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The Seven Purposes by Margaret Cameron 1867 - 1947

 

I

 

IMMEDIATELY after the first Lesson had been given, Cass telephoned that the news from France was alarming. It was Saturday, March 23d. The great German offensive of 1918 had begun two days earlier, and the Allied forces were falling back, with appalling losses. I asked Mary K. whether she could tell us anything about it.

 

"Yes. It is a force of destruction, momentarily victorious, but Germany cannot win. She moves steadily toward her destruction."

 

Remembering our differing conceptions of time, I asked: "Do you speak in terms finite or infinite?"

 

"You will see her defeat soon, but the fight eternal will not be over with the end of the Great War. That will be only a temporary lull, and we shall have it all to do over and over, until conscious purpose ends it. Do not fear." The emphasis is hers.

 

To be sure I had made no mistake, I pressed the inquiry again.


 

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"You need not fear the end of the war. It is certain and inevitable. Germany is doomed, and must work her way back to light. This is not foreordained, but here we already see the end, and are looking toward the battles that will still be raging when the countries of the world seem peaceful."

 

[Some weeks later, this confident prophecy was slightly modified in its letter, though not in its spirit, when she said: "Unless the Allied purpose is undermined by forces of spiritual disintegration, Germany is doomed, but the fight must be kept up with confidence and consciously united force and purpose." This, however, merely emphasizes the teaching of all the lessons, that constructive purpose cannot find expression in passivity, that he who would live must fight, and that he who is not actively striving for progress is arrayed against it.]

 

As has been said, my Knowledge of philosophies is of the slightest, and there is scarcely a suggestion contained in the first Lesson that was not new to me and entirely foreign to my habit of thought. Therefore, I sent a copy of it to Mr. Kendal, asking him to tell me whether the cosmic theory there outlined was familiar to him. Conscious of Mary K.'s summons, I took up a pencil.


 

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"Tell Mr. Kendal the philosophers have perceived the truth in fragments. This is to be the whole truth, as far as it can be understood on your plane. It may sound, at moments, like a patchwork of philosophies, because all—or most—of them have some truth. He will help you in this. He found the truth in spite of philosophies, and it is part of his work to help others find it because of one—a philosophy not dreamed, but lived and proved and known. Therefore, not a philosophy, but a faith."

 

The next day, we dined with friends of that Anne Lowe for whom I had asked the first night Mary K. came to me, and from her long messages to them, a few may be quoted.

 

"… It has always been easy for me to reach you, because you never doubted that I was there. Doubt is one of the things we cannot reach through. Doubt, bitterness, grief—all these are destructive forces." To a statement that they had felt deep grief, she returned: "You have not had the kind of grief that would shut me out. You have shut out some helpful forces, but you will do that no longer. It is because the force may reach you through me that I can come. We are the same purpose, and I can reach you freely. We can always reach those who are very near and dear. Sometimes people are dear to us


 

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there who are not really near us here. They do not need us, nor we them. It is an ephemeral relation. Love lasts eternally. Please don't ever forget that…. Listen to me. I cannot always reach you as directly as this., but just as soon as you learn to read my thoughts, as I now read yours, a messenger will not be necessary."

 

Briefly she explained to them the eternal significance of the Great War, the united purpose of Germany, and the failure of the Allies, thus far, to comprehend the essence of unity. Elizabeth, one of her friends, mentioned that it was like her to drop personalities for great issues, and she replied:

 

"The reason that I told you the thing I did about the great purposes and the eternal conflict is that I want you to realize a little of what it is all for, and to help you recognize the great ends toward which your problems lead. Build, build, never cease to build. Unite yourself to anybody who is of your purpose. Keep as clear as you can from entangling yourselves with forces of disintegration."

 

Miss S——, a teacher, and a stranger to me, was present, and after a little her brother took control of the pencil.

 

"You cannot realize how intimately we work


 

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together still," was one of his assertions to her. "You are a fine force for progress. You are being and teaching the things we all work for here. Teach, above all, unity of purpose. Never mind the method. Look to the goal. Building,—light, freedom, faith—these are what the forces of construction stand for, the way to the great purpose. The forces of disintegration are gathering for a tremendous fight. The Great War is one of the crises of civilization, but the battle to come still is one of the crises of eternity. It is for that we are preparing now. This is what we must say to all dear to us and, through them, to as wide a public as we can reach…. It is a great message that is to be given. To-day I only want you to be sure that I know all you feel and all you have suffered, and that the more confidently and freely you reach out to me, knowing I am there, the more easily and surely I can reach you."

 

Like the others, this man used the circle, which we were beginning to perceive must signify more than joy, as we understand the word. For example, on this occasion it was used thus: "You will look for me now, listen for me, feel me near you, and the (O) will be as near your life as it ever can be there." After telling her of the frequent use of this


 

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symbol, I asked him whether it had not a deeper significance— perhaps completion, perfection, consummate unity, something joyous of this larger sort, to which he replied in the affirmative.

 

A night or two after this, Cass suggested that we must make an effort to get into touch with David Bruce, but I said that we had asked about him several times, and that if he wished or needed to communicate with his family he would undoubtedly let me know. Aware of Mrs. Bruce's interest in psychic phenomena, I thought they might have established communication in some way. Within a few minutes I was conscious of a summons to the pencil.

 

First came Mary K's strong signature. Then, very quickly: "David Bruce is here, and wa…" There it ran off into nervous, illegible waves. When I said I could not follow, and asked that the message be more slowly given, it was resumed where it had been dropped. "… wants to talk to E…. Bess." His wife's name is Elizabeth, and naturally was in my mind, but having written E, the pencil balked, delayed, crossed out the E, and finally wrote "Bess," firmly.

