Allan Kardec

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Instructions given by St. Louis

One of our corresponding members wrote the following:

“Last September a fast boat, crossing from Dunkirk to Ostend, was caught by surprise by a nightly storm. The boat capsized having four of the eight crew members perished. The remaining four, in which group I was, were able to hold onto the keel. We spent the whole night in such a horrible position, without any other perspective but death, which seemed inevitable to us who could feel it in all its anguish. At dawn the wind blew us to the coast hence we were able to swim our way to the land.”

“Why, in such a dangerous situation, applicable to all, only four have succumbed? Notice that in my case it is the sixth or seventh time which I escape from such an imminent danger and more or less in the same conditions. I am really led to believe that an invisible hand protects me. What have I done to deserve it? I do not know much; I am a worthless and useless creature in this world and I do not brag about having more value than others; on the contrary: among the victims of the disaster there was a dignified cleric, model of evangelical virtue, and a venerable nun from the congregation of St. Vincent de Paul, who was about to accomplish a sanctified mission of Christian charity. It seems that fatality has a very important role in my destiny. Wouldn’t the spirits be there for something? Would that be possible to obtain an explanation from them with that respect enquiring, for example, if they are the ones who provoke or avoid the dangers which threaten us?”

According to the wishes of our correspondent, we addressed the following questions to the spirit of St. Louis who, out of good will, always communicates when there is a useful instruction to be provided:

1. When there is an imminent danger threatening someone, is it a spirit who guides the danger and, when avoided, is it another spirit who deviates them?

- On incarnating, the spirit chooses a trial; once chosen, a kind of destiny is created which cannot be conjured, once the spirit is submitted to that. I speak about the physical trials. The spirit, keeping his free will regarding good and evil, is always free to withstand or reject the trial. When seeing someone abating, a good spirit may come to help but cannot influence so as to dominate their will. An evil spirit, that is inferior, showing and exaggerating about the physical dangers, may shock and scare but yet the will of the incarnated spirit is not less free of any hurdle.

2. When a man is faced by an imminent accident it seems to me that the free will is worth nothing. I then ask if it is an evil spirit who provokes such an accident, to which he is some sort of cause and, in case the danger is avoided, if a good spirit came to help him.

- Good or evil spirits may not suggest anything other than good or bad thoughts, according to their nature. The accident is marked on man’s destiny. When your life is endangered it is a sign that you desired that, so that you can deviate from evil and become better. When you escape from danger, still under its influence, you think more or less strongly, pending on the more or less strong action of the good spirits, about becoming a better person. Under the influence of evil spirits (I say evil referring to the evil which still exists in them) you equally think that you will escape other dangers and again you will give in to the unstoppable passions.

3. Fatality, which seems to preside over the material destinies of our life, would then be an effect of our free will?

- You yourself have chosen your trial; the tougher it is and the better you support it, the more you elevate. Those who spend life in abundance and human happiness are the weak spirits, who remain stationary. Thus, the unfortunate by far outnumbers the happy ones in this world; hence the spirit generally chooses the trial which produces more fruits. They see very well the futility of your greatnesses and your pleasures. Besides, even the happiest life is always agitated, always perturbed even if it is not by pain.

4. We fully understand this doctrine, but this does not explain whether certain spirits have a direct action over the material cause of the accident. Suppose that at the time a man goes through a bridge, the bridge collapses. Who led the man to go through that bridge?

- When a man goes through a bridge that must fall it is not a spirit that impels. It is the instinct of his destiny that leads him to that.

5. Who makes the bridge collapse?

- The natural circumstances. The matter has in itself the causes of destruction. In this case, if the spirit has to resort to an element foreign to his nature to move the material forces, he will preferably appeal to the spiritual intuition. Thus, should that bridge collapse having the water disarranged the stones which compose it or the rust eroded the chains that support it, the spirit will, say, suggest that the man passes through this bridge instead of breaking one or another at the time he passes through it. In fact, you have physical evidence of what I say: whatever the accident, it always occurs naturally, that is the causes are linked to each other and callously produce them.

  1. Let us take another case in which the destruction of matter is not the cause of the accident. A badly intentioned man shoots at me; the bullet hardly scratches me. Was it deviated by a good spirit?

    - No.

  2. Can the spirits directly warn us about a danger? Here is a fact that seems to confirm it: A lady leaves her house and goes down the avenue. An inner voice tells her: go home. She hesitates. The same voice is heard several times. She then goes back but, on recovering, she says: But... what am I doing at home? I will go out. This is just the effect of my imagination. Then she goes back her way. A few steps ahead a column, which was being removed from a house, hits her on the head and she falls, unconscious. Which voice was that? Was it not a premonition of what was about to happen to her?
    - It was the instinct. No presentiment has these characteristics: they are always vague. 8. What do you understand by the voice of instinct? - I understand that before incarnating, the spirit has knowledge of all phases of its existence. When these phases have an essential character, the spirit retains a sort of impression in their intimate self and such impression, awakening when the moment comes, turns into premonition. NOTE: The explanations above refer to the fatality of material events. The moral fatality is comprehensively treated in the Spirits’ Book.

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