The National Labor Tribune, January 17, 1911


"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false teachers have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

Middletown, Conn., Jan. 17 Pastor Russell gave two discourses today in this city to large audiences. We report one of these from the text above. The speaker said:

On last Sunday we considered the question, "Are the Dead Alive?" Our examination was from the standpoint of the bible and, we trust, was convincing. We showed the reasonableness of the Bible proposition that Death is the wages of Sin, that God in mercy redeemed us, with a view to the resurrection of the dead, and that the hope of mankind, therefore, now lies entirely in the carrying out of that Divine Program. Today let us examine the only thing in the world which claims to be of demonstrable proof that the dead are not dead, but, on the contrary, are more alive than when they commingled with us in daily life. Spiritism, and Occultism in general, claims to prove this side of the proposition; claims that our senses are all deceived and that the Bible is in error with its doctrine that the dead are dead and cannot live without a resurrection from the dead. In our day, these boasted proofs are being published throughout the civilized world, some of them supported by the names of the world's bright lights. Professors in Colleges, Doctors of Divinity, and the Knighted scientists of Great Britain. Backed by this formidable intellectual array, it is no wonder that Spiritism and psychic research are receiving greater attention than ever before. To our understanding of the Scriptures, dear friends, they teach that in the few remaining years of the present dispensation, before the ushering in of the Millennial epoch, these Spiritualistic or psychic forces are to play a very prominent part indeed, in bringing about the great time of trouble, which, as a dark cloud, will immediately precede the Dawn of the Millennial morning.

We have no wish to give the impression that the Apostle meant, by the words of our text, that you and I should investigate Spiritism, and specially prove or test the character and tendencies of the beings or spirits, whom they claim to represent. Quite to the contrary. We believe that the Apostle meant that the Lord's people should test, try the doctrines, test them, prove them, because false teachers with false doctrines would invade the world. The Apostle was quite correct. As we have already seen, false Doctrines spread over the entire Church for a time, producing the epoch known as the Dark Ages, from which God's people of the various denominations, Catholic and Protestant, have been gradually emerging during the past four hundred years.

Nevertheless our text is not inappropriate to our topic, because Spiritism, Occultism, is a doctrine, and hence, as a whole, is to be proved or tried, to be weighed in the balance of reason and Scripture, and to be either accepted as true, or rejected as error. There is no middle ground, These things are either of God, or of the Adversary. It is our desire at this time to set before you conclusive evidence that Spiritism is of the Adversary, and, with its variations of Occultism, Hypnotism, Mesmerism, New Thought, Christian Science, etc., is the work of Satan, deluding the world of mankind, and leading them into the most woeful snares imaginable.


Personally I have no direct acquaintance with Spiritism, have never been in a seance, nor witnessed any manifestations of any kind. Moreover I shall endeavor always to avoid such matters, believing this to be my duty, according to the Scriptures, and I shall, by God's help, steadfastly resist every inducement made to exercise my curiosity and to draw me into investigation. And this is my advice to you all, the reason for which you will the better understand as I proceed. I am aware that Spiritualistic tricks and frauds have been exposed; nevertheless I am convinced that there is a superhuman power connected with Spiritism, Occultism, etc. Not only does the Bible so instruct us, but, through personal acquaintance with mediums and the obsessed whom I helped to convince of the Satanic origin of their controls, I have a considerable insight into the work and the claims, the methods and the influences, connected with Spiritism. When claiming that Spiritism is demonism, let me not be misunderstood to say that mediums are demons, nor that they are willingly and knowingly co-operating with them. On the contrary, conceding the trick and fraud silent, I believe that there are honest mediums, who believe all that they represent and as thoroughly as possible.

All Spiritists of experience, those who are mediums and those who are not, will freely admit that some of the spirits who operate through these mediums are devilish. This does not mean that they recognize them (as I do) as the fallen angels, of whom we are told much in the Scriptures, but that they merely recognize that some of the advice, communicated, is vicious, devilish. While admitting this, they hasten to assure us that this is not true of all the spirits; that some of them are pure, honest, reliable. They even tell us that some of the spirits exhort their deluded victims to pray more, to be more holy, etc. But we reply that this is merely a part of the general deception scheme of Satan and his associates. Really, they are all bad, or, as the Apostle says, "wicked spirits."


"What can any of us know about the fallen angels?" some one may inquire. I reply: We can know what God has been pleased to reveal on the subject in his Word, for "these things are written for our admonition (our instruction), upon whom the end of the world (ages) are come." (1 Cor. 10:11) The Apostle Peter tells us of these fallen angels, who now masquerade as our dead friends and claim that they are more alive than they ever were. They have intimate knowledge of all the affairs of mankind, as well as ability [HGL455] to read our very thoughts, hence have no difficulty whatever impersonating the dead, and especially in the form, clothing, and with all the peculiarities by which they were known, as these particulars are registered in the memories of their friends.

