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The Reverend Arthur Chambers Talks To A "Dead" Man

The Rev. Arthur Chambers - Vicar of Brockenhurst and Associate of King's College, London

The following is a conversation recorded by the Rev. Arthur Chambers (Vicar of Brockenhurst) and Associate of King's College, London. This conversation is taken from the Rev. Chamber's book: "Man and the Spiritual World", and it took place in the 1900's. His conversation was with the spirit of a man who had lived on the earth many years before. The spiritual entity spoke perfect Hindustani and English (with a Hindustani accent).

This spiritual entity had not known in the earth life what he now knew about Christ, having learnt it in the World of Spirit. The apparent strangeness of the event does not negate the fact of its existence.

Questions were put by the Rev. Chambers and answered by the spiritual intelligence. The medium is a trance medium, a young man who, the Rev. Chambers after careful and thorough investigation assures us, could neither speak Hindustani or English with the diction or vocabulary which occurred during the conversation with the entity. This conversation is not an isolated incident but one of many:

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

A: "Yes."

Q: "Who are you?"

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

Q: "Is Mr A conscious that you are speaking through him?"

A: "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."

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

A: "Yes."

Q: "Where is it, or rather, where is he?"

A: "In this room, in a state of unconsciousness."

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

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

Q: "Does the Bible then declare it?"

A: "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?"

Q: "Yes, I am familiar with that statement; but St. Paul himself did not seem quite certain whether he was in his outer body or out of it."

A: "That is quite possible. Many persons, after passing through what you call 'dying', having left the earthly body behind, do not, for a while, realize 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."

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

A: "Yes: were it not, the earthly body would die."

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

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

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

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

Q: "That rather astonishes me."

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

Q: "May I ask you a few other questions?"

A: "Certainly."

Q: "What is your object in controlling the body of Mr A?"

A: "To establish a communication through him with the world I have left."

Q: "For what end?"

A: "To try to convince men of the fact of the World of Spirit."

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

A: "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 grasp the truths concerning the Spiritual World that Scripture declares."

Q: "Is not that too sweeping an assertion?"

A: "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?"

Q: "Are they wrong?"

A: "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 physical manifestation described in the Bible are present occurrences."

Q: "If that be so, how comes it that the truth is not better realized?"

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

Q: "Why?"

A: "Because of the feebleness, through disuse, of internal faculties by which the Spiritual can be apprehended. You have the correspondence of this in your 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."

Q: "Do you imply that many Christians who believe in a World to come fail to perceive the whole truth about the Spiritual?"

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

Q: "I am afraid your assertion is true."

A: "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."

Q: "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?"

A: "No; many wish to do so but are not permitted."

Q: "Why so?"

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

Q: "Is this longing wrong?"

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

Q: "Explain, please; I do not fully understand you."

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

Q: "In what way does he harm himself?"

A: 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."

Q: "In what way does the spirit's control injure the person controlled when the spirit is actuated by the mere desire for physical contact?"

A: "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."

Q: "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?"

A: "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 long 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."

Q: "This, if true, is a terrible fact."

A: "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. Earthbound, 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 ever noticed that after an execution three or four murders follow in rapid succession? Can you not see the cause of this?"

Q: "Do all these evil and earthbound spirits, then, perpetually exercise this awful control?"

A: "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 often 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 realize that God is working for the triumph of good in the World of Spirit. In spite of your Bible, which tells you that 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."

Q: "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 forever'. 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?"

A: "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 control such as that, and as the Israelites themselves, at that period of their history, were but little advanced in their knowledge of a Life Beyond, they were forbidden 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 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 Endor, 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'."

Q: "Then persons who are under the control of low spirits can be deceived?"

A: "Yes. When the prophets of old, to whom spirit-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?"

Q: "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?"

A: "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."

Q: "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?"

A: "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 the 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."

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

A: "Because so many of your teachers are purblind; they read the Bible, and fail to see the truth it proclaims. What, for example, could more plainly assert the truth of spirits progressing, than the statement of the 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."

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

A: "No, not 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."

Q: "Do you assert that all will ultimately yield to good?"

A: "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 is towards Him. But why ask me about this matter? You, a clergyman, believe the Bible, do you not? Consult that Book. Does it not tell you that one day God will be 'all in all'; that every will in the universe is ultimately to bow to Him; and that His Christ will not rest so long as one lost sheep has not been found?"

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

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

Q: "Which words?"

A: "You know them; I have heard you speak about their mistranslation." (The two words referred to are these: 'these shall go away into everlasting punishment" Matt.25:46. This passage should be translated: 'age-long pruning', meaning a remedial pruning of spiritual ills after death. A.C.).

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

A: "No; you have been taught them."

Q: "By whom?"

A: "By several in our World who are guiding you."

Q: "But I am not controlled?"

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

Q: "Is this possible?"

A: "Read your Bible for the answer. Inspiration, or as it should be more correctly termed - spiritual suggestion - is a fact."

Q: "Are men, then, still being guided in this way?"

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

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

A: "Most assuredly. Have you now, yourself, received the testimony of hundreds that are craving for clearer light than the schoolmen give? That craving is the forerunner of enlightenment."

Q: "Will the Bible be superseded?"

A: "No; but it will be better understood."

At this point in the conversation, the Rev. Chambers received, in answer to a question, a reply with so much depth of thought and beauty of expression in its spiritual content, that it lasted for at least fifteen minutes. The good Rev. Chambers leaves the reader to make what he will of the conversation that he had at that time with that particular spiritual intelligence.

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

"Our Life After Death" (Appendix on Universal Salvation)

"Man and the Spiritual World"

"Thoughts of the Spiritual"

"Problems of the Spiritual"

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