From the book Beyond the Vail
Dictated by visible full-form spirit materializations
through the mediumship of William W. Aber
excerpts by the great atheistic philosopher Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll
And, suddenly, after Pierpont was gone away, one stood before us apparently in deep grief, gloom, and sorrow; breathing heavily, bosom heaving, and in tone of voice as from the concentrated moaning of a thousand bereft homes, and we also wept as the spirit said:
I am one of whom you have read and heard much; but when I was called, I was not so well versed in the geography of the beautiful world and country and people of my immortal home as I should have been. No, oh, no! While on earth I attended many séances, but under such cover as to prevent my being able to solve the matter.
No, the great and brave Ingersoll, as you have heard, could face the absurdities of theologians, to the applause of all opponents thereto, but was not brave enough to stand for the full truth in the face of a whole frowning world; yet, when it was mine to go, I was made to realize that the supreme hour had arrived, and beautiful visions of most beautiful things and beings presaged the glorious dawning, as the things of earth and sorrowing of loved ones in the mortal faded away.
But this little interview with you, though a glorious privilege, brings to me so vividly memories of the deep sorrows of those remaining ones, that I must wait a little; and hoping to be so privileged as to meet you again, and through you, give to your world some portrayal of the glorious realizations, to an expanded mind, on passing from the mortal to the immortal side of life.
Here the spirit seemed unable to longer hold his form, but gradually faded away from our sight.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Comes now a spirit form, standing out on the floor in front of the circle, and addresses the secretary, saying:
How do you do, sir?
Secretary: Fairly well, so far as I know; and how is it with yourself?
Spirit: This is a fair country where I am now, and I am fast becoming assimilated and reconciled to my new conditions.
''Do you recognize my voice, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary: No, sir. 'Your form is not so clear in expression nor your vocalization so clearly articulate as that I can identify you in that way. But if you go right on with your discourse, perhaps I shall be able to know you by what you may say.
Spirit: Well, sir, to proceed: I may say that I did know this much of Spiritualism, that there were certain phenomena not accounted for; but so sure was I that at some time it would all be accounted for independently of any spiritual basis that I did not care to be at the pains to know. Now of course, I do know, but am not able in this way to articulate well, nor to hold my form long at a time through which to reach you; I must therefore defer relating at any great length my experiences during my short stay in spirit life.
I may say, however, that had I known the truth even as I now know it, I would have spoken differently.
I did not wish to endorse Spiritualism, as an investigation might have compelled me to do; but I thought I could do more good otherwise.
I am here now and I am here to stay and to work.
Now I realize that future life is a fact and that it is eternal. I realize, too, that spirit life or the spirit land, as some call it, is more grand than any condition of earth life. It is a better land than any land of earth can possibly be; and I am now glad that it is real and I feel so glad to be here. And I hope to meet you as you come to this side of life.
I cannot yet speak as I used to, but hope to be able before long to give you a lengthy discourse, though perhaps I could better express myself to you in writing.
Already during my short stay here I have met many dark spirits as well as also many bright ones.
I was not, in general, an investigator while in the mortal, but knew theological or orthodox Christianity to be a mere myth. I did all I could in my way to enlighten the people.
The spirit had not proceeded far in his talk until the circle clearly recognized him as Colonel R. G. Ingersoll.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Stood to our view, and has made such wonderful advance in vocalization that the circle recognized him so soon as he began to speak. In good, oral tones and oratorical style he said:
I find friends, that there is no death, no such thing as death. In this regard I was very much mistaken.
Although I sometimes hoped for future life and sometimes hoped that spirit return might be true, yet the predominance of my convictions was that death ended all. Then I did not know; but now I do know that dissolution is but unfettering the man, and opening to him the gateway of a more realistic existence than any person ever experienced in the mortal; and as the gateway stands ajar, I can now see for myself the morning beams of an endless fruition.
