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Man and the Spiritual World

The testimony of the Bible as to the correspondence between the life here and the experience hereafter.

We have had occasion already to refer to two persons—Samuel and Moses—who are introduced by the Bible as manifesting themselves after having passed through the experience of dying. Do we find anything in the little that is told us about them to confirm us in the view we have stated? We think we do.

There can be traced a distinct correspondence between the several experiences of those men before and after death. Their thoughts and ideas are seen to have been complexioned by the thoughts and ideas predominant in the earth-life. Take the case of Samuel, who addressed Israel's unhappy king in the cave of the woman of En-dor. His words are recorded in 1 Sam. xxviii. 16-19 v. Compare that after-death address with words spoken by him years before he had left this world (see 1 Sam. xv. 26-28 v.). The likeness is striking. They show that the mind that expressed itself from Spirit-life had received its ideas and impressions from its experiences on earth, and was retaining them.

Take the other case—that of Moses on the mountain of Transfiguration. Exactly the same correspondence between the mental experiences of earth-life and those of Spirit-life is shown. His mind was still in the old groove. As the arranger of the Levitical system, his thoughts had been concentrated upon the fact of sacrificial death; and after his departure from this world, his ideas had not lost their bent and inclination.

How very suggestive is the statement of the Evangelist that it was not Christ, with Whom Moses was in converse on that mount, Who introduced the subject of the crucifixion, but they (Moses and Elias), 'who spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem' (Luke ix. 31 v.).

Look now at some of the words of our Lord that unquestionably teach that men's life and character on earth will complexion their experiences Beyond. He declared that some should go into an 'outer darkness.' He was speaking of 'the children of the Kingdom,' and not of irreligious, profane or scandalously wicked persons. It is clear to whom, in particular, He was referring. He was forecasting not the future experience of the whole Jewish nation—'the children of the Kingdom'—but that of a certain section of men who viewed themselves as the aristocracy of that Kingdom. His warning was pointed at the orthodox Pharisees—the men so religiously correct; the 'High Church' party of the day.

But what was there in the character of those men so radically wrong as to make the ' outer darkness' the hereafter correspondence of it?

Christ's scathing words of denunciation disclose it.

Saturated with the thought that it was impossible for their Church to err, or to advance in Divine Knowledge, and bound hand and foot in the grave-clothes of a dead traditionalism that made 'the Word of God of none effect,' they wilfully blinded themselves to truth and goodness.

Nothing more clearly reveals the mental and spiritual condition of the Pharisees than the fact of their ascribing Christ's magnificent deeds of love and healing to a Satanic cause. Our Lord, borrowing the words of Isaiah, said of them, 'Their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand' (Matt. xiii. 15 v.). Now, note how this wilful refusal to acknowledge truth and goodness was to complexion their experience in the World Beyond. Their connection with the Church, and their acceptance of orthodox traditions, would not save them from reaping as they had sown. They were to go into the 'outer darkness.' For a time, at least, the light they had despised would be withdrawn from them; an atrophied faculty in them would render them unable to perceive it. The law of consequences would operate.

There are a number of statements of our Lord (far too many to adduce here) that all point to the same conclusion—viz., that there is an inviolable law of God, which will never be suspended either for Christian or unbeliever. And that law is that, whatever we do, whatever disposition we cultivate, and whatever character we form, while here on earth, all must colour our experiences on the other side of the veil. Thus, on His showing, even a cup of cold water, given in the spirit of love, shall bring its reward. The doer of that act of love, in the hereafter, will find himself a rung nearer the goal of perfection than he would have been had he not done it, Thus, on the other hand, on the showing of Christ, the Christian who has obtained the pardon of God, and afterwards refuses to forgive a fellow-creature, will, in the hereafter, in spite of his creed and Church privileges, find God's pardon withdrawn, until the spirit of forgiveness shall have been moulded in him.

'Oh, thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity of thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the gaolers, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you (He was speaking to the Apostles), if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses' (Matt, xviii. 32-35 v.).
When we turn to the utterances of the Apostles, and the New Testament writers who were in close contact with them, we find them asserting the same great principle with which we are dealing. For example, the correspondence between the character of Judas, the thief, and betrayer of his Master, and his after-death experience is recognised. The Apostles mention him in a prayer, not as being in Hell (as almost every theological writer has declared), but as having gone 'to his own place' (Acts i. 25 v.).

The phrase is suggestive. It seems to imply that the traitor's experience in Spirit-life was not the conventional stereotyped one, in which all moral distinctions of evil are obliterated, and 'all sorts and conditions' of departed wicked men are viewed as being herded together until the Judgment and afterwards; but an experience answering to the character the man had developed. Again, out of many statements of St Paul, take two. In one, he declares that God ' will render to every man according to his deeds; to them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that do not obey the truth, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; ... for there is no respect of persons with God' (Rom. ii. 6-11 v.).

(a) In the other statement, St Paul declares, 'Every man shall bear his own burden. ... Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap' (Gal. vi. 5 and 7 v.). Now, we contend that these passages emphatically teach the following:—

(b) That there is a great moral law of God, which entails that character and life here will complexion experience hereafter.

(c) That this law is a universal and unalterable one, and will operate in regard to every man, whether he die as a Christian or not.

(d) That the doctrine that teaches that the consequences of a misspent life and neglected character and spiritual nature can be wholly escaped by a final, or long-delayed, act of faith and repentance, is an untrue one, and is based upon an incorrect notion of Salvation.

That the apostle's words—'He himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire' (1 Cor. iii. 15 v.)—imply, that for many Christians there will be, in the Life Beyond, a painful saving out of the moral and spiritual experiences that are the correspondences, the harvest, of a wrong sowing in the earth-life. And the theology that denies that there will be this correspondence (as it has done in the case of believers) between reaping and sowing, has practically made this particular truth of the Word of God of none effect by its traditions.

One other statement of Scripture we must notice. During his exile on Patmos, St John was en rapport with the Spiritual World, and a being, whom the apostle mistook for an angel, but who declared himself to be a 'fellow-servant' and of his 'brethren,' manifested himself after death, and bore witness to the truth that life hereafter is complexioned by, and corresponds to, the life on earth. These were his words, spoken, be it remembered, from Spirit-life itself. 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still' (Rev. xxii. 11 v.).

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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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