DISSERTATIONS BY SPIRITS
On Spiritism. - Mediums. - Meetings. - Apocryphal Communications.
WE have brought together, in this chapter, various communications
spontaneously made, by various spirits, through the involuntary writing of different
mediums, completing and confirming the principles laid down in the present work. We
might quote a much greater number of such communications, but we confine ourselves
to those which refer more particularly to the future of spiritism, to mediums, and to
Spiritist Societies. We give them, both for the sake of the instruction they convey, and
as specimens of the kind of communications which may justly be called "serious." We
conclude with a few apocryphal communications, followed by remarks intended to
assist the reader in recognising them as such.
"Have confidence in the goodness of God, and endeavour to open your eyes to
the comprehension of the influences that are ushering in a new life for the inhabitants of
your globe. You will not enjoy this new life in your present incarnation ; but will you
not rejoice, even though you should not have to live again upon the earth, to contemplate,
from some higher sphere, the development of the work begun by you in your
present existence? Let a firm and unwavering faith nerve your arms against the obstacles which threaten to impede the building of the edifice of which you are laying
the foundations. That edifice will be indestructible ; for Christ has laid its cornerstone.
Courage, builders who are working out the plan of the Divine Architect ! Work on;
God will crown your labour. But remember that Christ denies the pretended disciples
whose charity is only of the lips. It is not enough to believe; you must set an example
of kindness, helpfulness, disinterestedness, or your faith will prove sterile, and you,
yourselves, will reap from it no advantage."
"It is Christ Himself who is directing the labours of every kind that are being
accomplished for bringing in the approaching era of renovation and elevation which
your spirit-guides predict for your earth. If you look beyond these spirit-manifestations
to the events that are occurring around you, you cannot fail to perceive, in the progress
of all kinds now being made in your earth, the precursory signs which should convince
you that the time predicted for that renovation has arrived.
"Communications are being opened, by land and sea, between all countries and
peoples; and, when the physical barriers between them shall have been overthrown, the
moral barriers of political and religious prejudices which kept them apart will also
disappear, and the reign of fraternity will be firmly and durably established. The
sovereigns themselves, impelled by an invisible hand, are seen, at the present day - a
thing hitherto unheard of in your world-taking the lead in the inauguration of reforms;
and reforms that are thus spontaneously begun from above will be at once more rapidly
accomplished, and more durable, than those which are begun from below and by
violence. Despite the prejudices of my childhood and education, despite my reverent
affection for the past, I had a presentiment of the present epoch; I rejoice in it, and I
rejoice still more to be able to come to you and to say: Courage, brothers! Work for your own future, and for that of those you love; work,
above all, for your own personal improvement, and you will enjoy, in your next
existence, a happiness which it would be as difficult for me to describe as for you to
"It appears to me that spiritism may be regarded as a philosophical study of the
secret springs and inner movements of the soul, that have hitherto bee so little
understood. It explains even more than it reveals. Its assertion of reincarnation, and of
the necessity of the trials through which we attain the supreme aim, is not a revelation,
but an important confirmation of doctrines always, though vaguely, held in the past. I
am particularly struck by the utility of spiritism as a means of bringing new light to
bear on old truths; and I use the word 'means' designedly, because, in my opinion,
spiritism is a lever which overthrows the barriers of mental blindness. Interest in the
study of moral questions is still to be created. People discuss political questions which
deal with general interests; they discuss private interests, and attack or defend
personalities with passion; scientific theories have their partisans and their detractors ;
but the moral truths which are the soul's nutriment, its bread of life, are left in the dust
of ages. Every amelioration is considered useful by the generality of mankind,
excepting the amelioration of the soul; its education, its elevation, are regarded as
chimeras, fit, at best, to occupy the leisure of priests, poets, and women, as a matter of
fashion, or as a branch of merely dogmatic teaching.
"If spiritism should resuscitate spiritualism, it will have rendered an immense
service to society, by awakening the aspiration which gives, to some, internal dignity, to
others, resignation, to all, the desire to raise themselves towards the Supreme Being,
lost sight of and forgotten by His ungrateful creatures."
"J. J. ROUSSEAU."
"If God now permits the open communication of spirits with men, it is in order
to enlighten men in regard to their duties, and to show them the road which will shorten
their trials by hastening their advancement; for, as fruit arrives at maturity, so must man
at length arrive at perfection. But, besides the spirits of high advancement who desire
your welfare, there are imperfect spirits who try to do you harm; while the first urge you
forwards, the others would fain pull you back. You must therefore give your utmost
attention to the work of distinguishing between them, and this you will easily do if you
bear in mind that nothing hurtful can proceed from a good spirit, and that whatever is
evil can only proceed from an evil one. If you turn away from the wise counsels of the
spirits who desire your good, if you take offence at the home-truths they sometimes tell
you, it is evident that you have evil spirits for your counsellors. Pride alone prevents
men from seeing themselves as they are; but, if they do not see this for themselves,
others see it for them, and they are contemned, both by their fellow-men, who laugh at
them behind their back, and by the spirits who have helped to lead them astray."
"A FAMILIAR SPIRIT."
"Your doctrine is beautiful and excellent; its first landmarks are firmly set. You
have but to go forward in the broad and noble road now opened before you. Blessed is
~e who shall reach the goal; and the more numerous the proselytes he shall have made
on the way, the greater will be his reward. But, in order to do this, you must give to
your doctrine something more than the cold assent of the intellect; you must practise it
with the ardour of a hearty conviction, and this ardour will double your strength, for
God is always with those who seek to bring others into the right road. Be sure that
there is, in the heart of the most sceptical, the most atheistical, a little corner that he would fain hide, if possible, even from himself. That little corner is his vulnerable
point; attack him there: it is a narrow breach kept purposely open by God, in order that
a ray of His love may gain admission, sooner or later, into the heart that has been so
long closed against Him."
