Allan Kardec

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Rivalry between Societies
348. Reunions exclusively engaged in intelligent communications, and those devoted to the study of physical manifestations, have each their mission ; neither could have the true feeling of Spiritism if viewing each other with unfavorable ayes, and casting a stone by either would be proof of its being governed by evil influences ; all should agree, though by different ways, in the common end — the research and propa gation of truth ; their antagonism, an effect of over excited pride, by furnishing arms to detractors, could not fail to injure the cause they pretend to defend.

349. These last reflections apply equally to all circles that might differ on small points of doctrine. As we have said in the chapter on Contradictions, these diver gencies, being mostly only on the accessories, often only on simple words, it would be very trifling to separate for not thinking exactly the same. It would be worse if the different circles in the same city should be jealous of each other. Jealousy between persons who may be prejudicial to each other materially, is easily understood ; but when there is no speculation, jealousy is only a silly rivalry from self-love. As it is certain there is no society that can contain within itself every believer, those who are animated with a true desire to propagate the truth, whose end is solely moral, should be pleased to see reunions multiply ; and if there should be rivalry among them, it should be to see which would do the most good. Those who pre tend to have the truth, to the exclusion of the others, should prove it by taking for their device, Love and Charity ; for such is the device of every true spiritist. Do they wish to prove the superiority of the spirits who assist them ? Let them prove it by the superi ority of the teachings they receive, and by the applica tion they make of them to themselves : this is an infallible criterion by which to distinguish those who are in the better way.

Certain spirits, more presumptuous than logical, sometimes impose strange and impracticable systems under the venerated names they borrow, Good sense soon disposes of these ; but in the mean time, they may sow doubt and uncertainty among believers, whence arise temporary dissensions. In addition to the means we have given to know them, there is another criterion to measure their value ; it is the number of partisans they recruit. Reason tells us that the system which finds the loudest echo in the masses must be nearer truth than that which is repulsed by the majority ; so, hold for certain that, when spirits forbid discussion on their teachings, it is because they are aware of their weakness.

350. If Spiritism, as has been announced, is to lead to the transformation of humanity, it can be only through the amelioration of the masses, which can only come gradually, and one after another, by the amelioration of individuals. What does it matter to believe in the existence of spirits, if the belief makes us no better, no more benevolent, and no more indulgent to our kind, no more humble, no more patient in adversity ? Of what use is it for the miser to be a spiritist, if he still continues a miser ? for the, proud, if he is always full of himself? for the envious, if he is always jealous ? All men may believe in the manifestations, and yet humanity remain stationary ; but these are not the designs of God. All spiritist societies should tend toward the providential end, collecting around them all who partake of the same sentiments ; then there will be union, sympathy, fraternity, and not a vain and puerile antagonism of self-love, of words rather than things ; then they would be strong and powerful, be cause they would rest on a firm foundation, good for all ; then they would be respected, and would impose silence on foolish ridicule, because they would speak in the name of evangelical morality, respected by all.

Such is the path into which we are bound to conduct Spiritism. The flag we bear aloft is that of Christian and humanitary Spiritism, around which we are happy already to see so many men rally, in all parts of the globe, because they understand that here is the anchor of safety, the safeguard of public order, the signal of a new era for humanity. We call upon all spiritist societies to concur in this grand work ; that from one end of the world to the other, they may stretch out the fraternal hand, and enclose the evil in an inextricable network.

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