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Man and the Spiritual World

The Bible's Statements.

For convenience sake, we shall group the Biblical records of Man's experiences of the Spiritual World under a few heads.

(A). Spiritual beings have been seen.

The Lord appeared unto Abraham at Mamre (Gen. xviii. 1 v.).

Angels of God met Jacob, and he saw them, after his departure from Laban (Gen.      xxxii. 1 and 2 v.).

The same man wrestled with a being, of whose super-physical nature he was so convinced as to say, 'I have seen God face to face' (Gen. xxxii. 24-30 v)-

An angel appeared to Moses near Horeb (Ex. iii. 2 v.).

Balaam, after the opening of his spiritual eyes, saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way (Num. xxii. 31 v.).

Joshua beheld a spiritual being, who described himself as 'The Captain of the host of the Lord,' standing over against him (Josh. v. 13 v.).

An angel appeared to Gideon at Ophrah (Judges vi. 12 v.).

Samuel, the prophet, was seen after death in the cave of the woman of En-dor (1 Sam. xxviii. 12-14 v-)-

David and Ornan both saw an angel by the threshing-place (2 Sam. xxiv. 17 v., and 1 Chron. xxi. 20 v.).

The Lord appeared to Solomon (2 Chron. vii. 12 v.).

An angel appeared to Zacharias the priest (Luke i. 11 v.).

The angel Gabriel came to the mother of our Lord (Luke i. 28 v.).

The angel of the Lord came upon the shepherds of Bethlehem (Luke ii. 9 v.).

Suddenly a multitude of heavenly beings were with this angel, in the presence of the men (13 v.).

Jesus and John the Baptist both saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove (Matt. iii. 16 v., and John 1. 32 and 34 v.).

Moses and Elijah, after their departure from earth, appeared to three Apostles, on the mount of Transfiguration (Matt. xvii. 3 v.; Mark ix. 4 v., and Luke ix. 3i v.).

The presence of an angel at Christ's sepulchre so alarmed the watchers that they became as dead men (Matt, xxxviii. 4 v.).

The women, entering the same sepulchre, saw a spiritual being, and were affrighted (Mark xvi. 5 v.).

After the resurrection of Christ, many departed saints appeared unto many at Jerusalem (Matt, xxvii. 52 v.).

Two spiritual beings stood by the disciples on Mount Olivet (Acts i. 10 v.).

St Stephen, just before his martyrdom, saw Christ (Acts vii. 55 v.).

Christ, after He had left the earth, was seen by St Paul (1 Cor. xv. 8 v.).

Angels stood before Cornelius (Acts x. 30 v.); by the side of St Peter, in the prison (Acts xii. 7 v.); and by St Paul, on board a ship (Acts xxvii. 23 v.).

It is noteworthy that, in many of the Biblical accounts of spiritual appearances, the terms 'man' or 'men' are used as interchangeable terms for 'angel' or ' angels.' Thus, 'three men' stood by Abraham as he sat at his tent door.

A 'man' wrestled with Jacob until the breaking of the day.

A 'young man' arrayed in a white robe sat within the sepulchre.

'Two men' stood beside the disciples on Olivet.

Cornelius, in recounting his spiritual experience, said, 'A man stood before me in bright clothing.'

The contexts of these particular passages show that they were spiritual beings, and not men on the plane of the material, to whom allusion was made. Is there nothing suggestive in this interchange of terms? Does it imply, first, that the form of an angel is not dissimilar to that of a man; and, next, that it is likely that the spiritual intelligences seen may not in every case have been angels (in the common acceptation of the word), but men who had left this earth, and were living, and doing their part from the plane of spirit towards the consummation of God's 'eternal purpose'?

At all events, the thought is a welcome one; a pleasant set-off against the popular idea that departed saints have nothing to do but to enjoy 'beatific visions.'

(B). Spiritual manifestations have been seen.

Moses, in the wilderness, beheld a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. That it was a super-physical fire is seen in the fact that the bush burned, but was not consumed (Ex. iii. 2 v.).

The Israelites, on leaving Egypt, were guided by a pillar of cloud, whose non-physical nature is denoted by its appearance, at night, as a pillar of fire (Ex. xiii. 21 v.).

When Moses ascended Mount Sinai, the 'glory' of the Lord abode upon the mountain, and the sight of it was like devouring fire in the eyes of the children of Israel (Ex. xxiv. 16 and 17 v.).

The same 'glory' filled the tabernacle (Ex. xl. 34 and 35 v.).

At the prayer of Elijah, on Mount Carmel, the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the sacrifice, wood, stones and dust, and licked up the water in the trench around the altar (1 Kings xviii. 38 v.).

At the passing away of the same prophet, Elisha saw a chariot of fire, and horses of fire (2 Kings ii. 12 v.).

The young man, the servant of Elisha, saw, when the eyes of his spirit-body had been opened, in answer to the prayer of the Seer, the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about his master (2 Kings vi. 17 v.).

The 'glory' of the Lord filled the newly-dedicated temple of King Solomon (2 Chron. v. 14 v.).

On the same occasion, 'when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped' (2 Chron. vii. 3 v.). That is to say, the sight of the super-normal awed them.

Belshazzar, in the midst of a licentious banquet, saw a spiritual materialisation, that took the form of the fingers of a man's hand writing his sentence of condemnation upon the plaister of the wall of the King's palace (Dan. v. 5 v.).

At night a bright light (physically unaccountable) shone round about the shepherds of Bethlehem (Luke ii. 9 v.).

