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Questions Answered Extempore by Miss Emma Hardinge 1866

 

Question 7

 

WILL you define the difference between soul and spirit, as used by St Paul in the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, 5th chapter, 23rd verse, “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless.”


Answer

 

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WE are asked to define the meaning attached to words which are susceptible of entirely different interpretations in the lips of different individuals. Unquestionably St Paul intended simply to represent a difference between soul and spirit and body, and that such a difference exists, is the opinion of the intelligence that controls your speaker; but whether he realised the same idea that we attach to these words, is a question we are not prepared to answer, and therefore we will render you such a response as proceeds from what we feel to be a truth existing in nature, rather than an attempt to speculate upon what St Paul might have believed on the subject. There is a triune nature in man. The body is the material part, consisting of a structure made up from a combination of all the elements in the universe. Throughout this structure there is that magnetic element of which we have so often spoken as the life of all things, and this magnetic element, or life, is one substance, but differs in degree in various bodies, according to the nature of the atoms of matter which compose various bodies. Hence, whilst magnetism in its universal effect of motion may be called an unitary substance, yet as differing in its exhibition in different bodies, it is variously described. Thus it is called simply magnetism, in metals; electricity, in airs; life, in animated being; but in all the entire range of creation it produces life or motion. It is a substance, though invisible, not intelligent or ponderable. Compared with the known forms of matter in fluids, airs, and solids, as classified by chemistry, it seems to be neither matter nor spirit: it inheres in form, grows with them, gathers up the elements to sustain them, and by attraction builds up the life-like form, and maintains by cohesion its integrity. Again; by repulsion it holds the atoms apart, and in due order gives off waste material, and finally separates or scatters them in the process of the decay called death.It moves in two modes only, namely, by attraction and repulsion; it inheres about the spirit, and is the bond that binds it to the body. It is often mistaken for the spirit, but we treat it as a distinct element, and only in combination with the spirit call it “soul.” By those who fail to recognise the active agency of this element and its distinctive functions and being, the spirit is often improperly called the soul: but we claim the soul to be dual, and define it as consisting of this magnetic or spiritual body and the spirit. We realise that in the human form there is a trinity of elements and that these are the outward, or material body; the magnetic life, or spiritual body; and the still more sublimated and most interior element of spirit. We believe that this trinity of elements pervades the entire universe. In the realm of matter, the vast mass of suns, satellites, systems, and earths, constitute the body; the illimitable fountain of magnetism, from which all things derive the power of motion, is the life; and the boundless ocean of intelligence, or mind manifest in the grand or supremely intelligent order of the universe, is the spirit. The totality of all these elements is the universe, and in this immensity we recognise the being of an infinite, eternal Trinity, whom we call God! The God of theology is most commonly a representation of some vast image, conceived by the superstitious minds of men; but the vast totality of the God of the Universe is the Trinity that fills space, and occupies being, and is Creation and Creator alike. Hence God is at once the body, spirit, and soul of the universe. As of the God, Creator, so of the child, creature; like our Author, we are body, life, and spirit - as a mortal man, a trinity; as an immortal soul, a spirit and spiritual body. So long as soul inheres to the body we are triune; at the separation of the body by death from the soul, we are dual - that is, life and spirit. In the action of death, that spiritual body departs with the spirit, and in the duality of life and spirit is the existence of the new-born soul. We believe that the noble apostle Paul, the best


 

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and most philosophic of the Hebrew writers, understood this definition. He speaks of “a spiritual body and a natural body.” He realised in this phrase that there was a spiritual body that was not alone intelligence, mere embodied mind, but an actual body, though of a spiritual nature; therefore we believe that in the passage referred to he felt, if he did not scientifically define, the trinity existing in a man of a body, a soul, and a spirit. We only differ in terms, by calling the soul the combination of the spirit and the life, and therefore we simply define his phrase by somewhat different terms, although we agree substantially with him in the idea that there is a diversity in the elements that constitute man, which closely analysed we may aptly term, body, life, and spirit, or simply, body and soul.

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MR COLEMAN said that he thought the meeting would agree with him, that they should not trespass any further upon Miss Hardinge on that evening. She professed herself to be perfectly ready to continue answering the questions, but he thought they would agree with him, that they ought not to make any further demand upon her.

 

MISS HARDINGE: Our strength is inexhaustible to-night! There is not only a source of magnetic strength outpouring from the mental states of those who surround us in this chamber, but as the times are rife with change, and the demand upon all workers in the cause of truth has been, and still will be great for effort - so the supply to all susceptible and receptive organisms is proportioned to the demands of the hour.

 

As the great demand of the hour, which has truly been called one of “the eclipse of faith,” is for “spiritual light” - as the torch-bearers who have been entrusted with the glorious charge of bearing the bright standard of spiritual light are dependent for their strength on the inexhaustible fountain of life, “magnetism” - and the magnetizers of the spirit medium, though invisible, are never-failing sources of supply for the world’s demand - so we repeat, your speaker’s strength, dependent on an inexhaustible source, is of inexhaustible power. In deference to the wishes of your chairman, and respect to your patience as auditors, we cease to tax your attention further, earnestly thanking you for the courtesy with which the wearisome methaphysics of this evening have been received.

 

THE END