THE MEDIUMS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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2. If we admit the existence of the soul and its individuality after death, we must necessarily also admit, 1st, that it is of a nature different from that of the body, since, when separated from the body, it enters upon a phase of existence distinct from the destiny of the body ; 2d, that the soul retains, after death, its individuality and self-con- sciousness, and the capacity of feeling happiness and unhappiness, as otherwise it would be an inert being, and its existence would be equivalent to non-existence. These points being admitted, it follows that the soul goes somewhere ; but what becomes of it, and whither does it go? According to the ordinary belief it goes to heaven or to hell ; but where is heaven, and where is hell? People used formerly to say that heaven was '' up on high," and hell, '' down below ; " but what is " up," and what is "down," in the Universe, since we have learned that the earth is round, and that, through the movement of all the stellar bodies, what is " up " now, will be " down " twelve hours hence, and this throughout the immeasurable extent of infinite space? It is true that, by "below," we may likewise understand the "deep places of the earth;" but what has become of those "deep places," since geologists have begun to dig into the interior of the globe?

What has become of those concentric spheres called the "heaven of fire," the " heaven of stars," etc., since we have found out that the earth is not the centre of the universe, and that our sun is only one of the countless myriads of suns which shine in space, and each of which is the centre of a planetary system of its own ? Where is now the earth's importance, lost as it is in this immensity ? and by what unjustifiable privilege shall we assume that this imperceptible grain of sand, distinguished neither by its bulk, its position, nor any peculiarity of attribute, is the only sphere peopled by intelligent creatures? Reason refuses to admit such an inutility of infinitude; and common sense declares that all the other worlds of the universe must be inhabited, and that, being inhabited, they, too, must furnish their contingent to the realm of souls.

But what, it may next be asked, becomes of the souls thus multiplied to infinity by the theory of the plurality of worlds, now that astronomy and geology have annihilated their ancient habitations?

To this question we reply that, the doctrine which formerly localised souls being opposed to the data of modern science, another and more logical doctrine assigns to then, as their domain, not any fixed and circumscribed localities, but universal space itself which is thus seen to be one grand system, in the midst of which we live, which environs us unceasingly, and touches us at every point. Is there anything inadmissible in such a theory, anything repugnant to our reason? Assuredly not; on the contrary, our reason tells us that it cannot be otherwise. But, it may next be asked, what becomes of the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, if we rob them of their special localities ? In replying to this objection, we must pause to remark that incredulity, in regard to those rewards and punishments, is ordinarily provoked by the fact of their being presented under inadmissible conditions; and that, if-instead of such conditions, we assume that souls carry their happiness or their misery in themselves, that their lot is always determined by their moral state, that the union of good and sympathetic souls is a source of felicity, and that, according to their degree of purity, is their power of penetrating and discerning things that are still dark to souls of lower degree-all difficulties disappear, and the grand idea of our continuous existence becomes comprehensible and acceptable. Let us assume, still farther, that the degree of each soul's elevation depends on the efforts it makes for its own amelioration during series of existences that serve as the means and tests of its progressive purification, that "angels" are only the souls of men who have attained to the highest degree of excellence; that all can attain to that degree by effort and determination; that those who have attained to that degree are God's messengers, charged to superintend the execution of His designs throughout the universe, and finding their happiness in these glorious missions,-and we surely attribute to the idea of our future felicity an end more useful and more attractive than that of a perpetual state of contemplation which would be only a perpetual state of inutility. Let us assume, yet farther, that (lemons" also are no other than the souls of wicked men, not yet purified, but who have the power to purify themselves like the others, and it must surely be admitted that such a theory is more in conformity with the justice and goodness of God than the assumption that they were created for evil, and predestined to a perpetuity of misery. Is there, we ask, in such a theory, anything opposed to reason, anything, in a word, that the most rigorous logic, or plain common sense, can find any difficulty in admitting?

The souls, then, that people space, are what we call spirits: and spirits are nothing but the souls of men stripped of their envelope of gross terrestrial matter. If spirits were beings apart from ourselves, their existence would be merely hypothetical ; but, if we admit that souls exist, we must also admit that spirits are nothing else than souls, and, if we admit that universal space is peopled by souls, we must equally admit that spirits are everywhere. We cannot deny the existence of spirits without denying the existence of souls.

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