The Eastern philosophers were induced to travel to Jerusalem in consequence of a moving light in the atmosphere (mistaken by them for a star), which at length hovered over the place where the infant Saviour was (Matt. ii. 9 v.)

At the Transfiguration (that scene, the import of which has been so little grasped by the Christian Church), a bright cloud overshadowed the three Apostles (Matt. vii. 5 v.).

At the Crucifixion, the enormous veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom by unseen hands (Matt, xxvii. 51 v.).

At Pentecost, an abnormal sound, as of a rushing of a mighty wind, was heard and felt, and tongues of fire were seen (Acts ii. 2 and 3 v.).

St Stephen, as he stood before the Council, was spiritually overshadowed, and all present 'saw his face as it had been the face of an angel (Acts vi. 15 v.).

Saul of Tarsus, on his errand of persecution, as well as those with him, saw a great light that blinded the former (Acts ix. 3 and 8 v., and xxii. 9 v.).

I make but one comment as regards these records. Those who have investigated the subject know perfectly well that manifestations, resembling in many points those just enumerated, are present-day experiences. There are thousands to whom we can appeal, who have seen non-physical lights, cloud-like appearances, partial and complete materialisations, and overshadowings whereby the aspect of a person's face has been changed. There are thousands before whose eyes, in the presence of others, material objects have been moved and dealt with in ways unexplainable by any operations of physical force.

We ask, are those good Christians consistent, who devoutly, but lackadaisically, assent to the Bible, without ever pausing to consider what its statements imply, and in the next breath pronounce phenomena now happening to be impossible and absurd? If the testimony of honest, clever and educated men of today is not to be believed, why accept the statements of the Bible-writers? Had not these persons who assume this attitude better be logical and discard one-half of the Scripture as untruthful and mis leading?

It is a curious fact that of all persons least ready to grasp the truths of a Spiritual World, many Christians stand foremost. Like the Pharisees of old, they are very 'religious,' and read the Text-Book of the Spiritual; but 'seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.'

I know a good clergyman, who constantly preaches on such subjects as the burning bush, the Shekinah, the handwriting on the wall, and the tongues of fire, and he solemnly warned me not to continue writing about the Spiritual World lest Christian people should think I was growing weak in my intellect.

(C). Spiritual voices have been heard.

We have already adduced a number of Biblical instances in which spiritual beings were seen by men while still living on earth. In most of those instances the beings seen are shown, also, to have conversed with the persons to whom they appeared.

(1). Thus the voices of visible angels were heard by-

Abraham, on the plains of Mamre.

Moses, at the burning bush.

Balaam, as he went to do the bidding of the princes of Moab.

Joshua, when near to Jericho.

Gideon, at Ophrah.

Elijah, as he reclined beneath a juniper tree.

Zacharias, in the Temple of Jerusalem.

The Virgin Mary, in her home at Nazareth.

The shepherds, while watching their flocks.

The women, at the Sepulchre.

The disciples, on Mount Olivet.

Cornelius, in his house.

St Peter, in the prison.

St Paul, on the ship.

(2). The voices of other visible spiritual beings were heard.

The woman of En-dor (whether Saul on that occasion was clairvoyant, or not) saw the spirit of Samuel, and the latter addressed the king at length, foretelling that he and his sons should on the morrow be in the Spiritual World with him. At the Transfiguration, the three Apostles saw Moses and Elijah, and heard them conversing with the Saviour concerning His decease that He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

St John, the venerable Bishop of Ephesus, during his banishment, on the dreary Isle of Patmos, saw Christ Himself, Who cheered His faithful servant, and told him a truth (so little grasped) that He held the Keys of Hades.

(3). The voices of invisible spiritual beings were heard.

Adam and Eve heard a Voice in the garden, in

the cool of the day. No hint is given that the Divine Presence was seen.

On several occasions, apparently apart from any visible demonstration, that same Voice was heard by Abraham. That the Biblical writer (or writers) intended that the experiences are not to be viewed as mental impressions on the part of Abraham, is seen in the fact that the patriarch is represented as entering into conversation with the Voice.

An invisible angel called to Hagar 'out of heaven,' when she was sitting in the wilderness, and weeping over the prospect of the death of her boy.

Some time afterwards, an angel, in the same way, spoke to Abraham, and bade him spare his son.

At Sinai, the people of Israel saw no Presence of God, but heard His Voice conversing with Moses.

In one of the Tabernacle-chambers, an unseen Speaker three times called the boy Samuel by name, and conveyed through him a message to Eli.

At Horeb, after a wild convulsion of nature, Elijah heard 'a still, small voice' that reproved him for his pessimism and despair.

Eliphaz, the Temanite, recounts his experience of hearing a voice from an unseen spiritual Intelligence.

'Then a spirit passed before my face;
The hair of my flesh stood up.
It stood still, but I could not discern the appearance thereof;
A form was before mine eyes:
There was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,
Shall mortal man be more just than God?'
(Job iv. 15-17 v., Revised Version.)

At the baptism of our Lord, the Father was invisible, but His Voice was heard proclaiming, 'This is my beloved Son.'

This Voice is referred to (in 2 Pet. i. 17 v.) as having come from 'the excellent glory.'

At the Transfiguration, the Voice of the same unseen Speaker was heard again, declaring the same truth.

Within the precincts of the Temple at Jerusalem, It was heard a third time: 'The people that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.'

The voice of Christ addressed Saul of Tarsus, and those who were journeying with him 'stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.'

At this point, too, it will be well to notice a phrase so very often used in Scripture—'The word of the Lord.' It is represented as coming to the seers, the prophets and others.

