252. The moral imperfections of the obsessed are often an obstacle to his deliverance. Here is a re markable example, which may serve as instruction to every one : —
Several sisters were, for a number of years, victims of very disagreeable depredations. Their clothing was constantly thrown about in every corner of the house, and even upon the roof, cut, torn, and riddled with holes, whatever care they might take to lock it up. These ladies, brought up in a small provincial locality, had never heard of Spiritism. Their first thought, naturally, was, that they were the butt of some joker's tricks ; but the persistence and their precau tions destroyed that idea. It was not until a long time after, that, on some indications, they thought they ought to address us to know the cause of the trouble, and the means to remedy it, if possible. The cause was not doubtful ; the remedy was more difficult. The spirit who manifested himself by these acts was evidently malicious. He showed himself, in the invo cation, of great perversity, and inaccessible to every good sentiment. Prayer seemed, nevertheless, to exer cise a salutary influence ; but after a short respite, the depredations recommenced. The advice of a superior spirit on this subject is here given.
" What these ladies had better do is, to pray their spirit protectors not to abandon them ; and I have no better advice to give them than to look into their con sciences, and confess to themselves, and examine if they have always practiced the love of the neighbor and charity ; I do not mean the charity that gives and distributes, but the charity of the tongue ; for unhappily they know not how to control theirs, and do not justify, by their pious acts, their desire of being delivered from him who torments them. They like too well to slander their neighbor, and the spirit who obsesses them is taking his revenge, for he was their drudge during his life. They have only to search their memory, and they will soon see with whom they have to do.
"At the same time, if they become better, their guardian angels will return to them, and their pres ence will suffice to drive away the bad spirit, who could not have troubled one of them, but that her guardian angel had withdrawn to a distance from her on account of some reprehensible acts or bad thoughts. What they must do is, to pray fervently for those who suffer, and to practice the virtues enjoined by God to each one according to his condition.
" On our observing that these words seemed to us a little severe, and that they ought to be somewhat softened before transmitting them, the spirit added, —
" I ought to say what I have said, and as I have said it, because the persons in question have the habit of believing they do no harm with the tongue, while they do a great deal. We must, therefore, strike their minds in such a way that it will be a serious warning."
From this may be drawn instruction of great signi fication —that moral imperfections give a footing to obsessing spirits, and that the surest means of ridding one's self of them is to attract the good by well doing. The good spirits have, without doubt, more power than the bad, and their will is sufficient to remove these last ; but they assist only those who second them by the efforts they make to become better; otherwise they withdraw, and leave the field free to the bad spirits, who thus become, in some cases, instru ments of punishment, for the good leave them to act for this purpose.