I just discovered a remarkable book based on a lecture series by my great great grandfather, Thiennette de Bérigny who apparently was one of the early pioneers of homeopathy and the spiritualist movement in the mid 1800s in Australia. I found this snippet about him and his involvement from a spiritualist magazine dated 1901.
It would be difficult to say who was the original Australian Spiritualist, but as early as 1850 Dr. Berigny, a homeopathic physician, residing in Collins Street, Melbourne, held a circle in his rooms, which was accessible to any inquirers who satisfied him of their sincerity; and to my knowledge there were three private circles, the members of which had obtained satisfactory evidence of spirit communion, though the manifestations were of a rudimentary character, the table being the telegraphic instrument. The late Henry Edwards, the distinguished actor, was a member of one of these circles.
THE SPIRITUAL REVIEW . A Monthly Magazine for Spiritualists VOL. III. MAY 1901. No. 7
Perhaps Thiennette’s practical approach to contemplating God, his distain for false teachers of the Christian churches of his time, his scientific challenges to the medical establishment (two more books I found on this) made him a lot of enemies and seems his work was somewhat buried and mostly forgotten. It looked to me like he took the position that believing in God relies on hearsay but to know God can only happen firsthand – a view I wholeheartedly agree on.
The problem with that view is you don’t need organisations like a church to bind Christians together, a lodge for Freemasons, a philosophy like Blavatsky’s form of spiritualism to gauge a belief in God. Offering a direct connection to God without such powerful or growing groups in between must have been dangerous to the same groups, especially to those people that led them.
Here’s some quotes from his work:
The object of religion is twofold: First – Inquiry into the knowledge of God and his attributes; secondly, – The highest standard of worship owing to Him by the human family. The first question only will occupy me this evening. Is there a Deity? Who is He? If I were to say to my most pious friends that I do not believe in the existence of God, they would cry blasphemy and stay my speaking, yet my sentiments would be candidly expressed, though, I apprehend, misunderstood; such as if I were to say that I do not believe in the existence of the sun, when its light is so intense that I cannot penetrate it. I say that the existence of God is no matter of belief, but of knowledge, as it is with the knowledge that one and one make two. No one believes in a mathematical problem so simple because he knows it. So it is with God: the existence of a universal Ruler, Sustainer, or Providence is answered by the presence of the smallest atom in the creation, as the existence of a manufactured article reveals the existence of the manufacturer; or as the existence of a force pre-supposes the existence of a superior force. I may now say, without giving offence, that I do not believe in the existence of God, since you understand that I know from the evidences of my senses that He is…
…What religion shall we observe? That religion that has no other name; the eternal, true, never changing but always better understood religion of God, not of men; for it is obvious that what men call religions are human institutions bearing the same relation to the soul as the chattel of man does to the individual sovereignity of the enslaved.
– Alexandre Thiennette de Bérigny
The lecture series was called “Light for a million: A religion of God and not of men”.
If you’d like a copy, I put the book up for download here: http://docdro.id/JrPY9ec