Dissertations of a Spirit on Moral Influence
230. The following instruction has been given to us on this subject by a spirit, several of whose communi cations we have already given : —
" We have already said, mediums, as mediums, have but a secondary influence in the communications of spirits : their task is that of an electric machine, which transmits telegraphic despatches from one point of the earth to another far distant. So, when we wish to dic tate a communication, we act on the medium as the telegraph operator on his instruments ; that is, as the tac-tac of the telegraph writes thousands of miles away, on a slip of paper, the reproduced letters of the dispatch, so we, from the immeasurable distance that separates the visible from the invisible world, the immaterial from the incarnated world, communicate what we wish to teach you by means of the medianimic in strument. But, also, as the atmospheric influences act upon, and often disturb, the transmissions of the electric telegraph, the moral influence of the medium acts upon, and sometimes affects, the transmission of our dis patches from beyond the tomb, because we are obliged to make them pass through a medium whose nature is contrary to them. At the same time, that influence is most often annulled by our energy and our will, and no disturbing element is manifest. Indeed, dictations of a high, philosophic bearing, communications of perfect morality, are sometimes transmitted through mediums .little suited to these superior teachings ; while, on the other hand, communications anything but edifying, sometimes come by mediums who are very much ashamed of having been used as their conductor. .
" As a general rule it may be affirmed that spirits call their like, and that spirits of an elevated plane rarely communicate by bad conductors, where they have at hand good medianimic instruments —good mediums.
" Light, trifling mediums call spirits of the same nature ; and thus their communications are impressed with vulgar expressions, frivolities, ideas disjointed and often very heterodox, spiritually. To be sure they can and do sometimes say good things, but it is in this case, particularly, that it is necessary to subject them to a rigid examination ; for, in the midst of these good things, some hypocritical spirits skillfully, and with calculating perfidy, insinuate inventions, lying asser tions, in order to deceive the sincerity of their auditors. Then every equivocal word or phrase must be merci lessly stricken out, preserving only as much of the dictation as is accepted' by logic, or as is already taught by the doctrine. Communications of this na ture are to be dreaded only for isolated spiritists, for circles newly formed, or not yet fully enlightened ; for in reunions where the believers are more advanced, and have gained experience, in vain the jackdaw bor rows the peacock's feathers ; he is always mercilessly expelled.
" I will not speak of mediums who are pleased to solicit and listen to filthy communications ; let us leave them to please themselves in the society of cynical spirits. Besides, communications of this order seek, of themselves, solitude and isolation ; in any case they could only inspire disdain and disgust among the members of philosophical and serious circles. But where the moral influence of the medium makes itself really felt, is when he substitutes his personal ideas for those which the spirits endeavor to suggest to him ; and again, when he draws from his own imagination fantastic theories, which he himself sincerely believes to be the result of an intuitive communication. Then it is a thousand to one that this is the reflex of the personal spirit of the medium ; then occurs this strange fact —the hand of the medium is sometimes moved almost mechanically, guided by a secondary and mocking spirit. It is against this touchstone that so many ardent imaginations are shattered ; for, car ried away by the impetuosity of their own ideas, by the tinsel of their literary learning, they despise the modest dictation of a wise spirit, and abandon the sub stance for the shadow, substitute for it a high-flown paraphrase. On this dreadful rock are personal ambi tions also stranded, when, in default of communications, which the good spirits refuse to them, they present their own work as the work of these same spirits. For this reason it is necessary that the chiefs of spir itist circles be possessed of exquisite tact and rare sagacity, in order to discern authentic communications, and not to wound those who delude themselves.
" ' In doubt, abstain,' says one of your old proverbs ; admit nothing that has not certain .evidence of truth. As soon as a new opinion is brought to light, if it seem ever so little doubtful, pass it through the cruci ble of reason and logic ; what reason and good sense refuse, reject boldly ; better reject ten truths than admit a single lie, a single false theory. For on this theory you might construct a whole system that would crumble at the first breath of truth, like a monument raised on the shifting sand ; while, should you reject some truths to-day, because they are not clearly and logically demonstrated, very soon a strong fact, an irrefutable demonstration, will come to show you its authenticity.
" Remember, nevertheless, O, spiritists, that there is nothing impossible for God, and for good spirits, except injustice and iniquity.
" Spiritism is now sufficiently diffused among men, and has so moralized the sincere believers of its holy doctrine, that spirits need no longer be reduced to employ bad instruments — imperfect mediums. If, now, a medium, whoever he may be, gives, by his con duct or his manners, by his pride, his want of love and charity, a legitimate cause for suspicion, —refuse, re ject his communications, for there is a snake hidden in the grass. That is my conclusion on the moral influence of mediums. Erastus."