On the other hand, I am glad that I made the issues I did, in regard to those so-called orthodox theological notions and teachings.
I honestly made the issues to the world in my lectures and writings. I earnestly believed the whole business erroneous, and a curse to the human race; and I now find that I made the issues aright, and know that what I said and wrote concerning theological dogmas is true, and that the creedal preaching of the whole sacerdotal world is false.
Although many do not nor will endorse these positions, nevertheless I do not care, for I know now that common theology is absolutely erroneous from bottom to top. And when I saw so much deception played upon the people and false theological notions taught them, my soul yearned to try to counteract, to uproot the evil, and I honestly labored to that end; and now I can reach out in any direction to take by the hand any laborer in that same field.
I am here to say to you and to your world that I am now glad of my change. My work was done on earth, and to a great extent, the talents placed in my keeping have been advantageously employed, and for many ages will return a handsome profit to help me along my endless journey.
Friends, I now see that thousands of children come over here out of those false religious relations and teachings, with their little souls poisoned all through; and even aged people, and people of all ages, arrive on these shores almost famished from a wasted religious life; and it is to be mine to take these waifs by the hand and lead them into the beautiful gardens of self-dependent souls.
And now one recognized as Colonel Ingersoll spoke in rather feeble tones, as though his vocal apparatus were not well made up, or else some hindering prevented good oral speech; but nevertheless the spirit did talk for a little time, saying:
I have been with you before. I am happy to see you so interested in this cause for the enlightenment of those of earth who wish to learn.
It has been said of me that I was a bad man, that the influence of my work and writings was bad, tending toward degradation, and that neither myself nor my books should be permitted to exist on the earth.
Now friends, if you examine my books, you will find nothing in them only what is elevating. Nor in my lectures would you find anything but a constant effort to enlighten the people.
It is also held that because I would not say I was a Spiritualist I was in opposition to it. Not so, friends.
I felt that before any great reform could come to the people, the galling chains of religious superstition should be broken, and that was my work; and that if I should freely turn to Spiritualism before the way was cleared, the people would not hear me.
While I hoped and even believed that future life was being proven to be a fact, yet I now feel that I rightly sensed what work I should do on earth; and I feel rewarded that to a good degree my efforts were efficacious, and that I set forward the work and so firmly planted it that it will work its own way along.
Now friends, I did not disbelieve Spiritualism, but I had not found the proof to my mind of the fact of future life. Now, however, I know that though past the ordeal of death, I still live and have my being in perfect continuance of conscious identity, and I can now bring the proof, which I could not before transition, and I have learned what I could not possibly have learned while in the body.
Friends, when your worn-out bodies be resting beneath the sod, it will be pleasant to know that none can truthfully say otherwise than 'That is the grave of one who never harmed anybody while living,' and also to know and feel that your life-work has been for the good of all; and to hear your friends say over here, as they meet you with happy greeting, 'My soul feels glad that you, my friend, did unselfishly help me along.'
When Beecher had entirely returned to the invisible condition, a form came from the cabinet to where Beecher had stood to view of the circle, and after deliberately scanning the circle, began speaking in a very careful, deliberate, and rhetorical manner, saying:
This is not so large an audience as I have spoken to, but sometimes a small audience comprehends better than a large one.
During my short stay in this beautiful country, I have met a great many who had reached this fair land before I came, and some who came since my arrival.
As beautiful as this glorious world is, it is darkness and gloom to those whose spiritual discernment is but rudimental. The blind man beholds not the glorious sunshine, nor do deaf ears hear the enchanting music of aerial songsters. Catarrhal olfactories do not discern the sweet aromas of gardens of June roses.
The Hell Predicted Not Found
Many of those whom I have met predicted a hell and frowns of an offended God for me.
But although I have made a search, somewhat exhaustive, I fail so far to find either. And many who had a hell fixed up for me are themselves in darker conditions than I ever experienced.
Takes up Beecher's lamentation for the children.
