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Problems of the Spiritual


VIII. Will the fact that beings in Spirit-life are on different planes of life and experience, be an obstacle to re-union hereafter?

This is a question which has exercised the mind of very many earnest thinkers, and one which has again and again been submitted by correspondents. It is a question which does not, of course, present itself to those Christians who accept the old "orthodox" view, that for believers a moral and spiritual transformation is wrought by Death, and that for non-believers no salvation after death is to be expected.

Those persons, as far as they are consistent with their creed, entertain no hope of the re-union of themselves and those who have died as unbelievers. The theology they endorse teaches that a great gulf yawns between the saved and the unsaved, which will never be bridged. Re-union, in that case, is out of the question. Fortunately, the greater number who profess to accept this old notion, save themselves from the mad-house, either by not allowing themselves to think about it, or by secretly hoping it may not be true. To such straits does a narrow theology reduce them. Those persons also, who believe in the power of Death to morally and spiritually transform, see no difficulty in regard to the re-union of souls. They suppose that all who depart this life in the Christian faith, whatever may be the point of development reached by them, are at death ushered into a condition of instantly-acquired excellence. Seizing the words of St. Paul and applying them indiscriminately to all believers, they imagine that every Christian, developed or undeveloped, will leave this world to be at once with Christ. Such an idea, of course, implies for all Christians on the Other Side, not different planes, but a uniform plane, of life and experience. If it be true that at dying all believers go immediately to be with the Saviour, then all such are in one sphere and on one plane of experience, and re-union becomes a foregone conclusion.

But our advance in the knowledge of spiritual matters has caused many to perceive that both these ideas referred to are un-scriptural and wrong. The great principle under which God is seen in everything to be working in the raising of beings and things from the lower to the higher, is that which shows that development and perfection is never reached but by slow and gradual means.

"First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear," said Jesus; and He was proclaiming the law which obtains no less in the Spiritual than in the Physical. Our recognition of this universal principle of being, our better understanding of the statements of the Bible, and our knowledge of the fact that very few depart this life in a moral and spiritual condition such as to equip them for adjustment to highest spiritual life—all this impels one to the conclusion that there are, and must be, in the Life Beyond different planes of experience; and that the sphere into which a soul will pass at death will be determined by the degree of development reached at that time. Like Judas, every one will "go to his own place."

The one who has by faith connected himself with Christ, but in whom as yet the Christ-graces have not blossomed, will not, at dying, secure an entrance into that Christ-sphere of spirit-life, into which the Apostle so confidently expected to be admitted on leaving this world. The connection of that undeveloped one with the Saviour will have placed him in a "state of salvation," and will have disposed him aright for ascension to sphere after sphere of higher attainment; but no more. The higher and the highest spheres of Spiritual life will not be reached until he shall have become spiritually adjusted to them. The spheres of the Other World are conditions rather than localities; they are constituted by what we are rather than by where we may be. "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you," said Jesus.

The narrow-minded, selfish, bad-tempered, ill-mannered and unloving Christians will not, as soon as they go hence, find themselves in the same sphere as that of the Christ and St. Paul. Many a selfish one, who has reckoned on his "orthodoxy" to insure him against judgment hereafter, may find himself after death in experiences akin to those of Dives.

Now, it is the realization of all this which has caused the Questioner to ask—Will not these different planes of life and experience present an obstacle to re-union? We think not; and proceed to give our reasons for holding that view.

First. If the spheres or planes of the Other World be, as we have stated, conditions rather than localities, there can be no difficulty in believing that the Departed in different spheres come into relationship with one another. To believe otherwise would be to commit ourselves to a thought which is unreasonable, and at variance with what we know. There is intercourse between the spheres in regard to this world. Men and women on earth are on all sorts of different planes of life and thought. That fact constitutes no barrier to their coming into contact. In like manner the spiritual condition of some of the Departed is wholly dissimilar from that of others; but this dissimilarity is no obstacle to their association.

