HEAVEN AND HELL OR THE DIVINE JUSTICE ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER II

HAPPY SPIRITS


MR. SANSON


MR. SANSON, one of the earliest members of the Spiritist Society of Paris, died April 21st, 1862, after a year of intense suffering. Foreseeing his end, he had addressed, to the President of the Society, a letter containing the following passage:

“In view of the possibility of a sudden separation of my soul and body, I repeat the request that I made to you a year ago; viz., that you will evoke my spirit as quickly as you possibly can after my decease, and as often as you may think fit to do so, in order that I, who have been but a somewhat useless member of our Society during my sojourn upon the Earth, may be of some use to it on the other side of the grave, by enabling it to study, phase by phase, through evocation, the various incidents that follow what is commonly called death, but which, for us Spiritists, is only transformation, according to the impenetrable designs of God, and is always useful for carrying out those designs.

Besides this authorization and request that you will do me the honor to perform upon me this sort of spiritual autopsy which my slight advancement will perhaps render sterile, in which case your own good sense will decide you to cut short the experiment, I venture to beg of you personally, and also of all my colleagues, to pray the Almighty to permit the good spirits, and especially our Spiritual- President, Saint Louis, to assist me with their kindly counsels, and to guide me in deciding on the choice and the epoch of my next incarnation; for I am already much exercised in mind about this matter. I tremble lest, overrating my own spiritual powers, I should ask of God, too soon and too presumptuously, a corporeal trial above my strength, which, instead of aiding my advancement, would prolong my stay upon this Earth, or in some other one.”

In order to conform to our friend’s desire to be evoked as quickly as possible after his decease, we went to his house, with a few members of the Society, and there, in the presence of the corpse, held the following conversation with his spirit, an hour before the appointed time for the funeral. In so doing, we had a double end in view; first, to gratify the wish of the deceased and next, to observe, once more, the situation of the soul at a period so near to death; an observation especially interesting in the case of one so eminently intelligent and enlightened, and so deeply imbued by spiritist truths. We desired to ascertain the influence of his belief on the state of his spirit, and to seize his first impressions of the other life. We were not disappointed. Mr. Sanson was able to describe the moment of transition with perfect clarity; he had watched himself die and he had watched his coming to life again in the spirit-world; a circumstance of rare occurrence, due to the elevation already attained by his spirit.

I

In the death-chamber, April 23rd, 1862.
After having evoked the spirit in the usual terms, the following conversation took place:


1. Evocation. – I respond to your call in order to fulfill my promise.

2. Dear Mr. Sanson, it is for us both a duty and a pleasure to evoke you at once after your death, as you wished us to do.

A. I thank God for permitting my spirit to hold communication with you, and I thank you for your kindness. But I feel weak, and I tremble.

3. You suffered so much before your departure that I think we may fairly ask how you are. Do you still feel the pains that racked you so terribly? How does your present state compare with the state in which you were two days ago?

A. My state is a very happy one, for I no longer feel anything of my former pains; I am regenerated, made quite new, so to say. The transition from the terrestrial life to the spirit-life was, at first, something that I could not understand, and everything seemed incomprehensible to me; for we sometimes remain for several days without recovering our clarity of thought; but, before I died, I prayed that God would give me the power of speaking to those I love, and my prayer was granted.

4. How long was it before you regained clarity of thought?


A. About eight hours. I cannot be sufficiently grateful to the Almighty for granting my prayer.
5. Are you quite sure that you are no longer in our world? And, if so, how do you know



it?
A. Oh, most certainly, I am no longer in your world! But I shall always be near you, to protect

and sustain you in inculcating the charity and abnegation that were the rule of my life; and I shall help to spread the true faith, the faith of Spiritism, which is destined to rekindle the belief in truth and goodness. I am well and strong; I am, in short, completely transformed. You could not recognize me as the infirm old man whose memory was leaving him, after he had left far behind him all the pleasure and joy of life! I am a denizen of the spirit-world, freed from the bondage of flesh; my country is the illimitable space, and my future is God, whose power and glory radiate through immensity! I wish I could speak with my children that I might urge upon them what they have always been unwilling to believe!

6. What effect does the sight of your body, lying here beside us, produce on your mind?

A. My body, poor, paltry relic, will return to dust; but I shall continue to cherish the welcome remembrance of all those to whose esteem you served as my passport! Poor, decaying form, dwelling- place of my spirit, instrument of my trial through so many weary years of pain, I look upon you, and I thank you, my poor body! for you have purified my spirit, and the suffering, ten times blessed! which you caused me to endure, has aided me to win the place I now occupy, and to earn the privilege of speaking with these friends, without delay!

7. Did you retain your consciousness to the last?

A. Yes, my spirit retained the use of all its faculties. I no longer saw, but I foresaw. The whole of my earthly life, too, passed before my mind; and my last thought, my last prayer, was that I might be enabled to speak with you as I am now doing, and I asked God that help might be given to you also in this matter, so that the desire of my life might be fulfilled.

8. Were you conscious of the moment when your body drew its last breath? What took place, in your being, at that moment? What sensation did you experience?


A. At the moment of separation, life seems to break down, and the sight of the spirit is extinguished. We seem to be in a great void, in the unknown; and then, carried away, as though by a wonderful current of surprise, we find ourselves in a world where all is joy and grandeur. I had no longer any feeling, all sense of suffering was lost; I no longer understood anything that was going on in me or about me; and yet, at the same time, I was filled with ineffable joy.

