A Romance of Two Worlds, by Marie Corelli

Appendix.

In publishing these selections from letters received concerning the “Romance,” I am in honour bound not to disclose the names of my correspondents, and this necessary reticence will no doubt induce the incredulous to declare that they are not genuine epistles, but mere inventions of my own. I am quite prepared for such a possible aspersion, and in reply, I can but say that I hold the originals in my possession, and that some of them have been read by my friend Mr. George Bentley, under whose auspices this book has been successfully launched on the sea of public favour. I may add that my correspondents are all strangers to me personally — not one of them have I ever met. A few have indeed asked me to accord them interviews, but this request I invariably deny, not wishing to set myself forward in any way as an exponent of high doctrine in which I am as yet but a beginner and student. — AUTHOR.

LETTER I.

“DEAR MADAM,

“You must receive so many letters that I feel it is almost a shame to add to the number, but I cannot resist writing to tell you how very much your book, ‘The Romance of Two Worlds,’ has helped me. My dear friend Miss F—— who has written to you lately I believe, first read it to me, and I cannot tell you what a want in my life it seemed to fill up. I have been always interested in the so-called Supernatural, feeling very conscious of depths in my own self and in others that are usually ignored. . . . I have been reading as many books as I could obtain upon Theosophy, but though thankful for the high thoughts I found in them, I still felt a great want — that of combining this occult knowledge with my own firm belief in the Christian religion. Your book seemed to give me just what I wanted — IT HAS DEEPENED AND STRENGTHENED MY BELIEF IN AND LOVE TO GOD AND HAS MADE THE NEW TESTAMENT A NEW BOOK TO ME. Things which I could not understand before seem clear in the light which your ‘Vision’ has thrown upon them, and I cannot remain satisfied without expressing to you my sincere gratitude. May your book be read by all who are ready to receive the high truths that it contains! With thanks, I remain, dear Madam,

“Yours sincerely, M. S.”

LETTER II.

“MADAM,

“I am afraid you will think it very presumptuous of a stranger to address you, but I have lately read your book, ‘A Romance of Two Worlds,’ and have been much struck with it. It has opened my mind to such new impressions, and seems to be so much what I have been groping for so long, that I thought if you would be kind enough to answer this, I might get a firmer hold on those higher things and be at anchor at last. If you have patience to read so far, you will imagine I must be very much in earnest to intrude myself on you like this, but from the tone of your book I do not believe you would withdraw your hand where you could do good. . . . I never thought of or read of the electric force (or spirit) in every human being before, but I do believe in it after reading your book, and YOU HAVE MADE THE NEXT WORLD A LIVING THING TO ME, and raised my feelings above the disappointments and trials of this life. . . . Your book was put into my hands at a time when I was deeply distressed and in trouble about my future; but you have shown me how small a thing this future of OUR life is. . . . Would it be asking too much of you to name any books you think might help me in this new vein of thought you have given me? Apologizing for having written, believe me yours sincerely,

“B. W. L.”

I answered to the best of my ability the writer of the above, and later on received another letter as follows:

“Forgive my writing to you again on the subject of your ‘Romance,’ but I read it so often and think of it so much. I cannot say the wonderful change your book has wrought in my life, and though very likely you are constantly hearing of the good it has done, yet it cannot but be the sweetest thing you can hear — that the seed you have planted is bringing forth so much fruit. . . . The Bible is a new book to me since your work came into my hands.”

LETTER III.

The following terribly pathetic avowal is from a clergyman of the Church of England:

“MADAM,

“Your book, the ‘Romance of Two Worlds,’ has stopped me on the brink of what is doubtless a crime, and yet I had come to think it the only way out of impending madness. I speak of self-destruction — suicide. And while writing the word, I beg of you to accept my gratitude for the timely rescue of my soul. Once I believed in the goodness of God — but of late years the cry of modern scientific atheism, ‘There is NO God,’ has rung in my ears till my brain has reeled at the desolation and nothingness of the Universe. No good, no hope, no satisfaction in anything — this world only with all its mockery and failure — and afterwards annihilation! Could a God design and create so poor and cruel a jest? So I thought — and the misery of the thought was more than I could bear. I had resolved to make an end. No one knew, no one guessed my intent, till one Sunday afternoon a friend lent me your book. I began to read, and never left it till I had finished the last page — then I knew I was saved. Life smiled again upon me in consoling colours, and I write to tell you that whatever other good your work may do and is no doubt doing, you have saved both the life and reason of one grateful human being. If you will write to me a few lines I shall be still more grateful, for I feel you can help me. I seem to have read Christ’s mission wrong — but with patience and prayer it is possible to redeem my error. Once more thanking you, I am,

“Yours with more thankfulness than I can write,

“L. E. F.”

