Allan Kardec

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Chapter XX
Various Questions. — Dissertations of a Spirit on Moral Influence

Various Questions

226. 1. " Is the development of mediumship in pro portion to the moral development of the medium ? " " No ; the faculty proper pertains to the organism ; it is independent of the moral ; it is not the same with its use, which may be more or less good, according to the qualities of the medium."

2. " It has always been said that mediumship is a gift of God, a grace, a favor ; why, then, is it not a privilege of good men, and why do we see unworthy people who are endowed in the highest degree, and who misuse it ? "

" All faculties are favors for which we should give thanks to God, for. there are men who are deprived of them. You might as well ask why God gives sight to malefactors, adroitness to thieves, eloquence to those who use it to say evil things. It is the same with mediumship ; unworthy persons are endowed with it, because they have greater need of it to be improved : do you think God refuses the means of salvation to the guilty ? He multiplies such means in their path ; he puts them in their hands ; it is for them to profit by it. Did not Judas, the traitor, as apostle, perform miracles, and heal the sick ? God permitted him to have this gift to render his treason more odious."
3. "Will mediums who make a bad use of their . faculty, or who do not use it for doing good, or do not profit by it for their instruction, be obliged to bear the consequences ? "
" If they use it wrongly, they will be doubly pun ished, because they have a means of being enlightened, and do not profit by it. He who sees clearly and stumbles is more blamable than the blind man who falls into the ditch."
4. " There are mediums to whom communications are, almost constantly, being made spontaneously, on the same subject, on certain moral questions, for in stance, certain designated faults : has that any special motive ? "
" Yes ; and the motive is to enlighten them on a subject often repeated, or to correct them of certain faults ; for this reason they speak to one constantly of pride, to another of charity : only satiety can open their eyes. There is not a medium misusing his faculty from ambition or interest, or compromising it by a capital fault, such as pride, egotism, levity, &c, who does not receive from time to time some warning from the spirits ; the evil is, that they rarely take the warning to themselves."
Remark. Spirits often use management in giving their lessons ; they give them in an indirect manner, in order to leave more merit to him who knows how to apply and profit by them ; but with some people the blindness and pride are such that they cannot recog nize themselves in the picture placed before their eyes ; much more if the spirit gives them to understand that they themselves are the ones in question, they become angry, and treat the spirit as a liar or jester. This plainly proves that the spirit was right.
5. " In the lessons that are dictated to the medium in a general manner, and without personal application, does he not act as a passive instrument for the instruc tion of others ? "
" Often the advice and counsel are not dictated for him personally, but for others to whom we can address ourselves only through his agency ; but he ought to take his share of it, if he is not blinded by self-love.
" Do not think the medianimic faculty has been given solely to correct one or two persons ; no, the end is greater ; it is a question of all mankind. A medium is an instrument of too little importance individually : this is why, when we give instructions for general profit, we use those who possess the necessary facili ties ; but be assured there will come a time when good mediums will be so common that spirits will not need to use bad instruments."
6. " Since the moral qualities of the medium keep away imperfect spirits, how does it happen that a medium endowed with good qualities transmits false or gross answers ? "
" Do you know the inward recesses of the soul ? Besides, without being vicious, he may be light and frivolous, and then, also, sometimes he needs a lesson that he may be on his guard."
7. " Why do the superior spirits permit persons endowed with great power as mediums, and who might do much good, to be made the instruments of error ? "
" They try to influence them ; but when they allow themselves to be carried into an evil way, they let them go. This is the reason they use them with ' repugnance, for truth cannot be interpreted by false hood."
8. " Is it absolutely impossible to have good com munications through an imperfect medium ? "
" An imperfect medium may sometimes obtain good things, because, if he have a fine faculty, good spirits may avail themselves of him in default of another, in one particular case ; but it is always only temporarily, for, as soon as they find one who suits them better, they give him the preference."
Remark. It is to be observed that when the good spirits perceive that a medium ceases to be well assist ed, and becomes, by his imperfections, the prey of deceiving spirits, they almost always call forth circum stances that expose his irregularities, and withdraw from him serious and well-intentioned persons, whose sincerity might be abused. In such case, whatever may be their faculties, it is not to be regretted."
9. " What should a medium be, to be called per fect ? "
" Perfect ! You well know that perfection is not on the earth, or you would not be here ; say a good medium, and that is much, for they are rare. The perfect medium would be one on whom the bad spirits have never dared the attempt to deceive ; the' best is he who, sympathizing only with good spirits, has been least often deceived."
10. " If he sympathize only with good spirits, how can they allow him to be deceived ? "
" The good spirits sometimes allow it with the best mediums, in order to exercise their judgment, and teach them to discern the true from the false ; and then, however good a medium may be, he is never so perfect that there may not be found some weak side in him hat can be approached ; it should serve him as a lesson. The false communications that he receives from time to time are warnings that he must not be lieve himself infallible, and pride himself upon it ; for the medium who obtains the most remarkable things has no more matter for glorification in it than the organ-grinder who produces the most beautiful airs by simply turning the crank of the instrument."
11. "What are the necessary conditions by which the words of the superior spirits may reach us pure from all adulteration ? "
" To will good ; to remove all pride and egotism : both are necessary."
12. "If the speech of the superior spirits reach us pure only under conditions difficult to attain, is it not an obstacle to the propagation of the truth ? "
" No ; for the light always comes to him who wishes to receive it. Whoever wishes to be enlightened must flee the darkness, and darkness is in impurity of heart.
" Spirits whom you consider the personification of good do not willingly answer the appeal of those whose hearts are soiled by pride, cupidity, and a lack of charity.
" Let those, then, who desire enlightenment, throw aside all human vanity, and humble themselves before the infinite power of the Creator : this will be the best proof of their sincerity ; and this condition every one can fulfill."

