Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/176

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now? I have yet to learn that the whole of its world of spirits, now for many years at the beck and call of countless mediums, professional and private, has ever dictated or written a single great sentence, revealed a single great truth—discovered a single important fact. Nothing but the dreamiest drivel, or delirium, the most wretched and imbecile juggling tricks, with all sorts of evasions, and deceptions and lies! Mr. Wallace himself, one of the few good men it has got hold of by some weak place in their minds, in his evidence for Slade said "that he attached no importance to the subject-matter of a message, but only to its being written intelligibly, the subject-matter seldom being of any value." And for seldom he might fairly have said never. The truth is the truth, whether dark or bright, debasing or ennobling; but if we are called upon to consider a theory in these aspects, what, I ask again, can be more dark and debasing than this, that we live after death to rap and turn tables, play villainous snatches on light musical instruments, write badly-spelt balderdash, dictate ungrammatical imbecilities or lies, grasp hands and jog knees—all for the profit of show-men and the hysterical wonder of fools? Who would not prefer annihilation to such a degraded and idiotic immortality? Shakespeare, Bacon, Byron, Shelley, and countless others who on earth were splendid geniuses, have been called from their spheres by knaves or dupes, for what?—to show themselves reduced to the hideous state of Swift's Struldbrugs. The only famous character I have heard of, not intellectually degraded since death, was Bucephalus (see Secularist, number 40), who told the company that he still took great interest in literary pursuits, particularly in connection with education; Bucephalus, whose name doubtless suggested an ancient philosopher to the shrewd medium, having been the war-horse of Alexander the Great!

We are compelled to accuse the religion which has been so long dominant among us, of fostering the state