some things. I, too, am a medium of over twenty year's steady growth; and not only write in harmony with a legion of angels, but I write what I am identified with, by having traveled all the way to it. I am responsible to the world for my book; yet I have leave of my guiding angels to invite Mr. Davis and his guiding angels to a full discussion of the point of difference between us, in the presence of the men of earth, and the men of the spheres. 1, and we, most respectfully challenge him and them to the discussion.
And we add, if this challenge shall be taken no notice of, without other reasons, we shall not accuse these opponents of cowardice, or of other unworthy motives. We take our position in this, but judge no other man's or angel's duty or privilege.
Mr. Davis' book on Marriage has instructed us. He goes deeper into the philosophy of mind, and is much more liberal, on the whole, than Mr. Wright. It no less elevates love. Mr. Wright's book was comparatively more from his heart. Mr. Davis' was more from his head, - but from the upper and. wisdom part of it. In Mr. Davis, there is little less in amount or volume of the magnetism of love, and vastly more in wisdom - in higher truth. Mr. Davis has his "seven phases of marriage," and contends for the naturalness of these various forms - bigamy, polygamy, and omnigamy, - on the several lower planes of the mind; and so he is almost entirely free from the bigotry and intolerance of the past and present. Such a spirit in a writer on so sensitive a theme, is most lovely, and entirely beyond this age. Mr. Davis testifies that on the harmonial plane, monogamy, or one man with one woman, is the only possible marriage. In his reply to Dr. Nichols he argues against a "variety." He repeats his "everlasting gratitude to Mr. Wright for the exclusive feature of his book; and, like him, confounds ancient and modern polygamy with modern Free Love. He entirely ignores the true and elevating principles of the latter, and associates it, sometimes with partly the same form, and sometimes with the monopoly of polygamy, which is a different form, but always with the undeveloped and sexual relations of the long past, or of the far back to a rude age.
Whether this is from the deepest ignorance of the whole subject or otherwise, I leave for the reader to judge. Mr. Davis knows that the monogamic, as well as the omnigamic form extend back alike into the past. And the "pot" of the past cannot successfully slander the "kettle " of the same past, in relation to its color. We have never charged exclusive dual marriage, as such, of sensualism; nor will our opponents successfully fasten the latter to the car of Free Love, as such. The effort is most inglorious. I did not expect it from Mr. Davis. The most charitable conclusion possible to put upon all this is, that it is the fruit of ignorance. We have felt no disposition to summon up the dead past to directly help our cause, or to wound our opponents; though we might have just as truthfully done so. All forms of love have been more or less drunk with sensualism in the past. Mr. Davis tells us this was more natural in the infancy of the race. So I believe, Mr. Wright goes back six thousand years to find a pair to support his dual order. Mr. Davis would send Free Love back to degrade it. (I do not say this was his motive.) I am taking it for granted, that the reader has seen Mr. Davis' book. We shall be to it soon. Gentlemen, we decline the journey for either object.
We disapproved of this in Mr. Wright; and we have no need to go back for our support. Mind is with us, and we can read it, but if Free Love has so great an antiquity as Mr. D. gives it, we respectfully ask all who have a peculiar respect for ancient institutions, to let this have its proper weight in our favor. This is entirely fair. We prophecy that the time is not far distant when such men as Mr. Davis and Mr. Wright will be compelled to see a distinction between our philosophy of sexual freedom, and that of the past or present sensual freedom, - or more correctly, sensual bondage, - as we see and confess the vast distance between their exclusive marriage, and the general marriage of the present, and nearly the entire past. We do them justice, as they do not us.