What meaning are we to attach to it? The one that seems most reasonable to us, is that it was the voice of a Spiritual Presence, not seen, but heard clairaudiently.

Two passages seem to suggest this. One, referring to a revelation made to Samuel concerning Saul, states —'Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear,' etc. (Hebrew:—had uncovered the ear) (1 Sam. ix. 15 v.). The other—in respect to the time of Eli—'The word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open (widely-spread) vision' (1 Sam. iii. 1 v.). Here spiritual hearing and sight appear to be contrasted.

(D). Spiritual beings have controlled the bodies and minds of men.

In dealing with this phase of Biblical testimony, one can hardly fail to notice two obvious facts. The first is, how closely the subject of spirit-control touches the question of spiritual interpenetration; and the next is, how persistently and emphatically spirit-control is asserted in Scripture.

If it can be shown that spiritual intelligences do sometimes use the physical bodies of men and women, and also their minds, as the media of contact with the physical, then, we contend, the interpenetration of the Spiritual is placed beyond all doubt. Were it possible (and it is not so) to prove that every statement of angel, or post-mortem appearance, or spiritual manifestation, is false, it would not disprove the fact of spiritual interpenetration. It would only make it likely that men in this world do not see and hear spiritual presences.

But those presences may be about us, unseen and unheard; and if they are, then the Spiritual and physical intermingle. It may be asked—How can we be certain that such presences are actually about us? We answer—in much the same way as we become certain of other things; viz., by gathering and weighing testimony, observing and examining facts, and forming logical conclusions in regard to those facts.

In this case, we have, first, the testimony; that of the Bible, very persistent, very circumstantial and emphatic, on the subject of spirit-control; and yet, voluminous as it is, little in comparison with the testimony of the present age.

Then, next, we have facts that we may verify for ourselves, viz., numbers of persons, men and women, exhibiting powers of mind, as well as resources of knowledge and speech, that are clearly seen to be, and admitted by themselves to be, not their own; and are, moreover, declared to be the result of spirit-guidance. Lastly, we come to what we contend is a logical conclusion, which is, that as no physical explanation can possibly account for these phenomena, the unanimous and unvarying spiritual explanation of the persons themselves (supported by the deliberate statements of Scripture) is more likely to be right than wrong.

Now I dare say this will startle many good people who live in little religious, social and literary worlds of conventional thought, and never go outside of them. But an unfamiliar thought will do them no harm. Many are ignorant of things that others living in a larger world know to be facts; and, too often, those most ignorant in such matters are foremost in proclaiming that those things cannot possibly be.

It is so in respect to the attitude of many towards post-mortem appearances and all other phases of spiritual power and influence. When no personal experience of such things has been vouchsafed to them, thousands of Christian folk are ready to explain by any hypothesis, except the Bible's (the most sensible one), all the statements of those who have had the experience.

To such persons we say—Do you really wish to ascertain the truth about spiritual control? If so, get out of your mental groove; investigate existing facts; fling off the trammels of conventionality; open your mind to the in-letting of knowledge, however strange to you; recognise that there are many statements in Scripture that neither you, nor your particular Church, has as yet fully understood; and be not presumptuous enough to label as absurd and impossible that which the Christ and the Holy Book declare to be facts of human experience.

As illustrative of what I stated concerning some persons exhibiting powers of mind and resources of knowledge and speech surpassing their own, I will instance one case, out of several that have been within the limit of my own experience.

A few months ago, I was invited by intimate friends to meet at their house a young man, an acquaintance of theirs, who had recently manifested extraordinary powers that astonished himself, and upset the ideas of the members of the religious community to which he belonged. These good people (like the Pharisees in conflict with our Lord) did not hesitate to tell him that the cause of what he exhibited was Satanic— an explanation, by the way, that has been very often put forth to account for anything in any degree supernormal.

On the occasion to which I am referring, I conversed with this young man for some time on ordinary topics, and discovered that he was by no means a well-educated person. He dropped his aspirates, made grammatical blunders, and badly constructed his sentences. I mention this only because it has an important bearing upon what afterwards occurred.

After we had conversed awhile, he suddenly moved uneasily, and appeared to faint, and remained for about five minutes motionless, his eyes being closed.

My friends had previously seen him in this condition, and told me he was under control, and in a trance-state. I had seen persons entranced, and determined to carefully note whatever might happen.

At length, the young man slightly raised himself in the chair in which he was reclining, and, with his eyes still closed, commenced to speak in a language unknown to me, and in a tone of voice not at all resembling his own.

Among those present was a lady who had spent several years in India. She had never seen the young man before.

When he commenced speaking, she whispered to me that he was talking in Hindustanee—a tongue with which she was sufficiently acquainted to be able to recognise it.

I inquired of my friends if the young man himself knew that language. They said that in his normal state he had no knowledge of it (which seemed exceedingly probable); but that under control he spoke it fluently.

I asked who the control was, and they told me he was the spirit of a man who, in earth-life, had been a Hindoo of high caste and culture.

I asked how they knew that, and they stated the control himself had declared it.

I next asked my friends if questions put by me would be heard and answered. They replied that the young man was unconscious of all that took place while he was in the trance condition, but the control could hear, and on a previous occasion had answered questions through the vocal organs of the young man.

Now, I give, as accurately as I can remember, the conversation that then ensued. The answers were given in English, and the words were pronounced exactly as a foreigner would pronounce them. Now and again the speaker would pause for a moment, as if casting about for a word. Sometimes he failed to remember it, and when I gave it, thanked me, and continued.

