I am here, Prof. Salyards.
I have noticed that the spirit when it first comes into this life, is very often in a condition of darkness, not realizing where it is or what its surroundings are, and in many instances, it requires quite a long time for the spirit to realize that it is not still of earth.
But in many cases this is not the condition of the spirit, for it seems to have an immediate understanding of its condition and surroundings. I attribute the first mentioned condition to be due to the fact that, when on earth, the mortal had no definite belief as to what the future life might be; and in many instances believed that the soul went into the grave with the body, to await the great resurrection day.
Some of your religious denominations are preaching that doctrine now, and, the consequence will be that all those who believe the doctrine will experience the condition of darkness and the want of knowledge of the continuity of life that I have spoken of.
The second class of spirits, or those who appear to realize immediately that they have passed from earth to spirit life are those, who, while on earth, believed that the spirit when it left the body passed immediately into the Heavenly Spheres, or into the opposite - I mean the place of the wicked. I know that many of this class have hardly realized that they were in heaven or hell, for some little time after their entrance into spirit life.
Well, as soon as the spirits realize fully that they are no longer of earth, they commence to inquire as to where they are, and many of them ask questions that indicate that they are disappointed in not realizing the expectations that they had while on earth.
It is very difficult at times to convince them that there are no such places as the heavens and the hells as taught by the churches; for while our spirit world may be a heaven or hell to them, yet the heaven or hell that they expect to find is not here.
Some, on the other hand, do not seem to understand that they have really left the earth, because, they say, if we had left the earth life, we would know nothing - quoting Job and some of the preachers: "the dead know nothing."
I have been very much interested in observing these different phases of the departed spirits' beliefs and thoughts.
Now all this shows the absolute necessity of mortals understanding the truths pertaining to life and death.
This affords a very strong argument why Spiritualism should be more extensively and earnestly taught to mortals and why the false doctrines of those who teach either that the dead know nothing, or that the departed spirit goes either to heaven or to hell in the orthodox sense, should be shown to be not only a false belief, but injurious to mankind.
Let the believers and teachers of Spiritualism make greater and stronger efforts to refute these harmful teachings, and they will be doing the cause of truth and of man's happiness a great good.
I am not only interested in these phases but in all others, which show that the spirits, even after they realize that they are still alive, and must live as spirits continue to show the fact that their orthodox teachings are false.
Some say that they may yet be able to go back into the body and await the great resurrection day for deliverance, and say that they will soon see God, and that He will take them into His heavens, where they will find that eternal rest and peace that they were taught to expect when on earth; and the wicked, even, look in dread to have some devil come and carry them to the hells where torture of the most terrible kind they think awaits them.
From all this you may understand that we spirits who know the truth have a great work to do, to enable these darkened spirits to understand and believe that their false hopes and dreadful fears have no foundation in truth and will never be realized.
This work many spirits are engaged in doing and these spirits are not necessarily of the higher kind, for many spirits who occupy the earth plane and have no real spiritual enlightenment, are engaged in this work.
I am not now engaged in causing these dark spirits to see the truth, for I have progressed to higher things, and my mission is to teach the truths of the higher life, which I have been taught by spirits who live in higher spheres.
This work to me is one that is not only interesting, but which gives me the great happiness that comes with the realization that I have been the means of leading a spirit to learn to love God, and to receive the happiness which the love of God gives to spirits.
I tell you that this teaching is the grandest that I ever engaged in in all my life. When on earth, as I taught and saw the young mind develop, I found much happiness in the knowledge that I was doing some good, but here, in my teachings, when I see a soul develop, I realize that I am doing a spirit that greatest of all good in bringing it at one in love with the Father; and happiness here and that of earth, is as the soul development is so much greater than the development of the mere mind.
My work is not confined entirely to this teaching; I also am engaged in trying to assist mortals to a true conception of the life here - I mean the spiritual part of this life. No man is entirely without spirit influence, whether good or evil. Many are susceptible to the influence of the evil spirits, and for that reason the work of the good spirits is so much more difficult.
There is in man's nature that which leads him to evil thoughts so much easier than to good thoughts. This is an old saying, I know, but is a true one, and the fact that it has been said so often and for so long a time, does not decrease the importance of it as a truth.
So while men have felt this evil inclination in their nature, the fight between the good and evil influences will be somewhat unequal. The advantage though with the good influences is that what they suggest is truth which will never die, while the suggestions of the evil influences last only for a comparatively short time.
When the material gives up the spirit being which it clothes, that being will then be relieved of many of these natural tendencies to evil thoughts and deeds; and while this mere separation does not make a devil a saint, it makes it so much easier for the spirit to get rid of many of these evil tendencies, and makes him more susceptible to the influence of truth and goodness.
You must not think from this, as soon as they have been in the spirit world for a little time, they become good spirits, for that is not true. Many evil spirits have been in the spirit world for a great many years, and yet have their evil thoughts and desires, and all the evil qualities of hatred, malice, envy, etc., as when they were on earth.
Their giving up the earth life did not deprive them of their will, the greatest force or power that God gave to man, except that of love. And many of these spirits refuse to exercise their will in a way that will enable them to rid themselves of these evil thoughts and desires.
So you see, the mere fact of becoming a spirit does not mean that the mortal has become a good and saintly spirit.
No, I am sorry to say that many men who were very evil on earth are still evil as spirits; and their happiness, which they think they have, is only that happiness, which they, as men, thought they realized from the exercise of evil thoughts and acts.
Yet there is one great redeeming fact connected with their dark and sad condition, and that is, that in the end, whenever it so pleases God, all evil will be banished from the spirit world, and all spirits will be given that happiness which comes from a nature free from sin and error.
Not by the fiat of God, but by men seeking and doing those things that will free the soul from sin and error and again come into harmony with God's laws. Just such I imagine as Adam and Eve enjoyed in the historical Garden of Eden.
But that happiness, while of a character that brings much contentment and peace, yet is not the true happiness which God is waiting to give all His children who ask and seek for the inflowing of the Divine Love in their souls.
I will not discourse on this great happiness tonight, as it would take too long and you are somewhat tired; but will say, that all men should seek for it both on earth and in the spirit world.
When on earth I did not have it, but since I came here I found it, and now possess it, thanks be to God and His loving kindness.
Your folks all have it, and many others too numerous to mention.
Let me stop now as I am tired and you need to rest.
So with all my love and best wishes, I am your old professor,
Joseph H. Salyards