Allan Kardec

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224. The foreign spirit doubtless understands all languages, as languages are the expression of thought, and as the spirit understands by thought ; but to ren der this thought he needs an instrument ; this instru ment is the medium. The soul of the medium who receives the foreign communication can transmit it only by the organs of his body ; and these organs can not have the same flexibility for an unknown language which they have for the one familiar to them. A medium who knows only French might, incidentally, give an answer in English, for instance, should it please the spirit to do so ; but spirits, who already find the human language too slow, considering the rapidity of thought, though they abridge as much as they can, are impatient of the mechanical resistance they experi ence ; this is why they do not always do it. This is also the reason a novice medium, who writes laborious ly and slowly, even in his own language, usually ob tains but very brief and undeveloped answers ; so the spirits recommend that only simple questions be asked through him. For those of higher bearing it needs a formed medium, who offers no mechanical difficulty to the spirit. We would not take for our reader a scholar who spells. A good workman does not like to use poor implements.

Let us add another consideration of great gravity in what concerns foreign languages. Trials of this kindare always made from curiosity and for experiment, and nothing is more antipathetic to the spirits than fhe trials to which persons endeavor to subject them. The superior spirits never lend themselves to it, and leave as soon as this is begun. Inasmuch as they like use ful and serious things, in so far they dislike to be engaged in frivolities and things without motive. Skeptics will say, " It is to convince us ; and that is a useful motive, since it gains believers to their cause." To that the spirits answer, " Our cause has no need of those who have so much pride as to consider them selves indispensable: we call to us those whom we wish, and they are often the least and the most hum ble. Did Jesus perform the miracles demanded of him by the scribes, and what men did he use to revolu tionize the world ? If you desire to be convinced, you have other means than by tricks ; begin first by sub mitting yourselves : it is not in order that the scholar should impose his will upon his teacher."

It thus results that, with some exceptions, the medi- , um renders the thoughts of the spirits by the mechani cal means at his disposal, and that the expression of this thought may, and most often must, partake of the imperfection of these means ; thus, the uncultured man, the peasant, might say the most beautiful things, ex press the most elevated, most philosophical thoughts, speaking as a peasant, for it is well known that with the spirits the thought is all.

This answers the objections of some critics on the subject of the incorrectness of style and of orthography with which they may reproach the spirit, and which may come from the medium, as well as from the spirit. It is frivolous to care for such things. It is not less puerile to take great pains to reproduce such faults with minute exactness, as we sometimes see done. They may be corrected without scruple, at least, un less they be a characteristic type of the spirit who communicates, in which case it is useful to preserve them, as proof of identity. Thus, for instance, we have seen a spirit constantly write Jule (without the s) in speaking to his grandson, because, during his life, he wrote it in this way, and though his grandson, who served as medium, knew perfectly well how to write his name.

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