"Be not alarmed by obstacles or controversies. Torment no one by persisting in
the effort to enlighten him against his will; the incredulous will he persuaded by your
disinterestedness, patience, and charity, more effectually than by any argument. You
should especially avoid doing violence to opinion, either by your words or by any
public demonstration. The greater your modesty, the sooner will you as spiritists be
justly appreciated. Let no selfish motive influence your action, and seek only to possess
the attractive force that comes from kindness. Spirits, by God's command, are working
for the progress of all without exception; you, spiritists, must do likewise I"
"What institution, human or divine, has not had obstacles to surmount, and
schisms to strive against? If you had only a weak and moribund existence, your
enemies would not take the trouble to attack you, for they would know that you must
succumb sooner or later; but as your vitality is strong and active, as the spiritist tree is
strongly rooted, and likely to live and flourish, they bring their hatchets to bear against
it. What will they gain by their hatred and violence? They will, at most, succeed in
lopping off a few branches, which will shoot out again, full of fresh sap, and stronger
"Let me speak to you of the resolution and perseverance with which you should
follow up your spiritist labours; for, just as Saint Paul was persecuted, so will you be also not physically, but morally. The
unbelievers and the Pharisees of the day will blame and revile you; but fear nothing, for
opposition is a trial which strengthens when patiently borne from devotion to the
Highest. Your efforts will at length be crowned with success, and will have won for
you great triumph in the life to come, besides the happiness you will feel in
remembering that you have aided in opening up a fount of consolation for all who, upon
the earth, have lost friends and relatives, and who may thus communicate with them,
and know that they are happy. Go boldly forwards; accomplish the mission appointed
for you, and great will be your reward when you appear before the Almighty."
"It is I who have come - your savior and your judge. I have come as I did long ago among the wayward children of Israel. I have come to bring truth and to disperse the darkness. Listen to me. As my words did long ago, Spiritism must remind materialists that the unchangeable truth reigns over them: the good God, the Almighty God, who causes the plants to grow and the ocean waves to rise. I have revealed the divine Doctrine. Like a reaper, I have gathered into bundles the good ones who were scattered among humankind and I have said: Come to me, all you who suffer!
"However, ungrateful humans have deserted the straight and broad path that leads to my Father's kingdom and they have become lost in the rut-filled byway of impiety. My Father does not wish for the human race to perish. He will no longer speak through prophets or apostles; he wants you, both living and dead (that is, dead according to the flesh, for in reality there is no death) to mutually help one another. He wants the voice of those who no longer exist amongst you to make itself heard as it cries out, 'Pray and believe'! for death is resurrection, and life is a trial that you have chosen, during which the virtues you have cultivated must grow and develop like a cedar tree.
"Believe in the voices that respond to you - they are the very souls of those whom you evoke. Rarely do I myself communicate. My friends, who beheld my life and death, are the divine interpreters of the designs of my Father.
"Frail men and women, you who have believed in the deception of your darkened minds, do not quench the flame that the divine mercy has placed in your hands to light the path and lead you like wayward children to the shelter of your Father.
"Truly, I say to you, believe in the diversity and multiplicity of the spirits who surround you. I am too full of compassion for your sufferings and great weaknesses not to extend a protective hand to your unfortunate wayward brothers and sisters who, while looking to heaven, have fallen into the abyss of error. Believe, love and comprehend the truths that are being revealed to you. Do not mix the tares with the good wheat, or theories with truths.
"Spiritists! Love one another - that is the first teaching; educate yourselves - that is the second. All truths may be found in Christianity. The errors that have taken root within it are of human origin. And from beyond the grave - where you think there is nothing - voices cry out: Brothers and sisters! Nothing perishes. Jesus Christ is the victor over evil. You yourselves, be victors over impiety."
This communication, obtained by one of the best mediums of the Paris Spiritist Society, was signed with a name that out of respect we could only reproduce with extreme reservation, so great would be the honor of its authentic signature, and because the name has already been much abused in obviously apocryphal 'writings. It is that of Jesus of Nazareth. We have absolutely no doubt that he can manifest himself. However, if truly high order spirits only do so under exceptional circumstances, reason prevents us from believing that the Pure Spirit par excellence would respond to any appeal. It would be at the very least a great sacrilege to attribute an unworthy communication to him.
These considerations have led us always to avoid publishing anything bearing his name. We believe we can never be too cautious when dealing with publications of this type, which only appeal to vanity, and whose least inconvenience is to furnish weapons to the adversaries of Spiritism.
As we have stated, the more elevated the spirits in the hierarchy are, the more we should distrust signatures bearing their names. It would take a huge dose of pride for certain individuals to flatter themselves at having been privileged with their communications, deeming themselves worthy of conversing with them as if they •were one of their equals. In the above communication, our only proof is the undeniable superiority of the language and thought, and we will leave to each person the care of appraising whether or not he who has signed it -would reject it or not.
"All men are mediums ; all have a spirit-guide who, if they listen to him, directs
them in the right way. It matters little that some men communicate directly with their
spirit-guide by means of their own medianimity, while others only receive the counsels
of their guide through his occult action on their heart or on their mind; in either case, it
is their familiar spirit who gives them counsel. Call it as you will - your familiar spirit,
inspiration, reason, intelligence -it is always a voice that answers the inner voice of
your soul, and addresses to you wise counsel, though you do not always profit thereby.
