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IS THERE A SPIRIT HOME?
By Mary F. Davis.
Of all subjects of human interest, those which spring from the life of the soul take precedence. And of all benefactors of the human race they are most universally revered who have helped to solve the problem of spiritual being that is stated in the questions, Whence? What? and Whither? In their own day they may have been called fools, dreamers, or insane, as were Mahomet or Swedenborg, and classed with malefactors and outlaws, as were Socrates and Jesus; but the question of ESSENCE ever brought mankind back to its fealty, and the martyrs of one age became the saints and redeemers of the next.
Spiritualism works directly on this world-old problem. As its first effect is to free and individualize the mind, the questions which arise receive answers, not from one favoured personage alone, but from thousands of minds, more or less inspired. Hence shades of difference, and even contradictions on vital points, appear, which may be owing to different degrees of insight, to individual idiosyncrasies, or to the lack of a mutual understanding of terms.
Has the spirit a future locality ? is one of the questions concerning which there are these differences of opinion and testimony. As an instance, I venture to cite the following letter, addressed to Mr. Davis by a highly valued and intelligent correspondent, who possesses that spirit of enquiry indicative of the sincerest love of wisdom :
39, Buckingham Palace Road,
London, England, 4th May, 1869. A. J. Davis-Respected Brother : I have read your Stellar Key, and also the Banner of Light, No. 1, of the 20th of March, in which latter is the report of a discussion purporting to have taken place between a disembodied spirit (Father Henry Fitz James), and sundry embodied persons ; in which the former tells them that “the notion that many teach of a distinct locality set apart for departed spirits is entirely erroneous. Do not believe," he is reported to have said, " that there is a locality set apart for departed spirits, for there is not.”
At page 159 of the Stellar Key are the following words: " The first Summor Land is found to be revolving near the grand orbit of the Milky Way.”
Probably you may be able, as I feel certain you will be willing, to enlighten myself and others, who are attached to the principles of the Harmonial Philosophy, upon the cause of the above contradiction.' Is it a distorted communication of the medium ? or on what principle is it to be accounted for? The discussion alluded to appears extremely rational.
A. B. TIETKENS, To ascertain whether the spirit has locality hereafter, we should inquire concerning its circumstances here; and on this point the reader will find a statement in the volume entitled
" Answers to Ever-Recurring Questions," (Harmonial Series, page 57). The author says:
“The spirit of man is never out of the spirit-world. [By the 'spirit-world' we do not mean the Second Sphere, or Summer-Land. By the term spirit world is meant the silver lining to the clouds of matter' with which the mind of man is thickly enveloped. There is no space between the spirit of man and this immense universe of inner life. Man's spirit touches the material world solely by means of spiritualized matter, both within and without his body. Thus the five senses come in contact with matter : 1. The eyes by light. 2. The ear by atmosphere. 3. The taste by fluids. 4. The smell by odours. 5. The touch by vibration. * By such conditions and attenuations of matter your spirit (yourself) comes in contact with the outward world. Interiorly you are already in the spirit-world. You feel, think, decide, and act as a resident of the inner life. Death removes the cloud of matter from before your spiritual senses. Then you see, hear, taste, smell and touch, more palpably and intelligently, the facts and forces of the world in which, perhaps as a stranger, you have lived from the first moment of your individualized existence. It is not necessary to move an inch from your death-bed to obtain a consciousness of the spirit-world or inner life. Instantly you perceive the life of things, and the shape and situation of the things themselves are also visible in a new golden light. The Summer-Land is a vast localized sphere within the universal Spirit-world."
According to this view, the spirit-world, like the “universal ether" of which philosophers discourse, is not pent up in any locality, but surrounds and permeates all places, persons, and spheres. “We lie open, on one side, to the deeps of spiritual nature, to the attributes of God." 'Interiorly we exist in a boundless realm of essential being, and it is all accessible to us at every hour. What prevents us from being mingled with this infinite ocean to which all the attractions of the spirit tend? It is the material environment, by means of which we attain the boon of individual consciousness. Let that be stricken out, and there would follow what was sought by the Hindu philosophers, the absorption of the soul into Brahma, or the Universal Being. But there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body;" and by virtue of these, the spirit becomes an individualized entity, receptive of the tides of Infinite Being, but for ever undivided and unabsorbed.
It is then localized to a certain extent in the body. Nor is this all. Nature, by slow gradations, age after age, carried on her process of evolution until the earth was fitted for the local habitation of this embodied spirit. When it leaves the external form, will the laws of Nature be suspended? It makes use of the natural body here; will it not hereafter need and make use of the spiritual body? Its locality now is fixed on a sphere, eliminated from an elemental orb, and balanced in boundless space. Is it unreasonable to infer that, emanating from rudimental worlds and balanced by them, a mighty sphere of perfected particles hangs in the immeasurable ether, to which the spirit, with its finer embodiment, involuntarily tends when released from earth?
