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Chapter 9 On the Doctrine of Influx, and the Relation of Man to the Spiritual World

to the Spiritual World

The word influx signifies an inflowing, and is applied to all that in us which is not self-originated, but derived. The doctrine of influx is closely related to that of mental spheres, discussed in the previous chapter.

It is a fundamental truth, that there is one only Life, from which all in heaven and earth receive their being, but each in a different degree. But life in its last analysis is love. All the phenomena of our interior nature are referable to affection and thought, or to will and understanding. The movements of the love and the intellect generate all the various states of the mind. But are these self-moved, or do they act as they are acted upon by some living force applied to them? That which constitutes our essential life is momentatily received from its central source, the Divinity within, or descends to us through the mediation of angels and spirits, who receive it in the same way. The first is an immediate or direct influence, and the latter a mediate influx.

There is nothing that lives from itself except the uncreatcd One, though we may appear to outselves to posses an independent existence, because the influx from above is continual and uninterrupted. The idea of the unity of life in all the multifarious forms of existence, is a basic verity, and its recognition, not as a theory or an external dogma, but as a vital, conscious truth, is essential to a genuine spiritual state. The more fully we come to realize it, the more receptive we are of an influent wisdom and love. It is also to be borne in mind, that the inflowing life from God is the same in all, but is varied according to the state of man and the form or quality of the recipient spirit, just as a fluid receives its form from the containing vessel, and light is modifed by the substance through which it is transmitted.

All thought, and consequently all knowledge, descend to us from above. Paul declares, “that we are not able of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves.” (2 Cor. iii, 5.) And a greater than he rffirms, that “A man can take nothing to himself except it be given him from above.” (Jn. iii. 17.) Our ideas must originate somewhere. They were not born in us, but only the faculty to contain them, and the power to be conscious of them. The doctrine of innate deas has long since been exploded. Since Locke assailed it with a keen and irresistible logic, it has been banished from mental science, though he was not equally successful in settling the question of the real origin of our knowledge.

As our thoughts are not innate, there was a time when we had them not. Hence they must have been imparted to us. Truth is the reality of things, it is substance, a spiritual something, that can be imparted from one mind to another, just as really as a fluid can be made to pass from one vessel to another on a lower level, or, to employ a closer analogy, as light can emanate from one body to another. It is a thing, a substance, divinely real.

God is truth, and all truth is originally in and from Him. But whence does it usually come to us? Swedenborg, whom I quote not as an authority, but as an illuminated mind, whose opinions are worthy of respect and attention, asserts that it flows in from our living connection with the spiritual realm. No individual is an isolated existence, but the whole universe of created minds are bound up in the same bundle of life. The Swedish philosopher observes, “It is in consequence of this communication that a man enjoys the faculty of perception, and the power of thinking analytically on all subjects; and if this connection were sundered, he would be incapable of anymore or other kind of thought than a beast, and also if this commerce with spirits should be taken away from him, or intercepted entirely, he would instantly die.” (T.C.R. 475.) For no one can live by himself alone, nor could he have affection and thought, for these are the vital activities of the mind.

All our ideas, according to him, flow in from above. There cannot be in us the least excitement of thought, without this influent vital force from the spiritual realm. It logically follows from this that all truth, all knowledge, all light in us is an inspiration, and to receive light and love by the commerce of our spirits with the heavens above, is the normal state of the human mind. And what is called modern spiritualism is only an instinctive reaction of the general mind against the unnatural condition it has been in for centuries.

According to Paul, the Old Testament Scriptures were given through the mediation of angels. Many of the greatest and best minds of the world’s history lived in communication with the inner spheres. Socrates had his demon or good spirit who attended him and admonished him by impression. He respectfully listened to the interior voice. Jesus, on the mount of transfiguration, communed with Moses and Elijah. If this had been contrary to the divine order of our being, would he have set the world so bad an example? To his pure spirit the heavens were continually opened, and his receptive soul was held open toward them. By communication with an angelic human spirit, John received the Apocalypse. If such communication is necessarily wrong in us, it was in him, and we ought to purge the Scriptures of the offensive document.

Swedenborg for twenty-six years walked and talkcd with spirits and angels, and, as he affirmed, in a way perfectly harmonious with the laws of the mind, and without a miracle. It was only a return to the primitive order of our being. And why may not disciple of his philosophy do the same? Why may not all, if they come to a knowledge of those mental laws that govern in this case? It cannot for a moment be admitted that he obtained a monopoly of this high and holy commerce with the skies. He may have had a distinct use to accomplish in the plan of Providence. But the opening of his inner senses was no miracle. In the progress of the spiritual development of mankind, it may become common. But we are aware of the evil effects of attempting to enjoy an open intercourse with the other world, unless we are normally unfolded to a degree which shall render it natural.

It was for many years a favorite theory that our knowledge is to be attributed in its origin to the action of the senses. But there must be interior sight before there can be outward vision. The senses are all correspondences, that is they are effects, of which something in our spiritual nature is the cause. And the action of that superior or interior power in the mind, to which each of the bodily senses corresponds, or of which it is the outward expression, must be anterior to the action of the sense, for the reason that a cause is prior to an effect.