 

"Thank you," was the response to my promise to arrange the interview. For the first


 

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time it occurred to me that possibly Mary K. had given over the pencil, and I asked who was writing, to be told quickly: "D. B."

 

Mrs. Bruce came the next day to talk to him, and Mary K. told me, before her arrival, to give her no details about the previous messages, adding: "He will tell her." And while his opening message to her merely summarizes similar assertions previously received, it is interesting as the first consecutive personal statement of the survival of individuality in the eternal pursuance of constructive purpose.

 

"I am here with you, darling Bess, as I have been with you from the start," he began at once. "You have known it all the time, and I have been able to reach you in a way that I can only describe to you as spiritual."

 

Here was the first veiled allusion, at first rather puzzling, to that unknown force afterward mentioned by William James and others.

 

"We so long to tell you whom we love not to grieve. We are of you, as you are of us. Even more closely than we were when I was visibly with you. Perfect union is only possible to pure spirit. That will come. Meanwhile, one of us is pure spirit, and both of us so much the richer thereby. Once, in the beginning of things, you and I were the same


 

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purpose. Purposes are eternal. They may be temporarily divided, temporarily overcome by the forces of disintegration, which are forever seeking to destroy, but forever each divided purpose answers to the call of its own. You and I were one purpose in the first, and we shall be perfectly reunited when you have joined me here. But while we were one in the beginning, one with many others of our great purpose, we are now eternally definite and separate individuals, but united as perfectly, after the first life there, as if we had returned to one unit…. The first message any of us send must be this one. That is the reason we can come so freely now and tell so much."

 

A little later, speaking of their children, he said: "All young people have battles to fight and problems to solve. Don't try to spare them that. It is thus they learn life's lessons, and the more they learn there the readier they will be to do the fine and glorious work here."

 

He had spoken before of being very busy, and now she commented: "He seems so interested in the work!"

 

"Interested is not the word. It's more like inspiration." "Was the passing difficult?" she asked.

 

"Not difficult at all. The pain ended with unconsciousness."


 

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THE SEVEN PURPOSES "But you had no pain!"

 

"Yes, I had some—not expressed, nor quite definite. Difficult to explain until experienced. Words do not convey the sensation. Not quite fear, not quite pain, but a strange moment of suffering. Then consciousness again, beauty, force, perfectly clear perceptions, but a period of something approaching incredulity." I mentioned Frederick's statement that he had been "dazed by the bigness of it," and Mr. Bruce went on. "That's it. The bigness of it is indescribable, and so extraordinarily lovely and high that it is not readily realized or grasped."

 

She said she had dreaded to have him go alone, and asked whether some one met him.

 

"Yes, we are very tenderly received. There is always a part of one's own purpose waiting."

 

"Have you seen Jack?"

 

"Yes; he is still a little bewildered, but will soon be in fighting trim again." This young man had been killed in an accident.

 

"'In fighting trim'!" she repeated. "How funny!"

 

"No, it isn't funny. We fight perpetually, and love it. It is a wonderful thing to fight with the great forces, and to know why. Most of those in your life fight in confusion


 

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and doubt, and suffer. But here we unite ourselves to a definite and constructive purpose, and the fight is glorious."

 

"Do you see Granny?"

 

"No. She has gone on to a life beyond ours. She will come back, some day, and I will see her."

 

"You have helped me very much by believing that I lived," he told her, at another point. "It is very hard for us to be put aside…. We know here how intimately our life and yours are lived together, and the one almost intolerable thing is to have our dear ones live and believe that we do not. It defers things so…. It hurts us when the apparent separation is made real."

 

"I hope you won't get so far beyond that I can't catch up," she said.

 

"Never! You will begin farther along than I did. We shall go on together now, for eternity. Since you know that I am with you, and especially as we live and work consciously together, we shall grow together."

 

"Did I do all I could for you, at the last? Did you feel my fear?"

 

"No, I did not feel your fear. But when one knows that the step is coming, there is one blinding moment of dread…. You kept me a little while," he continued, when she


 

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said that she had tried to hold him here., "but the thing had gone too far."

 

"Was there anything we could have done that was not done?"

 

"Nothing. It had to be." But when she inferred that the time had come for him to take up work in the next plane, he protested. "No. Nothing like that is 'intended.' There is no foreordination. It is all a matter of forces, constructive and destructive. My material energy was too little to withstand the material forces of destruction. My flesh yielded. That has no real relation to eternal force…. One serves one's purpose, here or there. I am doing better work here than I could have done there, but that has no relation or part in death. It is entirely a physical thing."

 

"Did —— make you nervous?"

 

"No mere man could make me fail to respond to your call to courage. I knew and you knew, that it might be the end of life there; but there was no possible thing that you could have done, mentally, physically, or spiritually, that you did not do. It was your courage that kept me calm, even through that dread moment; your spirit that met me when I woke here; your tenderness that soothed my first bewilderment; your purpose that


 

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roused me to better, broader, finer work than I had ever dreamed before. It has been you—you and I, one always—that have helped and upheld me, as your faith has enabled me to reach and uphold you."

 

This interview took place in the afternoon, and with a good deal of incidental conversation, covered several hours, leaving me very tired. But after dinner the familiar summons warned me that my services were again in demand. I took up a pencil, and Mary K. announced the second Lesson, which followed rapidly, with the same unhesitating flow that had characterized the first one.

 

PART - 2