December 25, 2016
This morning--Christmas and his birthday--Steve woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep. He has figured out that I wake him up early when there is work to be done--but he couldn't understand what work there was to be done, today! Little did he know...
He had to go back into the old newspaper editions of the Portland "Transcript," to look something up...and while there, he began to suspect that Mathew--or myself--or both, together--may have written three pieces signed, simply, as "P." Mathew had been submitting, at that time, under the pen name "Poins"--and my maiden name, as you may know, was Poyen.* So was this my writing, submitted by Mathew a year or two after my death? This appears in the July 2nd edition, 1842, or a little less than a year and a half after I passed--and a mere three months after he had remarried. That was an arranged marriage which his heart wasn't in, but that's another story. He was still grieving for me, and still processing that grief actively; but of course out of consideration for his new wife, he had to keep it a secret.
To cut to the chase--because Steve has to get his mother up for the day, in nine minutes!--there were two stories, and one essay. The stories were plausibly, to him, either mine, or a collaboration, as were others he had already discovered, published in 1850. But the essay--Steve could tell this was not Mathew's writing. It would have to be mine, if his hunch about the authorship of this pseudonym was correct. I wanted Steve to find this, as my combined Christmas and birthday present to him. Who says an astral person can't gift someone on earth for his birthday? (But then, I am quite clever and can do lots of things--if you think me immodest, then you may class me along with "Temperance Brennan," the forensic anthropologist whom Steve sees on the TV show, "Bones.") Steve says it's his best ever!
I could write an essay on this essay. Steve wants to point out that he has several times (including, last time) channeled me saying that belief comes first. But this is what is wrong with your current society, now. You can't see the forest for the trees--but back in the 1830's, I saw it coming. And you may say that, unfortunately, I was correct. When you look at what is happening in the United States, and in the world, today, this is the root cause of it, or certainly, one of the most fundamental causes. I do not mean--even here, in the 1830's--that everybody should be a Christian. I mean that Faith is paramount.
There is much more I could say--but then again, there is little I can add to what I said, before. If you have secretly wished that I would address current events more in this journal (as I know some have), then this is my response to you. It may strike more deeply to the core issue than you might like; but of what use is it to dally about on the surface? Let us go to the root of the matter.
My fondest wishes for the Christmas and holiday season,
*Steve suddenly wonders, on re-read, for the very first time in so many years, whether "Poins" couldn't have also been code for "Poyen's." He had let himself be talked into an arranged marriage, because he believed (incorrectly) that I wanted it--but he was still mine. Hmm...what do you think?
P.S. After channeling the above, Steve discovered that the essay is claimed for a young man who was studying for the ministry at the time, and was included, in a heavily (and somewhat arbitrarily) edited form as a sample of his work in his memoir, after he died of cancer. But the more deeply Steve looked into it, the more it seemed that this fellow may have stolen it. People were stealing and claiming other people's work right and left in our day. They knew it wasn't right, but it was all but sanctioned as normal, and when Society tells people something is normal, many will justify going against their conscience. (I have told Steve that the Law of Karma cares little whether something is sanctioned by Society in any given age, or not.) So I am urging Steve to go ahead with this entry, anyway; but you are under advisement that historians claim this for William Reed Prince.--A
S C E P T I C I S M .
Truth gains access to the mind in various ways and different forms; but it always presents itself as being the reality of things. It is that conviction which takes hold upon the mind that things are really what they appear to be. The sources of this conviction are the senses, intuition, consciousness, reason, and testimony. These are the constitutional grounds of all certainty and reality. Aside from them there is no possibility of knowledge. The state of mind atttendant upon the exercise of the senses and the various faculties of the mind, is belief. Belief, though always the same in nature, may vary according to the amount of evidence offered, from slight presumption to absolute or moral certainty. In some minds these grounds of belief do not afford conviction--the evidence does not satisfy them. Hence doubts arise--doubts as to the reality of matter, the existence of mind and a Supreme Being--doubts in relation to the authenticity of the Bible and the great truths of Religion.--Such minds breathe an atmosphere of Scepticism. They violate the primary laws of our nature. They break away from the great balancing principles of truth--and their thoughts, under the influence of passion, are driven about, like dust in the whirlwind, until reason is bereft of its power and lies prostrate. Upon such minds argument is lost--evidence vain--truth, though written with sun-beams, thick darkness.
Scepticism does not usually come from the Intellect--it does not originate in the Understanding; it emanates from the Heart--from depraved affections and vicious habits. It is the mist and vapor, tht rise up from the stagnant region of the disordered affections, and gather in thick clouds and settle down upon the Understanding. And it pervades not only the low vale of inferior minds, but shrouds with impenetrable darkness the loftiest summits of Intellect.
