THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER X
IX. LAW OF FREEDOM
Natural Freedom - Slavery - Freedom of Thought - Freedom of Conscience - Free Will - Fatalism - Foreknowledge of the Future - Theoretical Explanation of the Motive Behind Human Action

Natural Freedom

825. Are there any positions in the world where an individual enjoys absolute freedom?
“No, because all of you need one another, from the most powerful to the impoverished.”

826. What would be the condition in which a person could enjoy absolute freedom?
“As a hermit in a desert. As soon as two people find each other, they have reciprocal rights and duties to respect, and are no longer absolutely free.”

827. Does the duty to respect the rights of others deprive individuals of their right to be themselves?
“Not at all, because human beings hold that right by nature.”

828. How can we reconcile the liberal opinions of some individuals with the oppression they sometimes exercise in their own homes over their subordinates?
“They are familiar with the law of nature, but it is counterbalanced by their pride and selfishness. They know what should be done when they truly embrace these liberal principles, but they do not do it.”

a) Will the principles that they have professed during this life be taken into account in the next?
“The more intelligence that people have to understand a principle, the more inexcusable their neglect to put it into practice. I may truly tell you that those who are sincere but simple are further advanced on the Divine road than those who try to appear to be what they are not.”


Slavery

829. Is there any portion of the human race intended by nature to be the property of other human beings?
“The absolute oppression of any individual by another violates God’s law. Slavery is an abuse of strength and gradually disappears with progress, as all other abuses will eventually disappear.”

The societal law that sanctions slavery is a crime against nature, because it reduces human beings to the level of animals, and degrades them both physically and morally.

830. When slavery is established in the standards and customs of a nation, are those who profit from it to blame for conforming to a system that appears to be natural to them?
“What is wrong is always wrong, and no amount of sophistry can change a bad deed into a good one. However, the accountability for wrongdoing is always proportional to the ability of the offenders to understand their actions. Those who profit from slavery are always guilty of violating natural law, but this guilt is relative. As slavery became rooted in the civilizations of certain nations, human beings may have taken advantage of it without seeing it as being wrong, and as something that appeared to be natural to them. But once their reason became more developed and enlightened by the teachings of Christianity, and they were shown that slaves are their equal in God’s eyes, their actions were no longer excusable.”

831. Does the natural inequality of aptitudes place some members of the human race under the control of more intelligent members?
“Yes, so that they may rise to a higher level, but not to further degrade them by slavery. People have too long viewed certain ethnic groups as working animals with arms and hands, and believed they have the right to use them and sell them like beasts. They think that they are of purer blood, when they are really fools! Only the spirit is the marker of purity, not blood.” (See nos. 361-803)

832. There are people who treat their slaves humanely. They think that freedom would expose them to greater poverty or deprivation. What do you think of this?
“They have a better understanding of their own interests. They take the same care of their cows and horses to get a better price for them at the market. They are not as guilty as those who treat them badly, but they still treat them as merchandise by depriving them of their freedom.”

Freedom of Thought

833. Is there anything in human beings that escape all limitations, and of which they enjoy absolute freedom?
“They enjoy unbounded freedom in their thoughts, as there is no obstacle to thought. While it may be hindered, thought cannot be extinguished.”

834. Are human beings responsible for their thoughts?
“They are accountable for them before God. God alone can know our thoughts, and condemns or absolves them according to justice.”

Freedom of Conscience

835. Is freedom of conscience the natural consequence of freedom of thought?
“The conscience is an inner thought that belongs to the individual, like all the other thoughts entertained by that person.”

836. Do human beings have the right to restrain the freedom of conscience?
“No more so than the freedom of thought, because God alone has the right to judge the conscience. Human society governs the relations between human beings through the use of laws created by human beings, while God governs the relations between people and God by the law of nature.”

837. What is the effect of the restraints imposed on the freedom of conscience?
“It forces people to act in a manner that conflicts with their thoughts, and therefore makes them hypocrites. Freedom of conscience is one of the characteristics of true civilization and progress.”

838. Should every belief be respected, even when it is completely false?
“Every belief is worthy of respect when it is sincere, and when it leads to practicing good actions. Reprehensible beliefs are those that lead to the practice of evil.”

839. Is it wrong to offend those whose beliefs are different than ours?
“This demonstrates a lack of charity, and infringes on the freedom of thought.”