St. Peter, in his second Epistle (12), says, "I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things," and then adds (2:4), "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, (Tartarus, our earth's atmosphere), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto the judgment" in future trial or testing and final decision of their case. St. Jude also brings these fallen angels, or spirit beings, to our attention, saying, "The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he (God) hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgment (trial, testing) of the great day" (verse 6) until the end of this Age, the lapping time between this Age and the Millennial Age. but the chains of darkness were imposed only until the end of this Age, until their day of judgment or trial. The intimation would seem to be that then they would be permitted in some manner to free themselves from those chains and to come out more into the open, and to do their work more in the light. This time, according to the Scriptures, we understand to be now upon us. In full harmony with this is the fact that Spiritism is now claiming to be able to work wonders in the light and claiming, too, that shortly the spirits will be free from all restrictions of darkness. How great will be the temptations of that time to humanity, deluded, as the majority are, with the thought that their dead friends are alive! The Scriptures intimate that the testing along these lines in the near future will be simply awful!

Let us go back now to the days of Noah, and ascertain what we may in the Scriptures respecting these fallen angels; in what manner they left their first habitation and came under Divine displeasure and sentence of restraint. In Genesis (6:1-4) we have the account of the fall of those angels into sin. In olden times, before God's people had been provided with the Bible as a revelation of the Divine will, God not infrequently used the holy angels as messengers of communication between himself and mankind. On such occasions the angels did not open human eyes to perceive their spirit glory, but materialized, assumed human bodies of flesh and bones, and wore clothing, and appeared as men. As an illustration note the records of how angels appeared to Abraham as traveling strangers. He knew them not, but entertained them hospitably. Before they left he ascertained their real nature; that they were not men at all, but had merely appeared in human form, so as to communicate to him certain facts respecting the child that God had promised him long before and respecting the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the deliverance of Lot. We read, "And they did eat and talk with Abraham." They had a substantial dinner of veal stew, according to the record. This narrative was confirmed by St. Paul, who says to us, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some (Abraham, for instance) have entertained angels unawares." Heb. 13:2

The Scriptural intimation is that during the period of 1654 years, which began with the expulsion of our first parents from Eden, and which ended with the flood, God permitted all of the holy angels to have unrestricted, such an intercourse with humanity. The purpose of this was evidently two-fold:

(1) God would permit the angels to see to what extent their influence would help to preserve humanity from degradation, or to uplift men out of sinful ways, that thus it might never in the future be claimed that the work of Christ in redeeming the world could have been done other than by him and by his Kingdom and its work. And thus the angels could never say that the work of Christ was unnecessary and that they (the angels) could have accomplished the work, had they been given the opportunity. They were given the earliest opportunity, under the most favorable conditions, before depravity had so seriously undone the race. They failed.

(2) Furthermore it was the Divine purpose that all of the angels should experience a test as respects their loyalty to the Divine will, that thus the loyal ones might be manifested, and also the disloyal at heart. The test had its effect and, following it, the disloyal ones were condemned to chains of darkness and disfellowship from God and the righteous.


The first estate of all the angels was one of harmony with God as spirit beings. But the fallen angels are those who, seeing sin working in humanity, preferred sin and sensuality. Privileged to materialize and mingle with humans, they preferred that condition to the angelic, which was their first estate. They preferred it because they desired to revel in sensuality. They were seduced by sin. And so the record reads, "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God (angels) saw, looked upon the daughters of men that they were beautiful and they took to themselves as wives such as they chose, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men they bare children to them; the same became mighty men, which were of old, giants and men of renown." (Gen. 6:1-4) How long this sinful riot continued we are not informed, but evidently it was long enough to give a full opportunity for every angel of God to believe that Divine power could not deal with the situation and thus was furnished an opportunity and test to all. The time was long enough for the progeny of those angels to become "giants, men of renown." Moreover the intimation is that there was serious conflict between the progeny of the angels and the Adamic stock and that the whole earth was filled with violence and wickedness, so that "Every imagination of men's hearts was only evil continually." That terrible arraignment or condemnation, judgment, prior to the flood, the Scriptures imply will be duplicated in our day, not many years hence in the closing of this age and will be followed not with a flood of waters, but with a cataclysm of symbolic fire, a "great time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation."

God's determination was that the entire population of the world should be blotted out by a flood of waters. Those of purely Adamic stock, redeemed, will be recovered in the Resurrection, and, through Christ, have full opportunity of returning to harmony with God, and to recover all that was lost through Adam's sin. But for the progeny of the angels, unauthorized by the Almighty, no provision has been [HGL456] made. Their death in the flood was exactly the same as that of the brute beast that perished there.

Notice God's particularity that Noah and his family, who should be saved in the Ark and begin the human race afresh in the earth, should have no admixture of the angelic stock must be purely Adamic. We read, "Now Noah was perfect in his generation." Neither himself nor his parents were generated by the angels, but were purely of Adamic stock, likewise all of his family. The intimation seems to be that there were remarkably few families like Noah's perfect in their generations. The contamination had been great, widespread.


