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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866

 

Question 2

 

MRS BEECHER STOWE has written these lines:- “It is a beautiful belief, that ever around our head are hovering on angel wings the spirits of the dead.” Are the spirits of the departed always near us? Do they participate in our joys and sorrows? Have they the power to see into our inner life and thoughts? What evidence have those whose spiritual vision is not opened of these facts?


 

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Answer

 

THERE are two modes by which we could respond to your question; one is from the realm of poetry, the other from that of fact. We allow to the poet all the possible use which he can make of our facts, but we prefer, in the analytical discussion of spiritual philosophy, to base our affirmations on our facts. We have stated in a former address that the spirit-world is the soul or reality of the natural world; at least it sustains to the natural such relations as find types in the human form whilst vitalised by the spirit in precisely the same manner as the spiritual world vitalises the entire realm of material forms. Hence you will remember that we stated that the lower strata (in point of position) of the spiritual spheres, immediately interpenetrate this earth. We pointed to the fact that this chamber, (by way of illustration,) might be represented as full of spiritual spheres; are you not therefore surrounded by the spirit world and its inhabitants? In the change called death, the spirit, in fact, does not quit this earth at all, until through the various stages of progression it passes from the earthly spheres into higher and more distant ones. Hades is here; the mid region where dwell the souls of men during their second sphere of eternal existence is within this natural earth of yours. The actual mutual relationship which spirit and matter sustains, is intensified moreover by those ties of kind, affection, and soul affinities, which it belongs to consciousness to remember for ever. If you preserve in the disintegration of the material form the memory of earth, its joys, its sorrows, but above all of its affections, how do you suppose that those who have lived and loved in your midst can pass to a sphere which they find to be progressive in state, and yet fail to carry with them those affections which are the divinest parts of the soul, or retain no memory of those with whom they have lived in ties of sweetest companionship on earth? If, indeed, the spirit still loves beyond the grave, that spirit must also still love, and for the expression of that love there must in the spheres beyond this be means of action, and for that action an adequate mode of manifestation. What think you would be the Paradise of the mother, or the heaven of the father, if, themselves removed from the sphere of human necessities, but remembering all the struggle and care they entail upon the precious ones who still remain subject to them, they were deprived of some mode of ministration and of some method of continuing the manifestations of their undying love? Oh tell us of no heaven, speak not to the heart of love, or to the soul of affection, of any Paradise or place of rest, which is not most surely too the place of love. As the religionist what evidence he has that his God and Father walks the earth, that here in the midst of his joys and sorrows the Infinite One who has dispensed them all, takes cognizance of all. What evidence can he render us of his assertion? He answers “The traditions of my fathers, and the witness of my own soul.” Even so have we the vast array of spiritual manifestations which every age informs us of, which this age confirms, and the witness alike of our souls and our senses. There are links of consciousness which connect us with the souls we love, that give us the assurance that if there is a life beyond the grave that life has gathered up all of beauty that made the soul within us divine. And as the most beautiful blossoms of the soul are its affections - so if these expand not beyond the grave into a greater and more beautiful ministry of love than even this earth can exhibit, there is no Paradise, there is no heaven, and immortality and progression are fictitious.

 

Question 3  January 22nd, 1866