840. Is placing obstructions on beliefs that cause social disturbances an infringement on the freedom of conscience?
“You can only repress action, belief is inaccessible.”

Repressing someone from outwardly expressing a belief when those acts are harmful to others is not an infringement of their freedom of conscience, as this repression leaves the belief itself entirely free.

841. Out of respect for the freedom of conscience, should we allow the spread of malevolent theories or doctrines? Should we, instead, try to bring those who are led astray by false principles back to the right path without violating the freedom of conscience?
“Of course, not only is it possible to bring them back to the right path but you should attempt do it so. This should be done by following Jesus’ example, using gentleness and persuasion, and not by resorting to force, which would be worse than the false belief of those whom you are trying to convert. If there is something that ought to be imposed, it is goodness and fraternity, but we do not believe that the means for doing so is violence: beliefs cannot be imposed by violence.”

842. All doctrines claim to be the sole expression of the truth. How can we recognize the one that is most deserving of this title?
“The truest doctrine is the one that has the fewest hypocrites and the greatest number of truly virtuous individuals. In other words, people practicing the law of charity in its greatest purity and in its widest application. This is how you may recognize a true doctrine, because any doctrine that causes rifts between God’s children is nothing but false and evil.”

Free Will

843. Do human beings have free will in their actions?
“Since they have freedom of thought, they also have freedom of action. Without free will, they would be nothing more than machines.”

844. Do human beings have free will from birth?
“They possess free will from the moment when they possess the will to act. In the earliest phase of human life, free will is almost nonexistent. It is developed and changed with the development of the faculties. Children, having thoughts that match the wants of their age, apply their free will to the things that are necessary corresponding to that age.”

845. Are the instinctive tendencies that human beings have at birth an obstacle to the exercise of their free will?
“The instinctive tendencies of every individual belonged to their spirits before incarnation. If they are not very advanced, these tendencies may motivate such individuals to do wrong and spirits who sympathize with the wrong they do support them. However, no temptation is irresistible when there is a determination to resist; remember that ‘where there is a will, there is a way’.” (See no. 361)

846. Does our body influence the acts of our life? If so, does this influence constitute a violation of our free will?
“Spirits are definitely influenced by matter, which may hold them back in their manifestations. This is why, in worlds where the body is less material than on Earth, the faculties are exercised more freely. However, it is important to remember that the instrument does not confer the faculty. You must also distinguish between moral and intellectual faculties. If some individuals have the instinct to commit murder, their spirits possess it, not their bodies. Those who obliterate their thoughts solely to care about matter become like animals and, even worse, they no longer try to protect themselves from iniquity. This constitutes culpability, because they act of their own free will.” (See no. 367 et. seq. Influence of the Body)

847. Do anomalies of the faculties deprive individuals of their free will?
“If the intelligence of human beings is altered by any cause whatsoever, then they are no longer the masters of their thoughts and are no longer free. Such anomaly is often an atonement for spirits who, in another life, have been vain or arrogant, or have made bad use of their faculties. They may be reborn in the body of a mentally impaired person, as a tyrant may be reborn in the body of a slave, and a callous wealthy man in that of a beggar. Such spirits suffer from this constraint, of which they are fully aware, and this is the action of matter.” (See no. 371 et seq.)

848. Is the impairment of the intellectual faculties produced by drunkenness an excuse for reprehensible behavior?
“No, because alcoholics have voluntarily deprived themselves of their reason to satisfy their unrefined passions. They commit two crimes, instead of just one.”

849. What is the dominant faculty of savages? Is it instinct or free will?
“Instinct, which does not prevent them from acting with absolute freedom in certain things. However, like children, they use their freedom for the satisfaction of their wants, and only evolve through the development of their intelligence. Consequently, as you are more enlightened than a savage, you are more responsible than a savage if you do wrong.”

850. Is social standing sometimes an obstacle to complete freedom of action?
“The world definitely has its demands. God is fair and takes everything into account, but will hold you responsible for any lack of effort on your part to overcome such obstacles.”