All men are not yet able to follow the suggestions of reason; I refer, not to the reason
that grovels and crawls in its devotion to worldly things, and that loses itself in the care
of gross material interests, but to the reason which raises a man above himself; the
reason which transports him to unknown regions, the sacred flame which inspires the
artist and the poet, the divine thought which elevates the mind of the philosopher, the
vital impulsion which carries forward not only individuals but peoples, the reason
which the vulgar cannot comprehend, but which lifts man ever nearer and nearer to God, the reason which leads
him on from the known to the unknown, and enables him to achieve the sublimest
results. Listen to the monitions which come to you incessantly, and your perceptions
will gradually be opened to the voice of your guardian-angel, who holds out to you a
helping hand from the celestial heights. The inner voice which speaks to the heart of
every man is the voice of the good spirits around him; and, from this point of view, it
may be truly said that all men are mediums."
"The medianimic faculty is as old as the world. The prophets were mediums ;
the mysteries of Eleusis were founded on medianimity; the Chaldeans, Assyrians,
Egyptians, and all the peoples of antiquity, had their mediums Socrates was directed by
a spirit whose voice he heard, and who inspired him with the admirable principles of
his philosophy; the inspirations of Joan of Arc were the voices of the beneficent spirits
who guided her. This faculty, which is now becoming generalised, was comparatively
rare in the Middle Ages; but it has never ceased to exist. Swedenborg has had many
"The France of the last few centuries - irreverent, carried away by philosophical
systems which, aiming at the destruction of the abuses of religious intolerance, stifled
under ridicule all aspiration after the ideal - could not but repel spiritism, which,
nevertheless, did not cease to maintain itself in the North. This struggle of Positivism
against Spiritualism was permitted by Providence, because Spiritualism had become
fanatical; but now that the progress of industry and science has developed the arts of
life to such a point that material tendencies have become predominant, God wills that
interest in the soul should be re-awakened in the minds of the spirits incarnated upon
the earth, and that the perfecting of the moral being should become, as it ought to be,
the recognised end and object of human life. The human spirit follows a foreordained and necessary line of march, image of the
gradations undergone by all the beings that people the visible and invisible universe.
Each new step of progress is accomplished at the appointed time; the epoch fixed for
the moral elevation of the human race has now come; and, although this elevation will
not be fully accomplished in your present life-time, you may be thankful that you are
permitted to witness the dawn of the glorious new day."
"PIERRE JOUTY." (The Medium's Father.)
"Sent by the Highest with a message to those who are favoured with the gift of
medianimity, I come to remind them that the greater the favours which have been
granted them by His Providence, the greater is the danger they will incur by any misuse
of their gift. The faculties possessed by mediums attract to them the admiration,
adulation, and felicitations of men; therein lies their danger. Let all mediums remember
their primitive incapacity, and let them never attribute to their own personal merit what
they owe to God alone. When mediums lose sight of this truth, they are abandoned by
good spirits, and, having no longer a guide to direct them, they become the sport of evil
ones. Those who attribute to themselves a value which is not theirs, are punished by the
withdrawal of a faculty which could only be fatal to them.
"I cannot too strongly urge upon all mediums the necessity of maintaining a
constant communication with their guardian-angel, that he may be able to help them to
keep clear of the pride which is their worst enemy. Bear constantly in mind, O you who
have the happiness of being the interpreters between spirits and men, that, without the
support of our Divine Master, you are in danger of laying up for yourselves punishment
that will be severe in proportion to the greatness of the medianimic faculty that has
been confided to you. May this communication have the effect of inducing all mediums
to avoid the rock of offence on which they are in danger of making shipwreck - pride."
"If you would receive communications from superior spirits, you must prepare
yourselves for this favour by concentration of thought, purity of intention, and sincere
desire to help forward the cause of progress; for selfishness is a barrier between you and
them. Remember that, if God permits you to receive the inspiration of those of His
children who have earned the happiness of comprehending His infinite goodness, it is
in order that you may advance, and aid others to advance, on the appointed path of progress.
Therefore, O mediums! it is incumbent on you to make only a good use of the
faculty that has been given you. Confiding in, and emulating, our Master's kindness, let
your charity, your tolerance for all about you, be inexhaustible. By scrupulously
regulating your action according to your conscience, you will increase a hundred-fold
your own happiness in your quickly-fleeting earthly life, and you will have prepared for
yourselves a thousand-fold greater happiness in the life to come.
"Let every medium, who does not feel in himself the moral strength that will
enable him to consecrate his faculty to the noblest use, withdraw altogether from the
work of mediumship; for he who, being favoured with special light, allows himself to
enter upon a wrong path, incurs the heavier retribution reserved for those who have
gone wilfully astray."
"Bear with me while I call your attention to the disinterestedness which, with
modesty, should be the characteristic accompaniment of medianimity. God has given
to mediums the faculty which enables them to be the intermediary between spirits and
men, in order that they may employ that faculty in spreading the truth, but not that they make it a matter of
traffic. And, in saying this, I refer, not merely to those who turn their medianimity to
pecuniary account as they would any ordinary talent, and who set up as mediums just as
others set up as dancers or singers, but to all who use their medianimic faculty for the
furtherance of personal ends. Is it reasonable to suppose that spirits of high degree,
who condemn cupidity in the ratio of their elevation, would consent to be shown off as
a spectacle, putting themselves, like so many play-actors, into the hands of a contractor
for spirit-phenomena? And is it in any respect more reasonable to suppose that such
spirits would favour the views of vanity and ambition? God permits spirits to
communicate with men in order that they may help men to raise themselves out of the
mire of materiality, but not that they may serve as the instruments of mundane passions
and those mediums who pervert the faculty bestowed upon them by God will be
punished for such a desecration with a severity proportioned to the heinousness of their
"DELPHINE DE GIRARDIN."