Question:—You claim—do you not—to be a spiritual intelligence, speaking through the physical organs of Mr A?

Question:—Who are you?

Answer:—I am a man who lived in India, when in the earth-life, and spent a great portion of my time in studying the truths that relate to this World in which I now am.

Question:—Is Mr A conscious that you are speaking through him?

Answer:—No. The controlling power of his material body, which is his spirit-body, is in a state of unconsciousness, and I am exercising the control.

Question:—If you, as you say, are taking the place of the spirit of Mr A, in regard to his physical body, has his spirit left that body?


Question:—Where is it, or rather, where is he?

Answer:—In this room, in a state of unconsciousness.

Question:—But how can that be? Can a man's spirit leave his body before death?

Answer:—Most certainly it can, and does, at times. But you as a teacher of the Bible should know that truth.

Question:—Does the Bible then declare it?

Answer:—Most assuredly. Does not an apostle say that he was caught up into the third sphere of the Spiritual World; and yet his earthly body did not die until some years afterwards?

Question:—Yes, I am familiar with that statement; but St Paul himself did not seem to be quite sure whether he was in his outer body, or out of it.

Answer:—That is quite possible. Many persons, after passing through what you call 'dying,' having left the earthly body behind, do not, for a while, realise that it has been cast off. They are still, after the change, so really men and women. The apostle, when he had the experience mentioned was out of his earthly body, and the latter was in a state of trance.

Question:—When the spirit of a person is outside his body, is the connection between the spirit and the body maintained?

Answer:—Yes; were it not, the earthly body would die.

Question:—Would it under such circumstances be possible to break the connection between an external spirit and its earthly body?

Answer:—Yes. A sudden shock might bring it about. Hence to violently arouse a person in a state of trance (when very often the spirit is absent from the body) is very dangerous. It may break the connection, and then the body would die.

Question:—I have taught, and still teach, that the separation of the spirit and spirit-body from its earthly encasement takes place shortly after death. Am I right in this?

Answer:—No: you are wrong. The separation takes place immediately before the death of the body.

Question:—That rather astonishes me.

Answer:—I will explain. A little while before death, the spirit-body of a person releases itself from the physical form and floats at full length above the latter, with which it is still connected by something not unlike a fine cord. The physical body, as yet, is still alive, but it no longer contains the man. He is in the spirit-body, but unconscious. When that fine spiritual cord is snapped, the separation is effected, and the material life expires. You have the physical counterpart of this cord in the connection that exists between the mother and the babe at birth. The severance of a cord is the preliminary of the entrance of both the man and the babe into a higher plane of being.

Question:—May I ask you a few other questions?


Question:—What is your object in controlling the body of Mr A?

Answer:—To establish a communication through him with the world I have left.

Question:—For what end?

Answer:—To try and convince men of the fact of a World of Spirit.

Question:—But, surely, that fact is acknowledged, is it not? We Christians, for example, acknowledge it.

Answer:—Yes; in a way. Your Bible is full of testimony regarding it, and you profess to accept its teaching; but not one in every thousand who attend your churches grasps the truths concerning the Spiritual World that Scripture declares.

Question:—Is not that too sweeping an assertion?

Answer:—No; you well know that many who read their Bible school themselves to think that all the spiritual facts recorded therein actually did take place thousands of years ago; but ask them to believe that like things are happening now; what will they say? Will they not declare it to be incredible and absurd?

Question:—Are they wrong?

Answer:—Why ask such a question! Do you suppose that the Spiritual World is now different from what it was before, and at the time when Christ sojourned on your earth? Nearly all the phases of spiritual manifestation described in the Bible are present occurrences.

Question:—If that be so, how comes it that the truth is not better realised?

Answer:—Because the tendency of men's minds is too materialistic. When that is the case, a revelation of the Spiritual becomes more difficult.


Answer:—Because of the feebleness, through disuse, of internal faculties by which the Spiritual can be apprehended. You have the correspondence of this in the physical world. Were you never to use your eyes and your ears there would come a time when, although the organs might still remain, it would be exceedingly difficult to get those eyes and ears to perceive sights and sounds which exercised eyes and ears can perceive.

Question:—Do you imply that many Christians who believe in a World to come fail to perceive the whole truth concerning the Spiritual?

Answer:—Most certainly I do. If you doubt this, question them on the point. Will you find more than one in every hundred, or thousand, who has any idea of a Spiritual World, except as a far-off Heaven at a future time?

Question:—I am afraid your assertion is true.

Answer:—Yes; but there is now an ever-increasing number who are reading more intelligently their Bible, and perceiving great truths disclosed therein, which have been lost sight of during past centuries. A great wave of spiritual influence is passing over your world now, and breaking through the hard crust of materialistic thought and feeling. Some of your great thinkers and preachers are beginning to acknowledge the nearness of the Spiritual.

Question:—Is it granted to all who leave the earth-life to set up—as you claim to be doing—this phase of communication with the physical?

Answer:—No; many wish to do so, but are not permitted.

Question:—Why so?

Answer:—In the case of many spirits, the wish does not spring from a desire to benefit you on the earth plane, but from a mere longing for contact with the world they have left.

Question:—Is this longing wrong?

Answer:—It is harmful, unless dictated and sanctified by the promptings of love and unselfishness.

Question:—Explain, please; I do not fully understand you.

Answer:—If a spirit, not prompted by love and unselfishness, control a person, he harms both himself and the person he controls.

Question:—In what way does he harm himself?

