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Special Corner - Richard Rowley Trance Talks from the past January 17, 2010

Trance Talks from the past (1) The religion of the future.

Who better to talk about this subject of the future than someone from the past, in this instance an Anglican priest from the reign of James I of England, one who had become so sick of the bribery and corruption of the Church in which he was a minister that he retired, and argued out the problems of life and death from the privacy of his study. Three hundred years later he appeared as one of the principal speakers in the circle of the 19-year-old trance medium Clifford Potts, of Forest Hill, a London suburb. Hannen Swaffer was visiting one meeting early in 1925, and being a journalist, took shorthand notes. He was asked to choose a subject for discussion. [RR]

SWAFFER I would ask you to speak on the religion of the future.

DANIEL [The priest, speaking through Clifford Potts] That is a very good question. I have asked for many; but, as a rule, I have found that the questions asked could be dealt with in a few words. The future is inconceivable. So, if we speak of the religion of the future, we must say that it is something we cannot understand now.

Now the message of the Spirit World is that you should break away creed from creed, merge sect and sect, till you have a universal understanding of the things of God, and of the things of self. In other words, people must sacrifice themselves for the good of others. If the Spirit World would make a religion that is universal, then surely that religion will come to pass. Why? Because the Spirit World is the echo of what has gone before, and represents those people who have won, who have found a way, and discovered the universal religion What is the universal religion? It is this - the casting off of all ties, and the finding of freedom.

Now, who shall say that this is not an outcome of a consideration of all the religions which have passed across your earth? This is the central idea of every religion. What is the universal religion? It is this - the casting off of all ties, and the finding of freedom.
What is the religion of the immediate future? Is it to be a religion of church and chapel, or people who keep the Sabbath day, or is it to be a religion born out of that whole experience? How do you know that the religions which have passed over your earth shall not be wholly destroyed? It is not to be words or belief; words are done with. Religion will be a cry of the heart, as it has always been; but it shall be more evidenced now than ever before. Today, we are but children in the understanding which had been poured forth - we have to educate our souls, to broaden out to a comprehension - and embrace the FACTS of our existence.

What ARE the facts?
1.The person.
2.His or her evolution.
3.His or her attainment.

And each of us represents these three ideas. There is nothing else which is clear, which is certain. But these three ideas ARE CERTAIN. They are the very center of our soul, the very reason why we are born, why we shall live on, why we die. This, then, is to be the religion of the future; it is to be a cry for fuller experience. It is a cry; humans must be doing things, broadening out, they MUST travel on.
The Churches of Jesus Christ, do they represent the attitude of Jesus Christ in anything? Where are His commands that you should pray and preach? It is HIS LIFE, it is His EXAMPLE that is offered to you. We must have LIFE. The religion of the future will be no religion; it will be a void. It does not consist alone of the attainment of a perfect life by the overcoming of forces of evil. What it consists of is the making of a strong person out of a weak one. Here you see our aim, our prayer, and our desire. The religion of the future is to be WORK, WORK. You must go forward.
It is a principle which your world can hardly understand. But when we can make you see things kindred, and little known and proven, you will go forward out into the world, proclaiming what you consider to be the Truth, and with no other evidence that it is the truth, other than what is in yourself. When you can have this supreme faith in the spirit which burns within you, then you can achieve things.

Hannen Swaffer wrote that the sermon went on for half an hour, but the above extract gives the gist of the argument. "A few weeks later, Daniel preached a similar sermon to nearly 3,000 people, in broad daylight, in the Birmingham Town Hall, the place in which John Bright used to speak, the favorite tub-thumping ground of Joseph Chamberlain, and the meeting-place from which, in the height of the pro-Boer riots, Lloyd George escaped in a policeman's helmet!" "Evidence! Yes, what is evidence? I have been overwhelmed with it. It is only when I try to pass it on to you, that I realize my limitations."

[The subject of evidence will be the topic of the next "Trance Talk." Coincidentally, I have been to many symphony concerts in the Birmingham Town Hall. Perhaps the spirit of Daniel and other spirits who have spoken there still resonate on, down through the years. Richard.]

Trance Talks from the past (2) Evidence

[Please note that the capital letters in the following talks are for emphasis in the spoken word, and were in the original transcripts, and are not SHOUTING!]

