Chapter XXV: Au Revoir
On several occasions in the foregoing record I have been constrained to speak of the limitations imposed by earth, time and the flesh, but just now I find myself face to face with one for which I was altogether unprepared, and the force of it fills me with something like consternation.
One by one I have been dealing with questions arising out of the mass of correspondence still lying before me according as my experience in Paradise has qualified me to do so, but so far I have been scarcely able to commence the real pleasure I was looking forward to when my Recorder astounds me with the information that the volume already assumes somewhat large proportions, and I am compelled to make another break in my recital.
The intimation has brought me to a sudden stand, that I might carefully go over the mass of correspondence I have left untouched, and examine my MS. to make sure I have not given space to details of secondary importance at the expense of weightier subjects. I have even sought counsel of friends with much wider experience in the hope of being able to do more in the space at my disposal; but it is all of no avail. I cannot find a tea-cup that will approximately hold the ocean.
The review, however, has afforded me this consolation: my most frequent inquiries range themselves in the following order—Christ, Hell, Sin, the family in Heaven, the future of children, and the relative value of the different religions. On all these subjects I have had something to say in the foregoing pages, giving to the Christ the paramount importance He so necessarily deserves; at the same time I most freely acknowledge how conscious I am of my inability to do the subject the justice I would so willingly have rendered. But though my exposition may seem strange and even unnatural as it is looked at through the theological fogs of earth, and perhaps on the other hand to those friends who occupy higher planes of life to which I have not yet climbed it may seem a weak and unworthy sketch of the Divine portraiture, I have the consolation of knowing that ‘when the mists have rolled away’ earth-clouded eyes will see as I now see Him, and also that the greater, nobler souls above me will recognize that I have done what I could—‘the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,’ and there I am content to leave it for the present.
Chapters relating to Prayer and God I have been compelled to withdraw for the present, because it was impossible for me to add the illustrative experiences necessary to convey the suggestive ideas and information I wish to set forth. But these with all the other inquiries I have, or may receive in answer to this, shall have attention, if I still feel warranted in continuing my labour of love. Again, though at the risk of being thought wearisome at the reiteration, and altogether apart from the question as to whether my return to earth is ill advised or not—let me repeat that in all I have said I have been guided alone by one motive—to make known to you, my reader, the truth as I have found it by practical experience, as I myself should have been glad to know it when I was standing where you are standing now, and as you must know it when presently the veil shall be withdrawn and admit you to where I am.
If I have touched upon sensitive points in respect of creeds, churches and religion, as institutions, I have not wished to do so in any sense of bitterness, but at all times willing to concede the valuable help they have rendered in their legitimate sphere, while compelled to deny their claim to Divine authority for their limited conceptions of Christ, God, and eternal punishment.
To refuse to admit their utility and service to humanity within their legitimate sphere would be to proclaim my mental incompetence to recognize an obvious fact. What I do deny is the right of any church or conclave of men to assert that their dogmas or decisions mark the finality of God’s action, and the assumption that beyond the limit they erect there exists nothing but irretrievable doom. The Church as an ecclesiastical or theological institution was called into existence to supply a recognized need for an institution that would assume the office of nurse to the infant generation of the day; but the child must always grow and pass from the nursery, first to the school and afterwards through every different sphere of life. As the infant outgrows the swaddling clothes, and the boy the childish garments, so the soul will ever be entering into the heritage of the many things which remain to be told when we are able, by development, to bear them. It is a sad mistake to imagine that ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’ was God’s final word of revelation. There is no finality with God! Such a proposition would also predicate that He had a beginning: ergo, He would not be God. Any formulated eschatology of doom must of necessity be closely allied with death, and can only be experienced by that which is subject to death or termination. Now, such a fate is not the future of immortal souls created in the image and likeness of God, but it may well be the inheritance of the institution itself.
There are no temples in the immortal. All these establishments, with their equipments of professors, priests, rabbis and masters, furnished with laws, dogmas, decisions, racks, faggots, crosses, excommunications and other machinery for ensuring conformity, will be confiscated as being interdicted merchandise on the frontier of Paradise. However useful or essential you may hold them to be, no matter how divinely authorized you may esteem them, if you possess no deeper religion than an institutional certificate it will be bad for you, for that will be taken away as contraband rather than regarded as a passport, and you will be left alone.
I speak of that I know, and therefore, while I am anxious to give to every aid to the betterment of men its legitimate recognition, I wish to raise a warning voice against your placing too much confidence in what, after all, is nothing more than an arm of flesh.
The only authoritative passport to the abundant entrance into immortality which all desire is the radiance of the Christ shining from within, and it needs no countersigning by any church.
