An Eternal Career, by Frank and Lydia Hammer, , at sacred-texts.com
"You call it deaththis seeming endless sleep;
DEATH! Who coined that awful word with its dread implication? Who painted death with its dark and false colors? People shrink with terror when they hear of it; their voices sink when they speak of it; their minds fill with fear when they think of it; their whole being vibrates to a different force when they contemplate it. They look upon it as the greatest calamity and act as if their loved ones were no more, and become immersed in the deepest despair.
THERE IS NO DEATH! What seems to be cessation is only transition; the soul withdraws from the physical organism and continues to exist as an organized entity of spirit, mind and spirit-body. The external form mingles again with the elements of earth nevermore to be reclaimed; but the spirit is clothed in its spiritual body which has senses and faculties corresponding to all of the physical ones.
Death is a mystery because of its silence, but it is not a fearful one. It is the friend who frees you, who has the key to the door that can be opened in no other way. It comes unsought, quite often with a stealthy tread and you are called to go elsewhere. All the collected power of the world cannot ward off this visitor; no excuses avail; no period of waiting is permitted; no time extended to finish earthly business. If your pen is lifted you may not be able to write. You may be active in your daily duties when this messenger arrives; or it may overtake you in your sleep, to awaken in another state of consciousness.
Death, the last act on the stage of human activity, liberates the soul from the bondage of the flesh. It is but a breath and life anew is experienced; and unlike moving from one earthly locality to another, this change is easily and quickly effected. No garments are required; no possessions are taken; the only preparation needed is a mental and spiritual one.
On your arrival in the land of spirit you are always met, usually by your nearest and dearest ones who have requested and been granted permission to greet you. They understand what you have been through for while the experience is new to you, it has already been theirs. They also knew the momentary terror you felt when you released the hand of friend or relative. They, too, underwent the sorrow of bidding farewell to loved ones.
You will not necessarily dwell with those you lived with on earth; rarely will you always be together,
no more than on earth were you constantly with them. You will be led to those who have greater wisdom and wider experience, enabling you to progress more rapidly.
You will not be changed beyond recognition! You will not be changed at all! Death effects no alteration in appearance or in the intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual nature of man. Death changes a man no more than does moving from one city to another; nor does it absolve him from his moral obligations. Evil men are not transformed into angels, nor good men into demons. Human nature here is human nature there.
No fabrication is more pernicious than the one which makes death an avenue of escape from the consequences of one's acts. As, for example, the suicide who hopes for oblivion. Dissolution, he believes, will save him from his sins and free him from his troubles and obligations. Whereas, if he knew the truth, that there is no escape from life and its problems, he would not be apt to make such a dreadful mistake as destroying his body. Suicide solves no difficulties; it erases no errors; they must be solved in a future day under conditions less favorable.
So long as man is convinced that through faith he can secure forgiveness, so long will he gratify his evil desires. So long as he believes that through death he will be absolved from his sins, so long will he continue many practices he would abandon if he knew that life is eternal, continuous and changeless;
that fulfillment of its duties and payment of its debts are inescapable.
The goal reached on earth is the starting point Over There. While on earth you form certain habits; develop inherent faculties and unfold latent capacities, and if you have enlightenment build your character. As you acquire wisdom you discard undesirable habits, modify intolerant opinions and overcome the defects which retard your progression. So by the time you are old, your character is closer to perfection than when you were young. Your acquirements, capacities and abilities determine your status on earth; they will also decide your position in the spirit world. Death in no way affects man's status or his accomplishments, and what is known to man will be known to spirit.
Contrary to some peculiar ideas no soul is ever transported into the presence of the Most High, nor onto the bosom of Jesus with all its sins miraculously washed away. They will find themselves instead in a place congenial to their nature and consonant with their manner of thinking and living. Some souls gravitate to higher planes, others to lower; but many remain on earth chained to their material interests and their physical desires. Wise are they who overcome the desires of the flesh and the attractions of matter; let their vices die before them, so that they will be prepared to live in spirit.
"He is at peace, he is happy NOW." How often one hears these expressions at burial services. But death is no gain and cannot give us what we do not already have. Unless one has happiness and peace here it is folly to suppose he will have them elsewhere.
[paragraph continues] Felicity and serenity are not vicarious gifts; they are states of mind which must be earned, and having been earned must be guarded very carefully.
Unquestionably the most criminal hoax ever perpetrated on mankind is the belief that when the body is laid in the grave the man is laid there also. And that when the organs of sense are buried, the senses also are interred. This deception has caused untold sorrow and suffering.
