4. In order to free ourselves from the fear of death, we must be able to look at it from the right point of view; that is to say, we must have penetrated the spirit world in thought. We must have formed to ourselves an idea of that world, as exact as can be obtained at the present time: a power of discernment denoting, on the part of our incarnate spirits, a certain amount of intellectual and moral development, and a certain aptitude for freeing ourselves from materiality. Among those who are not sufficiently advanced for the acquisition of this knowledge, the physical life takes precedence over the spiritual life.
The real life of humankind is in the soul; but while humans remain attached to external values, they see life only in the body; and therefore, when the body is deprived of life, they fancy that all is over and abandon themselves to despair. If, instead of concentrating their thoughts on the outer garment of life, they directed their thoughts to the source of life, to the soul which is the real being, and which survives the change of its outer clothing, they would feel less regret at the idea of losing their bodies, the instruments of so much trouble and suffering; but for this, humanity needs a moral strength which is only acquired gradually, and in proportion to its advancement towards maturity.
The fear of death, therefore, results from an insufficient knowledge of the future life. It also denotes aspirations for the continuance of existence, and anxiety lest the destruction of the body should be the end. It is, therefore, evident that it is due to a secret desire for survival which really exists in the soul, although partially hidden under the veil of uncertainty.
The fear of death diminishes in proportion as we obtain a clearer anticipation of the future life; it disappears entirely when that anticipation has become a certainty.
The wisdom of Providence is seen in the progressive march of human convictions with regard to the continuation of life beyond the grave. If the certainty of a future life had been permitted to men and women before their mental vision was prepared for such a prospect, they would have been dazzled thereby. And the seductions of such a certainty, too clearly seen, would lead them to neglect the present life, their diligent use of which is the condition for physical and moral advancement.