Answer:—By retarding his progress in the Spiritual World. The desire to continue in close contact with the physical, for the sake of the contact itself, checks his advance on a higher plane of life and thought. In the case, however, of physical contact being desired only that love and unselfishness may find a field for exercise, the spirit is unharmed, nay, more, he is often advanced by the experience. Thus, the contact of Christ with the physical did not diminish aught from the moral and spiritual excellence of His being. His love and unselfishness grew grander thereby.

Question:—In what way does a spirit's control injure the person controlled when the spirit is actuated by nothing beyond the mere desire of physical contact?

Answer:—In the same way that the stronger mind of a teacher of low moral tone will injure the boy placed under his guidance. The spirits who control from no motive of love, but only to satisfy a longing for the physical, are low in the scale of moral being; as low, and often far lower, than those they control. No good can come from such.

Question:—But how comes it that this longing for the physical remains in anyone who has passed from this world into the Spiritual? Does not the change of the plane of existence obliterate it?

Answer:—No. There are numbers in the Spirit-World, who, when living in your world, never lifted their thoughts and desires above the material. In tastes and inclinations they were 'of the earth, earthy.' They entered Spirit-life in that state, and, untrained in the Spiritual, it is strange and distasteful to them. They carried their instincts with them and longed to be back in the physical.

Sometimes they are permitted to gratify their longing, and then there happens that which is recorded in your New Testament—evil spirits control the bodies and minds of men. Christ, when on earth, could see such spirits and they could see Him, and it was His mission to cast them out.

Question:—This, if true, is a terrible fact.

Answer:—Yes, and it explains a great deal of the awful crime that stains your earth. If you could see, as we on this side do, you would behold your gin-palaces and drinking saloons thronged with troops of spirits, who in earth-life had been drunkards, gamblers and fornicators. Earth-bound, and no longer able to satiate their still-existing desires, they seek a gratification in frequenting their old haunts, and inciting others to sin. Every unrepentant spirit let loose by the hangman is a menace to society. Have you never noticed that after an execution three or four murders follow in rapid succession? Can you not see the cause of this?

Question:—Do all these evil and earth-bound spirits, then, perpetually exercise this awful control?

Answer:—Yours would be a fearful world if they did. Few of them, comparatively, can exercise a physical control, and only that when the will of their victim is too weak to offer resistance. More commonly their control takes the form of suggestion to the mind. But, happily, behind all that lies the fact that evil is growing less in the universe of God. So many of you fail to realise that God is working for the triumph of good in the World of Spirit. In spite of your Bible, which tells you Christ preached His Gospel to spirits, that they might live unto God, you can only think of Him as exercising His saving power on the restricted field of earthly existence.

Question:—That is a beautiful thought, but not a new one to me. I have long since discarded the theology that denies the truth that God's 'mercy endureth for ever.' But I have other questions I should like to put. Will you tell me—is there not a great danger in regard to spirit-control?

Answer:—Most certainly. That is why, in olden times, all intercourse with 'familiar spirits' was forbidden to the Israelites. The spirits who were then controlling men were evil. They were the spirits of men who in earth-life had lived in the grossest vice and impurity. Nothing but evil could ensue from such control as that, and as the Israelites themselves, at that period of their history, were but little advanced in their knowledge of a Life Beyond (as seen in the earlier books of the Bible), they were forbidden an intercourse with spirits whose earthly surroundings had been of such a character as to make them spirits of low moral type. Probably you will have noted that the age in which intercourse with familiar spirits is so discountenanced yields a very great deal of testimony in regard to intercourse with spiritual beings of an exalted class. For instance, angel-visits were frequent, and a servant of God after death—the prophet Samuel—in spite of the existing prohibition, appeared to the woman of En-dor, and spoke to king Saul.

Later on, you find an apostle of Jesus Christ—who himself knew a great deal about the Spiritual World-showing that he was sensible of the danger underlying spirit-control, while acknowledging the possibilities of good in it. He wrote, 'Believe not every spirit; but test the spirits, if they are of God.'

Question:—Then persons who are under the control of low spirits may be deceived?

Answer:—Yes. When the prophets of old, to whom spiritual control was a common experience, threw themselves open to the control of ignorant and lying spirits, they became no longer prophets of God, but false prophets. What do you imagine the words mean— 'A lying spirit in the mouth of all His prophets'?

Question:—Do you assert that persons can be ignorant and untruthful in the Spiritual World? Does not their entrance into that World at once enlighten them and make lying an impossibility?

Answer:—Persons enter the Spiritual World with precisely the same character, enlightenment and disposition as that with which they leave your world, and go into a sphere for which they are fitted. And there they remain until, mentally, morally and spiritually advanced, they are fitted for a higher sphere. You in your world have persons of all sorts and classes. So have we in our World; persons depraved, ignorant, cruel; others, not so morally bad, but ignorant of God and truth; some, partially enlightened, but exhibiting good traits of character and desire; others, better, wiser, nobler, and so on, until a class of spiritual beings is reached, so exalted in knowledge and excellence that many of us have never, as yet, seen them.

Question:—Then I gather from your teaching that a person who has but just entered the Spiritual World may not be much better off than in this world?

Answer:—As regards his character, on entering our World he is exactly what he was on leaving yours; good or bad; godly or ungodly; ignorant or enlightened; or in any condition that lies between these extremes What you call the 'act of dying' does not alter the character of a person; he that is unjust will be unjust still; he that is filthy will be filthy still; he that is righteous will be righteous still; and he that is holy will be holy still. As regards, however, his surroundings, he is better off with us than with you. Every sphere of spiritual life, even the lowest, is interpenetrated by influences and ministries of good flowing into it from higher spheres. Consequently, from the lower spheres there is a constant emigration of spirits who are responsive to the good, and these pass to higher planes of life and thought.