I, too, have great love for children. Your children should be taught MORALS by EXAMPLE as well as by precept.
Do right yourselves and soon your children will be better.
And when your country and your world become civilized, your children will have better conditions in which to grow better.
Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll
In fairly good vocalization and with a good degree of eloquence, said:
'Friends, do you realize that you are creating a great disturbance, that is even entering the orthodox fold? You are creating a great discussion of the work of your little hamlet. You cannot comprehend what work you have already done. You cannot find out the magnitude of the work you are doing until you pass the portals. For that time coming your reward is waiting, and of such a glorious reward as you cannot now even dream.
Then I would exhort you, as faithful servants: Work diligently on. We want the world to know that they need not get down on their knees to any imaginary mythical God and ask of such God to notice and protect this little one. We want them to learn that when they supplicate any God to have the little ones grow to manhood or to womanhood clear of the dangers along the way, they are talking to one who is not there.
But I have found out that there are spirits who are able, in many instants, to answer prayer. Ask their protecting care. It opens up a sympathy between the suppliant and spirit condition that often enables those in spirit life to bring an influent to bear that is helpful, that is beneficial, and often is an answer. And if the world knew the truth: whom to ask, what to ask, and how to approach the denizens of spirit life in suppliant, they would receive a thousand-fold more blessings.
But the religious tenets of your world are continually deceiving its inhabitants, or at least very many of them. And if they only could be led to understand that there is no prayer-answering power other than human spirits in and out of the mortal body, and that there is no such being as they call God, your world would sooner get on the plane of spirituality that recognizes man as one universal brotherhood of certain inalienable natural rights to equal privileges.
Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll
Presented himself in the condition of visibility at the point where the vocalizers now usually stand and began speaking in rather good rhetorical manner, increasing in vigor and earnestness of manner and utterance to nearly his normal while in the mortal, saying:
Good-evening, friends. This kind of place suits me very well, and whenever conditions permit me to properly do so, I shall be glad to embrace the opportunity of being one in your visible presence.
People did not class me as believing in Spiritualism; nevertheless what I taught was mostly, so far as I taught„ the same as Spiritualism teaches.
I tried to teach that they of the popular churches are on the wrong road, the road leading away from the truth. That they are embracing an injurious delusion.
I find I did a great deal of good. My name, my reputation goes out that I was a good man, because I was seen to live somewhat a moral life, because it was seen that I tried to live an honest life and tried to help my fellow-man.
All my disposition now is to endeavor to work for humanity, for out of my earth life I came to this side with a good, healthy spirituality, and I now see that my course was in direct line with Spiritualism. I felt that the people are blinded and kept in superstitious ignorance from false teaching.
I feel sorry now for those who, from such teaching, are kept in ignorance and are led to believe in that man they call God—one whom they never saw. I saw how this great theological delusion is bearing down the humanity of men and women. I saw how this great falsehood is made to usurp the very fountain of truth itself. I felt then and I feel now that this delusion is one of the greatest hindrances to a general humanitarian elevation. I sought then and seek now to break the chains used by this mythical idol to bind down in serfdom the very souls of men and women. And therefore I am at work right along the same lines as I did on earth, for amelioration of the children of earth, by the breaking up and destruction of false gods and the uprooting of idolatry.
The spirit Colonel R. G. Ingersoll, standing in the condition of visibility to the circle, spoke in manner and volume of voice very much as while in the mortal, saying:
Good-evening, friends. To think that God Almighty gave a prescription for one, and another took it, and that one was sent to an endless hell for taking that liniment by mistake. A nice God that!
And the poor woman has born unto her household innocent babes, and they too must languish in endless hell because of the mistaken liniment. A glorious God idea that!