This fallacy is also responsible for another great evil, namely the extravagant expenditure upon funerals. The pagan preoccupation with the body has in every age been a source of much mischief and has contributed greatly to the impoverishment of the people. It is a custom universally deplored by enlightened people, but which no efforts seem able to eradicate.
It is only too evident that people are ignorant as ever as regards their true nature. For at the request of relatives, the government is planning to bring 300,000 bodies of American boys buried abroad to this country for repatriation. The cost of this project will be over $333,000,000 which would be as naught IF it brought the boys back. But, alas, all the money and power in the world cannot restore life to a single body. Then why all the expenditure upon corpses? Because the bereaved parents, unable to conceive of life apart from the form, wish them returned home and to honor them with a memorial service.
Honor the victims of war by reburial of their corpses? Who benefits by it? No one.
There is only ONE way to honor these slaughtered boys. Honor them by preventing another catastrophic war from being passed on to another generation.
Another egregious error cherished by many is that the citizens of the higher realms spend their time resting, sleeping and mulling over the past. However, life Over There is entirely different from these orthodox misconceptions. Pause a moment and consider. Many people commence things on earth which they desired with all their soul but were forced to give up, and must wait until passing to spirit before resuming these occupations or interests. These they do resume and perfect, and then return to earth to help those struggling with similar studies and problems.
For example, many on earth longed to sing but had no voice. Others lost their voices yet had a song in their heart all their days. On passing to spirit they perfect their singing and return to earth to help discouraged students and inspire them to greater effort. The same is true of other vocations, for all occupations not purely material are continued. Life needs completion and fulfillment; interrupted plans, deferred hopes and uncompleted designs, all aspirations and longings find realization Over There. Nothing worthwhile can be accomplished in one short earthly life.
Indeed there is much to be done Over There. Many labor caring for the sick, and for those who have taken their own lives. Others teach people on earth to understand its laws better, and to help them understand their fellowmen. All souls on leaving the earth-plane must be met on coming to spirit. The departed often return for hundreds of years to assist the troubled ones of earth to conquer error, despair and superstition. Everyone labors for others in the name of love and kindness, and for a common end in which all are mutually interested and benefited. There are periods for repose but they are employed in study, meditation and contemplation.
Heaven and earth are in reality ONE; not many but ONE world with only a thin veil between the spheres. The so-called "other side" of life is very close to this oneas close as you will have it, so do not close the door to it. Communications can be had with its inhabitants while still in the flesh, telepathy being the method used. One of the conditions that strikes the newcomer most forcibly is the prevailing silence; for with the exception of the planes where dwell the children, birds and animals, thought and music are the means of communication.
How do the people look Over There? They look as they did in earthly life at their best; returning to the age of beauty, happiness and health. You find not only youth, but also aged persons, well and perfect of their type.
There are many degrees of the so-called Heaven and Hell as by no means is all bright and glorious
beyond the vale. There are places where go those who have little spiritual enlightenment, whose tastes and habits are against the accepted laws of their country. Those who are depraved, whose intelligence is not far removed from the animal; those who spent the major part of their lives in selfishness, taking advantage of their fellowmen, with few good deeds to their creditdo not find even a reflection of Heaven. Instead they gravitate to the place prepared by themselves, surrounded by the effects of their evil thoughts and deeds.
It is an historical fact that all the greatest criminals have sat in the seats of the mighty. There are no lack of accounts of tyrants in power, rogues in control, imbeciles on thrones who showed their contempt for God by making war, which resulted in unspeakable oppression and retrogression for the human race. Death is the great leveler. Those who on earth abused their positions of trust and power will find themselves in very different and inferior circumstances in the spirit world.
"Dead men do tell tales," notwithstanding the widespread fallacy that the departed are so remote from terrestrial scenes that they have no knowledge of what occurs here. "Dead" men do communicate with people on earth; sometimes disclosing the manner of their passing, and unknown circumstances connected with it. Moreover, all the inventions, discoveries and knowledge on earth were relayed by discarnate entities to those whose minds were sufficiently sensitive and receptive. Absolutely nothing
originates on the earth-plane; all things have a spiritual origin. The "dead" are not mute; it is we on earth who are spiritually deaf, dumb and blind.
"He was stingy, mean and selfish," or "he was generous, kind and charitable." There is no past tense for man. Man IS. As he is before death, so he is after death.
"His troubles are over," is another common expression used by those who cling to the oblivion theory. All troubles, with the exception of physical conditions, man takes with him into the next world. Life is synonymous with struggle; all created things evolve through conflict which is proportionate to their degree of development. Not until the soul becomes emotionless and at peace are its troubles over.
