After a longer or shorter time there comes in each life a point where the

experiences which a spirit can gain from its present environment have been

exhausted, and life terminates in death.

Death may be sudden and seemingly unexpected, as for instance by

earthquake, upon the battle-field, or by accident, as we call it, but in

reality, death is never accidental or unforeseen by Higher Powers. Not a

falls to the ground without divine Will. There are along life's

path partings of the way, as it were; on one side the main line of life

continues onward, the other path leads into what we might call a blind

alley. If the man takes that path, it soon ends in death. We are here in

life for the sake of gaining experience and each life has a certain

harvest to reap. If we order our life in such a manner that we gain the

knowledge it is intended we should acquire, we continue in life, and

opportunities of different kinds constantly come our way. But if we

neglect them, and the life goes into paths which are not congruous to our

individual development it would be a waste of time to let us stay in such

environment. Therefore the Great and Wise Beings, Who are behind the scene

of evolution, terminate our life, that we may have a fresh start in a

different sphere of influence. The law of conservation of energy is not

confined to the Physical World, but operates in the spiritual realms also.

There is nothing in life that has not its purpose. We do wrong to rail

against circumstances, no matter how disagreeable, we should rather

endeavor to learn the lessons which are contained therein, that we may

live a long and useful life. Some one may object, and say: You are

inconsistent in your teachings. You say there is really no death, that we

go into a brighter existence, and that we have to learn other lessons

there in a different sphere of usefulness! Why then aim to live a long

life here?

It is very true that we make these claims, and they are perfectly

consistent with the other assertions just mentioned, but there are lessons

to be learned here which cannot be learned in the other worlds, and we

have to bring up this physical body through the useless years of

childhood, through hot and impulsive youth, to the ripeness of manhood or

womanhood, before it becomes of true spiritual use. The longer we live

after maturity has been attained, when we have commenced to look upon the

serious side of life and started to truly learn lessons which make for

soulgrowth, the more experience we shall gather and the richer our harvest

will be. Then, in a later existence, we shall be so much more advanced,

and capable of taking up tasks that would be impossible with less length

of life and breadth of activity. Besides, it is hard to die for the man in

the prime of life with a wife and growing family whom he loves; with

ambitions of greatness unfulfilled; with hosts of friends about him, and

with interests all centered upon the material plane of existence. It is

sad for the woman whose heart is bound up in home and the little ones she

has reared, to leave them, perhaps without anyone to care for them; to

know that they have to fight their way alone through the early years when

her tender care is needed, and perhaps to see those little ones abused,

and she unable to lift a hand, though her heart may bleed as freely as it

would in earth life. All these things are sad, and they bind the spirit

to earth for a much longer time than ordinarily, they hinder it from

reaping the experiences it should reap upon the other side of death, and

they make it desirable along with other reasons already mentioned to live

a long life before passing onwards.

The difference between those who pass out at a ripe old age, and one who

leaves this earth in the prime of life, may be illustrated by the manner

in which the seed clings to a fruit in an unripe state. A great deal of

force is necessary to tear the stone from a green peach; it has such a

tenacious hold upon the fruit that shreds of pulp adhere to it when

forcibly removed, so also the spirit clings to the flesh in middle life

and a certain part of its material interest remain and bind it to earth

after death. On the other hand, when a life has been lived to the full,

when the spirit has had time to realize its ambitions or to find out their

futility, when the duties of life have been performed and satisfaction

rests upon the brow of an aged man or woman; or when the life has been

misspent and the pangs of conscience have worked upon the man and shown

him his mistakes; when, in fact, the spirit has learned the lessons of

life, as it must have to come to old age; then it may be likened to the

seed of the ripe fruit which falls out clean, without a vestige of flesh

clinging thereto, at the moment the encasing pulp is opened. Therefore we

say, as before, that though there is a brighter existence in store for

those who have lived well, it is nevertheless best to live a long life and

to live it to the fullest extent possible.

