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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866

 

Question 2

 

Is the spirit, in its progress, incarnated more than once? Answer

 

THE Question first demands an explanation of the word “incarnate.” We find that its popular definition is the association of spirit with matter in the form of an animated being. Thus we may say that the spirit of the animal, the thought of which we have been speaking, is incarnate in its form. We presume that the question relates more especially to the incarnation of spirit in the human form? And to this we answer, as we ask, Does the eagle return to the egg? Does the oak return to the acorn? Do the sun’s rays return to its central heart of fire? Never. Whithersoever we turn our eyes, in search through the grand analogies of nature, we find that the universal genius of creation is progress. How, then, can we respond to the question that asks whether the spirit returns to the mould that shaped it? Whether the water of life returns to the pitcher broken at the fountain? Or motion to “the wheel broken at the cistern”? Believe it never! The purposes of material existence are all included in the growth and development of the spirit in a material mould. We believe that the Eternal Spirit shakes from his Divine hand the scintillations of life like star-dust and that these, precipitated in the mould of matter and associated with it, becoming incarnate spirits. But, oh! remember our claim, ever basing itself upon fundamental principles of being,


 

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and ever demonstrating itself in the widening revelations of spiritual unfoldings, that spirit is the power of life - not matter; that spirit is the real organism, matter only the shadowy mould in which it grows. The purposes of incarnation are simply those of growth and development. These effected, the spirit bursts its material cerements, and knows no more of incarnation. It is a spiritual body, and, as such, life’s real and only substance. As a spirit, grown through matter, it is already a fully-perfected being: what has it, then, to do with the clay of earth again? There is not the highest form of matter bearing an incarnate spirit now on earth that equals in its attributes the splendour of a spirit disembodied: no, not one. Whatever be the moral degradation of the disembodied soul, there are certain attributes which belong to spirit that far transcend the obstacles of matter. Clairvoyance is one of these. The darkest and most degraded of spirits, too, realises his disembodied state with a power that belongs not even to the wisest minds of earth, for there is in the prison-house of matter a veil of materiality which obstructs the vision by death removed. Hence, spirit sees no more what seems, but that which truly is. Spirit, too, is boundless; there is no time or space in its existence. In eternity all time is merged; infinity has no horizon in the spirit­world, but soul-development and power to observe the boundless realm of being. In short, spirit - whether in itself, its attributes, or sphere - is so resplendent and supreme a condition, compared to matter, that the very question of re-incarnation involves the whole question of retrogression - a movement nature knows not, and creation never proves. Spirit incarnate in matter, more than once, and that once as the embryo state of being only? Never! Never! The soul’s nature and existence, as defined to us by the Infinite Spirit, whose voice we humbly and reverently re-echoed in this place some short time since, saying, “I am Alpha and Omega; I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore!” is the history of all spirit. It never dies; and therefore never returns to the material form through which it has been born into life eternal: whatever forms, in the long ages of eternity, the ascending spirit may assume, in harmony with the laws of progress illimitable, - the earthly clay once spurned, the casket broken, the mould destroyed, sooner would creation return to void and space, suns, stars, and systems be quenched in night and darkness, than spirit return to dwell in the tomb of earth, which victorious death has vanquished.

Question 3  January 8th, 1866