Under the forms of Heresy, Infidelity, and Atheism, Scepticism assumes a different aspect. It takes away the fear of God--cuts off accountability, and shuts out eternity from the soul--puts out the hopes of immortality--consigns man to the grave of oblivion and locks up his existence in a perpetual and eternal sleep. It unspiritualizes the soul, and lets down upon it a deluge of materialism. It sweeps away every vestige of civil government, permitting men to run reckless and without law. It extinguishes the light that beams from the Bible--dries up the fountain of the social affections, and pollutes with its poison the cup of domestic bliss.--It completely unsystematizes the whole course of things, and introduces confusion and universal chaos.
In its application to civil government the effects of Scepticsm are more clearly seen. The fear of a Supreme Being lies at the very foundation of every successful form of human government. It is the corner stone in the temple of Liberty--one of the pillars upon which it rests. Strike out from the minds of men the belief in the existence of this Overruling Power, and there is no possibility of sustaining civil authority. No republican form of government can exist for a day, where this belief has been blotted out. The history of ancient republics affords clear evidence of this truth. The founders and rulers of Greece and Rome, in order to the establishment and permanency of their civil institutions, found it necessary to introduce a system of religous belief. And whether they believed in this system themselves or not they understood its importance. They knew what were the elements of the human mind, that it was impossible to restrain the lawlessnes and perverseness of men without an appeal to a higher than human power and human punishment. They knew that the fear of the gods was necessary to strengthen the sinews--to temper and harden the iron-hand of civil law, before it could be stretched forth and laid upon the turbulent passions and boiling wrath of man.--And it was under the influence of this belief that Grece and Rome were able to raise themselves to a proud eminence above the level of the surrounding nations--to plant the Academic groves--to build their temples--erect their altars--and burn their incense to liberty. Nor did their glory depart and their splendor become extinguished, until the philosophy of Epicurus began to diffuse itself thorugh the public mind. It was not till Epicurian Atheism had sapped the foundation of virtue and morality, that they experienced a political earthquake, that sunk them in a grave of depotism.
And in a modern nation of theorists where "Vice prevailed, and impious men bore sway," the effects of scepticism have been more clearly exhibited. That great nation of sceptics, in their solemn assembly, deliberately voted God out of the world and out of existence. And when they sent forth the proclamation that there was no God, and that death was an eternal sleep, the tocsin of Infidelity rang with loud peals of joy through the whole realm of France; and the people shouted with exultation, as they hailed the ushering in of an Atheistical jubilee. But the relieving of human conduct from the inspection of an Omniscient eye was attended with fearful results. The effects were terrific. It was like the uncapping of the volcano--the waking up of its silent thunders--the kindling to a flame its smothered embers--and letting a broad and fiery sheet of desolation roll up and settle down upon the lava.
But scepticism not only removes the fear of a Supreme Being, but it seeks openly and avowedly for the destruction of human government. It doubts the validity of civil authority, calling it usurpation and tyranny, taking off the restraints that civil law throws around men, obliterating the distinction between right and wrong, and giving free and unbounded scope to the desires and passions. It would destroy the system of private property--annihilate that great principle of attraction, which binds together the family circle and human society. It would herd men together, and send them forth, day by day, into one common field, to feed on the dried husks and withered shrubbery of Nature. It would quench the kindling of maternal affection--remove helpless infancy away from parental love, and commit it to the cold embrace of a selected few, whose care it should be to watch over and and protect it; but whose hearts, bereft of all affection and cold as icebergs, would chill and seal up its warm existence with the frosts of death.
Scepticism removes every barrier and embankment that conscience and religion have thrown up to check and restrain the passions; and it permits them to rush with headlong impetuosity down upon the delicate and complicated machinery of of human society. It cuts the last strand in that cable by which our hopes and safety are moored, and sends us forth upon the broad ocean of uncertainty and doubt, to be tossed and driven about by the tempests and whirlwinds of passion.
Scepticism destroys the proper influence of truth upon the mind, and in its natrue is opposed to all truth. It would efface every vestige of it from the universe. But truth will remain the same venerable fabric, which has stood for ages, splendid and immutable, which time could not crumble--nor persecutions shake--nor revolutions change:--and majestic Appenine, the earth rocking at its feet and the heavens roaring round its head, firmly balanced on the base of its eternity--the relic of what was--the solemn and sublime memento of what must be. P.