227. If the medium, as to execution, is only an instrument, yet, under the moral relation, he exercises a great influence. Since, in order to communicate, the foreign spirit identifies himself with the spirit of the medium, this identification can take place only so far as there is sympathy, and, if one might say it, affinity between them. The soul exercises on the foreign spirit a kind of attraction or repulsion, accord ing to the degree of their similarity or dissimilarity ; thus, the good have an affinity for the good, and the bid for the bad ; from whence it follows that the moral qualities of the medium have a powerful influence on the nature of the spirits who communicate through him. If he is vicious, the inferior spirits surround him, and are always ready to take the place of the good spirits who have been called. The qualities which best attract good spirits are, kindness, benevo lence, simplicity of heart, love of the. neighbor, detach ment from material things ; the faults that repel them are, pride, egotism, envy, jealousy, hatred, cupidity, sensuality, and all the passions by which man is attached to matter.
228. All moral imperfections are so many open doors which give access to evil spirits ; but the one they can play upon most skillfully is pride, because it is the one people are least willing to confess, even to themselves : pride has ruined numberless mediums endowed with the finest faculties, and who, but for that, might have become remarkable and very useful subjects ; but, become the prey of lying spirits, their faculties have been first perverted, then annihilated, and more than one have been humiliated by the most bitter deceptions.
Pride betrays itself in mediums by unequivocal signs, to which it is so much the more necessary to call attention, as it is one of the things which should soonest inspire a distrust of their communications, This is, first, a blind confidence in the superiority of these same communications, and in the infallibility of the spirit who gives them ; from thence a certain dis dain for all that does not come to them, for they be lieve that they have the privilege of the truth. The prestige of great names, borrowed by the spirits whom they account as their protectors, dazzles them, and as their self-love would suffer in confessing themselves to be dupes, they repulse every kind of advice ; they even avoid it by withdrawing from their friends, and from whoever might be the means of opening their eyes : if they condescend to listen to them, they scorn their advice ; for to doubt the superiority of their spirit is almost a profanation. They are offended at the least contradiction, at a simple criticism, and even almost begin to hate the persons who have done them the service. Under cover of this isolation, brought about by spirits who want no contradictions, these have fine sport in keeping them in their illusions, and easily make them take the grossest absurdities for sub limities. Thus, absolute confidence in the superiority of what they obtain, contempt for what does not come from them, undue importance attached to great names, rejection of 'counsel, all criticism taken in ill part, withdrawal from those who might give disinterested advice, a belief in their skill in spite of their want of experience, — such are the characteristics of proud and vain mediums.
It is proper to say that pride is often excited in a medium by his surroundings. If he has greater faculties than ordinary, he is sought after and praised ; he considers himself indispensable, and soon affects airs of self-sufficiency and disdain when he lends his assistance. We have, more than once, had to regret the eulogiums we had given to certain mediums in order to encourage them.
229. By the side of this picture let us place that of the truly good medium —him in whom we may have confidence. Let us first suppose facility of execution so great as to permit the spirits to communicate freely, without being hampered by any difficulty of a material kind. This being given, what is most necessary to consider is, the nature of the spirits who habitually assist him ; and for that it is not the name that must be looked to, but the language. He should never lose sight of the fact that the sympathies he encourages among the good spirits will be in proportion to his withdrawal from the bad. Knowing that his faculty is a gift accorded to him for use in good, he seeks not self-laudation, he takes no merit for it to himself. He accepts the good communications made to him as a favor, of which he should endeavor to render himself worthy by kindness, benevolence, and modesty. The former prides himself on his relations with superior spirits ; the latter becomes more humble in conse quence, always believing himself beneath such favor.

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."

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