We also maintain, that no matter what may be the circumstances of a man's

death, it is not accidental; it has either been brought about by his own

neglect to embrace opportunities of growth, or else life has been lived to

the ultimate possible. There is one exception to that rule, and that is

due to man's exercise of his divine prerogative of interference. If we

lived according to schedule, if we all assimilated the experiences

designed for our growth by the Creative Powers, we should live to the

ultimate length, but we ourselves usually shorten our lives by not

taking advantage of opportunities, and it also happens that other men

may shorten our lives and cut them off as suddenly as the so-called

accident whereby the divine rulers terminate our life here. In other

words, murder, or fatal accidents brought about by human

carelessness, are in reality the only termination to life not planned by

invisible leaders of humanity. No one is ever compelled to do murder or

other evil, or there could not come to them a just retribution for their

acts. The Christ said that evil must come but woe unto him by whom it

cometh, and to harmonize that with the law of divine justice: "as a man

soweth, so shall he also reap," there must at least be absolute free will

in respect to evil acts.

There are also cases where a person lives such a full and good life of

such vast benefit to humanity and to himself, that his days are lengthened

beyond the ultimate, as they are shortened by neglect, but such cases are

of course too few to allow of their being dwelt upon at length.

Where death is not sudden as in the case of accidents, but occurs at home

after an illness, quietly and peacefully, dying persons usually experience

a falling upon them as of a pall of great darkness shortly before

termination of life. Many pass out from the body under that condition, and

do not see the light again until they have entered the super-physical

realms. There are many other cases however, where the darkness lifts

before the final release from the body. Then the dying person views both

worlds at once, and is cognizant of the presence of both dead and living

friends. Under such circumstances it very often happens that a mother sees

some of her children who have gone before, and she will exclaim joyously:

Oh, there is Johnny standing at the foot of my bed; my but hasn't he

grown! The living relatives may feel shocked and uneasy, thinking the

mother suffering from hallucinations, while in reality she is more

clear-sighted than they; she perceives those who have passed beyond the

veil who have come to greet and help her to make herself at home in the

new world she is entering.

Each human being is an individual, separate and apart from all others, and

as experiences in the life of each differ from those of all others in the

interval from the cradle to the grave, so we may also reasonably infer

that the experiences of each spirit vary from those of every other spirit

when it passes through the gates of birth and death. We print what

purports to be a spirit message communicated by the late Professor James

of Harvard at the Boston spirit temple, and in which he describes

sensations which he felt when passing through the gate of death. We do not

vouch for its authenticity as we have not investigated the matter


Professor James had promised to communicate after death with his friends

in this life, and the whole world of psychic research was and still is on

watch for a word from him. Several mediums have claimed that Professor

James has communicated through them, but the most remarkable are those

given through the Boston spirit temple as follows:

"And this is death, only to fall asleep, only to awaken in the

morning and to know that all is well. I am not dead, only arisen.


"I only know that I experienced a great shock through my entire

system, as if some mighty bond had been rent asunder. For a moment

I was dazed and lost consciousness. When I awakened I found myself

standing beside the old body which had served me faithfully and

well. To say that I was surprised would only inadequately express

the sensation that thrilled my very being, and I realized that

some wonderful change had taken place. Suddenly I became conscious

that my body was surrounded by many of my friends, and an

uncontrollable desire took possession of me to speak and touch

them that they might know that I still lived. Drawing a little

nearer to that which was so like and yet unlike myself, I

stretched forth my hand and touched them, but they heeded me not."


"Then it was that the full significance of the great change that

had taken place flashed upon my newly awakened senses; then it was

that I realized that an impenetrable barrier separated me from my

loved ones on earth, and that this great change which had taken

place was indeed death. A sense of weariness and longing for rest

took possession of me. I seemed to be transported through space,

and I lost consciousness, to awaken in a land so different and yet

so similar to the one which I had lately left. It was not possible

for me to describe my sensations when I again regained

consciousness and realized that, though dead, I was still alive.