We have a notable corroboration of this assertion, in what is recorded in the New Testament concerning the experiences of our Lord after death.

When Jesus, in company with the repentant robber, passed into the Spiritual World, His spiritual condition, or sphere, as the Being perfected in moral grace, must have been vastly different from the spiritual condition of the man who had but a moment or two before set his soul in the direction of goodness. On that Good Friday evening, they were not on the same plane of life and experience. Yet as far as the contact of person with person is concerned, there was re-union. They were together. Christ's own words declare it—"To-day, shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." Again, on the testimony of St. Peter, our Lord, after death, went into the Spirit-World to preach the Gospel to spirits who in earth-life had been disobedient, in order that they might "live according to God in the spirit." (See I Peter iii. 18-20 and iv. 6.) The Preacher was on a far higher plane of spiritual life and experience than that of the ones to whom He preached; but that was no obstacle to His association with them.

In the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, Christ represents the two men as being in wholly dissimilar spheres of experience in the Spirit-World; the one was in "Abraham's bosom"—in a condition of restfulness; the other, in "Hades"—in a condition of painful discipline. As yet, until God's knife of discipline had pruned away the overgrowth of selfishness from the character of the rich man, there was "a great gulf fixed" between him and Lazarus; and Dives was incapable of participating in the higher spiritual experiences enjoyed by Lazarus. But this difference in the spheres of these excarnate ones did not prevent them from coming into contact.

There was inter-communication between the spheres: the one on the lower plane, saw and spoke to those on the higher plane. So, we believe it to be, in the case of the Departed. We, when we pass into Spirit-life, may be on a plane of life and experience, higher or lower than the plane of those who have preceded us, and whom we have known and loved in the earth-life. Will this dissimilarity in regard to planes, render it impossible or improbable that we shall come into communication with them? We think not. We believe that, in the Spirit-World, the fact of being on different planes of life may, and does, cause some spirits who had been known to each other in this world, to be dissociated, for a while at least, in the Other World. But we do not think this to be so in the case of those between whom there had previously existed a bond of love or sympathy. Those whom we have loved on this earth, and who, perhaps, long ago, have gone into Spirit-life, will have advanced to spheres of experience, to which we shall not immediately attain on leaving this world. But that will not involve dissociation from them until such time as we ourselves shall have scaled the moral and spiritual heights at which they stand. Love will draw those on the higher altitudes of being to us on the lower; as it drew Jesus and the angels from spheres of glory to the earth plane. Those beloved and progressed departed ones will come to us when we "pass over”; they will be with us at times; the old intercourse will be renewed; and as we move on towards attunement to their higher experiences, the bond between them and us will be strengthened and perfected.

Thus we think that while, of course, in the case of spirit and spirit, a perfect union—an accord of mind and heart, a mutual participation in the higher experiences of Spirit-life—can only exist when both shall have become adjusted to exalted environment; yet, in the meanwhile, there is a very real contact and association between those who may stand in the Other World at different points of spiritual development. Surely, it must have been to teach us this, among other truths, that the New Testament writers told us about the excarnate Saviour in company with an excarnate robber and old-world sinners who had repented after death!

Secondly. We can assign another and very cogent reason for our belief in the re-union of the Departed, in spite of their being on different planes of life and experience. It is this; that God's method of blessing men is that of doing so through the mediumship of others; and that the principle under which He acts in this instrumental bestowal of blessing is, that "the less is blessed of the better." This method of Divine blessing is followed both in this world and in the greater World of Spirit.

God blesses us through the instrumentality of others. That is so in regard to all earthly experience —is it not? Every blessing, whether physical, mental or spiritual, received from God by us here, is conveyed instrumentally; others are made His channels of communication. Has He blessed us physically? Do we possess a body, a house, clothes, food and a thousand other terrestrial things? Not one of them has come to us apart from the interposition of others.