Fatalism

851. Does fatalism control the events of life in the sense commonly attached to this word? Is every event in our lives predestined, and, if so, what becomes of free will?
“Fatalism only exists based on the choice each spirit makes to undergo a trial. By choosing that trial, you create a sort of destiny for yourself. It is the natural consequence of the situation in which you have chosen to place yourself. This is only with respect to physical trials, because in moral trials and temptations, a spirit always maintains a freedom of choice between good and iniquity and is always able to yield or resist. Good spirits may come to your aid when they see you falter, but cannot influence you to the extent of controlling your will. On the other hand, bad or inferior spirits may trouble or alarm you by exaggerating your physical danger. However, the will of your incarnate spirit maintains its full freedom of choice.”

852. Some individuals seem to be pursued by a fatalism that is completely independent of their actions. Is it their destiny to be unfortunate?
“There may be trials that those individuals are forced to endure because they have chosen them, but you often attribute to destiny what is more often than not the consequence of your own faults. In the midst of the adversities that afflict you try to keep a pure and clear conscience, and you will be given solace for your suffering.”

The true or false ideas that we adopt of the things around us cause us to succeed or fail in our undertakings depending on our character and social standing. It seems easier and less humiliating to our self-esteem to attribute our failures to fate or destiny than to our own mistakes. While spirits may sometimes influence our success, we can always free ourselves from this influence by resisting the ideas they suggest if they are misleading or bad.

853. Some people escape one danger only to fall prey to another, as if it were impossible for them to escape death. Is this not fatalism?
“Nothing is predestined, in the truest sense of the word, except the time of death. When that time has come, whether in one form or another, you cannot escape it.”

a) Then, regardless of whatever danger threatens us, we will not die if our time has not come?
“No, you will not die. There are thousands of examples of this, but when your hour has come, nothing can save you. God knows how you will leave your present life, and this is often also known by your spirit because it is revealed when you choose an existence.”

854. Given the inevitability of our time of death, are the precautions we take to avoid it useless?
“No, because those precautions are suggested to avoid any danger that threatens you. They are one of the means used to prevent death.”

855. Why does Providence make us encounter dangers that have no result?
“When your life is in peril, it is a warning to turn you away from wickedness and leave you better off. When you escape this danger, and while still feeling the emotion stimulated by the danger you encountered, you think according to the degree in which you are influenced by good spirits to mend your ways. If a bad spirit dominates (In using the word bad I am referring to the evil that is still within that spirit), you think that you will escape other dangers in the same manner, and once again you give free rein to your passions. Through the dangers that you encounter, God reminds you of your weakness and the fragility of your existence. If you examine the cause and nature of the peril you have escaped, you will see that in many cases its consequences would have been the atonement of some fault you have committed, or some duty you have neglected. God warns you to reflect upon and correct your faults.” (See nos. 526-532)

856. Do spirits know how they will die beforehand?
“Based on the life they have chosen, they know that they have exposed themselves to die in some particular manner rather than in another, but they also see the effort they will have to put forward in order to avoid it. They know that, God willing, they will escape it.”

857. There are those who brave the perils of war fully convinced that their time has not come. Are there any grounds for this confidence?
“Individuals often have a premonition of their end. On the other hand, such individuals may also have a sense that their time of death has not yet come. This intuition is due to the action of their protective spirits, who warn them to be ready to go or boost their courage when they particularly need it. It may also come to them from the intuition they have of the life they have chosen, or of the mission they have accepted that they know they must fulfill.” (See nos. 411-522)

858. How is it that those who have a premonition of their death generally dread it less than others do?
“It is the human being and not the spirit who fears death. Individuals who have a premonition of their death view it as a spirit rather than as human beings. They understand that it will be a release to freedom and await it.”

859. If death is inevitable at its appointed time, does this also apply to all the accidents that may happen to us over the course of our lives?
“They are often small enough that we can warn you against them, and sometimes help you avoid them by directing your thoughts because we do not like physical suffering. All this is of little importance to the life you have chosen. Fatalism, truly, is the hour at which you are born into and exit the physical life.”

a) Are there incidents that must occur in a life and that spirits cannot help you avert?
“Yes, but you saw those incidents when you chose your life as a spirit. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to assume that everything that happens to you was ‘written in the stars’ as people say. An event is often the consequence of something you have done by an act of your own volition. Had you not done that thing, the event would not have taken place. If you burn your finger, it is a trivial inconvenience resulting from your own carelessness and a consequence of matter, not destiny. Only great sorrows, serious events that are capable of influencing your moral state, are predestined by God because they will be useful to your purification and education.”