Lord Northcliffe the newspaper baron passed away on August 14, 1922. Shortly thereafter his spirit started appearing at various séances led by different mediums, and the journalist and researcher attending some of these circles, Hannen Swaffer, had been trying to get Northcliffe to prove himself. But Daniel the priest from the early Seventeenth Century speaking through the trance medium, Clifford Potts, was now saying that it was a waste of time to get evidence through, because there wasn't such a thing. [RR] Swaffer commented "I had known of course that what was proof to me was not proof to anybody else. But Daniel also knew, as I know, that there is no absolute proof of the existence of anything, that, for all we know, I am a being living alone in a world of my own, imagining the existence of everything I see, and hear, and feel, that it may be only a figment of my own fancy and that indeed, for all I know, I myself do not exist."

DANIEL While you require evidence, and you put evidence to the test, you are hardly in the right when you conceive that such evidence is definite, fixed, and conclusive. There is no evidence under the sun that can be so. It convinces those who have not, in the past, appreciated it because of its newness, because it is remarkable and therefore often inconceivable. But to the clear-minded logician there are many points where evidence is valueless; and, in order to enlighten you, I will give you a salient feature. For instance, you consider that if you receive a message from one whom you have known, spoken to, and lived with on earth, and that message pertains to his nature, character, and general understanding of the man, you consider the man must be speaking to you. Nothing of the kind! Many kinds of minds go to make up a world. How can a medium speak to you? A medium is not one who is controlled as a telephone is controlled when you talk into it. It does not reproduce at one end what is put into it at the other end. A medium is one who is SENSITIVE to MANY spontaneous influences which are around. For instance, you as a circle tonight would influence the medium. So also would those who congregate around from the spirit world; so would the room; so would everything through which you, and your spirit friends, had recently passed. So you see there are a multitude of influences which go to make up mediumship. Mr. Swaffer, when you give the Northcliffe messages to the world, do you require definite evidence that the ‘Potter messages,' as you call them, are legitimate?

SWAFFER I merely want to put as good a case as possible.

DANIEL I will show you how to make your case strong. If you say ‘Would Northcliffe speak through this medium the tons of messages I have, and not deny the other messages...if you are going to give your public evidence, evidence, evidence, you must make people think a little for themselves. You must not do their thinking for them. You must make THEM think. It is unfortunate that the Spirit World fails to look at a subject in the same light as the sceptic and fails to realize that what the sceptic thinks he needs is what he really wants. You will understand that, when I speak now, all my message is put into my mouth by another. In other words, I am told what to speak and what not to speak, and I am given my ruling instructions as to how to proceed. Therefore, you understand, that WE are LIMITED as well as yourselves; and we are limited because we return to speak to you. Mr. Potter (the medium's father, the Rev. J.W. Potter) will remember that, when starting his circle, it was to collect evidence of direct voice, to give to the world. After running for three or four weeks, a certain control intervened and took complete charge of the circle. His name was given as COUNSELLOR. He INSTANTLY forbade production of EVIDENCE. For six months, there were to be THREE controls only. I was one of them. Do you know what we did during those months? We drummed into the heads of Mr. Potter and Mr. Beddow (a regular circle member) proof after proof that EVIDENCE WAS VALUELESS. Although we did not DENY evidence, we did not produce it to any great degree, and we certainly did not produce it TO ORDER. Is that not so, Mr. Potter?

REV. POTTER Yes, Daniel.

DANIEL Now what is our AIM? What do we come back for? NOT to prove our existence! It would be IRONY for a spirit of a superior state to come back to you to prove his existence. It is for YOU to prove YOUR existence.

For instance, if they learned that Lord Beaverbrook were convinced that the Spirit World had returned ( - the sole reason for Daniel's use of this name was that we had mentioned Lord Beaverbrook in our conversation when the lights were up - ) it would attract them more to Spiritualism, than to have the facts of a spirit's return to Lord Beaverbrook presented to them. The facts are not the ESSENTIAL thing, but the psychological evidence, so that, when you stand up, it will not be your facts, but you yourself, which will carry the conviction. Your facts are merely attributes to clothe yourself with. If you throw yourself out to your people, you will find that they cannot receive cold reasoning and facts. This is not an appeal to reason, but to the heart; and that is why I fail to agree with our friend, Northcliffe [the propagandist, who wants to convince the world].

Hannen Swaffer commented "Although I was convinced now not only that spirits survived, but that I had spoken to Northcliffe himself since his death, and several other spirits with whom, one by one, I had made friends, I was still in a quandary as to how to convince the world about it, how to make sure of my evidence. Daniel had sneered at me at this séance. He said there was no such thing as evidence; but apparently he realized he had not put his case over. For, on the following Monday, making an appearance at the Potter's usual circle at Forest Hill in S.E. London - I was not present - he referred to his argument with me on the previous Friday and said he would like to discuss the matter with me again."

Here is Rev. Potter's report on what Daniel said, published in the journal "Spiritual Truth" early in 1925.