Question:—But this fact is not grasped by great numbers of Christians; how is that?

Answer:—Because so many of your teachers are purblind; they read the Bible, and fail to see the truths it proclaims. What, for example, could more plainly assert the truth of spirits progressing, than the statement of an apostle, that Christ in our world preached to, and reclaimed, a great number of spirits who in earth-life had been godless and debased? The fact is, the importation of Western ideas into Christianity has acted banefully upon the latter. Old Roman conceptions have made your theology hard, cruel and loveless; God is viewed as an Almighty Magistrate, instead of a Father, and punishment as vindictive, instead of remedial.

Question:—Are all in your World readily responsive to the leadings and impulses of good?

Answer:—No, any more than persons in your world are. Some have shaped such characters while in the earth-life that for long after they come to us they remain insensible to good, and only along the highway of bitter experience can they rise to the better. Some, on the other hand, have developed such noble characters on earth as to start in Spirit-life in a high sphere, and these pass easily onward.

Question:—Do you assert that all will ultimately yield to good?

Answer:—We in this life do not possess foreknowledge any more than you do; but we know that God is supreme, and the ever - widening stream of tendency is towards Him. But why ask me about this matter? You, as a clergyman, believe the Bible, do you not? Consult that Book. Does it not tell you that God will one day be 'all in all'; that every will in His universe is ultimately to bow to Him; and that His Christ will not rest so long as one lost sheep has not been found?

Question:— Yes, that is so; but hundreds of thousands believe in an everlasting Hell. Must there not be a basis for that idea?

Answer:—Undoubtedly. That terrible libel on the power and goodness of God is built up on two words in your Bible wrongly translated.

Question:—Which words?

Answer:—You know them; I have heard you speak about the mistranslation.

(The words referred to are these—'These shall go away into everlasting punishment' (Matt. xxv. 46 v.). Every scholar knows that the Greek of this passage is— aionios_kolasin-shorter = into an age-long pruning. 'Pruning' is a discipline with a view to improvement.)

Question:—Many of the things you have told me appear like familiar truths, and yet I cannot tell when, or where, I learned them. Is this not strange?

Answer:—No; you have been taught them.

Question:—By whom?

Answer:—By several in our World who are guiding you.

Question:—But I am not controlled?

Answer:—Not physically, but you are mentally. They impress your mind with a thought, and you clothe it with language and ideas.

Question:—Is this possible?

Answer:—Read your Bible for the answer. Inspiration (or as it should be more correctly termed, 'spiritual suggestion') is a fact.

Question:—Are men, then, still being guided in this way?

Answer:—Yes; many are. Have I not told you that a great wave of spiritual energy is now passing from our World to yours?

Question:—May we hope, then, that men, as times goes on, will better understand the truth concerning the Spiritual than they have hitherto done?

Answer:—Most assuredly. Have you not, yourself, received the testimony of hundreds that they are craving for clearer light than the schoolmen give? That craving is the forerunner of enlightenment.

Question:—Will the Bible be superseded?

Answer:—No; but it will be better understood.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

At this point of the conversation, I put a question (I cannot remember what it was) which drew forth a reply marvellous for the depth of thought and beauty of expression contained therein. The reply was concerning God, and the fact that character finds its highest development when Self-hood is absorbed in love and concern for others. It was a long statement, and took, at least, fifteen minutes to deliver.

I could not reproduce it if I tried. I candidly admit that I have not the ability to do so.

I have listened to the sermons of many noted preachers, but no one of them has equalled, in sublimity of idea and charm of diction, this sermon.

When it was finished, the young man fell gently backward in the chair in which all this time he had been sitting, and, except for a few convulsive twitches of his body, remained for three minutes motionless. Then he opened his eyes, seemed dazed, as if awakening from sleep, recovered himself, and asked for water.

Later in the evening, I engaged him in conversation; but the contrast was marked—only the mind of the ordinary young man expressed itself.

In connection with this incident, there are two facts I wish to mention. One is that, during the whole of the conversation and oration, I carefully watched to see if the young man would betray himself were he playing an assumed part. As I have stated, the conversation, on his side, was conducted in English, but with a very pronounced foreign accent.

Admitting the possibility that he might be an impostor, would he momentarily forget that he had to be a Hindoo, and, perchance, drop the accent?

Not once did he do so. Surely a difficult feat for an impostor—who was not a clever person—under the prolonged strain of a conversation such as I have outlined!

The other fact is this. Those present on the occasion were convinced that the young man, of himself, neither possessed the intellectual talents to conceive, nor the educational advantages to express, the thoughts embodied in his address.

I leave the reader to explain this incident by whatever hypothesis he may please.

That of control by some intelligence superior to the medium's own seems to me the most reasonable one.

Let us now look at the Bible's testimony concerning the fact of spirit-control.

In the Old Testament, the existence of spiritual beings, as exercising an injurious influence and control upon men and women, is distinctly declared. The term 'familiar spirits' is a suggestive one, and denotes that there actually existed an intimacy between mankind and beings on the spiritual plane of life.

A few passages will be sufficient to substantiate this statement.

'Regard not them that have familiar spirits' (Lev. xix. 31 v.).

'The soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits ... I will even set my face against that soul' (Lev. xx. 6 v.).

'A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit . . . shall surely be put to death' (Lev. xx. 27 v.).

'There shall not be found among you ... a consulter with familiar spirits' (Deut. xviii. 10 and 11 v.).

'Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits' (1 Sam. xxviii. 3 v.).

Manasseh 'dealt with familiar spirits' (2 Kings xxi. 6 v.).

'The workers with familiar spirits . . . did Josiah put away' (2 Kings xxiii. 24 v.).

It is noteworthy, also, that the prophets, whose grasp of truth was so much greater than that of either priests or people, acknowledged the existence of these controlling spirits.

Thus, Isaiah writes, 'The spirit of Egypt shall fail . . . and they shall seek to them that have familiar spirits' (Isa. xix. 3 v.).

'Thy voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar spirit' (Isa. xxix. 4 v.).

It is not difficult to see why, under the Mosaic Dispensation, all intercourse with these spirits was rigidly forbidden.

The Israelites, although chosen by God to play an important part in the world in making known Divine truth, had, nevertheless, an ineradicable tendency towards heathen ideas and practices, in consequence, probably, of that nation's long sojourn in Egypt. These spirits, with whom association was possible, were debased spirits.

They were, I think, the spirits of men who, in earth-life, had been steeped in all the abominations of heathendom. Passing out of this life—many of them violently hurled out of it by the Israelites themselves— they found themselves in the spirit-life possessed of their old evil instincts and passions, and with a feeling of revenge, that took the form of making them wish to drag down their enemies to their own level of thought and experience. Intercourse with them, in such a case, could only result in mental and moral degradation.

The reader may ask—'Is it possible that feelings of revenge can actuate persons who have passed into the World of Spiritual reality? Are not such feelings dropped at the grave? Alas! no. A solemn and suggestive statement has been made by an inspired Apostle on this point. St John clairvoyantly saw 'under the altar' (a Hebrew term for ' Paradise') the souls of them that were slain for their allegiance to truth. 'And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?' (Rev. vi. 10 v.).

It seems to me particularly significant that 'white robes' (emblematic of Christ-like character) were given unto everyone of them; and that the possibility of their advancing to a nobler and grander tone of thought, is implied in the command that 'they should rest yet for a little season.'

We turn, now, to the New Testament for testimony as to spirits possessing a power to control mankind. Its testimony is far and away more emphatic than that of the Old Testament. Under the very eyes of Christ Himself, spirits exercised a baneful control, not only over the minds of men and women, but also over their bodies.

I submit a very important question (touching the very vitals of Christian faith, viz., the reliability of Christ as a Teacher of truth) to those who deny the fact of spirit-control. He, in His speech and action, treated the subject of spirit-control as if it were a fact. If it were not a fact, how do you reconcile with the belief that He was a Divine Teacher those words and actions of Him? Are you prepared to say that He was merely adapting Himself to a popular and erroneous idea? If so, had you not better re-cast your conceptions of Him and His teaching? For my own part, I prefer to believe that Christ would never have countenanced a prevalent idea unless it had been true.

The following are some of the statements of the New Testament.

Christ met two persons possessed with a number of evil spirits, who spoke to Him through the vocal organs of the men, and showed their debased, earth-bound condition by asking to go away into a herd of swine (Matt. viii. 28-32 v.).

In the synagogue, an unclean spirit cried out through the man he was controlling, 'Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?' 'And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him' (Mark i. 23-26 v.).

'He (Jesus) cast out many devils' 1-spirit-beings.gif, i.e., spiritual beings, not necessarily evil, but so in this case), 'and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew Him' (Mark i. 34 v.). 'Unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God' (Mark iii. ii v.).

Upon descending from the scene of Transfiguration, Christ saw a poor lad under the physical control of a malicious spirit that tare him, and made him fall on the ground and wallow foaming. Christ bade this spirit come out of him and enter no more into him. The control is described as a 'dumb and deaf spirit,' showing that he only exercised a partial control; he could not use the physical vocal organs and ears of his victim, as many other controls could (Mark ix. 25 v.).

'In that same hour, He (Jesus) cured many of their infirmities and plagues and of evil spirits' (Luke vii. 21 v.).

'Certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits . . . Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils' spirit-beings (Luke viii. 2 v.).

'He cast out the spirits with his word' (Matt, viii. 16 v.).

'Devils spirit-beings also came out of many, crying out and saying; Thou art Christ, the Son of God' (Luke iv. 41 v.).

If you accept as truthful these statements of men, who were hearers and eye-witnesses of what Christ said and did, can you put any interpretation upon these passages other than that of actual spirit-control?

Is it conceivable that Christ could have acted and spoken as if spirits were present if they had not been there? Surely such conduct would have been a solemn farce! Nor is this all. He committed to His disciples a 'power against unclean spirits, to cast them out,' and they exerted that power and 'returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils spirit-beings are subject unto us through Thy name.' Were He and they victims of a fevered imagination?

Again, the Pharisees most illogically charged Him with casting out devils 'by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.' How did He meet their charge? By acknowledging that He did what they alleged, but 'by the Spirit of God.' He showed the terrible possibility of an ejected unclean spirit returning to a man and finding its house empty of God, swept of goodness and garnished for an influx of evil. 'Then (said Christ) goeth he and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in (i.e., the man) and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first' (Matt, xii. 43-45 v.).

All this goes to show that our Lord had knowledge of, and admitted, the fact of spirit-control.

Lastly, there are two instances of spirit-control recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

A certain damsel—a money-making medium under control—followed Paul and others, crying, 'These men are servants of the most high God.' St Paul (clairvoyant like his Master and the Seers) was grieved, not because the girl acknowledged a truth, but because he could see that she was under an undesirable physical control. He 'turned and said to the spirit—I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her. And he came out the same hour' (Acts xvi. 16-18 v.).

