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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866


Question 4


HOW do you explain speaking in unknown tongues?




THERE is in every human being a set of faculties that embrace all the possibilities that belong to spirit. Each living creature has the talent for music, painting, poetry; all art, science and intellectual lore; all spiritual attainments and affectional emotions, either latent, partially or fully developed. Spirit is a unit, and all varieties of its external manifestations are but questions of development; hence the faculty of speech and the gift of tongues belong to all human beings alike, though in all it is shewn in different degrees of capacity. But though all possess in the unitary nature of spirit the same quality of soul, all, as each; in every living creature is an infinite variety in degrees of culture of various faculties. All human beings, in fact, manifest the inward qualities of spirit through human organisms in almost illimitable variety. That which is called the brain, or the seat of the various organs, moral, intellectual and spiritual, varies in each individual. Therefore it is that one faculty that is frequently externalised, another is wholly dormant, and some times on predominant tendency of mind, moral or intellectual, is externalised at the expense of another. All are there, as I have said, in germ; but many are wholly obscured, while one or two alone are predominant. With some it only requires the hothouse process of magnetism to externalise the faculties which, though dormant, exist in great force and abundance. We believe that magnetism and psychology are hothouse processes, by which special tendencies of mind (though they may have been latent and wholly unrecognised), if existing in any sufficient force can be called into abnormal action, and the magnetism of a spirit, in or out of the form, is the means by which the phenomenon is produced. The school is the garden of mind-growth in which the child’s latent faculties are externalised. The magnetism of a nation and the psychology, which is called “fashion” or “public opinion,” is the hothouse process, by which national character is developed. Even so is it in individuals; if you can apply to any susceptible subject the magnetic processes, which are attracted to that portion of the brain where the strongest tendencies of mind exist, you externalise these, and so long as the magnetiser’s influence lasts, his subject displays this suddenly developed and abnormal talent; and this is the mode in which spirits control persons for tongues, music, drawing, or any of the various gifts which have not been before manifested in their subject’s own normal state. The capacity for this gift, as I have said, must exist latent in the organism; and though it may not have been developed until the magnetism of a controlling spirit externalised it - still it must have been there and formed a predominant quality of the brain. The facility for speaking in foreign tongues is one that requires first a correct ear, and next a facility for imitation, and you may urge that these are attributes only of the sensuous organism, I answer that this facility not only requires a favourable external organism but a receptive spiritual one also; for the gift of tongues, even when cultivated by education, varies in each individual. Where you find a very favourable organism for the repetition of sentences in foreign tongues, you acknowledge that such a person is peculiarly gifted in that direction. For the process of education, substitute that of magnetism, and you will find that by the same spiritual chemistry that annihilates times and space, in an inconceivably rapid process of earthly time the spirit is enabled so to educate the tongue, as to make it exhibit the faculty of speaking in foreign language, which is latent in the brain. It is so of all the various gifts that are produced under the magnetic action of spirits. It may be queried why this, once produced, does not remain a permanent gift. There may be some present who have witnessed electrical



experiments; we will cite one which seems apposite to our position. Apply the two poles of the battery to the root of a plant that is as yet undeveloped - always granting that the life is there and the battery is carefully applied - and you shall find that the magnetic process evolves such an exuberance of life in that plant, that it externalises its growth in a marvellously short space of time. Remove the battery, and you will find that the plant immediately withers and droops, and seems to aim at returning to the law of nature in gradual growth: and such is the case with the medium. The spiritual battery applied forcibly and intelligently to a susceptible subject, externalises its special latent qualities; but when removed, the subject returns to the normal state of growth that is best suited to a physical existence, nevertheless it retains sufficient facility by a habit once acquired, to more readily become the subject of the phenomena again. Thus it has been shewn that spirit mediums have absolutely become educated to give in their normal state the foreign tongue which they have never learnt, but which the habitude and facility of the organs cultivated by the spirits, have gradually accustomed them to manifest.


Question 5  February 5th, 1866