December 29, 1924

We asked Daniel why it was that some Circles sitting for years, and with good motives, seemed to get only a comparatively undeveloped class of spirit through, and some that had proved to mislead. Was there a LAW governing this? Was it to show the diversity that exists in spirit realms? Or was it merely that favourable conditions were provided on this side for only this class of spirit - inasmuch as they always wish to PROVE their evidence?

DANIEL: There is ONE law, and it does not proceed according to conditions on your side altogether. That LAW is that which is taught in LIFE and not evidence. If you request evidence, then you shall not receive it. If you request LIFE, then it is yours! I tell you, as I have told you often before, that if you continually ask for evidence, then all you shall receive shall be lies; because evidence is lies. I tell you there is NO evidence which can be complete; not a particle is UTTERLY true. When you have Northcliffe speaking to you, how many other influences control his speech you do not know. There is hardly anything of true SELF left; and it is surprising that you can recognize the character after the metamorphosis which is brought about by death. Sometimes death so changes a character that it hardly recognized its own existence...You do not understand the cataclysm.

When a person leaves the material, he or she must cast it off. If he return, and endeavour to express himself, then he finds he has a different mentality, and he must be assisted by a vast personal army, both directly and indirectly, of forces about him. For instance, he must have "guides" to aid him; and they influence him with their thoughts, they mould him with their mentality. Then there are others - evil spirits - always passing, who will endeavour to throw their weight into the balance, and, if the conditions be weak, they manage to tip the balance their way, and they succeed in preventing the personality being recognized.
Then there is the individual himself. He has to build up himself as he was. He has to impersonate himself as he thinks he was. Then he is excited, as a rule. He is raised up into a condition where he can appreciate that he is going to speak to his friends, albeit, he is not in the best state of mind to do so; and there are many other circumstances, such as those of varying Circles, and varying characters of sitters, and varying conditions of sitters. The places where they have to meet undergo preparation; the conditions of the room and past events which have occurred in it, and past events in the lives of the sitters, all play a part in influencing the medium through whom the message comes.

WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE? NOWHERE. It is preposterous to claim that it is so great and true. It is not TRUE unless it is ABSOLUTE; and it cannot be absolute, for when it is, it will not be expressed in material terms. You cannot write down the facts of LIFE in words, because they are spiritual, and, being spiritual, are beyond the physical and the mundane. There is NO evidence which can be truly complete; my words apply to every phase of mediumship.
You are forming a CREED [out] of evidence; making the Spirit World as material as yourselves. You're wrong! For instance - supposing I had a sceptic here; how would I tackle him? Like this? "See here, Viscount Northcliffe, who was such and such a man, has spoken to Mr. Hannen Swaffer. Mr. Hannen Swaffer has heard and understood...It was exceedingly evidential; and Mr. Hannen Swaffer was convinced that the personality was Northcliffe himself!"
What would you say to that? It would be absolutely thrown away on him. You endeavour to say to him that the Spirit World exists MATERIALLY. He does not believe that the Spirit World is MATERIAL. He is RIGHT! Where does his skepticism arise? Well, it arises from the fact that he recognized that the Spirit World exists. You say to him, "My friend, you do not BELIEVE that the Spirit World exists. That is because you KNOW it exists." Actually he is more of a spiritualist than you are yourselves; and you call him a materialist! If you say to him, "What is this world? Is it not something MYSTERIOUS?" He will say, "Yes!" In saying THAT, he admits that he believes in a Spirit World; in other words, he believes in a God....
The great fact is that the Spirit World endeavours not to make spiritualists, but to make BETTER PEOPLE. BELIEF in the Spirit World is innate, and belongs to the old man, the old person that has died. You all KNOW it, even if your lips proclaim the denial.
Speak to him who demands EVIDENCE of the existence of the Spirit World and a future life. Say to him: "You want to get - to receive. You imagine that the Spirit World can be bribed if you give some money. But if you are to truly receive that which will satisfy your inmost soul, you must learn to GIVE instead of asking FOR EVIDENCE. Prove that the superior state is in existence, that that existence is real, by going forth and making your WHOLE EXISTENCE REAL amongst your fellows.
We teach you that the Spirit World has a Message. That message is the BETTERMENT OF HUMANKIND. Here is a secret. It ASKS: we GIVE. The only salvation for the world is UNSELFISHNESS. You must GIVE, GIVE, GIVE! Your whole life must be GIVEN, if you are to perceive a vision of angels. If you want EVIDENCE of the Spirit World, make of yourself a saint, beautify your soul, uplift your vision, glorify your nature, let TRUE COMMUNION be your evidence. What more than that do you want?

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