"When I first became conscious of my new environment I was resting

in a beautiful grove, and was realizing as never before what it

was to be at peace with myself and all the world."


"I know that only with the greatest difficulty shall I be enabled

to express to you my sensations when I fully realized that I had

awakened to a new life. All was still, no sound broke the silence.

Darkness had surrounded me. In fact, I seemed to be enveloped in a

heavy mist, beyond which my gaze could not penetrate. Soon in the

distance I discerned a faint glimmer of light, which slowly

approached me, and then, to my wonder and joy, I beheld the face

of her who had been my guiding star in the early days of my earth


One of the saddest sights witnessed by the seer at a death-bed is the

tortures to which we often subject our dying friends on account of

ignorance of how to care for them in that condition. We have a science of

birth; obstetricians who have been trained for years in their profession

and have developed a wonderful skill, assist the little stranger into this

world. We have also trained nurses attendant upon mother and child, the

ingenuity of brilliant minds is focused upon the problem of how to make

maternity easier, neither pains nor money are spared in these beneficent

efforts for one whom we have never seen, but when the friend of a

lifetime, the man who has served his kind well and nobly in profession,

state, or church, is to leave the scene of his labors for a new field of

activity, when the woman--who has labored to no less good purpose in

bringing up a family to take its part in the world's work--has to leave

that home and family, when one whom we have loved all our lives is about

to bid us the final farewell, we stand by utterly at a loss how to help;

perhaps we even do the very things most detrimental to the comfort and

welfare of the departing one.

Probably there is no form of torture more commonly inflicted upon the

dying than that which is caused by administering stimulants. Such potions

have the effect of drawing a departing spirit into its body with the force

of a catapult, to remain and to suffer for sometime longer. Investigators

of conditions beyond have heard many complaints of such treatment. When it

is seen that death must inevitably ensue, let not selfish desire to keep a

departing spirit a little longer prompt us to inflict such tortures upon

it. The death chamber should be a place of the utmost quiet, a place of

peace and of prayer, for at that time, and for three and one-half days

after the last breath, the spirit is passing through a Gethsemane and

needs all the assistance that can be given. The value of the life that has

just been passed depends greatly upon conditions which then prevail about

the body; yes even the conditions of its future life are influenced by our

attitude during that time, so that if ever we were our brother's keeper in

life, we are a thousand times more so at death.

Post-mortem examinations, embalming and cremation during the period

mentioned, not only disturb the passing spirit mentally, but are

productive of a certain amount of pain, for there is still a slight

connection with the discarded vehicle. If sanitary laws require us to

prevent decomposition while thus keeping the body for cremation, it may be

packed in ice till the three and one-half days have passed. After that

time the spirit will not suffer, no matter what happens to the body.

The Panorama of a Past Life.

No matter how long we may keep the spirit from passing out however, at

last there will come a time when no stimulant can hold it and the last

breath is drawn. Then the silver cord, of which the Bible speaks, and

which holds the higher and the lower vehicles together, snaps in the heart

and causes that organ to stop. That rupture releases the vital body, and

that with the desire body and mind float above the visible body for from

one to three and one-half days while the spirit is engaged in reviewing

the past life, an exceedingly important part of its post-mortem

experience. Upon that review depends its whole existence from death to a

new birth.

The question may arise in the student's mind: How can we review our past

life from the cradle to the grave when we do not even remember what we did

a month ago, and to form a proper basis for our future life, this record

ought to be very accurate, but even the best memory is faulty? When we

understand the difference between the conscious and sub-conscious memory

and the manner in which the latter operates, the difficulty vanishes. This

difference and the manner in which the sub-conscious memory keeps an

accurate record of our life experiences may be best understood by an

illustration, as follows: When we go into a field and view the surrounding

landscape, vibrations in the ether carry to us a picture of everything

within the range of our vision. It is as sad as it is true however, that

"we have eyes and see not," as the Savior said. These vibrations impinge

upon the retina of our eyes, even to the very smallest details, but they

usually do not penetrate to our consciousness, and therefore are not

remembered. Even the most powerful impressions fade in course of time so

that we cannot call them back at will when they are stored in our

conscious memory.

