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A Substitute for the Reincarnation Theory
(S285a: 1878)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An interesting note printed on page 43 of The Spiritualist (London) issue of 25 January 1878. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S285A.htm

     While having a sitting a few days since with that excellent trance medium, Mr. Fletcher, I was informed that in most cases the connection between a person and his guardian spirit is one of mutual advantage. With very few exceptions those who quit this world have not obtained from it all that it is intended to supply of intellectual and moral training, and until they have done this they are unable to quit the earth and set out on the path of purely spiritual advancement. In order to obtain such training it is necessary that they should attach themselves to some person with whom they are both physically and mentally in harmony, and through him obtain the new ideas and ever growing knowledge of the earth-life. To this person they impart, by mental impression, ideas and impulses connected with matters of which they may have a more extended knowledge. These impressions can be best communicated while the recipients are in a somewhat passive mental state, and I was much struck by the remark that while our first ideas and impulses are usually our own (as no impression can be given while our minds are actively engaged), our second thoughts on the matter are often those of our spirit guides, such thoughts appearing to come to us, we know not how, at a time when we had ceased to think actively on the subject. The well-known saying, "Second thoughts are best," may thus have a deep spiritual meaning. Of course, it is not to be supposed that all second thoughts have this origin. The more thought we give to a subject the more likely we are to arrive at correct conclusions; but how often, after having as we think settled a question satisfactorily, an idea occurs which we describe by saying, "It has just struck me that I had better do so-and-so," and we do it and find it for the best; though while ourselves earnestly thinking of the matter this particular course of action had quite escaped us.

     Now, if this intimate communion between a spirit and a man is as necessary to the former as it is beneficial to the latter, it may be described as a spiritual reincarnation by which the spirit is enabled to complete that preparation for a higher life which is, on the spiritual hypothesis, the sole explanation and justification of the existence of a material universe. And, further, if this spiritual reincarnation, the reality of which such ample proofs are given in the writings of every class of Spiritualists, does really serve the purpose of carrying on the earthly education of spirits, there can be no need for that actual material reincarnation of which fully one half the spirits who communicate with us profess their entire ignorance.

     I have little doubt that these ideas have been already better expressed by others, but they certainly struck me as being both suggestive and novel, and coming as they professed to do directly from a spirit-guide, they were very impressive.

     I may here add that my first sitting with Mr. Fletcher a few weeks ago carried to my mind a fuller conviction of the reality of spirit life than all the physical phenomena I have ever witnessed. There was no absolute test, but I obtained information and advice which I value greatly, and the whole of the communications were given in a form which could not have been obtained from my own mind, even though most of the actual facts were within my knowledge.

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