860. Can individuals, by their will and effort, prevent events from taking place, and vice versa?
“They can if this deviation is compatible with the life they have chosen. They may prevent wrongdoing to do good, which should be the sole purpose of life, especially if that wrong might contribute to an even greater evil.”

861. Did those individuals who commit a murder know, in choosing their life, that they would become murderers?
“No, they knew that they incurred the risk of killing one of their fellow creatures by choosing a life of struggle. However they did not know whether they would or would not because a murderer almost always deliberates before committing the crime, and if people can deliberate they are free to carry out the action or not. If spirits knew that they would commit a murder beforehand, it would imply that they were predestined to commit that crime. No one is ever predestined to commit a crime. Every crime, like every other action, is the result of choice and free will.”
“You are confusing two things that are quite distinct – the events of material life and those of moral life. If any sort of fatalism exists, it is only in the events of your material life of which the cause is beyond your control and independent of your will. As to the acts of the moral life, they always emanate from human beings themselves, who always have the freedom of choice. In those acts, there is never any destiny.”

862. There are individuals who never succeed and seem to be stalked by a bad spirit in all their endeavors. Is this not what we call fatalism?
“It is definitely fatalism, if you want to call it that, but it results from the type of life chosen by those individuals in the spirit state, because they wanted to exercise their patience and resignation through a life of disappointment. However, do not believe that destiny is absolute. It is often a consequence for individuals who choose the wrong path, one that does not correspond to their intelligence and abilities. If people try to cross a river without knowing how to swim, they stand a very good chance of drowning, and we can say the same about most events in your life. If people only attempted things that are in harmony with their abilities, they would usually succeed. The cause of their failure is their conceit and ambition, which veer them off their proper path, and make them mistake a desire to satisfy passions for vocation. They fail by their own fault, but instead of blaming themselves, they prefer to blame their ‘star’. For example, an individual who could have been a good craftsperson and honorably earn a living in that capacity prefers to write bad poetry, and ultimately dies of starvation. There would be a place for everyone, if everyone assumed their proper place.”

863. Do social customs often force people to follow one road rather than another, and is their choice of occupation often controlled by the opinion of those around them? Is the feeling that leads us to attach a certain amount of importance to the opinions of others an obstacle to exercising our free will?
“Social traditions and customs are established by human beings and not by God. If people submit to them it is because they want to and their submission is an act of their free will. If they wanted to free themselves from those customs, they could do so. Then why do they complain? They should blame their pride rather than social customs, because pride makes them prefer to starve rather than stray from what they consider to be their dignity. Nobody thanks them for this sacrifice, though God would take note of the sacrifice of their vanity. We are not saying that you should resist public opinion or customs, as in the case of some people who are more eccentric than philosophical. It is just as absurd to allow others to point or stare at you like a curious animal, as there is wisdom in voluntarily descending when you are unable to stay at the top of the ladder.”

864. While there are individuals to whom fate is unkind, there are others who seem to be favored because they succeed in everything they do. To what is this to be attributed?
“In many cases, they know how to best manage their lives and actions, but it may also be a type of trial. People are intoxicated by success. They put their trust in their destiny, and in the end they pay for these successes by severe setbacks, which greater forethought would have enabled them to avoid.”

865. How can we account for the luck that sometimes favors people under circumstances where neither will nor intelligence have a role, such as gambling, for example?
“Some spirits have chosen specific types of pleasure beforehand, and the luck that favors them is a temptation. Those who win as human beings lose as spirits, since such luck is a trial for their pride and greed.”

866. Is the fate that seems to shape our material destinies a result of our free will?
“You yourself have chosen your trial. The more severe it is and the better you bear it, the higher you are elevated. Those who spend their physical lives selfishly enjoying wealth and happiness are cowardly spirits who remain stationary. The number of those who are unfortunate is much greater in your world than those who are fortunate, because spirits generally choose the trial that will be most useful to them. They too clearly see the futility of your splendor and pleasures. Besides, the most fortunate life is always more or less troubled, if only by the absence of sorrow.” (See no. 525 et seq.)

867. Where does the expression “born under a lucky star” originate?
“From an old superstition that connected the stars with the destiny of each human being – a metaphor that some people are foolish enough to take literally.”

Foreknowledge of the Future

868. Can the future be revealed to human beings?
“As a rule, the future is hidden from them. It is only in rare and exceptional cases that God permits it to be revealed.”

