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Man and the Spiritual World

The Source to which We may look for a True Answer to the Question.

In the foregoing pages we have seen that mankind has answered the question we are considering very differently and oppositely.

This fact will affect an inquirer into the subject in one of two ways. Either it will lead him to the conclusion that these conflicting opinions constitute the proof that no reliable information concerning the Spiritual is obtainable—at all events so long as we remain in this world; or it will cause him to ask if there be no authoritative source to which he may turn for enlightenment and assurance in his perplexity. Should he be affected in the way as first indicated, most probably he will dismiss the subject from his mind. He will view it as outside the radius of practical thought. To him it will seem a waste of time and energy to attempt to fathom a mystery that has already baffled so many. Not even the death of a dear one will galvanise him into mental activity sufficient to make the effort. And so he will quietly and lazily acquiesce in the commonplace conclusion that nothing definite can be known of the Hereafter on this side of the grave.

Many assume this tone, and among them not a few of the teachers of religion. These latter do not hesitate to plainly tell their hearers and readers that they must not expect to know any more about an Intermediate Life than the simple fact that it exists.

Is it any wonder that the sermons and books of these apostles of vagueness have little or no influence in making men realise 'the powers of the world to come' (Heb. vi. 5 v.)?

How can the thoughts of one be attracted to that which is presented as little better than an abstraction?

Depend upon it, the thousands who are altogether uninterested as to their future, would not be so if the clergy and ministers of Christ's Good Tidings could themselves believe and teach that a knowledge of facts pertaining to the Spiritual is not unattainable.

Further, we are convinced that this disposition to rest contented with vagueness is an unworthy and an unscientific one. He is not considered a wise man who refuses to persevere in his search for truth because others have wholly, or partially, failed to understand it.

Astronomical science would never have revealed the marvels of the heavens to men, had astronomers abandoned their search for truth on account of the erroneous ideas of the planetary system that found acceptance in the past.

However great may have been the diversity of ideas, however little the actual knowledge gained by men in this or in preceding centuries, as regards the Universe of Spirit, it does not justify us in assigning the subject to the region of the 'unknowable' and impracticable. Rather should we see in those manifold conjectures and partial knowledge a finger-post pointing in quite another direction—viz., towards the likelihood of fuller information.

All through the ages man has been persistently-struggling to 'pierce the veil.' Would not his efforts have long since been discontinued if God had intended that, on this side, the ' veil' should never be pierced?

Then again, many of us think it is not unlikely that men living in this and succeeding ages will understand the facts of the Spiritual Universe far better than the men who lived in past centuries have done. Such a statement, I know, sounds dreadfully ' unorthodox' to those who think that the Fathers and divines of certain ' favoured' epochs reached a height of religious knowledge beyond which it is impossible to advance. But what more reasonable than that there should be growth and development in man's thoughts and perceptions of the Spiritual, as there undoubtedly has been in all other departments of mental activity!

Seeing that man has advanced by leaps and bounds in other kinds of knowledge during the last three centuries, is it to be supposed that he must come to a standstill in his religious knowledge, at a point reached by the Fathers?

The Saviour once said, 'He shall teach you all things' (John xiv. 26 v.), and these words may mean very much more than is imagined by those who think that truth has been stereotyped for all ages by saints of long ago. Christ's promise may be in course of fulfilment still. God may teach men spiritual truth as He has taught them every other kind of truth— gradually and slowly.

The Christian Church has a text-book which will not be superseded nor altered; but it is quite possible that it will be better understood than it has been. A brighter light of meaning may gleam upon its precious words; men may lay aside the spectacles of other men with which alone they have been accustomed to read it; and the thinkers of a later age may perceive in its sacred pages grand truths but imperfectly perceived by the theologians of the past. Churchmen of the future may be able to do what the astronomers of today can do—to read in the book of the sky much that an earlier age had failed to read.

We mentioned a class of persons who are led by the diversity of opinion that exists on the subject of a Spiritual World to seek an authoritative source to which with confidence they may turn for enlightenment. Does that source exist? Have we anything in the shape of reliable testimony to which we may appeal, so as to be able to sift out and systematise the truth from amid these guesses and conjectures of men?

Yes. Man has not been left unpitied and unaided in his efforts to discover the secrets of his being. In addition to a mass of evidence establishing the fact of a Spiritual Universe, collected in every age and from every quarter of the world, he has been granted another and a special revelation. During the centuries God has been slowly but surely disclosing the mystery of the Super-physical. Before Christ, this revelation was but partial; it disclosed much to man, but left much still undisclosed.

When Christ came the revelation grew brighter and fuller. And this revelation is contained in the Bible. There, if we but read honestly and intelligently, may be found the true, and, at the same time, the definite answer to our question —'What will become of us when we die?'

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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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