303. If it be disagreeable to be deceived, it is still more so to be mystified ; and it is one of the dangers . from which it is easiest to be preserved. The means of unmasking the tricks of deceiving spirits are shown by all the preceding instructions ; for that reason we say but little. We give the answers of spirits on the subject: —
1. " Mystifications are among the greatest disagreea bles in the practice of Spiritism : is there any way to be preserved from them?"
" It seems to me you can find the answer in all you have been taught. Yes, certainly, there is a very simple means ; it is, not to ask of Spiritism more than it can or ought to give you ; its end is the moral amelioration of humanity ; so long as you depart not from that, you will never be deceived, because there are not two methods of comprehending true morality, which every man of good sense will admit.
" The spirits come to instruct and guide you into the way of good, and not into that of honors and fortune, or to serve your mean passions. If nothing trifling is ever asked of them, or nothing beyond their attributes, no foothold is given to deceiving spirits ; from whence you may conclude, that he who is mystified has only what he deserves.
" The role of the spirits is not to teach you about the things of this world, but to guide you surely in what may be useful to you in the other. When they talk to you of things here below, it is because they judge it to be necessary, but not on your asking. If you look upon spirits only as supplying the place of diviners or sorcerers, you will surely be deceived.
" If men had but to ask the spirits in order to know everything, they would no longer have their free-will, and would turn aside from the path marked out by God for humanity. Man should act for himself ; God does not send the spirits to smooth the road of material life, but to prepare that of the future."
" But there are persons who ask nothing, and who are unworthily deceived by spirits who come sponta neously, without being called."
" If they ask nothing, they allow themselves to tell what happens to them all the same. If they meet with reserve and distrust all that is not the essential object of Spiritism, trifling spirits will not so easily take them for dupes."
2. " Why does God permit sincere persons, those who accept Spiritism sincerely, to be mystified ? May not that shake their belief?"
" If it shake their belief, it must be because their faith is not very solid : those who renounce Spiritism from a simple disappointment would prove that they do not understand it, and do not belong to the serious party. God permits mystifications to test the perse verance of true believers, and to puniuh those who make it an object of amusement. "Spirit of Truth."
Remark. The turnings and doublings of the mysti fying spirits sometimes surpass anything that can be imagined ; the art with which they draw up their batteries and arrange their means of persuading would be a curiosity, were it always only for innocent pleasan tries ; but these mystifications may have disagreeable consequences for those who are not on their guard : we are happy that we have been able, in time, to open the eyes of some persons who have asked our advice, and to have spared them from ridiculous and compro mising actions. Among the means these spirits em ploy, we must place in the front rank, as being most frequent, those which have for their aim to tempt cupidity, such as the revelation of pretended hidden treasures, the announcement of inheritances, or other sources of fortune.
At first sight we ought especially to suspect all pre dictions for a fixed time, as well as all precise indica tions touching material interests ; to beware of every step prescribed or advised by spirits when the motive is not eminently rational ; never to allow ourselves to be dazzled by the names they take to give an appear ance of truth to their words ; to mistrust bold scientific theories and systems ; anything, in short, foreign to the true moral end of the manifestations. We could fill a volume with the history of all the strange mysti fications that have come to our knowledge.