Six Lectures on Theology and Nature. Together with the Outline of A Plan For A Humane Enterprise, and an Autobiographical Introduction. By Emma Hardinge reported by R. R. Hitt (Chicago [?], 1860)

P. 5: . . . whilst the theory of spirit communion claims the possibility of the most exalted ideas inflowing upon the organism of a medium, through the different conditions of vision, trance, impression, psychology, etc., such ideas are invariably shaped in their external expression, first, by the cerebral development, and next, by the vocal organs of the medium. . . . Measure not the ocean of mind, therefore, from which the thoughts pervading these addresses have come, by the form of the narrow banks of the human channel in which you find them imprisoned.

The subjects of these Lectures (though presented by me to a Chicago audience for the first time) have formed the theme of address in one or two other places before -- such subjects being deemed by my guides of more importance as principles, (the enforcement of which should be one main object of my teachings,) than the mere capacity to make a speech, no matter what the subject, provided it was "something new." For the first two years of my public teaching, I was chiefly exercised [p. 6] in the phenomenal part of speech-making, generally submitting the subjects to the choice of a committee formed on the spot, or presenting, through spirit direction, addresses extemporized on every conceivable variety of subjects, the texts of which were very frequently found in the events and surroundings of the hour, such as a flower laid on the desk, the falling rain, or, still more commonly, a question proposed by some stranger in the audience. "The day of phenomena is passing away," is the language of one of my Guides, "and if you mediums would become instructors, rather than the wonder of your audiences, suffer us to enforce and repeat by 'line upon line, and precept upon precept,'* such principles as will grow into fundamental truths in the people's hearts."

[Hardinge goes on to proclaim a disinclination to publish her lectures, one shared by her spirit guides: "'We think for all time -- but speak for the hour.'" (p. 6) But]

P. 6: At the close of these Lectures, I was introduced to a gentleman, who, I found, had hired a reporter at his own expense to transcribe them, and conceiving that they would benefit the world in the same proportion as he had himself profited, he generously determined to bear all the risk and expense of publication, and by presenting them in the most attractive form possible, add to the good which he supposed their perusal might produce, a surplus fund, which he nobly dedicated to the promotion of a great philanthropic undertaking in favor of forlorn, outcast, homeless females. The entire unselfishness of this project, like a warm ray of sunlight, completely melted away the ice of my philosophical scruples.

. . . . .

Pp. 7-8 [born in London, educated at home until death of father at age of twelve -- no dates given -- then became "teacher of music in a school" (unnamed), then a "concert player and vocalist"; emphasized that she had no training, other than in music, and no opportunity to study other subjects. P. 8: "With the exception of a little dabbling in astrology, pursued under the auspices of merry gipsying parties, I never heard of, much less studied, any "ology" in my life." Six to eight hours of practice per day "and the gay soirees in which musical artistes form the chief feature in European aristocratic circles -- thus passed my early life." When she damaged her singing voice (unexplained), Hardinge returned to London and took up acting. "To study original parts for a very fashionable and aristocratic theatre -- to compose the most recherche costumes -- acquire all the accomplishments which entitle a successful London artiste to entree in the best society, -- filled up my time to the fullest measure."]

P. 8: I came to America [in 1855], purposing to pass six months, which the horrors of the Crimean war, then raging, made very sad and depressing in London, in a temporary engagement in New York. The six months extended to ten, and during that period, for the first time in my life, I heard of Spiritualism.

Pp. 8-9 [claims that she went to her first seance -- with "Mr. Conklin, the well-known test medium" -- intending to scoff but fled when she "heard a sentence spelled out which appeared to me at variance with Bible writ.]

P. 9: In my second attempt, I was taken to Ada Hoyt, the well-known test rapping medium . . . . [There she heard "the magic raps" and "still worse" than being unable to account for them "the obstinate raps persisted in calling me 'a medium.'" Hardinge resisted the idea but also had herself tested:]

P. 9: by writing, personating, seeing, hearing, and a variety of phases, I was enabled to sit for inquirers, and cheerfully gave my services for more than a year to all who desired them.

. . . . .

P. 10: Suffice it to say, I pursued my researches and experiments in every available quarter, high or low -- in circles in cellars and garrets, saloons and woods -- never shrinking from evil, so long as I felt sure of my own integrity, nor injured by the false, so long as I was true myself. . . . For many months I devoted myself to this absorbing search -- to sitting for the public, and being the instrument of Spirits in various ways, without the least idea of ever being a "public trance speaker" -- always on the eve of returning to England, and always fettered down by my unseen psychologists [Spirit Guides] to their work. I at last began to wake to the consciousness that my mother and myself must live on material as well as spiritual bread -- that my Spirit Guides had forbidden the stage to me -- that my pupils in music shrank away from the weird reputation of a medium -- that my contributions to spiritual papers transmuted the gold from my pocket to mere laurels for my head, and that all the time, health and effort I was bestowing on the world as a medium, was merely laying up treasures for to-morrow, without doing the smallest thing towards supplying the wants of to-day.

Then came the word of power -- "Emma, you must go out and speak to the world."

I had borne all sorts of deceptions form the Spirits, and found them the best of lessons practical tests, both of their strict humanity, and the necessity of trying them according to scripture formula. I had proved that all the chaff of Spiritualism contained living kernels of life; that all the trials, sufferings and apparent evils in which I was often tried in very purgatorial fires, were good for me, abundant in use and teaching, and that no dark spirit ever stood on my left hand, unaccompanied by a radiant agel in white, on my right. . . . [p. 11] but this last charge, to wit, that I, a woman, and, moreover, "a lady by birth," and English, above all, that I would go out, like "strong minded women," and hector the world, on public platforms! oh, shocking! I vowed rebellion -- to give up Spirits, Spiritualism, and America; return to England, and live "a feminine existence" once again. With these magnanimous resolves strong upon me one week, the next saw me on a public platform, fairly before the world as a Trance speaker.

. . . . .

Pp. 11-12: For sometime before the commencement of the lecture, but chiefly after taking my seat on the platform, I feel the pressure of a dreamy magnetic [i.e., hypnotic] influence, at times deepening into complete abstraction from the surrounding scene. I cannot always tell the exact commencement of a lecture. The audience, the scene, and my own words appear present, as "in a dream within a dream." The effect of human psychology [i.e., spirit guidance] upon me is very painful. There is an absolute compulsion to perform a certain part, whilst I retain sufficient consciousness to appreciate and hopelessly to struggle against the control exercised. In these spiritual lectures I can equally clearly recognize the presence of psychological control. The unprompted flow of words are not my own. Every gesture and movement appears to me, at times, compelled, and yet the compulsion is accompanied by a dreamy indifference on my part, a perfect absence of care, and sense of safety and protection from my precious invisible masters, that renders my service an exceedingly happy one. I can feel rather than see the audience; and their degree of intelligence, but especially the presence of antagonism, is painfully distinct. Sometimes a strongly marked individual character in the audience becomes prominent to me, sometimes presenting singular points of character, the contemplation of which will absorb my attention whilst the lecture proceeds. The details of my address I can only realize very [p. 12] imperfectly at the time, my own state being too dreamy for acute perception. Hours of subsequent quiet communion with the Spirit world are essential to the realization of personal benefit from the teachings given.

For the name of those beneath whose ministry I am happy in the belief of acting, although frequently questioned, I feel no prompting to state them. I have good reason for my belief in their identity, but . . . to the world I can offer no direct testimony on this point, and am instructed to present whatever truths my lips can utter, for the truth's sake alone.