Has He blessed us mentally? Are we persons of extended knowledge as to the things which lie above us, around us and within us? Very little of that knowledge did we acquire, except through the instrumentality of others. Our fellows were God's agents in teaching us what we know; our lesser minds were blessed of the better minds. Has God blessed us spiritually, so that we have learned some of those great truths which centre themselves in Him, and have become thereby men or women of prayer and holy aspiration?

Here, again, the blessing came to us through others. Fathers, mothers, friends, teachers, preachers, and writers—the ones better than ourselves in spiritual culture—were the connecting-wires between God and us, through which the Divine Sparks of grace passed to touch us, and turn our undeveloped spirit Godward. Consider, further, this method of God in the case of spiritual beings who have been used by Him as the instruments of blessing the dwellers upon earth. The Bible abounds in the accounts of angel-messengers sent to men. Patriarchs and rulers received their guidance as the leaders of great religious, social and national movements through the mediumship of them. Prophets and seers were inspired; men and women were helped and comforted; and even the Christ Himself in His hours of trial was ministered unto and supported through their agency. In all this, the method of God was the same; His blessing was bestowed through the instrumentality of others; and beings on the highest planes conveyed it to those on the earth-plane.

Again, the more enlightened views concerning God and His purposes in regard to mankind, which are held in this present age, are due, we believe, to the fact that a great wave of mental and spiritual influence is passing to us from the Other Side. The door between the two Worlds has of late years been more widely opened. Departed ones, in the fulfilment of the possibility included in the "Communion of saints," have from their spheres of higher spiritual attainment touched us in the domain of mind and spirit. Materialistic Science has received its death-blow; the phenomena of human existence are becoming inexplicable, except on the acknowledgment of the Spiritual; a new continent of life and possibility beyond the Physical is being opened up to us; and the Gospel of Jesus is becoming reinvested with the glory which the religious misrepresentations of past ages has bedimmed. And if this be so; if all this advance to clearer light on Divine truth, be the result of the impact of higher minds Behind the Veil upon our minds, what is it but another illustration of that great law of God— that man is blessed through others, and that "the less is blessed of the better"! Our argument will be complete when we think of this principle of blessing instrumentally and of blessing the lesser through the higher, in its application to beings in that great domain of life and experience—the Spiritual World. We believe the principle obtains with respect to the Departed.

Our advancement in the knowledge of higher truth has remodelled men's ideas concerning the Spiritual World. We no longer think of it as peopled with beings who are all similarly fashioned, mentally and spiritually, and all similarly circumstanced. We know it to be a World of infinite variety, of many spheres of life and experience. Our Saviour Christ taught us this. He said, "In my Father's House are many tarrying-places" (tarrying places or abiding places - many mansions)—many different spheres of life, in which spirits must remain awhile, until they become attuned for the planes of higher existence.

Our fuller knowledge of truth has taught us, moreover, more concerning the purpose of God in regard to all His creatures. It is to bless, and not to curse; to save, and not to damn. The "Father's House" Beyond the Veil is no less the domain of salvation and blessing than is this earth. The method He adopts to raise and bless men there, is the same as that by which He raises and blesses us here; viz., our fellows are His instruments, and "the less is blessed of the better."

Thus, there is presented to us the strongest of all reasons for believing, that the difference in the planes of life and experience of the Departed constitutes no obstacle to re-union. Nay, this very variety in life and experience may be one of the greatest causes which promote re-union; for in obedience to that Divine principle to which we have referred, God, we believe, uses the ministry of souls in the higher spheres of Spiritual-life, to inspire, to raise, to bless, to bring closer to Himself, the souls in lower spheres. The Divine modus operandi holds good in both Worlds; because God is unchangeable, and His Christ, "the same all through the ages."

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Other Books by Rev. Chambers:

"Man and the Spiritual World" (1903 UK Edition)
"Thoughts of the Spiritual" (1905 American Edition)

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

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