But long afterward God made and prescribed an antidote for the original bite of this venomous serpent, and all babes were healed that looked upon and believed in this box of redemption salve and all babes could very easily understand and believe in the redemption liniment, and this would produce universal salvation if all would die while little babes, but some of them do not die while they are little babes, but live on, being bright little ones, learning very fast. Temptation liniment is placed all about them, and they learn what they see and hear. The little souls take in the prescriptions set before them, whether true or false. They cannot help what they see nor avoid what they hear. The medicine, good or bad, for their souls, is forced upon the childhood and later, and the soul grows into shape according to the prescriptions forced upon it both before and after birth, and you have just the kind of men and women that the substance of the prescriptions must necessarily make. Therefore many souls are very crooked and liable to an endless hell for having crooked souls not of their own choosing.
If you would not have the little one grow up imbued with the war spirit, do not feed its soul on that kind of liniment: whipping it, beating it, cursing it, swearing before it. If you hate it, it will learn to hate you, and perhaps wander away from home.
But if a little one does wrong, you forgive it, tenderly call it to you, take it in your arms, gently caress it, let its little head press softly on your bosom where it can hear your heart slowly, steadily beating your life away. There the little one sweetly slumbers. No sobs and disturbing dreams because of a father's cruel, cold-hearted treatment. See that sweet smile on the little sleeper's cheeks—some beautiful dream!
It matters not how low my children go down, they know there is one to whom they can flee. They know they are welcome to a father's arms. They know that father will not cast them away from his heart, from his bounty, be that large or small.
Remember that your children will lie if you do. Remember that if you do lie to them, they find it out earlier than you are aware. And oh, friends, remember, too, that if you treat the little ones kindly, tenderly, forgivingly, for doing wrongfully after your own or some other's pattern set before them, they will respect you, will think it over, and some time be benefited. And when away from home will dream and sing of home, sweet home. And no greater heaven on earth than to visit the old home once more before kind parents go hence. Let the little ones be thus treated, and wherever they be they will always remember there is a friend at the old home; and instead of war and hate, peace for all the world will be the song of coming generations.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Said to the secretary: You have some small mistake in your report of my little speech the other evening. Then the spirit stated the errors in full, which were three, but in compiling that speech, found beginning at paragraph 827, the corrections were made, so that the speech as there now is at least substantially, if not absolutely, correct, verbatim. And now the spirit continues a moment giving his present idea of worldly wealth, to-wit:
I understand riches, worldly wealth, not so much as I used to. I find now that true happiness abides not with him of vast accumulations of money or property.
The one in the lowly hut, with his loving, contented wife and children, is the one to be envied. The poor man thinks of his family, of his wife and little ones, is concerned about them, has his mind there, looks on them with love, and they on him. Though in a cabin, the fire burns for them. The storms of winter howl about them, but warm hearts all at home, not much of a home, as the rich do count, but yet it is home, sweet home. There in that hut, with little though sufficient morsel, is heaven, is peace on earth.
But the rich man has his mind, his affections, on his worldly treasure. He is always in danger of losing it, often does sustain losses; must think up some way to recover, some way to more than recover. His family in a mansion, though filled and glittering with all the bright things of this world, yet it is an empty, hollow mockery, love gone out. Warm hearts beat not there, because all are sordid; so if you look into those homes, you find no contentment there. The more property, the more money they have the more they want. And thus this ever-rowing, grasping desire shuts out all of heaven's sunshine from a home in a gilded mansion. In humble homes the most happiness dwells.
Can it be possible that there exists a personal God as theology claims, while cyclones, earthquakes, casualties, disease and pain of every kind bear innocent babes and praying Christian mothers right on to premature destruction? If there be a God of mercy and justice, why do innocent people and harmless babes suffer more intense torture and pain than the most hardened criminal or the lowest immoralist? Never was anything among men that carried human desolation in its wake as does Christianity. But they say their God is a just God. Why then, does he allow those little ones to suffer such intense torture?
No, friends, I find no such God, nor do I find any spirits that ever found such an one. And spirits here who have been in spirit many ages say they find no such God. And they also say that they never met any spirit, however old, that ever found a personal being such as the Christians claim their God to be.