When a photographer goes afield with his camera the results which he

obtains are different. The ether vibrations emanating from all things upon

which his camera is focused, transmit to the sensitive plate an impression

of the landscape true to the minutest detail, and, mark this well, this

true and accurate picture is in no wise dependent upon whether the

photographer is observant or not. It will remain upon the plate and may be

reproduced under proper conditions. Such is the subconscious memory, and

it is generated automatically by each of us during every moment of time,

independently of our volition, in the following manner.

From the first breath which we draw after birth to our last dying gasp, we

inspire air which is charged with pictures of our surroundings, and the

same ether which carries that picture to the retina of our eye, is inhaled

into our lungs where it enters the blood. Thus it reaches the heart in due

time. In the left ventricle of that organ, near the apex, there is one

little atom which is particularly sensitized, and which remains in the

body all through life. It differs in this respect from all other atoms

which come and go, for it is the particular property of God, and of a

certain spirit. This atom may be called the book of the Recording Angel,

for as the blood passes through the heart, cycle after cycle, the pictures

of our good and evil acts are inscribed thereon to the minutest detail.

This record may be called the sub-conscious memory. It forms the basis of

our future life when reproduced as a panorama just subsequent to death. By

removal of the seed atom--which corresponds to the sensitized plate in a

camera,--the reflecting ether of the vital body serves as a focus, and as

the life unrolls slowly backwards from death to birth the pictures thereof

are etched into the desire body which will be our vehicle during our

sojourn in purgatory and the first heaven where evil is eradicated and

good assimilated, so that in a future life the former may serve as

conscience to withhold the man from repeating mistakes of the past, and

the latter will spur us to greater good.

A phenomenon similar to the panorama of life usually takes place when a

person is drowning. People who have been resuscitated speak of having seen

their whole life in a flash. That is because under such conditions the

vital body also leaves the dense body. Of course there is no rupture of

the silver cord, or life could not be restored. Unconsciousness follows

quickly in drowning, while in the usual post-mortem review the

consciousness continues until the vital body collapses in the same manner

that it does when we go to sleep. Then consciousness ceases for a while

and the panorama is terminated. Therefore also the time occupied by the

panorama varies with different persons, according to whether the vital

body was strong and healthy, or had become thin and emaciated by

protracted illness. The longer the time spent in review, and the more

quiet and peaceful the surroundings, the deeper will be the etching which

is made in the desire body. As already said, that has a most important and

far reaching effect, for then the sufferings which the spirit will realize

in purgatory on account of bad habits and misdeeds will be much more keen

than if there is only a slight impression, and in a future life the still

small voice of conscience will warn so much more insistently against

mistakes which caused sufferings in the past.

When conditions are such at the time of death that the spirit is disturbed

by outside conditions, for instance the din and turmoil of a battle, the

harrowing conditions of an accident or the hysterical wailings of

relatives, the distraction prevents it from realizing an appropriate depth

in the etching upon the desire body. Consequently its post-mortem

existence becomes vague and insipid, the spirit does not harvest fruits of

experience as it should have done had it passed out of the body in peace

and under normal conditions. It would therefore lack incentive to good in

a future life, and miss the warning against evil which a deep etching of

the panorama of life would have given. Thus its growth would be retarded

in a very marked degree, but the beneficent powers in charge of evolution

take certain steps to compensate for our ignorant treatment of the dying

and other untoward circumstances mentioned. What these steps are, we shall

discuss when considering the life of children in heaven, for the present

let it be sufficient to say that in God's kingdom every evil is always

transmuted to a greater good though the process may not be at once