"All mediums are called to serve the cause of spiritism in the measure of their
faculty; but so few of them escape the wiles of self-love that, out of a hundred
mediums, hardly one is to be found, no matter how slight his medianimic gift, who does
not, especially in the early days of his mediumship, believe himself to be destined to the
accomplishment of some great mission. Those who fall into the snare of this vainglorious
belief-and they are many-become the prey of obsessing spirits, who subjugate
them by flattering their pride; and, the greater has been their ambition, the more pitiable
is their fall.
"Great missions are only confided to picked men, who are placed, not by any
seeking of their own, but by the leadings of Providence, in the position in which their
action will be most efficacious. Inexperienced mediums cannot be too distrustful of what may be said to them, by flattering spirits, as to the importance of the
part they are called to play; for, if they take all this flattery seriously, they will reap
disappointment, both in this world and in the next. Let mediums remember that they
can do good service, even in the most obscure and modest sphere, by helping to
convince the incredulous, or by giving consolation to the afflicted. If it be their mission
to go beyond this narrower range of medianimic action, they will be guided onwards,
into a wider sphere of activity, by an invisible hand that will open their way before
them and bring them forward, so to say, in spite of themselves. Let all mediums bear in
mind these words: 'He that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth
himself shall be exalted.' "
"THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH."
On Spiritist Societies
Remark. - Of the following communications, some were obtained at the
meetings, or for the use, of the Parisian Society for Psychologic Studies; others have
been transmitted to us, from various quarters, by different mediums. We give them in
this place as containing general advice in regard to the formation of Spiritist Societies
and the special difficulties connected with them.
"Why do you not begin your sittings with a general invocation, a sort of appeal
to the higher spheres, that may dispose your minds to serious thought? Without
seriousness of thought and purpose, only frivolous communications will be obtained.
Good spirits come only to those who attract them by their fervour and sincerity; a fact
which is not yet sufficiently comprehended in your world. We see your labours with
pleasure, and are ready to aid you, but on condition that you second our action by the
action of your wills, and that you show yourselves equal to the mission you are called
upon to fulfil. Be united; you will thus be too strong for evil spirits to prevail against
you. God approves the simple-minded; we do not mean simpletons, but those who
make a voluntary abnegation of self; and who devote themselves to His service without vanity. If you would become a focus of light for all mankind, you must learn to
distinguish truth from error. Be careful to sow only good seed, unmixed with tares; for
tares stifle the good seed and prevent it from growing up, and they who have sown
them will be held responsible for the mischief done by them; in other words, you, who
are called to spread the truth, will have to answer for the false doctrines you may have
propagated. Let all mediums, therefore, pray to God unceasingly for assistance and
(Saint Augustine, having been requested to dictate a general formula of
evocation, replied as follows :-)
"We cannot give you any fixed and absolute formula God is too great to attach
importance to words; He looks only to the though. You must not suppose that the
pronouncing of certain words can suffice to keep off evil spirits, or that there can be any
virtue in verbal forms that are recited as a mere matter of habit. The efficacy of any
prayer, whether clothed in impromptu language or in an accepted form, depends on the
sincerity of the sentiment it expresses, and the unanimity of those by whom it is
offered; no one whose heart is not in his prayer could profit by it, or make it profitable
to others. Draw up a formula, if you will, and then submit it to me; and I will help
Remark. - Acting upon the advice thug given, the following formula was
accordingly drawn up, with the aid of Saint Augustine and other spirits; it has met with
wide approval, and has been generally adopted for the opening of spiritist meetings: -
"We pray Almighty God to send good spirits to assist us, to keep away those
who might lead us Into error, and to give us the light we need for distinguishing truth
from imposture. May all malevolent spirits who might create disunion among us he
kept away; should any such obtain entrance here, we adjure them, in the name of God,
"Good spirits who preside over our labours, deign to come to us and instruct us!
Render us docile to your counsels, and aid us to subordinate all personal sentiments to
the general weal.
"We especially request the spirit of ... our spirit-protector; to be with us and to
give us his help."
"My friends, let me give you a piece of advice, for you are on new ground. You
have been told with truth that the aim of spiritism is to give a new sanction to morality,
and that it must not overstep the limits of a philosophical system, under pain of
becoming a mere matter of curiosity. Leave aside questions in relation to scientific
subjects; our mission is not to answer such inquiries, thereby sparing you the trouble of
research, but to aid you to become better, for that is the way in which you will really
"People have laughed at 'table-turning;' but they will never laugh at the
philosophy, the wisdom, the charity, which shine forth in the communications given by
spirits of high degree. Physical manifestations are the vestibule of spiritism, intended to
enable you, on entering it, to lay aside your prejudices, as you lay aside your cloak. I
cannot insist too strongly upon the duty of making of your meetings a serious centre for
the obtaining of instructions in regard to truth and duty. Let those who would obtain
physical manifestations seek for them, but elsewhere; elsewhere let them see; elsewhere
let them hear; but do you, here, seek after understanding and charity. What do you
suppose you are, in the eyes of the higher spirits, when you have made a table turn or rise from
the ground? Schoolboys. Does a man pass his time in going again over the A B C of his
subject? But when we see you united in the desire to obtain instructive
communications, we look upon you as men, and as men who are seriously in search of
(To the inquiry addressed by us to Saint Louis as to whether, by the above
remarks, he intended to disparage physical manifestations, he replied: -)
"I could not intend to disparage physical manifestations, because they take place
by God's permission and for a useful purpose; but, in saying that they are the vestibule
of spiritism, I assign to them their true place, and acknowledge their special utility. I
blame only those who make, of physical manifestations, an object of amusement and
curiosity, an end rather than a means; and who fail to draw from them the moral
teachings which they are intended to enforce. They may be said to stand in the same
relation to the philosophy of spiritism that grammar does to literature; he who has
advanced in the latter does not lose his time in studying over again the elements of the
"My friends, I am always happy to direct you on the path by which alone you
can advance; to do so is a mission that has been confided to me, in which I rejoice and
of which I am proud, for the power to be useful is always a reward. Let the spirit of
charity unite you; the charity which loves, as well as that which gives. Show
yourselves patient under the ill-will of your detractors; be firm in the right; and, above
all, be humble, for it is humility alone that elevates, because it constitutes the sole
greatness recognised by the Most High. Only through your humility will you attract
good spirits to you, and you must remember that, if good ones do not come to you, bad
ones will take the place left vacant by them. Let your sole care be to stand well in the
eyes of your Creator; you will grow in the favour of men, while seeking only to grow in
that of God."