A man may look towards a tree, yet if the attention is not directed to it, he sees it not. And how many sounds are unheard when we are asleep or in a revery, yet the atmospheric vibrations are received by the ear. In the sensational philosophy of the seventeenth century, it was asserted that all our ideas have their origin in the action of the bodily senses. The celebrated treatise of Locke (Essay on the Human Understanding) was written as a defense of this theory. It was advocated in France by Condillac, and became the current doctrine of mental science in Europe.

The prevailing systems, at the present time, attribute only our first knowledge to this source. But there is a class of ideas that are supposed to arise from what is called “original suggestion,” which, unless our knowledge is self-creatad, is only another name for intuition. And this is identical with spiritual influx.

All knowledge is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, and from lesser luminaries enlightened by Him, and reflecting to us the effulgence they receive. “With him (and them) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Truth is not to be classed among created things. Creation can only be predicted of the forms receptive of it. The senses may be like the steel that brings the spark from the flint, but the fire was there before the steel brought if out. The latter did not create it. It only came to manifestation through its agency. So the senses do not originate knowledge, but only mark that degree of the mind, which is the first theatre of its manifeststation. But its source is not there.

Let us suppose a case that lies within the range of possibility and sometimes of actual fact. A child is born whose outward senses have never been called into action. In its birth, its natural life becomes extinct. The candle is quenched in its lighting. It never saw, or heard, or felt, or tasted. What is to be the condition of such a mind, for no one would affirm that it was a soulless thing? Must it become an eternal blank? Must it remain a created receptacle doomed to be an eternal vacuity and emptiness? According to the current doctrine, such must be its fate, or annihilation.

If our knowledge originates with the action of the bodily senses, as these were never called into activity, the mind of such a child must remain empty of all ideas or be exterminated. Such is the necessary inference from the premises. If we are shocked at such a conclusion, it is because of the absurdity and falsity of the doctrine with which we start. That thought is self-originated, is an infinite falsity. The losing sight of God and of our vital relation to the spititual world, has been the perpetual fault of philosophy for ages. If thought can originate in us, why not life as well? If thematerial world acting ugon our bodily senses, conveys to us the first ray of knowledge, why may it not originate our life ? Then outward nature becomes to us God, and we plunge into the starless night of materialism.

The bodily senses are only organized matter. How can the motion of their fibres create thought? Is knowledge a material emanation? Matter, in all its forms, is in itself dead and passive. It acts only as it is acted upon. It moves only as it is moved. If the motion of matter creates thought, it creates the mind that thinks, for thought is only a state of mind. The material universe may then be supposed to be the creator of the Divine Mind, and God Himself becomes a creature. Here, by an easy descent, we fall into blank atheism. Thus philosophy has walked about for ages with its disciples, on the brink of a precipice. By a few short logical steps they plunge into the abyss of a cheerless infidelity. And this descent to Avernus has been found by many too easy.

We have spoken of knowledge received by influx, as an emanation from one mind to another. But we have done so only in the same way as the chemist speaks of light and heat as radiant forces, as if particles of a luminous fluid darted off into space. This theory is abandoned, and light is proved to be only a vibration. In its essence it is motion, force. One body illuminates another by communicating its motion to it, and not by pouring into it luminous fluid. So one mind imparts its knowledge and affectional states to another, by causing it to vibrate in harmony with it.
The mind is like a divinely constructed stringed instrument. An angel’s intellect may communicate its motion to its harp strings, and a celestial music is the result. Thought and affection are not something that go forth from the mind that thinks and feels. They are states, interior movements of the thinking, feeling substance. And as one vibrating string, will commuunicate its motion to another in tune with it, so one mind imparts its intellectual life to another.

The mind is capable of all knowledge, when it is subjected to the action of divine and celestial forces, just as a musical instrument, properly constructed, is capable of producing the most rapturous sounds, when the hand of a skillful player imparts to it the necessary motion.

In harmony with this law of the action of mind upon mind, we all know how readily our mental states are imparted to others. A state of fear in some one individual, will spread through a whole army in a few minutes of time. One sad person in a company, will throw a gloom over the entire asscmbly. One cheerful happv soul will communicate its spiritual sunshine to hundreds. The presence of a genial, loving heart, is a treasure to a whole community. A sour, morose, misanthropic mind, in a social assembly, changes the joyful music of all hearts to a funeral dirge.

One ruling mind will convert all in its presence to its own modes of thought and feeling. What is called the mesmeric state, is produced by the action of the same law, only the effect is intensified. What are called the magnetic passes are not necessary to its production. We have thrown many persons into this state, some of them miles away, but never once made use of the prescribed passes. It is the action of mind on mind. In the same way, those who revel in the light of a higher day, and the beams of a brighter sun, may impart to us their sublimer thoughts, and their happier affections.

Revelation from the inner realm has never ceased, but will be endlessly progressive. The heavens will always speak to man on earth. For it is the established order of creation, that life and light should descend from the higher to the lower, from the interior to the external, from the inner to the outer circles of existence.


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