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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866

 

Question 4

 

IS spirit developed along with the human body, or does it enter it fully formed, and at what period?

 

Answer

 

THE question requires some other explanation than belongs to the mere subject of the birth or formation of the embryo. We have said in a former address, to which we must again refer that spirit and matter have ever been exhibited together in all the various records that man, historically, traditionally or scientifically, can discover of creation. Wheresoever matter has been exhibited, the direct evidence of spirit is manifest in the intelligence of laws that govern matter. These laws always manifest wisdom, power


 

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and goodness, and these, the most Divine attributes of intelligence, are invariably displayed in the forms of matter, in the illimitable beauty, order and consecutiveness, that control all laws, - in the supreme and boundless power that is manifested through them, and in their eternal repetition and infinity. In all representations of material forms, spirit is as imminent in the handwriting on the wall of the temple of being, as if we beheld it face to face, embodied in our presence. What shall we say then of those highly sublimated atoms of matter, - those monads, which exist first in the structureless cell from which the embryo of humanity no less than that of all animated life commences? We examine that microscopic cell, and we first perceive that it is structureless, from the fact that even in the most searching investigation no evidence is there of ought but homogeneous matter; yet in the progress of growth from this unpromising molecule, we find it elaborated into a multitude of other cells, within each of which is the principle of life, growth, and all the forms of motion necessary for its development into an aggregated mass of heterogeneous matter. At this stage a fresh set of functions become manifest, enabling the embryo to secrete these in various organs, and various tissues, substances and qualities of matter. I do not design in this place to enlarge on these processes of growth which are constantly expanding up to the point when there is the manifestation of a brain. From this period of development we claim that there is the evidence of individualised spirit. We affirm this because we perceive that the nervous system is the apparatus arranged for the exhibition of spirit, and that the brain is the great originator or generator of the nervous system. We cannot separate one single atom of being from a connection with the vast totality which we call God, or cut it off from the existence of the Great and Infinite Spirit, whose laws are written in the least as in the great forms of being; hence we cannot point to the exact period when the spirit of the Infinite becomes repeated in His image, and manifests itself in a human soul, except to note the period when, by the development of a brain in the embryo and the formation of a nervous system, that spirit can exhibit itself in the attribute of will. From this point, and from this point alone, are we enabled to draw the line of demarcation between the exhibition of spirit and matter in embryotic forms. And yet, beyond this point we may claim that all matter exhibits spirit, that all spirit requires matter for its exhibition. It is merely a question, then, of individualised spirit; this we believe first becomes an identity from the point when matter exhibits itself, as we have stated in the formation of a brain and of its ramification into a nervous system.

 

Question 5  January 22nd, 1866