Naturalness of Spirit Life, by Sir David
The human mind is subject to false and specious reasoning, and time after
time opinions which have been held and argued upon with seeming logical
acumen, have, by further developments and discoveries, been proven
fallacious. And yet of so elastic a nature is the mind of man that he is
not crushed nor discouraged by his mistakes, but immediately commences to
build new theories; but as he establishes them by specialties instead of
generalities, he is again defeated.
The European mind has adopted a certain line of thought respecting the
future state of existence, which it substantiates by narrow reasonings
and isolated facts.
Of the future we can only judge by analogy of the past with the present.
Nature ever shadows forth her new developments upon the old.
The many periods or stages through which the earth has passed in reaching
her present state of refinement, have been stamped one upon the other so
that the Geologist can determine definitely what would be the result of a
certain period from the characteristics of the foregoing.
Now it is educible: if the Creator of the race of men who inhabit the
terrestrial globe had intended for them a future state or destination
differing in every respect from their present one, he would have prepared
their minds for different pursuits, and ordained them for other
occupations than those they follow to the very grave.
Take man in his most natural condition examine those nations that are
most ancient, and unmixed with other races and you will perceive that
their ideas of a future state were in accordance with the life they were
living on earth.
The Asiatic race in burying its dead prepares the favorite food of the
deceased, the fragrant tea, and the money so useful on earth. Also slips
of paper on which messages are written to departed friends are lighted at
these burial ceremonies, and reduced to ashes, that the spirit of the
text may be transmitted to their friends in the world of souls.
In these "Pagan rites," as they are termed, we discern the workings of an
intuitive belief that the spirit of man still retains the sensations,
attributes, and desires which have accompanied it through life.
The ancient Greeks and Romans held similar opinions, likewise the
Africans, Hindoos, and the Indians of North and South America.
By far the largest portion of mankind believe in a natural state
hereafter, corresponding to their earth existence, but the European
nations which are supposed to be advanced in science, art, and
philosophical attainments beyond all the nations of the earth, have, in
their speculations and in their efforts to penetrate the mysteries of the
world of spirits, lost sight, of the natural and entered the
supernatural, where they are surrounded by fogs, clouds, and
Now if these people are told that the spirit world is divided into states
and continents, cities and towns, as is their own world (though under
spirit appellations), they would scoff at the statement.
But as mankind has a natural love of locality, and as congenial minds
will select similar locations, adapted to their ideas of beauty and
comfort, the result is that spirit inhabitants unite and form cities and
towns as on earth. Thus combining, they must have some points of interest
to occupy their minds, and as they still possess their power of
construction and ingenuity, their love of beautiful forms and of
architecture, they prefer not to live in the open air and on the bare
ground (as they can certainly do), but choose rather to employ their
various faculties in building cities and habitations in accordance with
their tastes and ideas of convenience.
Once grant that man is provided with a spiritual body after he emerges
from his original one accept the hypothesis that this body must possess
form and sensation, and with sensation, eyes, ears, mouth, taste, and
motion then you must provide means for that body to exist. In providing
these means you must place him upon a soil capable of producing
vegetation, where his intelligence may compound the various articles
adapted to his use.
Some individuals enter the spirit world deformed, some feeble in
intellect, some incapable of constructing or arranging. All these must
have provision made for them; their wants must be supplied. The effort to
supply want or demand produces a system of exchange or barter.
Many of the inhabitants of the spirit world are both good and kind. They
are spiritualized in their natures, and are influenced by a desire to
assist those who are needy.
Nature, or God, has ordained that existence should depend upon effort;
that a state of inactivity should produce dissolution; and much the same
means are taken there to enforce activity as in the material world.
True, some men possess natural gifts, by which knowledge is acquired
without labor. The power of seeing before the demonstration belongs to
all humanity. It is the negative form of knowledge; but combined with
that power is the positive, which compels man to desire a visible
representation or demonstration of the knowledge he has received by
The astronomer thus, before he constructs his telescope, perceives
intuitively the very stars which his telescope proves as existing, where
none are visible to the eye.
It was this active-positive principle, that made him construct the
instrument; and in the spirit world, as on earth, that active-positive
principle acts in conjunction with the negative-intuitive one, in
impelling him to exertion, and forcing him to acquire knowledge in every
department of science, art, philosophy and religion. As well expect this
earth to rest in her revolution and still retain her place in the solar
system, as to suppose that the spirit of man can lose its activity and
sink to rest eternal.
Man is not only active in constructing and exploring in the spirit world,
but he is also engaged in inventions. Most of the discoveries that have
lessened manual labor and made gross matter subservient to man's use
originated in the land of spirits. The inventor finds full field for his
talents in the superior state.
Man naturally delights in knowledge, and the individual who knows how to
construct a steam locomotive finds a thrill of satisfaction in the
possession of that ability. So does he who can arrange and construct any
piece of mechanism, any domestic tool. That feeling of gratification at
the accomplishment of his plans accompanies man to the spirit life.
All persons do not follow the same pursuits in which they were engaged on
earth, yet they adopt a kindred and congenial employment. The clergyman
thinks his work done when he leaves the earth; but in the next state,
also, he will find beings who need to have their spiritual and moral
natures instructed men who desire to be led?who cannot think for
themselves, but lean upon the thoughts and inferences of others.
So with almost every pursuit there is opportunity to exercise it in the
world of spirits. The painter finds nobler themes for his pencil, more
angelic faces for his canvas; and the desire to reproduce them as they
appear is as intense there as it is here. Although a spirit can impress
his form in color and raiment upon the sensitive plate in the spirit
world, and the image remains fixed and permanent (for the photographic
art is essentially spiritual in its origin), that result though definite,
is as unsatisfactory to some minds in the spirit world as it is in the
natural. And thus, while persons differ in their desires and perceptions,
there will be the same varied modes of expressing thought in the superior
life as in this.
The question is often asked, "Why should immortals walk, when they can
move with greater velocity than light?"
In return I would inquire, "Why, when men can travel by the steam-engine,
do they prefer the slow movements of the horse?"
Again, it is asked, "Why, if spirits can converse by thought-languagen if
they can express with their eyes, or impress magnetically their wishes,
or the words they desire to utter why should they employ their vocal
But I rejoin that the deaf and dumb on earth converse by signs with great
celerity, yet would gladly express their thoughts with voice also.
Many trancendentalists and idealists fancy that the inhabitants of the
spirit world do not converse audibly; yet they would be greatly shocked
if told that in that world there reigned one vast silence; that sound was
unknown; and yet such a condition would exist, if their mode of reasoning
No unbiased person would suppose for a moment, that song was unheard in
this land of the immortals; that the voices of the spirit maidens never
burst forth into melody; and that they could not give utterance to their
feelings and sentiments, in the warbling notes of music!
Spirits can read each other's thoughts, although possessing a universal
spoken language, and also retaining in many sections the native dialect
they used on earth.
Though the spirit world is a world of marvels and miracles, and things
unutterable, which the tongue cannot express, yet it is a world similar
to the natural one; a glorified body of the old earth.
The soul visiting that new country will not feel itself an utter stranger
on its shore, but will find that it can assimilate with the thoughts and
feelings of the residents of that land, and the knowledge and experience
which it developed on earth will be useful to it there.
If the teachers on your planet, and those who instruct concerning the
condition of the soul after death, would employ the same reason and
intelligence that they exercise in investigating any other obscure
subjects either chemistry, astronomy, or natural philosophy, they would
arrive at more truthful data respecting the spirit globe which ultimately
they are all destined to inhabit.