I lost no time in replying to this letter, and since then have frequently corresponded with the writer, from whose troubled mind the dark cloud has now entirely departed. And I may here venture to remark that the evils of “modern scientific atheism” are far more widely spread and deeply rooted than the majority of persons are aware of, and that many of the apparently inexplicable cases of self-slaughter on which the formal verdict, “Suicide during a state of temporary insanity,” is passed, have been caused by long and hopeless brooding on the “nothingness of the Universe”— which, if it were a true theory, would indeed make of Creation a bitter, nay, even a senseless jest. The cruel preachers of such a creed have much to answer for. The murderer who destroys human life for wicked passion and wantonness is less criminal than the proudly learned, yet egotistical, and therefore densely ignorant scientist, who, seeking to crush the soul by his feeble, narrow-minded arguments, and deny its imperishable nature, dares to spread his poisonous and corroding doctrines of despair through the world, draining existence of all its brightness, and striving to erect barriers of distrust between the creature and the Creator. No sin can be greater than this; for it is impossible to estimate the measure of evil that may thus be brought into otherwise innocent and happy lives. The attitude of devotion and faith is natural to Humanity, while nothing can be more UNnatural and disastrous to civilization, morality and law, than deliberate and determined Atheism. — AUTHOR.

LETTER IV.

“DEAR MADAM,

“I dare say you have had many letters, but I must add mine to the number to thank you for your book, the ‘Romance of Two Worlds.’ I am deeply interested in the wonderful force we possess, all in a greater or lesser degree — call it influence, electricity, or what you will. I have thought much on Theosophy and Psychical Research — but what struck me in your book was the glorious selflessness inculcated and the perfect Majesty of the Divinity clear throughout — no sweeping away of the Crucified One. I felt a better woman for the reading of it twice: and I know others, too, who are higher and better women for such noble thoughts and teaching. . . . People for the most part dream away their lives; one meets so few who really believe in electrical affinity, and I have felt it so often and for so long. Forgive my troubling you with this letter, but I am grateful for your labour of love towards raising men and women.

“Sincerely yours,
“R. H.”

LETTER V.

“I should like to know if Marie Corelli honestly believes the theory which she enunciates in her book, ‘The Romance of Two Worlds:’ and also if she has any proof on which to found that same theory? — if so, the authoress will greatly oblige an earnest seeker after Truth if she will give the information sought to

“A. S.”

I sent a brief affirmative answer to the above note; the “proof” of the theories set forth in the “Romance” is, as I have already stated, easily to be found in the New Testament. But there are those who do not and will not believe the New Testament, and for them there are no “proofs” of any existing spirituality in earth or heaven. “Having eyes they see not, and hearing they do not understand."— AUTHOR.

LETTER VI.

“DEAR MADAM,

“I have lately been reading with intense pleasure your ‘Romance of Two Worlds,’ and I must crave your forbearance towards me when I tell you that it has filled me with envy and wonder. I feel sure that many people must have plied you with questions on the subject already, but I am certain that you are too earnest and too sympathetic to feel bored by what is in no sense idle curiosity, but rather a deep and genuine longing to know the truth. . . . To some minds it would prove such a comfort and such, a relief to have their vague longings and beliefs confirmed and made tangible, and, as you know, at the present day so-called Religion, which is often a mere mixture of dogma and superstition, is scarcely sufficient to do this. . . . I might say a great deal more and weary your patience, which has already been tried, I fear. But may I venture to hope that you have some words of comfort and assurance out of your own experience to give me? With your expressed belief in the good influence which each may exert over the other, not to speak of a higher and holier incentive in the example of One (in whom you also believe) who bids us for His sake to ‘Bear one another’s burdens,’ you cannot, I think, turn away in impatience from the seeking of a very earnest soul.

“Yours sincerely,
“B. D.”

I have received about fifty letters written in precisely the same tone as the above — all more or less complaining of the insufficiency of “so-called Religion, which is often a mere mixture of dogma and superstition”— and I ask — What are the preachers of Christ’s clear message about that there should be such plaintively eager anxious souls as these, who are evidently ready and willing to live noble lives if helped and encouraged ever so little? Shame on those men who presume to take up the high vocation of the priesthood for the sake of self-love, self-interest, worldly advancement, money or position! These things are not among Christ’s teachings. If there are members of the clergy who can neither plant faith, nor consolation, nor proper comprehension of God’s infinite Beauty and Goodness in the hearts of their hearers, I say that their continuance in such sacred office is an offence to the Master whom they profess to serve. “It must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” To such may be addressed the words, “Hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."— AUTHOR.