"Union is strength; be united, in order that you may be strong. If you would
render yourselves invulnerable to the poisoned arrows of calumny and to the attacks of
the dark phalanx of ignorant, selfish, and hypocritical spirits, you must let the flame of
a sincere and noble friendship unite, enlighten, and warm your hearts, and you will then
be able to withstand the assaults of evil, as the rock withstands the fury of the waves."
"SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL."
"My friends, you desire to form a Spiritist Society, and I approve of your doing
so, for mediums should not remain isolated. This sublime faculty has been given to
them, not for themselves alone, but for the general good. By their intercourse with
others, they are enabled to form a truer judgement in regard to the value of the
communications they themselves receive; whereas, if they remain alone, they are more
easily brought under the power of deceptive spirits, who are delighted at having no one to judge their statements. This is
my advice to you in reference to mediums, who, unless they are swayed by pride, will
understand and profit by it. And, now, in reference to other points.
"Do you really understand what a spiritist meeting should be? No; for, in your
zeal, you think the best thing to be done is to bring together as many persons as
possible, in order to convince them. Undeceive yourselves; the fewer you are, the more
valuable will be the results you will obtain. It is by your moral ascendency that you
will bring the incredulous to your side, much more surely than by the exhibition of
physical phenomena which people come to see from curiosity, and not only do not
always believe, but often laugh at. On the other hand, if they find among you only
persons worthy of esteem, though they may perhaps not at once accept your belief, they
will, at any rate, respect you; and respect always predisposes to confidence. You know
that the mission of spiritism is to bring about a moral reform of the human race; let all
spiritist societies, then, set an example of Christian virtue; and, in these days of
selfishness, let such gatherings always offer the spectacle of friends united by a true and
"You ask whether a multiplicity of groups in the same locality might not
engender rivalries injurious to spiritist doctrine? To this I reply that those who are
imbued with the true principles of our doctrine regard all spiritists not as rivals but as
brothers, and that none could be jealous of other societies unless influenced by self-love
rather than by the love of truth. True spiritism has for its motto 'Good-will and charity
to all' it excludes every species of rivalry excepting emulation in doing right. All the
groups on whose banner this motto is inscribed can hold out a friendly hand to each
other. Let your only rivalry be one of greatness of soul, of abnegation, kindness, and
humility He who should throw stones at another would prove himself to be under the dominion of evil spirits. The nature of the sentiments manifested by two
persons towards each other is an unerring indication of the nature of the spirits who
consort with them."
"Silence and concentration of thought are conditions essential to the obtaining
of serious communications, and no conversation should be carried on while spirits are
being interrogated. You often receive communications suggesting serious questions on
your part, and requiring answers no less serious on the part of the spirits evoked; and, if
the medium who is writing is disturbed by those about him, his medianimic action is
impeded thereby, and his usefulness proportionally impaired."
"Let me urge upon you the necessity of conducting your meetings with as much
order as possible, so that you may avoid confusion and divergence of ideas, which
furnish evil spirits with facilities for substituting themselves for the good ones, and for
replying to the questions brought forward for consideration. When a meeting is
composed of persons unknown to each other, how is it possible for them to avoid
contradictoriness of ideas, inattention, or indifference? I would fain discover some
efficacious means of doing this. Possibly, it might be done by the concentration of
fluids around the mediums. It is they alone, and especially those who are most beloved,
who keep good spirits in the assembly; but their influence hardly suffices to repel the
mob of foolish and fantastic ones who seek to find ingress. Examine carefully all the
communications you receive; weigh well beforehand all the questions you propose to
ask, and meditate no less thoughtfully on the answers you receive. Error is frequent,
even on the part of well-intentioned spirits. The slowness of the operation of writing is
wearisome to the spirit, who is apt to turn from a subject which, for him, is exhausted
as soon as he has brought his thought to bear on it. His mobility and indifference to the ordinary
conventionalisms of human life, and many other conditions of which you are already
aware, make it your duty to accord only a limited confidence to the communications
you receive, and to submit them all to the test of examination and reason, even when
presenting the most satisfactory appearances of authenticity."
"GEORGE (A familiar spirit)."
"What is usually your object in endeavouring to obtain communications from
spirits? Is it to get specimens of fine writing that you may show to your acquaintances
as samples of our talent, and that you may preserve carefully in your albums, but that
have no place in your hearts?
"Do you imagine that we consider it an honour to show ourselves off in your
assemblies, and to contest with one another the palm of eloquence, in order that you
may say: 'We have had a very interesting meeting?' How much do you retain, with a
view to putting its teachings into practice, of communications that you have declared to
be admirable? Do you suppose that we care for your applause? Be not deceived by any
such notion. Our sole object is to improve you morally. Therefore, when we find that
our words bear no fruit, that they excite only a sterile approbation, we seek out other
souls who are more docile to our suggestions; and our places are then taken by spirits
who desire nothing better than to mislead you, and who rarely fail to do so. You have
therefore only yourselves to thank when you are deceived (See 268, quests. 19, 20)."
