THIS morning between sleeping and waking I saw myself, together with many other persons, walking with Jesus in the fields round about Jerusalem, and while he was speaking to us, a man approached, who looked very earnestly upon him. And Jesus turned to us and said, "This man whom you see approaching is a seer. He can behold the past lives of a man by looking into his face." Then, the man being come up to us, Jesus took him by the hand and said, "What readest thou?" And the man answered, "I see thy past, Lord Jesus, and the ways by which thou hast come." And Jesus said to him, "Say on." So the man told Jesus that he could see him in the past for many long ages back. But of all that he named, I remember but one incarnation, or, perhaps, one only struck me, and that was Isaac. And as the man went on speaking, and enumerating the incarnations he saw, Jesus waved his right hand twice or thrice before his eyes, and said, "It is enough," as though he wished him not to reveal further. Then I stepped forward from the rest and said, "Lord, if, as thou hast taught us, the woman is the highest form of humanity, and the last to be assumed, how comes it that thou, the Christ, art still in the lower form of man? Why comest thou not to lead the perfect life, and to save the world as woman? For
surely, thou hast attained to womanhood." And Jesus answered, "I have attained to womanhood, as thou sayest; and already have I taken the form of woman. But there are three conditions under which the soul returns to the man's form; and they are these:--
"1st. When the work which the Spirit proposes to accomplish is of a nature unsuitable to the female form.
"2nd. When the Spirit has failed to acquire, in the degree necessary to perfection, certain special attributes of the male character.
"3rd. When the Spirit has transgressed, and gone back in the path of perfection, by degrading the womanhood it had attained.
"In the first of these cases the return to the male form is outward and superficial only. This is my case. I am a woman in all save the body. But had my body been a woman's, I could not have led the life necessary to the work I have to perform. I could not have trod the rough ways of the earth, nor have gone about from city to city preaching, nor have fasted on the mountains, nor have fulfilled my mission of poverty and labour. Therefore am I--a woman--clothed in a man's body that I may be enabled to do the work set before me.
"The second case is that of a soul who, having been a woman perhaps many times, has acquired more aptly and readily the higher qualities of womanhood than the lower qualities of manhood. Such a soul is lacking in energy, in resoluteness, in that particular attribute of the Spirit which the prophet ascribes to the Lord when he says, 'The Lord is a Man of war.' Therefore the soul is put back into a man's form to acquire the qualities yet lacking.
"The third case is that of the backslider, who having nearly attained perfection,--perhaps even touched it,--degrades and soils his white robe, and is put back into the lower form again. These are the common cases; for there are few women who are worthy to be women."
I was distinctly and positively assured that the incident thus shown me was one that actually occurred, and that I had borne part in it, though no record of it survives.
87:1 Paris, February 7, 1880. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, i, pp. 336-338.