From henceforth to the hour of your departure let your life be a walk with the Master towards Emmaus. Hear Him and obey; watch Him and do likewise; live—or rather allow Him to live again in you; then you will leave life’s Gethsemane behind, as you climb up its Olivet, and from its brow you will ascend with Christ, as the everlasting doors lift their heads, while earth will seek in vain to find you, who will be for ever with the Lord.
In the foregoing I have also tried to profit by the kindly suggestion of certain of my generous critics, and have refrained from attempted flights which might tax anyone to follow me. I am content for my gospel to appeal by the home force of its own reasonableness. Hear me and judge: if what I speak commends itself to your intelligence as bearing the weight of truth, accept it; if not, then you are equally warranted in rejecting it. Whether I am in the right or otherwise will be certainly determined presently, and if your rejection of it is as honest as my statement, you will commit no sin, nor incur any punishment by hesitating to accept what you cannot understand or believe. The God I serve is not so unjust as to expect you to accept anything against honest conviction.
This brings me to my au revoir, in connection with which I would, for a moment, return to the subject of the reunited family in Paradise. It is always a difficult and delicate task, and oftentimes a most unwise one, to touch or attempt to destroy a cherished superstition. But truth, however unwelcome its first appearance may be, is far more beneficent in the end than an unfounded fiction, and though the shock of my communication may be at first resented, a little quiet reflection will change the balance of opinion; then when the whole circumstances are taken into consideration, and the contributing issues of the life of Paradise are borne in mind, the old idea will melt away and we shall all rejoice together in the wider and eternal hope of God’s greater gospel.
I do not make this reference, however, as preparatory to re-arguing this point, but rather as introducing a final experience which will illustrate another side of the same subject.
Let me preface this by reminding you of the chronic gloom and melancholy which so completely dominated and destroyed all idea of pleasure in my own earth life. My transition ended this intolerable burden, and restored to me her whose absence had caused the joy effacing shadow. Have I disappointed you, my reader, in saying so little about this long-delayed and all-important reunion? What did you expect? What could I say? Is the sacred communion and enjoyment of such love a public affair that I should publish its detailed programme for the world to study?
Have you dreamed that the little I have said of Vaone indicates that she proved to be less loved and loving than I had anticipated; that my silence concerning her denotes disappointment; that my long and frequent absences suggest coolness or indifference; that I found her to be no more than others in her claim upon my affections? If so, you have been the sport of wild inferences and an erratic imagination, for I would solemnly assure you that my sweetest anticipation of that meeting fell very far short of what the actuality proved to be.
My silence has been governed by the sacred solemnity of the occasion, nor was the afterwards of our communion so much a matter of public discussion as to warrant my continual exhibition of its details. I could not prevent your eyes catching a glimpse of her as I thrust aside the curtain and fell upon her heart, but I could not hold it aside that you might satisfy your curiosity when I had so long hungered to clasp her in my arms. These divine compensations are always bestowed in secret, nor can any know or understand how supremely divine they are until God calls a soul to know them for itself.
Another reason why I have been so reticent in reference to this most heavenly of all my experiences has been the knowledge I have gained that love, free from any admixture of sensuous passion or selfish consideration, is altogether unknown on earth, and to attempt to speak of it as it is enjoyed above the earth-conditions of Paradise would only be to desecrate the most sacred attribute of Divinity. The love of earth is always tinctured in some form by desire, but that of Paradise is the rich ripe fruit developed from the blossom of gratification. How could it be understood? Even on earth the Occident fails to understand the Orient, and in turn the Orient is just as incapable of appreciating the Occident; and if this is true between flesh and flesh, how can it be otherwise when the flesh is taxed to comprehend the things of the spirit? The perfect beauty of anything can only be seen in its native haunt. Love is essentially the lily of Heaven, and only as we near its native region can the beauty of emblem-blossom be found in anything approaching a suggestion of its unspeakable perfection.
God sighed in His love for earth; that sigh was Christ. We too shall love, when looking on the world of sin we sigh for its deliverance, and in that sigh the Christ shall live again in us. But until then the song of Heaven cannot be sung in the land of exile!
Let it be understood, then, that in my progress of one degree nearer to the kingdom of love, I found the restored Vaone to be far more to me than my earth-hunger had taught me to expect. When you reach those who are passed on before they will not be less but infinitely more than they were. Be assured of this. But when I became acclimatized to the condition, and learned to understand something of the law and order of my new sphere of life, I discovered that my love for Christ was incomparably greater than my love of mother! It was the same love differing rather in degree than quality, for its God-likeness is found in its being an infinite unit.
I had climbed to the peak of my first aspiration to find another far more majestic and sublime towering between myself and God, and I was willing, if need be, to leave the one that I might attain to the indescribable splendour of the other.
