THE PHENOMENA OF SPIRITISM. 259
portray the condition of the denizens of the land of spirits. They learned from those oracles that their preconceived notions of divine justice were eminently correct, that there was no such place as hell, and that all alike shared in the boon of immortality; and, by a series of progressive steps, through seven or eight concentric spheres, all at last reached the highest state of divine felicity. They found that Swedenborg was right in the main, but was a little incorrect in his information concerning hell. It would be tedious, as well as superfluous, to enumerate the steps by which the philosophy of modern spiritism has advanced from the crude notions of the earlier writers to its present status. Every intelligent reader will recognize the wide difference between the rhapsodic hodge-podge of Andrew Jackson Davis and the calm philosophy of Judge Edmonds, and will not fail to note how completely the latter is now superseded by modern writers, who are gradually engrafting upon the indigenous stem the most luxurious branches of the Oriental tree. What their philosophy will be in coming years can be conjectured only by those who observe what evolution has done for the Oriental philosophy during the thousands of years of its existence.
The process of this evolution is easy to understand. The earlier mediums adopted the doctrines of Swedenborg, with certain amendments which seemed to them to be more in accord with reason and Divine justice. Those who followed, in turn adopted the main ideas of their predecessors, with amendments of their own. Each writer in succession amended the work of his predecessors in those respects in which it seemed to him to be imperfect, and each one had authority from the spirit-world which sanctioned the amendment. And thus the system grows in magnitude and perfection, and will continue to grow as long as men believe themselves to be inspired by extramundane intelligences.
Now, the noteworthy facts connected with this evolutionary process are, first, that all believe that they obtain their authority for every statement of fact and every new idea direct from the spirits of the dead ; and secondly, that every