"Spiritism should be a preservative against discord and dissension, which can
gain no entrance among those who understand and practise the law of charity. Be on
your guard, all you who are animated by the love of truth keep the doors of your hearts,
that the enemy may not find a traitor among you. Dissensions can only be the work of
evil spirits; therefore, let those among you who feel most strongly the duty prescribed by urbanity
as well as by true spiritism, set an example of patience, dignity, and consistency. Good
spirits may sometimes permit a contest to arise, in order to allow, to good as well as to
evil sentiments, an opportunity of manifesting themselves, and to sift the wheat from
the tares ; but they will always be on the side of those who display the truest humility
and the most genuine charity."
"SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL."
"Repel all spirits who counsel exclusiveness, division, isolation. Such spirits
are always vain and shallow ; they impose on the weak and credulous by exaggerated
praises, in order to fascinate and to domineer over them. They are generally spirits
who, having been public or private despots while on earth, still desire to have victims to
tyrannise over after their death. As a general rule, distrust all communications of a
mystic or fantastic character, as well as those which prescribe ceremonies or eccentric
"Absurdities and errors are best got rid of by submitting all spirit-statements to a
critical examination. A medium may be fascinated, a group may be imposed upon; but
a careful examination of communications, by other groups, with the aid of knowledge
already acquired by them and the moral influence of their presidents, and their
comparison with those obtained by their principal mediums from spirits of high
advancement, will suffice to expose the false statements made, by malevolent or
deceptive spirits, to individual mediums or to isolated groups."
"ERASTES (Disciple of Saint Paul)"
Remark. - Spirits who wish to make us accept unfounded theories usually
pretend that, if we only agree with them, we shall be wiser than everybody else. They
do their utmost to avoid the discussion of their theories ; but, if worsted in argument,
they disdainfully refuse to reply, and induce their mediums to keep away from the
groups by whom their ideas are examined and criticised. Isolation is therefore especially dangerous for mediums, because it leaves them at the mercy of obsessors,
who first blind them, and then, too often, lead them astray.
"It is not among incarnates only that false prophets are to be found; they exist,
and in far greater numbers, among the self-conceited spirits who, under the mask of
love and charity, sow dissension, and retard the emancipation of the human race, by the
absurd statements which they cause to be made through their mediums; assuming, in
order the more effectually to fascinate and to mislead, names which command general
veneration and respect, and even daring in some cases to call themselves by the name of
God. But you have only to pass the theories of such spirits through the sieve of reason
and common sense, and you will see what remains of them! No spirit by whom puerile
ideas and impracticable schemes, opposed to the simplest facts of science, are brought
forward as truth, as the panacea for human ills, or as a means of suddenly transforming
society, can be anything but an ignoramus or a liar.
"Truth is not always seen to be such by individuals, but it is always recognised
by the common sense of the majority. If two statements clash, you can measure their
relative value by ascertaining which of the two meets with the widest sympathy; for it
would evidently be unreasonable to admit that a doctrine of which the partisans were
diminishing could be nearer the truth than one of which the acceptance was steadily
increasing. God wills that the light of truth shall reach all minds; He therefore does not
shut it up in a narrow circle, but makes it shine forth in all directions, in order that
darkness may be everywhere dissipated."
Remark. -The best guarantee of the truth of any principle is its simultaneous
inculcation in different places, by different spirits, through different mediums who are
unknown to one another, and, above ail, its confirmation by reason, and by the Sanction
of general acceptance. Truth alone can enable a doctrine to take root. Erroneous
theories may certainly recruit adherents for a time, but, as they lack the primary condition of vitality, they can have only an ephemeral existence, and we therefore need
not be disquieted about them. Error is killed by its own erroneousness, and will
therefore inevitably disappear under the action of reason.
Spirit-communications are sometimes so absurd, although signed by great
names, that the simplest common sense suffices to detect their falsity; but there are
others in which error, being mixed up with truth, is not detected at first sight, though it
cannot fail to be perceived on further examination. We give a few specimens of
communications of this character, in order to aid inquirers in judging of the
communications which may be made to them, or which may come under their notice."
"The perpetual and incessant creation of worlds is, for God, a perpetual
pleasure, because He incessantly sees His rays become each day more luminous in
happiness. Number does not exist for God any more than time. This is why, for Him,
hundreds or millions are neither more nor less, in His sight, one than the other. He is a
father whose happiness is formed of the collective happiness of His children; and, at
each second of the creation, He finds a new happiness coming and melting into the
general happiness. There is neither stoppage nor suspension in this perpetual
movement, this great, incessant happiness, which renders fertile the earth and the
heavens. As regards the earth, you know only a very small fraction of it, and you have
brothers who live under latitudes that man has not yet been able to penetrate. What
signify the torrifying heat and the mortal cold which stay the efforts of the boldest? Do
you believe, in your simplicity, that there is the limit of your world, when, with your
small means, you can advance no further? You fancy you can measure your planet
exactly, do you? Do not believe it. There are upon your planet more places that you are
ignorant of than places that you know. But, since it is useless to propagate any further all your evil institutions, all your bad laws, actions, and lives, there is a limit
which stops you here and there, and which will stop you until you are able to transport
thither the good seed which your free will shall have made. No; you do not know this
world which you call the earth. You will see, in your present existence, a great
beginning of proofs of this communication. The hour is about to strike when there will
be another discovery besides the last that has been already made, and that will enlarge
the circle of your known earth; and when the press everywhere sings this Hosanna in all
tongues, you, poor children who love God and seek His way, you will have known all
about it, before the very people who will give their name to the new land."
"VINCENT DE PAUL."
