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Question: What is the cause of the vast number of deaths which occur in infancy and childhood?
Answer: When the man passes out at death, he takes with him the mind, desire body, and vital body, the latter being the storehouse of the pictures of his past life. And during the three and one-half days following death these pictures are etched into the desire body to form the basis of the man's life in Purgatory and the First Heaven where the evil is expurgated and the good assimilated. The experience of the life itself is forgotten, as we have forgotten the process of learning to write, but have retained the faculty. So the cumulative extract of all his experiences, both during past earth lives and past existences in Purgatory and the various heavens, are retained by the man and form his stock in trade in the next birth. The pains he has sustained speak to him as the voice of conscience, the good he has done gives him a more and more altruistic character.
Now, when the three and a half days immediately following death are spent by the man under conditions of peace and quiet, he is able to concentrate much more upon the etching of his past life and the imprint upon the desire body will be deeper than if he is disturbed by the hysterical lamentations of his relatives or from other causes. And he will then experience a much keener feeling for either good or bad in Purgatory and in the First Heaven, and in after lives that keen feeling will speak to him with no unmistakable voice; but where the lamentations of relatives take away his attention or where a man passes out by an accident perhaps in a crowded street, in a train wreck, theater fire, or under other harrowing circumstances, there will, of course, be no opportunity for him to properly concentrate; neither can he concentrate upon a battle field if he is slain there, and yet it could not be just that he should lose the experiences of his life on account of passing out in such an untoward manner, so the law of cause and effect provides a compensation.
We usually think that when a child is born it is born and that is the end of it; but as during the period of gestation the dense body is shielded from the impact of the outside world by being placed within the protecting womb of the mother until it has arrived at sufficient maturity to meet the outside conditions, so are also the vital body, desire body and mind in a state of gestation and are born at later periods because they have not had as long an evolution behind them as the dense body and, therefore, it takes a longer time for them to arrive at a sufficient state of maturity to become individualized. The vital body is born at the seventh year, when the period of excessive growth marks its advent. The desire body is born at the time of puberty, the fourteenth year, and the mind is born at twenty-one, when the child is said to have become a man or woman—to have reached majority.
That which has not been quickened cannot die, and so when a child dies before the birth of the desire body it passes out into the invisible world in the First Heaven. It cannot ascend into the Second and Third Heaven because the mind and desire body are not born and will not die, so it simply waits in the First Heaven until a new opportunity for embodiment offers, and where it has died in its previous life under the before-mentioned harrowing circumstances, by accident or upon the battle field or where the lamentations of relatives rendered it impossible for it to gain as deep an impression of the evil committed and the good accomplished as would have been the case had it died in peace, it is instructed when it has died in the next life as a child in the effects of passions and desires so that it learns the lessons then which it should have learned in the Purgatorial life had it remained undisturbed. It is then reborn with the proper development of conscience so that it may continue its evolution.
As in the past man has been exceedingly warlike and not at all careful of the relatives who passed out at death because of his ignorance, holding wakes over those who died in bed, which were few, perhaps, compared to those who died on the battle field, there must necessarily on that account be an enormous amount of infant mortality, but as humanity arrives at a better understanding and realizes that we are never so much our brother's keeper as when he is passing out of this life and that we can help him enormously by being quiet and prayerful, so also will infant mortality cease to exist on such a large scale as at present.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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