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The Soul and the Unseen World.

The Soul and the Unseen World.

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** Wluk we look sot at the tliii^ wliidi are seen, but at the thii^
which are sot seen ; for the things whidi are seen are teu ipo tal ;
hot the thii^ which are not seen are ctcmaL" — 2 CoK. iw. iS.

** Wluk we look sot at the tliii^ wliidi are seen, but at the thii^
which are sot seen ; for the things whidi are seen are teu ipo tal ;
hot the thii^ which are not seen are ctcmaL" — 2 CoK. iw. iS.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 07, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE SOUL AD THE USEE WORLD. BY H. . GRIMLEY, M.A., ** Wluk we look sot at the tliii^ wliidi are seen, but at the thii^ which are sot seen ; for the things whidi are seen are teu ipo tal ; hot the thii^ which are not seen are ctcmaL" — 2 CoK. iw. iS. Saint Paul here speaks of things which are not seen, and at the same time speaks of onr looking at them. Amongst the things unseen, but of whose existence we are inwardly assured, is that mysterious part of our nature which we call the soul, and which the apostle himself calls the spiritual body. That, although we see it not, we believe to be destined to live even when this our earthly tabernacle is dis- solved. That even now has entered upon an eternity of existence. Of it we must not be immindful. We must ever remember that its silent growth is going on in God's sight, and that it will only be amid the harmony of the thoughts, the deeds, and the inspirations of a lifetime that its ethereal tissue will be woven with a perfectness which we may speak of as divine. To enable oiu-selves to have the clearest possible conceptions of the unseen spiritual parts of our being, we should ever bear in mind that the great distinc- tion between matter and spirit is not the distinction between thing and nothing — is not the distinction between space occupied by ponderable particles and space pervaded by vacuum. The very word spirit, which means breathy asserts this. The distinction is one which may be best thought of as a distinction between the grossly material and the breath- like or ethereal It is true that in latter days the word The Soul and the Unseen World. 249 matter has been applied even to all ethereal substances. It has been found that all have more or less of materiality. But we must retain the distinction as we find it in the lan-
guage of our forefathers, and not be afraid of the revelations which science may make as to the nature of things ethereal or breathlike. We must not be unmindful of this, that language is framed in accordance with the appearances of things, and that there is a sense in which it may be said that things are not what they seem. We are inclined to shrink from associating the densely material things around us with the unseen spiritual world ; but the things which seem so grossly material to us do so only because of the presence of the great attracting body — the earth. If they could be removed many millions of miles away from the earth, they would lose the greater part of the weight which gives us the idea of their gross materiality ; but for all that they would be  just as material as before. So that the accidental properties of the things we see around us, if we dwell upon them alone, and wrongly think of them as unchangeable, will not at all help us to a conception of the things as they are in their very essence, or as they might appear to ourselves if the conditions of our existence were changed. Such thoughts as these, it seems to me, will help our minds to grasp the idea of the reality of the unseen soul, and of the unseen spiritual world; and these are the eternal things of which S. Paul speaks. The soul, we may be assured, is a very real thing, and will always be so. To strip it of its ethereality — of its breathlike structure — ^because such words are now seen to have kinship with those which denote the dense materiality which is so apparent to our bodily eyes, is to reduce immortality to the mere perpetuation of the thought that men have lived, so that it becomes only an immortality enshrined in the memories of future generations — or an existence only of the unem- bodied thoughts, affections, and aspirations which determine 250 The Soul and tJie Unseen World. the state of growth in grace in which the departed one
quits the visible for the invisible world, in the all-comprehen- sive remembrance of the Divine One. But this is not the immortality that we as Christians look for and long for. This is but annihilation. How could any progressive life be possible for the soul so refined away into nothingness ? We look for a future existence in which we shall each preserve our own identity. This we cannot do unless we are clothed upon with the spiritual body of which S. Paul speaks. The remembrances of an earthly life could not be entangled in vacuum. The future life must have links connecting it with this. The unseen soul is now in intimate connection with our visible bodies ; and the unseen world is not sundered from the world we see ; but though they are unseen they are very real. And we must be ever pondering upon them, so that the conviction of their reality may be impressed more and more upon our consciousness. A wonderful kinship is becoming more and more possible for us to conceive of as existing between the visible world and the unseen spiritual world in which the unseen parts of our beings are destined to enter upon an eternity of existence. This [thought which is every day more and more taking possession of men's minds helps us to look upon God's created world with more reverent eyes. God Himself is enthroned in the unseen world. All who have ever had on earth the human form divine are living there in His presence. The unseen world underlies the visible world, and God is ever very near to us, and the spirits of the departed are ever in our midst Their existence now and the world in which they live are just as real and substantial to them as our exist- ence and the visible world are to us. But that world in which they live is not wholly hidden from us. Thoughts of it are continually presenting themselves to the mind, and must be heeded. The thoughts of it which have been borne in upon the minds of our forefathers, and which have been The Soul and the Unseen Woi^ld. 251

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