Allan Kardec

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35. To those who would desire to acquire the pre liminary knowledge by reading our works, we would advise the following order:

— First. What is Spiritism ? This tract, of a hun dred pages only, is a summary exposition of the prin ciples of the spirit doctrine, a general glance, which permits us to embrace the whole in a brief outline. In a few words we see the end, and can judge of its range. Above all, here may be found answers to the principal questions, or objections, which novices are disposed to make.

This first, which calls for little time, is an introduc tion which facilitates a more profound study.

Second. The Book on Spirits. It contains the doctrine complete, dictated by the spirits themselves, with all its philosophy, and all its moral consequences ; it is the destiny of man unvailed, the initiation into the nature of spirits, and into the mysteries of the life beyond the grave. In reading this it will be seen that Spiritism has a serious aim, and is not a frivolous pastime.

Third. The Book on Mediums, intended to direct in the practice of manifestations, by the knowledge of the proper means of communicating with spirits ; it is a guide either for mediums or invocators, and is the complement of the Book on Spirits.

Fourth. The Spirit Reviewed. This is a varied col lection of facts, of theoretic explanations and detached fragments, which complete what is said in the two preceding works, and of which it is in some sort the application. It may be read at the same time, but will be more profitable and more intelligible, particularly after the Book on Spirits.
This is all we can say. Those who desire to understand a science thor oughly must, necessarily, read all that is written on the subject, or, at least, the principal things, and not limit themselves to a single author ; they should even read the for and against, the critics as well as the apologists, to know the different systems, to be able to judge by comparison. In this connection we neither extol nor criticise any work, desiring in noth ing to influence the opinion that may be formed ; bringing our stone to the edifice, we place ourselves in the ranks : it does not pertain to us to be judge and client, and we make not the absurd pretension of being sole dispenser of the light ; it is for the reader to distinguish between the good and the bad, the true and the false.

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