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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Does suicide impede progress in the spirit-world?

I would like to ask if a large number of those who are among us addicted to the inordinate use of alcohol are not, to a great extent, influenced by those in the other world who have not yet been able to rid themselves of the habits and appetites they possessed here and, if so, whether it is not possible to reach the parties suffering, rather by calling back the spirit of one in the spirit-body and treating him through a medium or, otherwise, so as to deliver him from the condition from which he has been suffering? We wish to ascertain your opinion as to the possibility of ridding ourselves and others of those habits, which are diseases and equally of other physical diseases in that way.

A certain amount, I may say a very large amount, of all diseases are augmented by the interference of foreign spirits; therefore, if you would rid the little branches of disease, you must start at the root. Then you will start right. But it is mortals' habit to deal heavy blows at all evil effects, failing to touch the cause, so the effect is fought against and fought against and it continually rears its head like a monster in your midst, over which you seem to have no control. Sometimes mental, physical and moral diseases have their source entirely within the human physique and no outside interference can be traced but those are the exceptions, not the rule. When you understand the laws governing through all the minutiae of life, you will know how to live in health.

Joseph Lowenthal (Spirit)

Does the fact of one's having committed suicide impede his progress in the spirit-world more than if another had killed him or render him more unhappy?

Yes – because the soul that has committed suicide, as you term it, is very apt to learn that that is not the better way; very apt to learn that it must, through severe experience, learn of the better way and very apt to learn that it would have been far easier to have gained the experience that was necessary for the soul in and through its own body, than in any other way; therefore, it must, of necessity, drink more or less deeply of the cup of remorse. But, like all other mistakes in life, it always carries its own antidote. When a sufficient quantity has been ministered unto the spirit, it comes forth washed clean, regenerated and rejuvenated and ready for the march of life.

How do we reconcile the existence of evil in this world with the goodness and wisdom of God?

We reconcile it in this way. As God is everywhere and as there is no place without him, no condition without him, so then God is in what you call evil and, being stronger than the evil, is amply able to take care of it. I believe that all life experiences and conditions, however low they may seem to be are necessary – a necessity growing out of the condition of the earth on which you exist, a necessity growing out of the condition of the planets by which you are surrounded and a necessity growing out of your own internal and external condition. Therefore, if this position is correct, the goodness of God is displayed in the exhibition of the so-called evil, as it is displayed in any other condition in life.

After a long separation, how are we to recognise our friends in the spirit-land? – the body we have seen and known but not the soul.

Surely you are not to recognise them by their outward characteristics alone. It is not by form alone that you are to know those who have gone on before you. There is a certain power which the soul recognises those with whom it has been familiar; it does not matter whether ages have passed between them since they met in the external. There is no such thing as forgetfulness for the soul. Memory is eternal. It is an attribute of the soul and is, therefore, eternal. You need not fear that your friends will not recognise you or that you will fail to recognise them, for, by that law that binds you together as friends, you cannot fail to recognise them. The law is ever active and all may make use of it whenever they desire so to do.

Are the surroundings and influences for good and evil the same in the spirit-land as in earth-life? If so, what do we gain by the change?

They are proportionately the same but you are just one step – and one only – in advance of the earth-life.

Is there night and day there? In other words, are light and darkness the same there (as here)?

There is what is equivalent to night and day, light and darkness, but it is not the same as you have here. That you have here is adapted to your earthly needs; that we have is adapted to spiritual needs. 

I am told that the law of chemistry is well understood in the spirit-world. Now, if it is, can spirits not take advantage of the law and destroy King Alcohol? drive him out of the domain of Nature, so that no more tears will be shed on his account? so that much of the misery that now fills the earth may disappear?

Well, allowing that any class of disembodied spirits had that power to change the conditions by which you mortals are surrounded – allowing that they are permitted to exercise their power on you – would it be well for them to carry out the wishes of him who has called on us? Would it be well to even seek to drive King Alcohol out of the domain of Nature? We argue it would not be well. Let us briefly consider from what King Alcohol has come. Let us analyze him. Scientific men inform us that he has been born of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These are the causes that have produced him. They are in existence everywhere. There is no place devoid of them. Life would cease to be life without them. Rob the vegetable kingdom of them and it becomes extinct and the same is true of every other department in Nature. Now, since it is always well to strike at the cause of every so-called evil effect, if we expect to destroy the effect effectually, we must begin at the cause. Now, supposing for a moment we had the power to drive these elements out of Nature, what would the result be? Why, destruction, certainly. Nothing short of it. It would be as possible to destroy the universe, to blot it out of existence, as to blot out the essential cause of King Alcohol. It cannot be done. God himself cannot do it and sustain his laws. We are not arguing in favour of alcohol. We argue against its abuse. But its uses are many – too many for us to attempt to enumerate them here. Now, would it be wise for us to seek to destroy even this effect of these great principles in Nature, since it can be put to so many good and proper uses? Would it be wise to seek to destroy it because one half of creation sees fit to abuse it? No, it would not. Rather seek to enlighten men and women. Rather seek to bring them on a higher level and then they will use and not abuse it. First, begin back – away back. Turn the leaves over, leaf by leaf, and you will perceive that nine-tenths of all those people who bow down as servants to King Alcohol are absolutely forced into that condition by ante-natal forces over which they have no control. Seek, then, to regulate your affairs in this direction. Seek to bring men up beyond its abuse and beyond the abuse of everything God has given you. Use all but abuse none, remembering that the great All-Father has given you all these things by which you are surrounded – and alcohol is no exception – for your good. Instead of seeking to destroy these evils – evils you call them – seek to get yourselves a plane beyond them, so that you can rule them and they cannot rule you. Bring the nations up to a standard beyond the abuse of anything God has given and then all these evils will cease.

William E. Channing (Spirit)