869. Why is the future hidden from human beings?
“If they knew the future, they would ignore the present and would not act with the same freedom. They would be swayed by the thought that, if a specific event is to happen, there is no need to worry about it, or they would seek to prevent it. God did not want it to be this way, so that all people would contribute in the accomplishment of God’s designs, even those designs they would want to prevent. Therefore, you often prepare the way for the events that occur over the course of your lifetime, without even being aware of it.”

870. Since there is a practical reason why the future is hidden, why does God sometimes permit it to be revealed?
“Because in such cases this foreknowledge facilitates the accomplishment of what is to be, rather than hinder it, by making the persons to whom it is revealed act in a different manner than they would otherwise act. In addition, it is often a trial. The prospect of an event may awaken more or less honorable thoughts. For example, if individuals learn that they will receive an inheritance that they had not expected, they may be tempted by greed, by elation at the prospect of increasing their worldly pleasures, or by a desire for the death of their benefactor, so that they may obtain it sooner. On the other hand, this prospect may awaken good and generous thoughts in them. If the prediction is not fulfilled, it is a test of how they bear disappointment. They acquire the merit or reproach of the good or bad thoughts they have by their expectation of the event anticipated.”

871. God knows everything, including whether people will succeed or fail in a given trial. What is the purpose of this trial, since it shows God nothing that is not already known about those individuals? “You might as well ask why God did not create humans perfect (see no. 119), or why human beings have to experience childhood before arriving at adulthood (see no. 379). The purpose of a trial is not to enlighten God regarding the merit of humankind. God knows exactly what they are worth, but to make human beings fully accountable for their behavior since they have free will. People are free to choose between good and bad, and trials serve to tempt them or prove their resistance, leaving them all the merit for resisting it. Even though God knows well in advance whether they will succeed or not, out of divine justice God cannot reward or punish them other than according to the actions they have committed.” (See no. 258)

The same principle exists in the world of human beings. Regardless of the qualifications of a given group of candidates or our confidence in their success, no grade can be granted until the proper test has been passed. This is the same as with a judge who can condemns only accused individuals for the crimes they have actually committed, and not on the presumption that they could or would commit a crime.

The more we reflect on the consequences that would result from our knowledge of the future, the more clearly we see God’s Divine wisdom in hiding it from us. The certainty of good fortune in the future would make us lazy, while future despair would plunge us into depression or discouragement. In both cases, our activities are paralyzed. This is why the future is shown to human beings only as a goal that they must reach through their own effort, without knowing the sequence of events that they will experience in attaining it. The foreknowledge of all the events of their respective journeys would deprive them of their initiative and the use of their free will. They would submissively allow themselves to be led by the circumstances, without any exercise of their faculties. When the success of something is certain, we no longer worry about it.

Theoretical Explanation of the Motive Behind Human Action

872. We may summarize the question of free will as follows. Human beings are not inevitably led into evil. Their acts are not predestined and the crimes they commit are not the result of any sort of destiny. They may have chosen, as a trial and form of repentance, a life in which they will be tempted to do wrong, either because of the surroundings in which they are placed, or through circumstances that occur, but they always have their free will in determining their actions. Spirits therefore exercise free will in the spirit life by choosing their next life and trials to complete and human beings exercise free will by leveraging their power of yielding to or resisting the temptations to which they have voluntarily subjected themselves. The purpose of education is to fght these wicked propensities – a duty that it will only be able to fulfill thoroughly when it is based on a deeper and truer knowledge of the moral nature of human beings. By knowing the laws governing the moral nature of humankind, we can modify it, as we already modify intelligence by education and physical health by hygiene.

Every spirit chooses its future physical life according to its degree of purification at the time they are wandering and free from matter. The spirit is free to make this choice, as we have previously pointed out, based on its free will. This free will is not lost through incarnation. If an incarnate spirit yields to the influence of matter, it succumbs in the trials it has chosen for itself. However, the spirit can call out for God’s guidance and the support of good spirits for strength and assistance. (See no. 337)

Without free will, there would be neither guilt in doing wrong, nor merit in doing right. This concept is so well recognized that the world always assigns blame or praise of any deed to the intention, that is, the will of the person committing the act, with will simply being another word for freedom. People could not blame their wrongs on their bodies without abandoning their reason and condition as human beings, which would place them on the same level as wild animals. If they could do so with regard to what is wrong, they would have to do the same for what is right. Whenever individuals do right, they claim this merit and would never think of attributing it to their bodies, which proves that they instinctively refuse to renounce the most remarkable privilege of their species, the freedom of thought.