Remark. - In point of style, this communication, with its inaccuracies,
redundancies, and eccentric terms of expression, is evidently very faulty; but these
faults alone would prove nothing against its authenticity, because such imperfections
might arise from the incapacity of the medium, as we have already shown. What the
communicating spirit gives, is the idea; and therefore, when the author of this message
tells us that there exist on our planet more places that we are ignorant of than places
that are known, and that a new continent is about to be discovered, he gives
indisputable proof of his ignorance. Certain tracts of land, as yet undiscovered, may
very probably exist beyond the ice-barriers around the poles; but to say that those tracts
are peopled, and that God has hidden them from us in order that we may not transport
evil institutions thither, shows the folly of the spirit who could seek to palm off suds
absurdities on mortal listeners. Contrast the foregoing with the following, obtained in
the same group and signed with the same name, but presenting as evident marks of
authenticity as the foregoing presents of substitution.
"Your material world and the spiritual world (which so few of you know as yet)
form the two plates of a pair of scales. Your religions, your laws, your customs, and
your passions, have caused the scale of evil so far to outweigh that of good, that evil
has reigned as a sovereign over the earth. For ages, the same plaint has exhaled from
the lips of man, and he has necessarily been led by suffering to call in question the justice of God, while some men have even been led to deny His
very existence. You see the things of your world; but you see nothing of the spiritworld,
and you therefore cannot understand the conditions of your earthly life, in which
you see superfluity jostling want, gold and clay in close proximity, the contrasts of vice
and of virtue which should prove to you the fact of your double nature, but which you
cannot explain. Whence comes this state of things? Whose fault is it? This question
you should try to answer with calmness and impartiality, remembering that the sincere
desire to find a remedy is the first step towards its discovery. Notwithstanding the
domination of evil over good, which occurs through your own fault, do you not
perceive that all the forces of Nature run steadily in the groove appointed for them by
God? Do you ever see the seasons coming out of their time, heat and cold clashing
with each other? the sun forgetting to light up the earth? the earth forgetting the grain
which man has deposited in its bosom? Is there any cessation of the countless miracles
that are constantly taking place under your eyes, from the birth of the blade of grass to
the birth of the child, the future man? All that is done by God is well-done; all that is
done by man is ill-done. What is the remedy for all this? Something very simple. Let
men return to God; let them be united together, and follow the road which, to the eyes
of faith and conscience is already marked out."
"VINCENT DE PAUL."
Remark - This communication was obtained "as stated above" in the same
circle as the preceding one; but what a difference is observable between them, not only
in style, but also in thought! This one is clear, profound, sensible, and such as Vincent
de Paul would not disavow; and we may therefore safely assume that it is from him.
"Go forward, children! Close up your ranks! That is to say, union is strength.
You who are working at the foundations of this great edifice, watch and work to consolidate
its base, and you will be enabled to raise it high, very high! Progress is immense throughout our globe; an innumerable crowd of
proselytes are drawing round our flag; many sceptics, even of those who are most
incredulous, are approaching; yes, they too are approaching!
"Go forward, children, march forward with elated hearts, full of faith; the road
you follow is a beautiful one; do not slacken your pace; always follow the straight line;
serve guides to those who are coming after you; they will be happy, very happy!
"March forward, children! You do not need the aid of bayonets to sustain your
cause, all you want is faith. Belief fraternity, and union; these are your arms; with these
you are strong, more powerful than all the great potentates of as the universe united,
notwithstanding their armies, their fleets, their cannon, and their grape-shot!
"You who combat for the liberty of peoples and the regeneration of the great
human family, come on, children! Courage and perseverance! God will aid you! Good
night; I shall see you again."
Remark. - If ever there were a grave and serious man, Napoleon, while living,
was such an one ; his brief, concise style of utterance is known to all, and he must have
strangely degenerated since his death, if he could have dictated a communication so
verbose and ridiculous as this, which, however, may perhaps be from the spirit of some
trooper named "Napoleon."
"No; one cannot 'change one's religion,' when one does not possess a religion
which can at the same time satisfy one's common sense and intelligence, and which can,
above all, give present consolation to man. No! one does not change one's religion;
what one does is to fall from folly and domination into wisdom and liberty. Come on,
come on, our little army! come on, and do not fear the enemy's bullets! Those which
will kill you are not yet cast, if you are always, from the bottom of your heart, in the
way of God; that is to say, if you will always combat, pacifically and victoriously, for
ease and liberty."
"VINCENT DE PAUL"
Remark. - Who could recognise the excellent and beneficent man called Saint
Vincent de Paul in language so loose and in thoughts so void of common sense, as the
foregoing? What does the spirit mean by saying "No, one does not 'change one's
religion,' ""one falls from folly and domination into wisdom and liberty?" With his
"bullets which are not yet cast," this spirit would seem to be the same as that of the
trooper who signed Napoleon in the preceding communication.
In regard to the two following quotations, the absurdity of signing such
messages with such a name, is too obvious to call for comment.
"Children of my faith, Christians of my doctrine forgotten through the interests
of the floods of the philosophy of the materialists, follow me on the road of Judea,
follow the passion of my life, contemplate my enemies of the present, contemplate my
sufferings, my torments, and my blood shed for my faith!
"Children, spiritualists of my new doctrine, be ready to stiffer, to brave the
waves of adversity, the sarcasms of your enemies. Faith will march forward incessantly
in following your star, which will guide you on the road to eternal happiness, as the star
led the Magi of the East, by faith, to the Cradle. Whatever your adversaries may be,
whatever your trials, whatever the tears that you have shed in this sphere of exile, take
courage, be sure that the joy which will overwhelm you in the world of spirits will be
far above the torments of your passing existence. The valley of tears is a valley which
must disappear to give place to the brilliant sojourn of joy, of fraternity and union,
which you will reach through your dutiful obedience to the holy revelation. This life,
my dear brothers of this terrestrial sphere, merely preparatory though it be, can only
endure for the time necessary for living well prepared for that life which can never end.