LETTER VII.

“MADAM,

“I hope you will not think it great presumption my writing to you. My excuse must be that I so much want to believe in he great Spirit that ‘makes for righteousness,’ and I cannot! Your book puts it all so clearly that if I can only know it to be a true experience of your own, it will go a long way in dispersing the fog that modern writings surround one with. . . .

“Apologizing for troubling you, I am faithfully yours,

“C.M.E.”

LETTER VIII.

“MADAM,

“I trust you will pardon the liberty I take in writing to you. My excuse must be the very deep interest your book, ‘A Romance of Two Worlds,’ has excited in me. I, of course, understand that the STORY itself is a romance, but in reading it carefully it seems to me that it is a book written with a purpose. . . . The Electric Creed respecting Religion seems to explain so much in Scripture which has always seemed to me impossible to accept blindly without explanation of any kind; and the theory that Christ came to die and to suffer for us as an Example and a means of communication with God, and not as a SACRIFICE, clears up a point which has always been to me personally a stumbling-block. I cannot say how grateful I shall be if you can tell me any means of studying this subject further; and trusting you will excuse me for troubling you, I am, Madam,

“Yours truly,
“H. B.”

Once more I may repeat that the idea of a sacrifice to appease God’s anger is purely JEWISH, and has nothing whatever to do with Christianity according to Christ. He Himself says, “I am the WAY, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but BY ME.” Surely these words are plain enough, and point unmistakably to a MEANS OF COMMUNICATION through Christ between the Creator and this world. Nowhere does the Divine Master say that God is so furiously angry that he must have the bleeding body of his own messenger, Christ, hung up before Him as a human sacrifice, as though He could only be pacified by the scent of blood! Horrible and profane idea! and one utterly at variance with the tenderness and goodness of “Our Father” as pictured by Christ in these gentle words —“Fear not, little flock; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Whereas that Christ should come to draw us closer to God by the strong force of His own Divinity, and by His Resurrection prove to us the reality of the next life, is not at all a strange or ungodlike mission, and ought to make us understand more surely than ever how infinitely pitying and forbearing is the All-Loving One, that He should, as it were, with such extreme affection show us a way by which to travel through darkness unto light. To those who cannot see this perfection of goodness depicted in Christ’s own words, I would say in the terse Oriental maxim:

“Diving, and finding no pearls in the sea,

Blame not the ocean, the fault is in THEE.”

AUTHOR.

LETTER IX.

“DEAR MADAM,

“I have lately been reading your remarkable book, ‘A Romance of Two Worlds,’ and I feel that I must write to you about it. I have never viewed Christianity in the broadly transfigured light you throw upon it, and I have since been studying carefully the four Gospels and comparing them with the theories in your book. The result has been a complete and happy change in my ideas of religion, and I feel now as if I had, like a leper of old, touched the robe of Christ and been healed of a long-standing infirmity. Will you permit me to ask if you have evolved this new and beneficent lustre from the Gospel yourself? or whether some experienced student in mystic matters has been your instructor? I hear from persons who have seen you that you are quite young, and I cannot understand how one of your sex and age seems able so easily to throw light on what to many has been, and is still, impenetrable darkness. I have been a preacher for some years, and I thought the Testament was old and familiar to me; but you have made it a new and marvellous book full of most precious meanings, and I hope I may be able to impart to those whom it is my duty to instruct, something of the great consolation and hope your writing has filled me with.

“Believe me,

“Gratefully yours,
“T.M.”

LETTER X.

“MADAM,

“Will you tell me what ground you have for the foundation of the religious theory contained in your book, ‘A Romance of Two Worlds’? Is it a part of your own belief? I am MOST anxious to know this, and I am sure you will be kind enough to answer me. Till I read your book I thought myself an Agnostic, but now I am not quite sure of this. I do not believe in the Deity as depicted by the Churches. I CANNOT. Over and over again I have asked myself — If there is a God, why should He be angry? It would surely be easy for Him to destroy this world entirely as one would blow away an offending speck of dust, and it would be much better and BRAVER for Him to do this than to torture His creation. For I call life a torture and certainly a useless and cruel torture if it is to end in annihilation. I know I seem to be blasphemous in these remarks, yet if you only knew what I suffer sometimes! I desire, I LONG to believe. YOU seem so certain of your Creed — a Creed so noble, reasonable and humane — the God you depict so worthy of the adoration of a Universe. I BEG of you to tell me — DO you feel sure of this beneficent all-pervading Love concerning which you write so eloquently? I do not wish to seem an intruder on your most secret thought. I want to believe that YOU believe — and if I felt this, the tenor of my whole life might change. Help me if you can — I stand in real need of help. You may judge I am very deeply in earnest, or I should not have written to you.

