15. Spiritism, assuredly, is not indispensable to the obtaining of this result, and it has no pretension to be the sole agent for securing the well-being of the soul in the other life; but it facilitates the attainment of that well-being through the knowledge it gives us, through the sentiments it inspires, and through the determination which it awakens, in the minds of all who have sincerely accepted its principles, to labor unremittingly for their mental and moral advancement. It also gives, to everyone, the means of facilitating the disengagement of other spirits at the moment when they are quitting their terrestrial envelope, and of shortening their subsequent period of confusion, by prayer and evocation. By sincere prayer, which is a spiritual magnetization, we assist the spirit who is passing away to obtain a more rapid desegregation of the perispiritual fluid; by evocation, conducted wisely and prudently, and by addressing the spirit in words of kindness and encouragement, we rouse the spirit out of the state of torpor in which it finds itself, and we help the spirit to recover its self-consciousness more quickly; if the spirit is in a state of distress, we urge it to the repentance which alone can shorten its sufferings. *
* In the examples we are about to adduce, the happiness and unhappiness of spirit-life are illustrated by the narratives of the spirits themselves, who thus initiated us into the various phases of their realm of existence. We have not sought to bring before the reader the illustrious personages of antiquity, whose position may have undergone considerable change since the existence by which they are known to us, and concerning whom it would be impossible to obtain sufficient proofs of identity. We have, on the contrary, selected the experiences of those whose earthly existence was undergone amidst the ordinary circumstances of the life of our own day, because it is from these that the greatest sum of instruction can be drawn. The more nearly the terrestrial existence of a spirit relates to our own, through its social position, its employments, its relationships, etc., the more closely does the narration of that spirit’s experiences in the spirit-world come home to us, and the easier it is for us to obtain a reasonable probability of the identity of the narrator. The positions of common life are those of the greater number, for which reason the experiences of spirits whose earthly existence was passed in those positions are of more general applicability; exceptional positions are less interesting to the greater number, because they go beyond the sphere of their thoughts and habits. We have, therefore, not sought to bring forward illustrious names; if among those whose statements we have selected, some few are well known, the greater number are altogether obscure. To have paraded renowned names would have added nothing to the instructiveness of these recitals, and would probably have roused the ill will of the friends and connections of those who bore them. We address ourselves neither to the inquisitive nor to the lovers of scandal, but to those who sincerely desire light on the subject of the future life towards which we are tending.
We might have multiplied these examples ad infinitum; but, being compelled to restrict their number, we have chosen those that convey the greatest amount of information in regard to the state of the spirit-world, through the position of the spirit itself, or through the explanation it is able to give us. The greater part of them are as yet unpublished; some few of them, only, have been published in “The Spiritist Review;” of these, we have suppressed all details not bearing directly on the aim of the present work, and we have added the complementary explanations that have subsequently been given in regard to them by our spirit-guides.