What is Spiritism?

Allan Kardec

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79. The mediumistic faculty is connected with the organism; it is independent of the medium's moral qualities and may be found in the most unworthy as well as in the most worthy individuals. This does not apply to the preference that good spirits give to the medium, however.

80. Good spirits communicate voluntarily to varying degrees through this or that medium according to their affinity with the medium's own spirit. What comprises the characteristics of mediums is not the ease with which they receive communications, but their ability to receive only good ones and not to become playthings of frivolous and deceitful spirits.

81. Mediums who leave much to be desired from the moral point of view sometimes receive very good communications, which can only have come from good spirits, and it would be a mistake to be surprised by this fact; it is often in these mediums' best interest and to give them, wise advice. If they do not take advantage of it, they have only themselves to blame because they write their own condemnation. God, whose goodness is infinite, cannot refuse assistance to those who have the most need of it. The virtuous missionary who teaches good morals to criminals is acting in the same way as good spirits do with imperfect mediums.

Furthermore, when good spirits want to provide a useful, widespread teaching, they will make use of the instrument at hand; however, they will leave him or her when they find one with whom they have more affinity and who will take advantage of their lessons. When good spirits withdraw, low order ones, unconcerned about moral qualities, then have an open playing field.

The result is that morally imperfect mediums who do not mend their ways sooner or later become prey to evil spirits, who quite often lead them to their ruin and great misfortune, even while in this world. As for their faculty, as beautiful as it was and would have remained, it becomes tarnished first by being forsaken by good spirits and then by being lost altogether.

82. Even the most deserving mediums are not exempt from manifestations by deceitful spirits; first, because none are sufficiently perfect not to have a weak spot that can provide access to evil spirits; second, in order to exercise their judgment, good spirits at times allow it to happen so that their mediums can learn how to tell truth from error and be wary so as not to accept anything blindly without having tested it first. But deception does not come from good spirits and any respectable name that signs an error is necessarily apocryphal.

This may also be a test of patience and perseverance for any Spiritist, medium or not. Those who become discouraged by a few deceptions show good spirits that the latter cannot count on them.

83. It is no more surprising to see evil spirits obsess respectable persons than it is surprising to see evil persons persecuting good people. It is interesting that, ever since The Mediums' Book was published, obsessed mediums have become much less numerous, because, having been forewarned, they are on their guard and watch for the smallest signs that may betray the presence of a deceitful spirit. Most of the ones who are obsessed either did not study the subject first or did not heed the counsels offered to them.

84. What comprises a medium per se is the mediumistic faculty, which may be more developed or less so; what comprises the sure medium, the one who can truly be classified as a good medium, is the use of the faculty, the aptitude to serve as an interpreter for good spirits. Regardless of the faculty, a medium's ability to attract good spirits and repel evil ones is due to his or her moral ascendancy. This ascendancy is in proportion to the sum of the characteristics that make such mediums moral persons, and with it they obtain the affinity of good spirits and exert control over evil ones.

85. For the same reason, the sum of mediums' moral imperfections liken them more to the nature of evil spirits and keep them from the ascendancy needed to avoid them. Instead of being the ones who exert control over evil spirits, evil spirits exert control over them. This applies not only to mediums, but to everyone else, since there is no one who is not influenced by spirits. (See nos. 74, 75 above)

86. In order to impose themselves on mediums, evil spirits know how to skillfully exploit all their moral defects; the one that gives them the greatest access is pride, the sentiment that dominates most obsessed mediums, especially those who are fascinated. Pride leads them to believe in their infallibility and to scorn advice. Unfortunately, this sentiment is encouraged by the praise of which they might be the object; when their faculty is a little transcendental, they are sought out and flattered; they end up believing in their own importance and regard themselves as indispensable, which leads them to their downfall.

87. While imperfect mediums pride themselves with the illustrious names - usually apocryphal - that sign the communications they receive, and regard themselves as the privileged interpreters of heavenly powers, good mediums never feel sufficiently worthy of such a favor and always maintain a healthy distrust of the quality of what they receive; that is, they do not trust their own judgment. Since they are only passive instruments, they understand that if the communication is good, they cannot regard it as their personal merit any more than they can be held responsible if it is bad. It would be foolish to believe unquestionably in the identity of the spirits who manifest through them, and they leave the matter to be judged by disinterested third parties without any

more offence to their personal vanity for an unfavorable judgment than an actor would be for criticism leveled at the play in which he or she played a part. Their distinctive character displays simplicity and modesty; they are happy with the faculties they possess, not out of vanity but rather as a means of being useful, which they willingly are when the occasion arises, and without being offended if they are not given top preference.

Mediums are spirits' intermediaries and interpreters; thus, it is the responsibility of the evoker, or even the mere observer, to determine the worthiness of the instrument.

88. The mediumistic faculty is a gift from God as are all faculties that may be used for either good or evil, and it may be abused. Its purpose is to put us in direct communication with the souls of those who used to live so that we may receive their teachings and be initiated into the future life. Just as sight puts us in communication with the visible world, mediumship puts us in communication with the invisible one. Those who employ it for useful purposes, for their own and their neighbors' advancement, are fulfilling a true mission, for which they will be rewarded. On the other hand, those who abuse it and use it on useless matters or for material gain divert it from its providential aim and must sooner or later bear the consequences like anyone else who makes bad use of a faculty.

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