The laws of Nature are invariable. If we could come to a full understanding of their action here, we should have a key to their operation in every section of the universal whole. Granted that the spirit is an eternal entity; if it has locality here it must have the same hereafter, else a natural law is subverted. In a recent lecture, Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "I remember when talking with one whose 'Rewards of the Future' appeared to me fanciful, he said: 'It is not so in your experience, but it is so in the other world. I was prompted to reply, 'Other world ! Do you not know that the laws above are sisters of the laws below? Other world! There is no other world! Here, or nowhere, is the whole fact." In the sense which superstition gives to the term, there surely is no other world"; that is, no world where the laws of Nature are abrogated. Would we know what takes place in a future state, we must study the track of the Divine from our present lookout, for “Here, or nowhere, is the whole fact."
It is a mistake to suppose that the Stellar Key teaches that there is “a locality set apart for departed spirits." Well may “Father Henry Fitz James" assert that there is no such arbitrary arrangement in the universe. The Stellar Key furnishes scientific and philosophical evidences that the “SummerLand" is a substantial sphere, and is as natural and inevitable an outgrowth of the rudimental worlds as the fruit of a tree is of its roots, trunk and branches. “We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Ámid all the mutations of time there is deeply rooted in the human soul a love of the permanent. Ties that bind us to kindred and friends cannot be broken without pain; and the wandering exile sadly yearns for the familiar scenes and the restful security of some far-away hamlet which once had for him the sacred name of home. In all the “ Dreams of Heaven" which have come to the sad heart of humanity during the ages of the world, a thought of home-welcome and changelegs love has mingled like a precious benediction. And the new perception of the supernal which a fresh baptism of spiritual insi has given to mankind changes those vague dreams to and beautiful certainties. The "evergreen mountains o the crystal streams that flow through the city of Go songs of praise and joy that float over the radiant bill the Better Land," the immortal love that links soul and makes holy the atmosphere of “Heaven :" these e alone in the imagination of the poet, but as beautiful that fill with blessedness and peace the eternal hom spirit.-Banner of Light.
THE INNER WORLD.
By HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.
It lies around us like a cloud,
A world we do not see;
May bring us there to be.
Amid our worldly cares
And mingle with our prayers.
Sweet helping hands are stirred,
With breathings almost heard. The silence, awful, sweet and calm,
They have no power to break;
To utter or partake.
So near to press they seem,
They melt into our dream.
'T is easy now to see
The hour of death may be.
Wrapped in a trance of bliss,
To swoon to that-from this-
Scarce asking where we are, So feel all evil sink away,
All sorrow and all oare.
Press nearer to our side,
With gentle helpings glide.
A dried and vanished stream;
Our suffering life the dream.
A STRANGE STORY.
The following strange narrative is from the Banner of Light, Boston, of July 25th, 1868:
“I have finally concluded to gratify the request so often made for me to write out an account of the surprising spiritual manifestations that took place in the village of Putnam, Conn., where I reside. I am well aware that story-telling is not my forte. All I can do is to state the facts as they occurred, according to my own observation and the testimony of reliable witnesses. In doing this I shall give the real name of the medium and most of the parties, with the exception of the family in whose house the principal manifestations took place, as they were not Spiritualists, and might object to having their names made public. I shall endeavour to make no statements that I am not prepared to substantiate.
“ The opening events of the story date back to the month of September, in the fall of 1866. At that time there was living in a substantial two-story dwelling house, not far from the railroad station at Putnam, a family whom we will call, for convenience sake, Lind. The members of the family were Mr. Lind and wife, both being somewhat advanced in years, and their son, Mark Lind, and his wife, Mattie, who had rooms in the house, boarding with the old people. The senior Mr. and Mrs. Lind were members of the Methodist church, and considered respectable and well-to-do people. Mark had been married some few years, had been in the army, and become somewhat unsteady in his habits. His wife, Mattie, was a finelooking young woman, something over twenty years of age, active and intelligent, yet possessed of an exceedingly passionate and violent disposition, which, when aroused, was manifested in uncontrollable storms of rage. As is often the case when a husband takes his wife home, Mattie and the lady did not agree very well, nor did Mark always maintain that kindly bearing toward her which she considered was due from a husband. These facts gave rise to more or less disputes, which, before being ended, usually drew in the whole family, to some extent, and generally terminated by Mattie getting very angry and leaving the house, declaring that she would never darken the doors again. But time always cooled her temper, and after tw or three days she would return, to remain until another stort would produce a similar result.
“ Thus things continued, until one day they had an un commonly severe and violent altercation which ended, as usual