Through the Mists, Front Matter

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Front Matter

To the Reader

I heard, within my spirit home, a wail: –
“If only one could come – could tell the tale
Of his experience on that other side;
Could rend the mists – could fling the portals wide,
That we might see – might understand – might know!”
The agony disturbed me, and my heart said – “Go!”
Love cheers me on, but ignorance resists
The power by which I hand this ‘Through the Mists.’

Recorder’s Note to the First Edition

I have no desire to add anything to the following story more than a brief explanation of its origin, and my connection with the same.

It was Christmas Eve, and I was busily engaged with some annuals lying on my table, when a stranger – uninvited and unannounced – entered my room ‘while the door was shut.’ His presence did not disturb me, since I had entertained such visitors before; so, pointing to a seat, I bade him welcome, and asked the purpose of his coming.

He then explained to me a desire he had long cherished, and asked if I would aid him in its consummation. As soon as his mind comprehended the fact that he had passed the grave, a yearning possessed him to find some means of coming back, and telling how men erred in their conception of that life beyond. At first he feared he had no power to break the silence of the tomb, but with experience came the knowledge of the omnipotence of love, by which the lips of death could be unsealed, the proof of which was granted in our conversation. He desired me to write what he should dictate, then give his story to the world.

How could I answer “No!” Was not I, in common with every human being, seeking for that knowledge he had the power to give? Therefore I did not hesitate to take my pen.

I soon discovered his recital, though unorthodox, threw a flood of light upon the Bible teaching, clearing clouds of doubt away, and reconciling passages therein I could not understand before. He came to me a stranger, but I soon learned to love him, and awaited his return with impatience every morning; now, when he has ceased his record for the present, I look upon the seat whereon he sat so many hours as being in some mysterious manner half-way ‘Through the Mists.’

In sending this forth in obedience to his wish, let me append the prayer he breathed when last he left me:- “May God, the Father of the souls of all men, bless this effort of a yearning heart to lift a portion of the weight of ignorance from the shoulders of his brethren in the flesh; and grant that the light of its truth may be a lamp unto their feet in coming ‘Through the Mists.’” To this I add Amen!

May 1898.

Preface to the Third Impression

The necessity for a third impression of this book affords a welcome opportunity of expressing my sense of gratitude for having been chosen as the instrument through which this gospel of hope and comfort has been revealed to the world. Nor do I speak for myself alone, but the author, who is present with me as I write, also desires to add a similar confession for himself. His hope and endeavour was to reach and comfort a few of the wounded sons and daughters of sorrow, but already the testimony of ministry to a multitude lies before us, and now in company with its promised continuation – ‘The Life Elysian’ – we send it forth again to carry on its healing mission in other spheres.

In this connection I desire to answer an oft-repeated question and say that my note to the original edition as to how the book originated is to be taken as a literal fact. The volume is not a novel, nor in any sense a tour-de-force of the imagination, but – stupendous as the assertion may appear – so far as I am concerned, it is the record of experiences dictated to me by a visitor from that ‘home of the soul’ to which we are all hastening onward.

Many others, doubtless anxious to be favoured by similar experiences as those I have now so long enjoyed, have asked how they may be attained to. Such an inquiry is not easily answered. Still, after long and prayerful consultation, my friends in the beyond, who understand these things so much better than myself, came to the conclusion to set the process indicatively before the world for the benefit of those who chose to profit by it. This was done, and may be read in the volume entitled ‘The Heretic,’ in which, following the example of Charles Dickens in his ‘David Copperfield’ – while the book is a story and in no sense a biography – the nature of the connection existing between us may be clearly traced, with the successive demands made to test my loyalty and devotion, and then the nature of the reward with which they have more than repaid my humble services.

It is, however, impossible for me to promise that another following in the same steps shall meet with identical experiences. ‘God giveth to every man severally as He will.’ As Paul says to the Corinthians: ‘There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”

That spiritual gifts were to be the heritage of the followers of Christ is surely beyond question. That they were not intended to be withdrawn, but were promised to as ‘many as the Lord our God shall call,’ the history of saints in all ages and the invasions of the present day testify, for ‘God is no respecter of persons,’ and ‘whatsoever He doeth it shall be for ever.’ I can say no more.

November 1st 1905.