301. The following answers were given by spirits to questions relative to contradictions : —
1. "Can the same spirit, communicating to two dif ferent circles, transmit to them contradictory answers on the same subject ? "
" If the two circles differ in opinions and thoughts, the answer might reach them travestied, because they are under the influence of different columns of spirits : it is not the answer that is contradictory ; it is the manner in which it is rendered."
2. " We understand that an answer might be altered ; but when the qualities of the medium exclude all idea of bad influence, how does it happen that superior spirits hold a different and contradictory language on the same subject with persons perfectly serious? "
" The really superior spirits never contradict them selves, and their language is always the same with the same persons. It may be different according to the persons and places ; but it is necessary to pay atten tion to this —the contradiction is often only apparent ; more in the words than in the thought ; for on reflec tion it will be found that the fundamental idea is the same. Then the same spirit may answer differently on the same question, according to the degree of per fection of those who invoke him, for it is not always good that all should have the same answer, while they are not as advanced. It is exactly as if a child and a ' savant ' should ask you the same question ; surely you would answer to each in such a way as to be compre hended, and to satisfy them ; the answer, though differ ent, would always have the same groundwork."
3. " From what motive do serious spirits seem to agree with ideas and prejudices of some persons, while in others they assail the same ? "
" It is necessary that we make ourselves understood. If a person has a very confirmed conviction on a doc trine even false, we must turn him from this convic tion, but little by little ; for this reason we often use his terms, and appear to partake of his ideas, in order that he may not be suddenly disconcerted, and cease to allow us to instruct him. Besides, it is not good to shock prejudices too abruptly ; it might be the means of not being listened to : for this reason the spirits often speak in the sense of the opinion of those who hear them, in order to lead them little by little to the truth. They appropriate the language of the persons, as you would do yourself, were you a somewhat skillful orator ; thus they would not speak to a Chinese or to a Mohammedan, as they would to a Frenchman or to a Christian, for they would be sure to be repulsed.
" You must not take as a contradiction what is often but a skillful elaboration of the .truth. All spirits have their tasks marked out by God ; they accomplish them in the conditions He judges right for the good of those who receive their communications."
4. " Even apparent contradictions might engender doubts in the spirit of some persons ; by what means can we know the truth ? "
" To discern errors from truth, the answers must be examined thoroughly, and meditated long and serious ly ; it is an entire study. Time is necessary for this, as for all other studies.
" Study, .compare, examine thoroughly ; we tell you this constantly ; knowledge of the truth is at this price. How do you expect to reach the truth when you interpret everything after your own narrow ideas, which you take for great ones ? But the day is not far dis tant when the teachings of the spirits will be every where uniform in the details, as in the fundamentals. Their mission is to destroy error, but that can come only by degrees."
5. "There are persons who have neither time nor capacity for a serious and thorough study, and who accept what is taught them without examination. Is there no danger that they may thus give credence to error ? "
" Let them practice good and do no evil ; that is the essential thing ; for that there are not two doctrines. Good is always good, whether it be done in the name of Allah or Jehovah, for there is only one God for the universe."
6. " How can spirits, who appear to be developed in intelligence, have ideas evidently false on certain things ? "
" They have their doctrine. Those who are not suf ficiently advanced, but who think they are, take their own ideas of the truth. It is the same among you."
7. " What are we to think of that doctrine which says that only one spirit can communicate, and that one is God or Jesus ? "
" The spirit who teaches that is one who desires to govern ; for that reason he wants to have it believed that he is alone; but the wretch who dare take the name of God will bitterly expiate his pride. As to these doctrines, they refute themselves, because they are in contradiction to the most proved facts ; they do not deserve serious examination, for they have no root.
" Reason tells you that good proceeds from a good source, and bad from an evil one : why should you de sire a good tree to bring forth evil fruit ? Did you ever gather grapes from an apple tree ? The diversity of the communications is the most patent proof of the diversity of their origin.
" Besides, the spirits who pretend that they alone communicate forget to say why the others cannot. Their pretension is the negation of the most beauti ful and consoling facts of Spiritism —the relations of the visible and invisible worlds, of mankind with the beings dear to them, and who would otherwise be lost to them without return. These relations identify man with his future, and detach him from the material world ; suppress them, he .is again plunged into the doubt that makes his torment — given food for his egotism.
" In examining with care the doctrines of these spir its, we see, at every step, unjustifiable contradictions, the traces of their ignorance of the most evident thing, and, consequently, the certain signs of their in feriority. Spirit of Truth."
8. " Of all the contradictions we observe in the com munications of spirits, one of the most striking is that relating to re-incarnation. If re-incarnation is a neces sity of spirit life, how is it that all the spirits do not teach it ? "
" Do you not know that there are spirits whose ideas are limited to the present, as among many men of the earth ? They believe that what is for them must last forever ; they do not see beyond the circle of their perceptions, and trouble themselves neither about whence they come, nor whither they go ; and yet they must undergo the law of necessity. Re-incarnation is, for them, a law of necessity, of which they will not think until it comes ; they know that the spirit progresses, but how is for them a problem. Then, if you ask it of them, they will talk to you of the seven heavens, one above the other, like stagings : there are some, even, who will talk of the sphere of fire, the sphere of stars, then the city of flowers, and the city of the chosen."
9. "We can easily imagine that spirits but little advanced would not comprehend this question ; but then, how is it that spirits of a notoriously moral and intellectual inferiority speak spontaneously of their different existences, and of their desire to be re-incar nated, to make amends for their past? "
" There are many things occurring in the world of spirits difficult for you to comprehend. Have you not among you persons very ignorant on some things, and enlightened on others ; persons who have more judg ment than instruction, and others who have more instruction than judgment ? Do you not know, also, that some spirits are pleased to keep men in ignorance, while pretending to instruct them, profiting by the ease with which their words gain credit ? They may seduce those who do not go to the bottom of things, but when they are pressed to extremity by reasonings, they cannot long sustain their role.
" Notice, especially, the prudence with which the spirits in general promulgate the truth ; a too vivid and too sudden light dazzles without illuminating. They might, in certain cases, consider it useful to spread it only gradually, according to the times, the places, and the persons. Moses did not teach all that the Christ taught, and the Christ himself said many things the understanding of which was reserved for future gen erations. You speak of reincarnation, and are aston ished that this principle has not been taught in certain countries ; but remember, that in a country where the prejudice of color reigns supreme, where slavery is rooted in the manners, they would have rejected Spiritism, if only for that it proclaimed re-incarnation, for the idea that he who is master may become a slave, and the reverse, would have appeared monstrous. Was it not better that the general principle should be first accepted, safe, later, to bring its consequences ? O, mankind ! how short-sighted to judge the designs of God ! Know that nothing can be done without His permission, and without a motive which, very often, you cannot penetrate.
" I have told you that unity would come in the spirit belief ; take it as a certainty that it will come, and that the disagreements, already deeply-seated, will be effaced, little by little, as men are enlightened, and will disappear completely ; for such is the will of God, against which error cannot prevail. " Spirit of Truth."
10. " Will not the erroneous doctrines that some spirits teach have the effect of retarding the progress of true science ? "
" You would have everything without trouble : under stand that there is no field where weeds will not grow for the laborer to root out. These erroneous doc trines are a consequence of the inferiority of your world ; if men were perfect, they would accept only the true ; errors are like false stones, which an experi enced e_ye alone can distinguish ; you need an appren ticeship to distinguish the true from the false : well, these false doctrines are useful in exercising you to distinguish truth from error."
—"Are not those who adopt the error retarded in their progress ? "
" If they adopt error, it is because they are not sufficiently advanced to comprehend truth."