Here I must pause! ‘Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,’ can enable us to understand what lies in that beyond, until we are blended in that union with Christ which will enable us to see the Father by reason of our likeness to Him.
It will be remembered that in speaking of the home in which I joined Vaone, I mentioned that the valley was singularly lacking in energizing influences. Its location is just across the border where the last earthcondition can be felt, and might fairly be spoken of as representing the capillaries of spiritual life, being the nearest approach to stagnation, where the only active desire of the soul is for rest. Many reach the condition direct from earth, many after being buffeted about and winning their way through the preparatory ordeals of various earthconditions, and many more after liquidating the debts and paying the penalties of hell. For all tempest-tossed, tempted, tried and distressed souls, from wherever they come, it is a haven of refuge, and the desire to rest and be content is easily to be understood.
Vaone had known, as only sensitive, timorous souls can feel, the stress of storm and tempest, shipwreck of hopes and the horrors of loneliness; hence the lull she found from the sorrows of the past was in the nature of her ideas of Heaven with which she had remained satisfied.
And my own ideal of the after-life had been to find and be with her. This was my one goal and aspiration, and in accordance with the spiritual law that ‘he who seeks shall find,’ we came together. But Heaven had led me to her by a way I knew not. My soul had been awakened to other ideals before I met her, that afterwards I might be able to minister to her advancement. She might be content to remain, and my coming would have further confirmed her in the desire, but after what I had seen and learned, for me to sit still was an impossibility. I must go forward, and the love she had for me would compel her to come after, and thus constrain her to rise into a higher life.
So Heaven works out its scheme of ultimate redemption. Vaone’s listless attitude surprised me from the first, and, as I knew her better, I wondered more and more. I could not rest. The gate of Heaven had been thrown open before me, and its inhabitants, its palaces, its ceaseless employments, its victories and rewards, its Christ, its God, called to me in such melodious irresistible voices that even the love I had once estimated as supreme could not hold me back. Even though I had to leave it I must move forward.
But what is once attained can never be lost again beyond the tomb. I had scarcely arrived at the conscious recognition of this at the time of which I speak; but it is so, and I note it here, if perchance it may serve to save a pang of doubt.
Was I sorrowful when at length I knew that this difference in temperament was about to cause our separation? No! I knew the strength of our love for each other, and that my going would soon stimulate her desire to follow and rejoin me; therefore, when the intimation came, I gathered her very tenderly in my arms and spoke to her of what was about to take place.
“I thought so much of Heaven was too much to continue,” she said resignedly as she drew me to her with ever-tightening embrace. “But you will sometimes come back to me?”
“Yes, I will come back frequently, for a little while. Now that we have found each other we must not part again.”
“Only for a little while?” she pleaded.
“Only for a little while; there will be no need for more; then you will come to me.”
She lifted her head from my breast, her eyes bright with the light of a new inspiration, and her voice ringing musically with a suddenly acquired determination.
“I had not thought of that!” she exclaimed. “Yes, I will come to you! Whom God hath joined naught is able to divide, and, after the long waiting, the Father in His love has brought you and me together. You must go, but in the going you have aroused, my wish to be nearer to Him. Even so, He mercifully ordains that the lesser love shall be instrumental in guiding me to the greater.”
“When shall we be able to solve the depth of His wonderful workings?” I asked, in my joyous astonishment at this new development. “While I was in the lower life God was working through you to prepare a home for me, now He chooses me to go on to the next stage that by me He may prepare for your advance into His nearer presence: ‘Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good unto Thee.’ Keep Thou firm grip of our hands, and in Thine own way lead us nearer to Thyself:
Not where we would but where Thou seest best,
Whether o’er hill or vale, by torrent or by rill,
Guide us and lead us on and on, until
We reach Thy goal and on Thy bosom rest.
We nothing know; but, Lord, thou knowest all,
Life’s new developments must all arise in Thee;
Work Thine own will, and when we do not see,
Still lead us on till at Thy feet we fall.
We trust but Thee; Father, to Thee we come!
Grant that our souls be lost in Thee for aye!
Let naught disturb our commune by the way!
Be Thou our all: our Christ, our Heaven, our home!
– The End –
Readers may consider the many references to the Bible unnecessary. However, when this book was first published there was a lot of opposition from the Orthodox Churches to communication with Spirit, so being able to cope with that challenge would be part of any dealings with the earth plane. This is not so much a requirement now but it still exists. Clergy are divided on this matter; I know some who are quite happy with Spirit Communication while others say it is the work of the Devil. When one understands that the ‘Devil’ was manufactured by the Church to control people and, as God is ‘everything that is’ (infinite) there can be no ‘Devil’ that is outside or against God. There are negative people, in varying degrees, both in Spirit (Astral) and on the earth. The laws of ‘like attracts like’ always apply.—RJL