No longer having the same fellowship with humanity after the flood, the fallen angels, cut off from Divine fellowship and service, found diversion in seeking other communication with mankind. Had they represented themselves as demons, mankind would have been on guard against them, so they deceived by announcing themselves to be deceased relatives, etc., of those with whom they sought intercourse. We have little history along these lines, except of a negative character, furnished in the Bible. It records that God forbade his Covenanted people, the Israelites, to have anything to do with these fallen angels, who were known as witches, wizards, necromancers, soothsayers, etc. The Law of Israel was that all mediums pretending to communicate between the living and the dead should surely be put to death. God thus warned his people and protected them against conditions which prevailed much more generally amongst the heathen. These fallen angels, after arousing the curiosity of humanity, enticed them into more and more familiarity and befogged their judgments with lies, which were given the greater credence because supposed to come direct from deceased friends, who were supposed to have full knowledge. The result was that gradually the evil spirits conquered the wills of their subjects and obsessed them, and used their bodies as instead of the power of materialization. And the will once broken down, more than one of these evil spirits could gain entrance, suggest thoughts, etc., which had the effect of crazing the individual, giving him thoughts quite in conflict with each other.

Clairvoyant power is the impression on the mind of what the fallen angel sees. Clairaudient power is the communication by sounds inaudible to others upon the drum of the ear by fallen spirits. These evil spirits often play pranks with their victims, inciting them to do things which they would not of themselves sometimes to steal; sometimes to murder; and sometimes to suicide. Many physicians recognize the fact that amongst the insane they have two classes to deal with, the one organically deranged, and the other, not organically deranged, but obsessed of evil spirits.


We remind you of the Gospel narrative of how Jesus, and the disciples under his commission, frequently cast out these demons from those obsessed by them. Evidently this was one of the most distressing ailments amongst the Jews in our Lord's time notwithstanding the fact that they were warned against the medium and all supposed intercourse with the dead. Indeed, the casting out of demons was one of the principal miracles performed by Jesus and his Apostles, and one of the special marks of Divine power corroborating his ministry. Let us refresh our memory respecting the narrative. There came to Jesus "Certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils." (Luke 8:2) Remember also that these demons were called unclean, doubtless because their general influence upon humanity is towards sensuality, uncleanness of thought and word and deed. We read in Luke 4:33-34, respecting one of these who was a Church attendant, "And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us' (before the time?)"

These demons were not in some far-off place of torture, but were prowling around amongst mankind, seeking, whom they might ensnare. They evidently understood full well, too, that their end would be destruction that "the wages of sin is death." They seemed to know that the due time of their test was still some time in the future. The Apostles, after being sent out two and two, returned from their ministry praising God and declaring, "In thy name we have cast out demons." In Matt. 8:16 we read, "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed of devils and he cast out the spirits with his word." Further along we read (verse 28), "There met him two possessed with devils, coming forth out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way." And, again, in verses 29 and 31, "And behold, they cried out, saying, 'What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?' And the devils besought him, saying, 'If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.'" Jesus permitted this, and the entire herd of swine was crazed by the demoniacal influence and ran violently down a steep place into the sea and were drowned.

Remember St. Paul's experience, and how, on one occasion, a young woman possessed of an evil spirit followed him and Silas, saying, "These be the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of eternal life." On the third day St. Paul turned and rebuked the evil spirit and commanded it to come out of the woman, and thus caused a great commotion, because the woman had been a source of gain to her managers, on account of her fortune telling and the considerable sums of money paid therefore. We advise all Bible students to give this matter more particular attention than heretofore to note particularly what the Scriptures say on the subject, that they everywhere acknowledge the evil spirits and their uncleanness and that they continually strive to intrude upon humanity and accomplish their desires by breaking down the human will, the Divinely intended barrier.

These spirit beings championed Satan's original lie, which declares that the wages of Sin is not death; that when men seem to die, they are more alive than before. This error has been fastened upon the whole world of mankind and now, in the trial time that is before us, it constitutes a base [HGL457] of operation, which gives these fallen spirits a wonderful influence. Added to this they have recently been introducing as a great blessing and aid to humanity, Hypnotism, by which, through the assistance of these fallen spirits, one human being gains the control over the mind, the will, of another, on the score of mental, moral or physical assistance out of vice and disease.

Doctors and preachers are more and more using this power, not realizing what it is and that the motive behind it is the breaking down of the human will, so as to give the fallen spirits the easier access, and the greater control of the people. What this ultimately will mean to mankind is terrible to contemplate, for the Scriptures clearly indicate that, while God has, for a considerable time, shielded mankind from this debasing influence, He will bring to pass his act, his strange act in the end of this age, by releasing the restraints upon the demons and allowing an illustration of their fiendish power, as a test of themselves peradventure some of them may have repented, and as a lesson to angels and men of the length to which depravity would go, if not restrained of God. But, thank God, this reign of evil will not last long. Upon the wreck and ruin, Messiah's Kingdom will be established and demoniacal power will be forever destroyed, and Satan himself will be bound for a thousand years and shortly after, be destroyed.

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