Certain exorcists took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, and an evil spirit in a man present so physically controlled the man that he leaped upon and overcame the exorcists, causing them to flee naked and wounded (Acts xix. 13-16 v.).

The whole of the Bible's testimony on this point is, I contend, false, misleading and highly absurd if spirit-control be not a fact.

Those who know (and there are many who do know) that spirit-control is no less an experience of mankind now than it was of old, have no need to cast about them for ingenious hypotheses to explain away the statements of Scripture.

(E). The greater number of spiritual manifestations recorded in Scripture took place amid the ordinary surroundings of earthly life.

We consider this a very important point in its bearing upon the subject of the commingling of the Spiritual and the physical. And for this reason. Did the Bible show that mankind has had no experiences of the Spiritual, except under extraordinary conditions, whereby ordinary earthly surroundings and concerns were lost sight of for the time being, and the mind and feelings were worked up to a state of nervous excitation, then there would, in that case, be grounds for questioning—(a) whether the experiences were anything more than subjective, i.e., mental impressions induced by an over-wrought imagination; or (b) whether, granting the manifestations to be objective, there was proved anything more than the existence of a Spiritual World somewhere or another outside the limits of the physical. I do not think experiences of the kind just mentioned necessarily indicate the penetration of the Spiritual into the physical. Take the experience of St Paul who entered the third sphere of Paradise before his body died, and that of St Stephen who, at the time of his martrydom, saw Christ. These unique experiences demonstrate the possibility of a man's spirit projecting itself into a World that is not physical; but no more. They show that spirit and spirit may come into contact, but they do not show that spirit (other than that within the man himself) is living and energising in the very midst of physical environment.

Were all spiritual experiences of precisely the same character as those two of St Paul and St Stephen, we should be compelled to admit that, possibly, the Spiritual and the physical are detached and widely-separated planes of life and do not overlap.

But the case is otherwise. The Bible shows that numbers of men and women perceived the Spiritual, not on account of their interior spirit-part going out (as it were) to a World external to the physical, but because that World was close beside them. It was a part of their environment.

One has only to examine the Bible narratives to see that, in most instances, no efforts were made by the persons to put themselves en rapport with the super-physical. No monastic cells, nor hermit's caves were sought after (as in later ages), in order that all earthly thoughts, concerns and occupations might be laid aside, and a mental and religious atmosphere, supposed to be congenial to the Spiritual, created. No, these spiritual manifestations came when they were not expected, in a way that suggests nothing unnatural. They approached and mingled themselves with the commonplace objects of mundane surroundings.

The sacred writers, too, recount what happened, not as if an astonishingly startling event had taken place— as modern writers tell a ghost-story—-but in a matter-of-fact and unsensational manner, as men would do who know that the Spiritual, although super-physical, is not supernatural.

Thus we gather that spirit can live and move, not only within our own bodies, but also in the midst of, and in close association with, a world of matter; and hence we conclude that two worlds commingle.

I turn to the Bible for the sanction of these statements.

Abraham was resting himself, in the heat of the day at his tent door, when three spiritual beings stood by him.

Lot was sitting, as the day was waning, at the gate of Sodom, when the two angels approached, who, declining his offer of shelter, told him they would abide in the street all night.

Jacob was on a journey, engrossed with the bustle consequent upon the departure of himself, his servants and belongings from Laban, when the angels of God met him on the road.

Moses was in a wilderness, tending sheep, when a double spiritual manifestation was vouchsafed to him. He saw an angel and a super-physical fire in the midst of a bush.

Baalam was riding along a highway, expecting no spiritual intervention, when an angel stood in a pathway between two walls in order to bar his progress.

Joshua was making a military survey in the neighbourhood of Jericho, when 'the Captain of the Lord's host' stood over against him.

Gideon was threshing wheat when an angel sat under an oak and spoke to him.

Elijah was sleeping under a juniper tree when an angel touched, aroused and spoke to him.

Elisha and his young man were out of doors, conversing about a threatened danger to the prophet, when a neighbouring mountain became the scene of a spiritual manifestation.

Belshazzar was feasting, drinking and rioting in his banqueting hall, when a spiritual being partly materialised, and wrote on the plaister of the wall.

Zacharias was performing his ordinary duty when an angel stood on the right side of the altar of incense.

A peasant Woman was in her home at Nazareth when the same angel entered the dwelling and saluted her as the future mother of the Saviour.

Shepherds at night-time were sleepily and tediously watching their flocks when an angel stood in their midst.

Sorrowing women visited Christ's sepulchre to perform a gentle office, and saw two spirits standing in the place. ('Two men in shining garments.')

On a mountain-top (Olivet), the same two spirits, probably, ('two men in white apparel') stood and addressed the wondering disciples.

In an upper room at Jerusalem tongues of spiritual fire sat upon physical heads.

While St Peter was sleeping in a prison, an angel came there and touched, aroused and spoke to him.

Away on the open sea, an angel stood on board ship and imparted a message to St Paul.

These are but some of many such statements, and if we accept them as records of truth, I submit that we have no alternative but to believe that the great World of Spirit extends everywhere, and that its life, power and intelligence interpenetrate the physical, and are moving and energising even amid the ordinary surroundings of earthly existence.

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Other Books by Rev. Chambers:

"Thoughts of the Spiritual" (1905 American Edition)
"Problems of the Spiritual" (1907 UK Edition)

Rev. Arthur Chambers Returns From "Death" To Speak Through The Zodiac Circle
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