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A Wanderer in the Sprit Lands, by Franchezzo (A. Farnese), [1896], at

CHAPTER XV.--A New Expedition Proposed.

When I returned to the spirit land, my father went with me and we spent a long time together. In the course of our conversation he told me that an expedition was about to be sent from this sphere to work as "Rescuers" in the lowest sphere of all, a sphere below any I had yet seen and which was in truth the hell believed in by the church. How long the expedition would be absent was not known, but a certain work had to be accomplished, and like an invading army we would remain till we had attained our object.

My Eastern guide advised me to join this band of workers, and as my father had in earth life sent his sons forth to fight for their beloved country, so did he now wish me to go forth with this army of soldiers in the cause of Truth and Light and Hope. To fight successfully against these powers of evil, it was necessary to be beyond the temptations of the earth plane and lower spheres, and to help the unhappy ones by a visible help which they could see and take hold of; one must not belong to the higher spheres, for spirits more advanced than the Brothers of Hope in this, the first circle of the second sphere, would be quite invisible to the unhappy ones who could neither see nor hear them. Also in entering these lowest spheres we would, in order to be visible, have to clothe ourselves in a certain portion of their material elements, and this a more advanced spirit could not do. So that although unseen helpers from the higher spheres would accompany the expedition to protect and assist us, they would be invisible alike to ourselves and those we had come to help.

Those who were to go upon this expedition with me were similar to myself in disposition, and it was felt that we would all learn much from seeing to what our passionate feelings would have sunk us, had we indulged in them. At the same time we would be able to rescue from those dark spheres many poor repentant souls. Those whom we rescued would be taken to where I had been on my first passing over from earth life, where there were numerous institutions specially set apart for such poor spirits, presided over and attended by spirits who had themselves been rescued from the Kingdoms of Hell and who were therefore best fitted to aid these poor wanderers.

Besides the Brothers of Hope from the Land of Dawn, there were other similar bands from other brotherhoods always being sent down to the dark spheres, such expeditions being, in fact, part of the great system of help for sinners ever being carried on in the name of the Eternal Father of all, who dooms none of his children to an eternity of misery.

A number of friends would accompany us a part of our journey, and our expedition would be commanded by a leader who had himself been rescued from the dark spheres and who knew their especial dangers.

As we would pass through the earth plane and lower spheres we would see them in a way we had not done before, and my Eastern guide said he would send one of his pupils to accompany me as far as the lowest sphere, in order that he might explain to me and make visible some of the mysteries of the astral plane which we would see as we passed. Hassein (as the student was named) was studying those mysteries of nature which have been classed under the name of magic and as such deemed evil, whereas it is their abuse only which is evil. A more extended intelligent knowledge of them would tend to prevent many existing evils and counteract some of those evil powers brought to bear upon man, often very injuriously, in his present ignorance. This student spirit had been a Persian and a follower of Zoroaster in his earth life, as Ahrinziman himself had been, and they belonged still to that school of thought of which Zoroaster was the great exponent.

"In the spirit world," said Ahrinziman, "there are a great number of different schools of thought, all containing the great fundamental eternal truths of nature, but each differing in many minor details, and also as to how these great truths should be applied for the advancement of the soul; they likewise differ as to how their respective theories will work out, and the conclusions to be drawn from the undoubted knowledge they possess, when it is applied to subjects upon which they have no certain knowledge and which are still with them as with those on earth, the subject of speculation, theory, and discussion. It is a mistake to suppose that in the spirit world of our planet there is any absolute knowledge which can explain all the great mysteries of Creation, the why and wherefore of our being, the existence of so much evil mixed with the good, or the nature of the soul and how it comes from God.

"The waves of truth are continually flowing from the great thought centers of the Universe, and are transmitted to earth through chains of spirit intelligences, but each spirit can only transmit such portions of truth as his development has enabled him to understand, and each mortal can only receive as much knowledge as his intellectual faculties are able to assimilate and comprehend.

"Neither spirits nor mortals can know everything, and spirits can only give you what are the teachings which their own particular schools of thought and advanced teachers give as their explanations. Beyond this they cannot go, for beyond this they do not themselves know; there is no more absolute certainty in the spirit world than on earth, and those who assert that they have the true and only explanation of these great mysteries are giving you merely what they have been taught by more advanced spirits, who, with all due deference to them, are no more entitled to speak absolutely than the most advanced teachers of some other school. I assert with knowledge not my own, but from another who is indeed regarded in the spirit world as a leader of most advanced thought, that it is in no way possible to give a final answer to or explanation of subjects which are beyond the powers of any spirit of our entire solar system to solve, and still more beyond those of the spirits of our earth spheres. In these subjects and their explanation are involved and required a knowledge of the limits of the universe itself which has no limits, and the nature of that Supreme Being of whom no man or spirit can know the nature, save in so far as we can grasp the great truth that he is Infinite Spirit, limitless in all senses, Unknowable and Unknown.

"Let men and spirits, then, argue or explain, they can only teach you to the limits of their own knowledge and beyond that again are limits none can reach. How can any pretend to show you the ultimate end of that which has no end, or sound the great depths of an infinite thought which has no bottom? Thought is as eternal as life and as fathomless. Spirit is infinite and all-pervading. God is in all and over and above all, yet none know his nature nor what manner of essense he is of, save that he is in everything and everywhere. The mind of man must pause on the very threshold of his inquiries, appalled by the sense of his own littleness, and the most he can do is to learn humbly and study cautiously, that each step be assured before he essays again to climb. The most lofty, the most daring minds cannot grasp all at once, and can man on earth hope that all can be explained to him with his limited range of vision, when the most advanced minds in the spirit world are ever being checked in their explorations after truth by the sense of their limited powers?"

Next: Chapter XVI.--Clairvoyance--The Journey Begun