137. Instructive communications are those which are not only serious, but also convey the teachings of superior spirits on points of science, morality, philosophy, &c. They are more or less profound, in proportion to the elevation and dematerialisation of the communicating spirit. In order to reap benefit from such communications, they must be followed up with regularity and perseverance. Serious spirits attach themselves to those who desire instruction, and assist them; but those who only see in these manifestations a source of passing amusement are left by them to the com- panionship of spirits as frivolous as themselves. It is only by the regularity and frequency of such communications that we can appreciate the moral and intellectual worth of the spirits with whom we thus hold converse, and the degree of confidence which they deserve. If experience is necessary in order to form a true estimate of men, it is, if possible, still more necessary in forming a true estimate of spirits.
In applying to these communications the qualification of instructive, we imply
that they are true; for what is not true can never be instructive, though expressed in the most imposing language. We therefore do not include in this category certain teachings which have nothing serious about them but their high-flown and pretentious style, by which spirits possessed of more presumption than philosophy endeavour to mislead. But such spirits, being unable to disguise their shallowness, are incapable of keeping up their false assumptions for any length of time; they soon betray their weak side, if we continue to converse with them, and ply them with questions which compel them to show their incompetency.
138. The means of communicating with spirits are numerous and varied. As spirits act on all our organs and on all our senses, they are able to manifest themselves, to the sight, by apparitions ; to the touch, by impressions, occult or visible, on our bodily frame; to the hearing, by sounds; and to the sense of smell, by odours coming from we know not whence. This last mode of manifestation, although real, is, undoubtedly, the most uncertain of all, owing to the various sources of error with which it is environed ; and we will therefore not pause to examine it more fully, but proceed at once to consider the principal means of obtaining communications, in other words, of establishing a regular and consecutive exchange of ideas with spirits. The means of doing this are : 1st. Raps and Tiltings; 2d. Speech; 3d. Writing. We will examine each of these in a special chapter.