|Is it wrong to conjure dead spirits?|
Does this give ground for to-day’s teaching of Spiritism?
The story of 1 Samuel 28 in no way justifies the practice of Spiritism in this or in any other age.
As for Ecciesiastes 9:5, it expresses the general rule, “The dead know not anything”; the above story of the witch of Endor is the exception, by God’s special permission, as I shall seek to show. “The dead know not anything,” i.e., of what is going on on the earth, but they know what is going on where they are, as the story of the ex-rich man and Lazarus shows (Luke 16). The former and Abraham knew each other, and the former recognised Lazarus and remembered his own five brethren.
I have not the slightest doubt Samuel was really permitted by God to respond to the call. This was less, I doubt not, of a surprise to Saul the dupe, than to the witch, the deceiver. To her the attendant spirit was familiar, but she seems to have been completely taken aback by the appearance of the strange visitant that Samuel was, for “she cried with a loud voice,” and did not know him, though by some peculiar intuition she at once became aware of the identity of Saul. Samuel was a true prophet, and could foretell the morrow’s happenings, but we have no justification for supposing that wicked spirits can foretell the future.
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