"How happy and proud a mother or father would be if they could now see their child grown to maturity." "He or she would turn over in the grave if they had any idea of what is going on." "I am so glad that they didn't live to see certain conditions transpiring on earth." The general supposition seems to be that when a soul discards his physical body that he is no longer conscious, or that he is so remote from earth he can have no knowledge of its activities. Consequently people say and do many things they would never say and do if the departed were present. Nevertheless, the "dead" are often a silent auditor and witness, and some of the things they hear and see make them writhe and squirm. Furthermore, they usually are present at the reading of their wills,
which often proves to be a painful and revelatory experience.
"We will be a long time dead," is a common statement true only of those who pass on in spiritual darkness; those who refuse to believe in an after life. Even as on earth some people are obstinate and close their minds to spiritual truths, so they are obstinate in spirit and reject the fact of immortality. Such as these are unaware that they have passed on but imagine they are dreaming, and in this state often wander on the earthplane for years. Of these it truly can be said that "they are dead for a longe time."
"They will live again," is an oft-heard phrase. But in reality no one ever ceases to live. Forms and habitations change, but life, the eternal stream of consciousness, continues forever without interruption.
How did this state of affairs ever come about that men have so completely forgotten the nobleness of their origin and the grandeur of their destiny? Their plight can be compared to that of a wealthy man who has lost conscious knowledge of his identity, believes he is poor and lives like a pauper.
The ancients tell us that man's association with matters begins long before his advent into the physical body; that he does not suddenly "fall" into matter but by gradual, successive and insensible alterations. Pure spirit dwells originally among the fixed stars and first surrounds itself with a body composed of their essence before it becomes involved into a physical body. Then as it journeys through the various spheres envelops itself with ethereal matter
more and more gross, eventually descending into the earthly form it attracted.
It is during its pilgrimage into matter that the soul gradually forgets its heavenly home and its Divine Nature, and by the time it reaches earth dim indeed are memories of its former estate. If souls carried with them into the bodies they occupy all the knowledge they had acquired in Heaven, men would not differ in opinion as to the Deity and Divine Truths. But some forget more, and some less of that which they had learned prior to physical birth. And some forget so much they even deny the existence of the Creator and the immortality of the soul.
Fortunate are they who have knowledge of immortality when death enters the home, as eventually it does every home. When the grave opens up and seemingly swallows all that life holds dear, of what comfort is it to be told that the loved one is now eternally at rest, or forever asleep in the Lord? When hearts are breaking at the thought of farewell who can derive consolation from a desolate "perhaps" that in some remote time there may be a reunion? Contrast this pagan attitude towards death with that of the early Christians who rejoiced and gave thanks to God when one of their number had departed from this world.
It is not death but life which separates people. As our lives diverge we grow apart from friends and relatives, not physically but mystically. We are separated not by space or distance but by lack of affinity and similarity of tastes. Quite often, too, the soul on
earth finds itself in uncongenial surroundings. Quite often one member of a family feels alien and strange, and yet the path of duty is definite and responsibilities are great. So rather than wound others by breaking away, the soul prefers to live in an uncongenial atmosphere. In the land of spirit this is not necessary. The soul is attracted towards those with whom it is at home, with those for whom it has affinity. The way is quite clear; it is not decided by desire, but by the ability of the newcomer to adapt himself and give obedience to the laws.
Is the spirit world a place of realities or phantoms? The spirit world is as real and tangible to the spirit-body as the material world is to the physical body. It is the world of realities of which the earth world is the shadow, and wherein all things have' their eternal pattern.
Men rejoice at birth and weep at death; in reality they should do the reverse. Birth is death to the soul, while death is the soul's resurrection; and is not an occasion for mourning but for rejoicing that a soul has risen!
The gateway of death is not dark! It is the entrance into the most beautiful of countries! All the loved ones we knew long ago are waiting for us, for where there is love there is no separation. Death has no dominion over the immortal soul. Time never was when man was not; time never will be when man is not. Suns and systems will perishthe great universe will pass like a dream, yet man will still live.
Death is not the conqueror of man; man is the conqueror of death!
If we have not learned that one man's life
In all men lives again;
That each man's battle, fought alone,
Is won or lost for everyone
Then Christ hath lived in vain!
If we have not learned that death's no break
In life's unceasing chain,
That the work in one life well begun
In others is finished, by others is done
Then Christ hath died in vain!
If we have not learned of immortal life,
And a future free from pain,
The Kingdom of God in the heart of man,
And the living world on heaven's plan
Then Christ arose in vain!
Charlotte Perkins Gilman