“Yours faithfully,
“A. W. L.”

Of such letters as these I have received enough to make a volume of themselves; but I think the ten I have selected are sufficient to show how ardent and inextinguishable is the desire or STRAINING UPWARD, like a flower to the light, of the human Soul for those divine things which nourish it. Scarcely a day passes without my receiving more of these earnest and often pathetic appeals for a little help, a little comfort, a little guidance, enough to make one’s heart ache at the thought of so much doubt and desolation looming cloud-like over the troubled minds of many who would otherwise lead not only happy but noble and useful lives. When will the preachers learn to preach Christ simply — Christ without human dogmas or differences? When shall we be able to enter a building set apart for sacred worship — a building of finest architectural beauty, “glorious without and within,” like the “King’s Daughter” of David’s psalm — glorious with, light, music, flowers, and art of the noblest kind (for Art is God’s own inspiration to men, and through it He should be served), there to hear the pure, unselfish doctrine of Christ as He Himself preached it? For such a temple, the time has surely come — a nook sacred to God, and untainted by the breath of Mammon, where we could adore our Creator “in spirit and in truth.” The evils of nineteenth-century cynicism and general flippancy of thought — great evils as they are and sure prognostications of worse evils to come — cannot altogether crush out the Divine flame burning in the “few” that are “chosen,” though these few are counted as fools and dreamers. Yet they shall be proved wise and watchful ere long. The signs of the times are those that indicate an approaching great upheaval and change in human destinies. This planet we call ours is in some respects like ourselves: it was born; it has had its infancy, its youth, its full prime; and now its age has set in, and with age the first beginnings of decay. Absorbed once more into the Creative Circle IT MUST BE; and when again thrown forth among its companion-stars, our race will no more inhabit it. We shall have had our day — our little chance — we shall have lost or won. Christ said, “This generation shall not pass away till all My words be fulfilled,” the word “generation” thus used meaning simply the human race. We put a very narrow limit to the significance of the Saviour’s utterance when we imagine that the generation He alluded to implied merely the people living in His own day. In the depths of His Divine wisdom He was acquainted with all the secrets of the Past and Future; He had no doubt seen this very world peopled by widely different beings to ourselves, and knew that what we call the human race is only a passing tribe permitted for a time to sojourn here. What a strangely presumptuous idea is that which pervades the minds of the majority of persons — namely, that Mankind, as we know it, must be the highest form of creation, simply because it is the highest form WE can see! How absurd it is to be so controlled by our limited vision, when we cannot even perceive the minute wonders that a butterfly beholds, or pierce the sunlit air with anything like the facility possessed by the undazzled eyes of an upward-soaring bird! Nay, we cannot examine the wing of a common house-fly without the aid of a microscope — to observe the facial expression of our own actors on the stage we look through opera-glasses — to form any idea of the wonders of the stars we construct telescopes to assist our feeble and easily deluded sight; and yet — yet we continue to parcel out the infinite gradations of creative Force and Beauty entirely to suit our own private opinions, and conclude that WE are the final triumph of the Divine Artist’s Supreme Intelligence! Alas! in very truth we are a sorry spectacle both to our soberly thinking selves and the Higher Powers, invited, as it were, to spend our life’s brief day in one of God’s gardens as His friends and guests, who certainly are not expected to abuse their Host’s hospitality, and, ignoring Him, call themselves the owners and masters of the ground! For we are but wanderers beneath the sun; a “generation” which must most surely and rapidly “pass away” to make room for another; and as the work of the Universe is always progressive, that other will be of nobler capacity and larger accomplishment. So while we are here, let us think earnestly of the few brief chances remaining to us — they grow fewer every hour. On one side is the endless, glorious heritage of the purely aspiring, Immortal Spirit; on the other the fleeting Mirage of this our present Existence; and, midway between the two, the swinging pendulum of HUMAN WILL, which decides our fate. God does not choose for us, or compel our love — we are free to fashion out our own futures; but in making our final choice we cannot afford to waste one moment of our precious, unreturning time.

MARIE CORELLI.

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Last updated Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 21:43