Fatalism, as commonly understood, assumes a prior and binding predestination of all the events of human life, regardless of their importance. If this were true, people would be machines without a will of their own. What would be the purpose of intelligence, if it were always overruled in all its action by the power of destiny? This destroys any sense of moral freedom. There would be no such thing as human accountability, and consequently there would be no distinction between good and evil, or virtue and crime. God, who is supremely just, could not punish people for faults that they were forced to commit, nor could they be rewarded for virtues that they do not merit. This would contradict the law of progress because humans would not be motivated to improve their position since their actions could make it neither better nor worse.

Fatalism, however, is not a meaningless word. It really exists with regard to the position held by all human beings on Earth and the roles they fill. Fatalism is a consequence of the type of existence their spirits chose as a trial, repentance, or mission. They are subjected to the digressions of the life they have chosen, in addition to all the intrinsic temptations, good or bad. This is where fatalism ends, because human will determines if they yield to those temptations or not. The details of events depend on the circumstances that human beings cause by their actions, and they may be influenced by the good or bad thoughts suggested by spirits. (See no. 459)

Therefore, fatalism exists in the events that occur, because they are the consequence of the choice made by our spirit in what type of existence to live. However, there can be no fatalism in the results of those events, because human beings can often modify their results by using their own judgment. Therefore, there is no fatalism with regard to the acts of our moral life.

People are victims of an absolute and inescapable destiny only at the time of death. They can neither avoid the fate determining the length of their lives, nor avoid the kind of death that is destined for them.

According to common belief, human beings derive all their instincts from themselves. These instincts proceed from their physical bodies, for which they are not responsible, or from their own nature, which would provide them with an equally valid excuse for their imperfections. If such were the case, they could rightly claim that it is through no choice of their own that they are what they are. Spiritism is more moral. It admits the free will for humans in all its fullness and, in telling them that they yield to a vile suggestion made by another spirit when they do wrong, it makes them fully accountable for their actions. It recognizes their ability to resist contemptible suggestions, which is easier than fighting their inherent nature. Accordingly, Spiritist theory dictates that no temptation is irresistible. People can always ignore the invisible voice addressing their inner consciousness, just as easily as they can ignore a human voice. They can always withdraw from the suggestions tempting them to do wrong by exerting their will against the temptation. They can ask God to give them the necessary strength, and call out to good spirits for help. This is what Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer when he told us to recite, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

This theory of the cause of human action is the natural conclusion of all the teachings the spirits offer now. It is not only sublime in terms of morality; it also greatly enhances the self-respect of human beings. It shows them that they are as free to escape the shackles of an obsessor, as they are to close the doors to their houses to unwelcome intrusions. They are not machines, powered by an impulse that is independent of their will, rather, they are beings capable of reasoning, and possess the power to listen, to compare, and to choose freely between two different suggestions or recommendations. We should add that individuals are not deprived of their initiative when receiving advice. What they do is of their own volition because they are still spirits, although incarnated in a physical envelope, and as human beings, they still maintain the good and bad qualities they possessed as spirits. The faults that we commit are rooted in the imperfection of our spirit, which has not yet developed the moral superiority it will acquire over the course of time. Despite this fact, the spirit is still in full possession of its free will. The purpose of corporeal life is to purge all the imperfections of our spirit through the trials we endure. It is precisely these imperfections that weaken us and make us vulnerable to the influence of imperfect spirits. They take advantage of our weakness when they try to make us fail in our tasks. If we are victorious in the struggle, our spirit is elevated, if we fail, our spirit remains, as it was no better and no worse. However, the unsuccessful attempt will give way to a new attempt, which is a repetition of the same trial that may delay our advancement for a very long period. As we improve, our weakness diminishes and we give less and less power to those who would tempt us to wrongdoing. As our moral strength increases constantly, low-order spirits cease to act upon us.

All incarnate spirits, whether good or bad, make up the human race. As our planet is one of the most backward worlds in the universe, there are more bad spirits than good spirits, and perversity is widespread. We must do our utmost not to have to return to this world after our present sojourn and to deserve admission into a higher world, one of those privileged worlds, where goodness reigns, and where, once we get there, our time in this lower world will only be a brief, vague memory.

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