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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866

 

Question 5

 

HAVE animals spirit? If not, what is the nature of their life, and how is it they have so many of the feelings, affections, passions, and mental endowments of men?

 

Answer

 

WE answer you now briefly, because the question has been considered fully within the last few days. We will therefore only remind you, that the exhibition of intelligence in the animal creation is merely partial and fragmentary - that whatsoever of wonder and strangeness, even in the form of intellectual manifestation, appears in the animal kingdom, as in the case of the mole, who works his way in the darkness in certain invariable directions, as if guided by the points of the compass; in


 

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the case of the beaver, who displays an extraordinary ingenuity in the erection of his dwelling, and in the construction of the dam, as would do honour to an instructed engineer; in the work of the geometrical ant, and of the mathematical bee; in all these and in every other creature’s wonderful evidence of special instinctive intelligence, there is a tendency in the form of all these creatures to out-work precisely the character of the intelligence, which is observed in them. Were you to separate them from the soil in which you find them habitually living - were you to place them in conditions strange to them - they would still carry out the peculiar tendencies of their forms and none other. I believe that the entire of the animal world is a vast panorama, in which nature, by the ordering of the Infinite Mind, has represented the various fragments, both of form and intellectual life, which are afterwards bound up in the grand compendium and microcosm of all creation - Man. I believe that the existence of many of these primal and experimental creatures of nature’s wondrous school­house, antedate the appearance of man on this globe. I believe that their organism, or rather that the progression of matter in their organisms, is a species of preparation for the finer and more sublimated atoms that compose man; and hence I believe that all things are both prophetic and preparatory for the life of man. I believe that in eternity the perfect alone is preserved. I believe that one of those deeply philosophical sentences that from time to time are strewed like gems of spiritual light throughout the Scriptures of the Jews is found in the passage that “The wages of sin is death,” and “The gift of God is eternal life.” Sin is nought but partial good. Sin is nought but the attempt of a finite being to represent the supernal ideas of the Infinite, broken and marred by imperfect manifestation. When you consider the quality and nature of sin you will find it is either an excess or a deficit of some beneficent virtue which, when practised within the boundary of law, reduces the excess called evil to good and blessing.

 

For instance, consider the various crimes that man is guilty of, and you will find they either proceed from an excess of love which, when regulated and balanced in due equilibrium between himself and his neighbour, is the law of self-preservation and justice; but, if carried to excess in either direction, becomes selfishness or prodigality, and thus from sin results its sequence, in discord, hate, disease, and death, - so that sin is imperfection, pain its teacher, and death or change its last and inevitable penalty. But even sin is transitory; so transitory as that when we pass the grave of the criminal, we seldom recall the crimes of his earth life with half as much of enmity, as of regret and tender pity. We find that death has paid the penalty of his sin. We feel, even if we do not know it absolutely, that he is changed, lives in progress and our own appreciation of his guilt is modified by this nameless consciousness that the imperfect dies, but the gift of God, the good and perfect, lives for ever. And it is this law of preservation for the perfect only, which bestows immortality on the soul of man, but denies it to the semi-perfect fragments of spiritual life incarnate in the forms of animals. True, their spirits are preserved for a period; the spiritual part or essence which manifests itself in will, and intelligence, is preserved in the spheres that encircle and zone this planet, but not beyond it. All the lower spheres beneath this planet, and their imperfect representations of human life, partake so largely of animal characteristics that they scarcely exhibit the human form at all. Throughout the spirit­spheres, the creatures that have ministered to our use still continue their relations to our spirits, so long as these remain in spheres of animal love, proclivities, and passions. Hence, as I have said the spirit of animals are preserved in the earth spheres, but not beyond. And the destiny of the spiritual part of these creatures is to compose


 

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the grand totality of forces which make up some higher and superior world with its spirit spheres.

 

Question 6  January 22nd, 1866