All the God that is known in the spirit world is law, innate to the constitution of nature, self-acting, eternal law.
They say it doesn't matter whether they believe or accept these things or not. That in any event they will be just as well off. I wish at this time, as speaking from the world eternal, to say to the people of earth that there is a great responsibility; a responsibility having consequences reaching ages into the future and affecting the people both while on earth and long after they pass into spirit life. And I would like to say, too, that there are many cases in which a person is hardly excusable for ignorance. And where a supine, careless, neglectfulness brings down upon the subject the most appalling and inexcusable darkening conditions that will shut out his enjoyment of the sweet light of the spirit world, sometimes for wearisome ages, as people of earth would reckon. I am now speaking not only from my own short experience in this life, but from information given to me by some who long have been inhabitants of the spirit spheres.
Treatment of Woman
One of the great responsibilities resting upon man is the servile, unequal treatment of woman, the inability to appreciate woman. Holding that woman is made simply as a servant of man, to be a slave for him on earth, while man, her brutish lord and master, is to be escorted by men angels into the presence of God; and instead of the sweet voices of women spirits, men angels in a heaven where women angels are unknown. Men angels make the music on harps made of the gold of Ophir, which Solomon took to heaven with him. But neither the Christian Bible nor its God knows anything of the music of women angels, and the only revelation given to your world of the glorification of the heavenly kingdom by the presence there of poor, tired women slaves, used and trodden under foot of man on earth, comes to you through the gates of the morning along the glorious highway of Spiritualism, on which highway you are permitted to behold your mothers, your sisters, your wives as well as the sainted priests arrayed in garments of shining white and alive for evermore. Spiritualism is the only religion, and the God of Spiritualism is the only God that ever accorded unto woman equal privileges with man, both on earth and in the great spirit world. [Some Quaker may doubt this.] Not only does that Bible that knows no women angels, and accords to woman no higher destiny than servitude to man, teach that women who are not fit for lascivious servitude to the sons of God should be put to the sword, but it invades the pure white innocence of little children and teaches them that, in the service of God and for the promotion of his kingdom, it is laudable both to lie and steal and pillage and plunder, and even betray your best friend, and presents to the plastic mind of the child as the greatest hero of earth and heaven and of time and of eternity the man whose life and garments are the most sanguinary, and whose soul is most licentious, notwithstanding the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount.
Such are the morals of the Bible. So that whatever of moral civilization is among the people is there in spite of that Bible and not because of it. Let no man be content for one moment, thinking he has no responsibility resting on him, in behalf of women and children and his own household, for many thousands of children are reared up under the unhallowed influence of this sanguinary code of Bible morals, and their pure souls filled with iniquity, so that the man who is the most gigantic plunderer and the one who leads conquering armies over the greatest number of dead bodies slain by his strategic command are today the great idols of your world.
Original Sin and Plan of Salvation
Then again, the immoral tendency of the teaching' that God would reap vengeance on an innocent babe by placing an incurable disease and condition of endless torment upon its soul for the child's disobedience to its parents. Can any sane person conjure up an excuse for a man or woman who would place upon his or her own child a galling and loathsome and tormenting disease for only the earth life for eating an apple or other fruit in disobedience of parental admonition? What sane person could or would think of consigning the grandchild to torment for life on account of the transgression of the child's parents? Yet the child is taught that God is a God of vengeance, and that unless it believe in this merciless God, whom it never saw, and believe that he will endlessly torment children for acts of their ancestors; and believe also that there is a way of escape made possible for these children; but only on condition that they must believe that grandfather murdered his own son to appease his own wrath over the innocent but unfortunate grandchild. Yet the child must believe that God is just such a grandfather as that in order to escape an endless hell. Such again the morals of the Bible.
But a wonderful change has come over the people's minds in the last fifteen or twenty years, and it is gradually being learned by the people how wonderfully they have been duped.