13. Spiritism, then, does not accept all facts reputed to be marvellous or
supernatural; so far from doing this, it demonstrates the impossibility of a great number
of such, and the absurdity of certain beliefs which constitute, strictly speaking, "
superstition." It is true that, in what it does admit, there are things which, to the
incredulous, appear to belong to the domain of the marvellous, in other words, of what they regard as superstition; but, let them at least confine themselves to the
discussion of these, for, in regard to the others, the spiritist has nothing to say, and the
sceptic, in denouncing them to us, would be only "carrying coals to Newcastle." Those
who attack us, in regard to abuses which we ourselves repudiate, prove their own
ignorance of the matter in question ; and their argumentation is simply thrown away. "
lout where," cry some of our opponents, " does the belief of Spiritists stop ?" Read, and
mark; and you will know. No knowledge is acquired without time and study ; and
spiritism, which involves the profoundest questions of philosophy and of social order,
which deals at the same time with the physical man and with the moral man, is in itself
a science, a philosophy, which can no more be apprehended in a few hours than any
other. For those who are not content to rest on the surface, the study of such a subject
is a question, not of hours, but of months and of years. Of what value, then, can be the
opinion of those who arrogate to themselves the right of pronouncing judgement upon
it, because they have witnessed one or two experiments, undertaken, perhaps, rather as
an amusement than as a matter of serious inquiry? Such persons will doubtless affirm
that they have not the leisure necessary for such a study; but, when people have not
time to inform themselves correctly about any matter, they should refrain from talking
about it, and especially from committing themselves to any opinion in regard to it and
the higher their position in the world of science, the less excusable are they when they
talk about what they do not understand.
14. We sum up our preceding remarks in the following propositions: -
1st. All spiritist-phenomena imply, as their principle, the existence of the soul,
its survival of the body, and the manifestations which result therefrom.
2d. These phenomena, occurring in virtue of natural law, are neither
"marvellous" nor "supernatural," in the ordinary sense of those words.
3d. Many facts are only reputed to be "supernatural" because their cause is
unknown; spiritism, by assigning to them a cause, brings them within the domain of
4th. Among the facts commonly called "supernatural," there are many which
spiritism shows to be impossible, and which it therefore relegates into the category of
5th. Although spiritism recognises a foundation of truth in many popular beliefs,
it by no means accepts all the fantastic stories created by the imagination.
6th. To judge of spiritism by pretended facts, the reality of which it does not
admit, is to give proof of ignorance, and to deprive such judgement of all weight.
7th. The explanation of the causes of facts acknowledged by spiritism, and the
ascertainment of their moral consequences, constitute a new science and a new
philosophy, requiring serious, persevering, and careful study.
8th. Spiritism can only be conclusively disproved by one who should have
thoroughly studied it and sounded its deepest mysteries with the patient perseverance of
a conscientious observer; one as well versed in every branch of the subject as the most
ardent of its adherents; one acquainted with all the facts of the case, and with every
argument that could be opposed to him, and which he must refute, not by denials, but
by arguments still more conclusive; one, in short, who can give, of admitted facts, a
more rational explanation than is given by spiritism. But such a critic has yet to be