July 5th, 1915.
Received by James Padgett
I am your friend and brother in love and desire for the kingdom. I am the spirit of Henry Ward Beecher.
I live in the seventh sphere where your father now is, and, because of having met him there, I come to you to-night to write for a short time. He has told me of you and how easily you receive the communications of the spirits, and I want to let you know that, even though I am no longer the same as when on earth, I still have the desire to make known to men the thoughts that arise in me concerning God and the relation of men to Him and His kingdom. I am now a believer in Jesus as I never was on earth, and it may surprise you to know that when on earth, no matter what I may have preached to my people, yet, in my heart, I looked on Jesus as a mere man of the Jews, and not very different from others of the great reformers who had lived and taught on earth the moral truths which tended to make men better and caused them to live more correct and righteous lives.
But, since I have been in the spirit world and have had the experiences which my life here has given me, and have found the way to God's Divine Love and to His Kingdom, I have learned and now know that Jesus was more than a mere reformer. He was not only a good and just teacher, and lived the life of such, but he was the true son of God, and His messenger in bringing to the world the truths of immortality and the Divine Love of the Father, and the way to obtain it. He was truly the Way and the Truth and the Life as no other teacher before him ever was.
I know it is taught, and I believed it when on earth, that many religions and pagan teachers asserted, and tried to teach to mankind the immortality of the soul, and, as men understood the meaning of the word immortality, these teachings were more or less satisfactory. But I now see that their conception of immortality was merely a continuity of life after what is called death. How different the meaning as thus taught and the true meaning of the word! Immortality means so much more than a mere continuation of life. It means not only a continuation of life, but a life that has in it the Divine Love or Essence of the Father which makes the spirit who has that Love a Divinity itself, and not the subject of death of any kind. No mere spirit has this immortality just because it is continuing to live in the spirit world, and cannot conceive that by any possibility that continuity of life can ever be arrested or ended. No such spirit knows that to be true, because never has it been demonstrated, as a fact, and cannot be until eternity has come to an end. Such spirit is no different in its essence and potentialities from what it was when enfolded in the flesh, and has no greater reason for believing that it is immortal than it had when on earth.
A speculation and a proven fact are two entirely different things, yet with some spirits, as well as with men, speculation becomes almost as much a certainty as does a fact demonstrated. But there is no justification for relying upon conclusions drawn from mere speculation, and the spirit or man who does, may, in the great workings of eternity, find himself not only mistaken but surprised beyond all conception at what eventualities such workings may bring forth.
So, I say, that before the coming of Jesus, immortality had not been brought to light and could not have been, because for mankind it did not exist.
I was as much surprised when I learned the true meaning of the word as men will be who may read this communication or hear its import. The hope of Socrates or of Plato or of Pythagoras was only a hope fortified by the reasonings of great minds and supplemented by much development of soul qualities. But when all is said it was only hope - knowledge was wanting. And even if they had realized that the spirits of men departed did return and communicate to them that there was no such thing as the death of the spirit or soul; yet, such experiences did not prove to them anything beyond the fact that life was continuous for the time being.
As change is the law in the spirit world as well as on earth, they could not, with the certainty of knowledge, say there might not be some change in the spirit world that would break or set aside the continuity of existence.
Take the young child, when its intellect has not sufficiently developed to understand that there is such a thing as the death of the physical body, and it believes, if it thinks at all, that it will continue to live forever on earth. And so with with these philosophers who had the hope of a future continuous life and with the spirits who know that there is a continuous life - living after death - they think that, that living must be the fixed state, and must of necessity continue forever.
As I say, it has not been demonstrated that such life will continue forever; yet, on the other hand, it has not been shown that it will not, and hence, no spirit can say that it is immortal, unless it partakes of the Divine Essence, and no wise philosopher or religious teacher, prior to the coming of Jesus could be said to have brought immortality to light. While hope and speculation exist as the children of desire, yet knowledge is wanting and certainty is not.
The immortality then that men believed in, and comforted themselves with believing in, was the immortality that hope created and speculation proved; and the experiences of men, in communicating with the spirits, showed that death had not annihilated the individual. But hope and speculation and experience did not create knowledge.
When Jesus came, he brought with him, not only hope but knowledge of the truth. Not many men have comprehended it, or understood the reason or foundation for such knowledge, and the reasoning faculties of men were not sufficient to show the true reasons of such knowledge. And strange as it may seem, the students and commentators of the Bible have never disclosed the true foundation upon which this knowledge exists.
I confess, that in my life, while a great student of the Bible, I never comprehended the true meaning of how, or in what way, Jesus brought immortality to light. I thought, as many others do now that his death and resurrection were the things that showed to mankind the reality of immortality. But these things showed no more, as I now see, than did the numerous instances recorded in the Old Testament and in the secular writings of the philosophers and adepts of India and Egypt that, there was an existence after so-called death.
And many who dispute the fact that Jesus brought immortality to light, base their arguments on these other facts: that he was only one of many who had died and afterwards came to mortals and showed that they still lived as spirits. So I say, and as I believed not while on earth, the mere fact of Jesus' resurrection does not prove immortality.
Then what have I learned immortality to be since I have been in the spirit world? My reasoning powers are much greater now than when on earth; my perceptive faculties have become more keen and my experience in the laws of the spirit world have given me great knowledge; but all these would not of themselves have given me the knowledge of immortality, had not Jesus himself explained it to me and demonstrated it by his own condition and that of many spirits in the higher spheres. Now I am, because of my present soul development, the possessor of that knowledge.
Only the Father is Immortal, and only those to whom He gives His Attributes of Immortality, can become Immortal as He is. Love is the great principle of Immortality, and by this I mean the Divine Love of the Father and not the natural love of the creature; and he who possesses this Divine Love becomes as it were, a part of It, or It becomes a part of him, and in Its operations makes him like unto the Father. In other words, a spirit who possesses this Divine Love becomes a part of Divinity itself, and, consequently, Immortal, and there is no possibility of his ever becoming deprived of this element of Divinity.
No spirit is immortal when there is any possibility of its being deprived of that immortality. Even God himself, if He could be deprived of that great quality, would not be immortal. And just as it is impossible to take from the Father this great attribute, so is it impossible for the spirit, who has once obtained this Divine Love of the Father, to lose its immortality.
So you see, immortality comes to a spirit only with the possession of the Divine Love, and that Love is not bestowed upon every spirit, but only on those who seek for it in the way shown to mankind by Jesus.
Death does not bring to the mortal Immortality, and because his spirit survives his death, it does not follow that Immortality becomes a part of his existence as a spirit.
So I say, that when Jesus brought to the world the knowledge of the bestowal of this Divine Love of the Father upon mortals under certain conditions, and also showed mortals the Way in which that Great Gift might be obtained, he brought to light Immortality and Life, and before him had no man or spirit brought these Great Gifts to light.
I am now a partaker, to a certain extent, of the Divine Love, and have before me the possibility of obtaining it to its fullest extent as promised by the Master to all who may seek for it in truth and with faith.
I did not intend to write so long a message at this time, but as I am enthusiastic on this subject, I find that I have trespassed upon your time and kindness longer than I realized.
So thanking you for your patience I will stop now, but hope that I may have the privilege of coming again at some time and writing. With my kind regards, I am
Very truly yours,
Henry Ward Beecher