Love one another, love one another as I have loved you, and as I love you still ;
brothers, Courage, brothers l I bless you; in heaven I await you."
"From these brilliant and luminous regions which human thought can scarcely
penetrate, the echo of your words and of mine has come to me and touched my heart.
"Oh! with what joy do I feel inundated by the sight of you, you, the continuers
of my doctrine! No, nothing approaches the testimony of your good thoughts! You see
it, my children, the regenerating idea cast by me long since into the world, persecuted,
stayed, for a moment, by the oppression of tyrants, is going on now without obstacles,
lighting the ways of humanity so long plunged in darkness.
"Every great and disinterested sacrifice, my children, has borne fruit sooner or
later. My martyrdom proved this to you; my blood poured out for my doctrine will save
humanity and efface the faults of great criminals!
"Blessed be ye, ye who this day take your place in the regenerated family! Go
forward, courage, children!"
Remark. - There is certainly nothing evil in these two communications ; but did
Christ ever express Himself in such an awkward, pretentious, stilted, and ridiculous
All the communications now quoted as apocryphal were obtained in the same
circle. We notice in them a sort of family-likeness, similar turns of phraseology, the
frequent repetition of the same expressions, such as, for example, "Go forward,
children!" &c., from which we may conclude that the same spirit probably dictated
them all, under different names. It is to be remarked that in the circle alluded to - and
which was a very conscientious one, though somewhat too credulous - they never made
evocations nor asked questions, hot waited for communications to be made
spontaneously ; yet we see that their doing so did not suffice to ensure the authenticity
of the messages received by them. A series of home-questions would have put this
spirit into his proper place; hut, as they asked him nothing, and accepted, blindly and
unhesitatingly, everything he said, he knew that he had nothing to fear, and seems to
have amused himself accordingly by playing on their credulity (See 269).
"How beautiful is nature! how prudent is Providence in its foresight! but your
blindness and your human passions hinder your having patience with the prudence and
goodness of God. You lament over the smallest cloud, the least delay in the realisation
of your previsions; know then, impatient doubters, that nothing happens without a
motive that is always foreseen, always premeditated, for the profit of all. The meaning of what
precedes is to set at naught men of false apprehensions, all your previsions of a bad year
for your harvests.
"God frequently inspires men with uneasiness about the future, to urge them to
foresight; see how great are the means for exciting your fears, sown designedly, and
which, most frequently, cover avaricious thoughts rather than the idea of a wise
provisioning inspired by a feeling of humanity for the advantage of the poor. Behold the
relations of nations with nations that will grow out of your uneasiness; see the
transactions to which it will lead; what methods will work together to disappoint your
fears for, as you know, every thing is linked together, and great and small will cooperate
in the work.
"And do you not already see, in the whole of this movement, a source of wellbeing
for the more laborious class of society, that truly interesting class which you, the
great, you, the omnipotent of this earth, regard as people to be taxed at your pleasure,
created for your satisfaction?
"And what comes of all this going and coming from one pole to the other? It is
that, once well provided for, the weather has often changed; the sun, obeying the
thought of its Creator, ripens your harvest in a few days; God brings abundance where
your covetousness meditated a lack, and in spite of you the humble can live; and,
without your suspecting it, you have been, unknown to yourselves, the cause of
"Nevertheless it happens-God permits this sometimes - that the evil ones
succeed in their avaricious projects; but then it is a teaching that God wills to give to all
; it is human foresight that He would stimulate; it is that infinite order which reigns in
nature, it is courage in view of events, which men should imitate, and should bear with
"As to those who, calculatingly, profit by disasters, you may be sure that they
will be punished for it. God wills that all His creatures should live; man should neither
tamper with necessity nor make a traffic of superfluity.
Just in His benefits, great in His clemency, too good for our ingratitude, God is
impenetrable in His designs."
"BOSSUET ALFRED DE MARIGNAC."
Remark. - This communication assuredly contains nothing objectionable; on
the contrary, notwithstanding its defects of style, it contains profound and philosophical
ideas, and sagacious advice, which might deceive illiterate readers in regard to the
identity of its author. The medium who obtained it, having submitted it to the
examination of the Spiritist Society of Paris, the latter declared unanimously that it
could not be the production of Bossuet. Saint Louis, on being consulted respecting this
communication, gave the following answer: - "This communication is intrinsically
good, but you must not believe that it came from Bossuet. The spirit who dictated it
may perhaps have done so, in some degree, under the inspiration of the great Bishop,
and may have put the Bishop's name at the end of it, in order to get it more readily
accepted; but you can easily detect the substitution of signature by the defectiveness of
the language. It was dictated by the spirit who has placed his name after that of
Bossuet." This spirit, being interrogated as to his motive in attempting such a fraud,
replied: - "I was anxious to write something to bring myself hack to the notice of men;
seeing that my communication was but weak, I borrowed a great name to give it
weigh." - "But did you not foresee that it would he judged to be spurious?" - "Who can
ever be sure as to what will happen? You might have been taken in. Other persons, less
clear-sighted, would have accepted it as coming from Basset."
It is, in fact, the readiness with which many persons accept whatever comes
from the invisible world, under the apparent sanction of a great name, that encourages
deceptive spirits. We must employ our acumen to frustrate the tricks of such spirits ;
and this is only to he done with the aid of experience and a serious study of the subject.
It is for this reason that we constantly repeat our advice to study the subject before
attempting experimentation ; for it is only thus that inquirers can avoid acquiring
experience at the cost of mystifications and annoyance.