9. Do you know... (what I am intending to read at your grave?)

The first words of this question had hardly been uttered, when the spirit replied to it, without leaving me the time to finish it, replying, also, and without the subject having been mentioned, to a discussion that had taken place between the friends who were present, as to the propriety of reading what I had written at the grave, where there would probably be persons who might share or not our opinions.

A. Oh yes, my friend, I know all about it, for I saw you yesterday, and I see you again today, to my great satisfaction! Thank you! Thank you! Speak, that those who are about my grave may understand my views, and that you may arrest their attention. Have no hesitation on that score; the presence of the dead imposes respect. Speak, that the skeptical may be led to believe. Good-bye; speak; courage, confidence, and may my children convert to our revered belief!

J. SANSON.

During the ceremony at the grave, he dictated these words:

“Let death have no terrors for you, my friends; it marks the accomplishment of a stage of our journey, and if we have lived right, labored worthily and borne our trials patiently it is an immense happiness. Again I say to you, courage and good-will! Attach only slight value to the things of the Earth; your abnegation will meet its reward. Remember that you cannot enjoy too many earthly blessings without appropriating to yourselves a portion of the well-being of others, and thus inflicting on yourselves immense moral injury.

“May the Earth be light above me!”



II

(Spiritist Society of Paris, April 25th, 1862; after evoking the spirit of Mr. Sanson in the usual manner)

1. Friends, I am here.

2. We are much pleased with the conversation we had with you on the day of your funeral; and as you permit us to talk with you, we shall be very glad to continue our conversation, that we may obtain all the information you are able to give us.

A. I am quite ready to converse with you and I am happy to see that you think of me.

3. Whatever can help to enlighten us in regard to the nature of the invisible world is of the utmost importance, both to us, and to all; for it is the false idea which men form to themselves of the other life that usually leads them to skepticism. Therefore you must not be astonished at the numerous questions that we shall have to ask you.

A. I shall not be astonished; and I am waiting to know what you wish to ask me.

4. You have described with luminous clarity, the passage from life to death; you have told us that, at the moment when the body breathes its last, life breaks down, and the sight of the spirit is extinguished. Is this moment a painful one? Is it attended with any suffering?

A. Undoubtedly it is, for life is a succession of sufferings, and death is the complement of them all. For that reason we feel a violent wrench, as though the spirit had to make a superhuman effort to free itself from its fleshly envelope; it is this effort that absorbs our whole being and makes us lose the consciousness of what we are becoming.

This is not the case in general. Experience shows us that many spirits lose consciousness before death occurs; and that, with those who have reached a certain degree of dematerialization, the separation takes place without any effort.

5. Do you know whether the moment of death is more painful for some spirits than for others? Is it more painful, for instance, in the case of the materialist, who believes that everything will be ended with the death of the body?

A. Certainly. The spirit who is prepared for death has already forgotten its suffering, or, rather, it is accustomed to it; and the mental quietness with which it sees the approach of death prevents it from suffering doubly, as the spirit would otherwise do, because it knows what is awaiting it. Moral suffering is the most painful of all; and its absence, at the moment of death, diminishes immensely the pain of the separation. Those who do not believe in a future life are like prisoners under sentence of death, whose thoughts behold both the gibbet and the unknown. There is a similitude between this death and that of the atheist.


6. Are there materialists so rooted in their denial of immortality as really to believe, in this solemn moment, that they are about to be plunged into annihilation?

A. There are, undoubtedly, some who believe in annihilation up to their last hour; but, at the moment of separation, an entire change comes over the spirit’s mind. It is tortured by doubt, and anxiously asks itself what is going to become of it; The spirit seeks for something to cling to, and finds nothing. The separation, in such a case, cannot take place without causing this impression.

A spirit gave us, on another occasion, the following description of the end of the unbeliever:

“The spirit of a confirmed unbeliever experiences, in its last moments, all the anguish of the horrible nightmare in which the sleeper seems to be at the edge of a precipice, on the point of falling into the abyss beneath it. Such a one makes the most agonizing effort to fly from the danger, and is unable to move; it seeks in vain for something to stay it, some fixed point by which to keep itself out of the terrible void into which the spirit feels itself to be slipping; it tries to call for help and is unable to make any sound. It is under the pressure of this frightful agony that the dying are seen to writhe in convulsion of the death-throes, wringing their hands, and gasping out stifled and inarticulate cries, all of which are the certain indications of the nightmare from which they are suffering. In an ordinary nightmare, your wakening relieves you of the despair that was oppressing you, and you rejoice to perceive that you have only been dreaming; but the nightmare of death often lasts for a very long time, even for many years, after the separation has taken place; and the suffering thus caused to the spirit is sometimes rendered still more severe by the thick darkness in which that spirit finds itself.”

7. You have told us that, at the moment of death, you no longer saw, but that you foresaw. By this, we understand you to mean that you no longer saw with your bodily eyes, which is perfectly comprehensible; but we should like to know whether, before the life of your body was entirely extinct, you obtained a glimpse of the spirit-world?

A. That was what I meant to say. The instant of death restores to the spirit its normal clairvoyance; the bodily eyes no longer see, but the spirit, whose sight is far more penetrating, immediately discovers around itself an unknown world, and this reality, becoming suddenly visible to it, gives it – though only momentarily, it is true – a sense of intense delight, or of inexpressible distress, according to the state of the spirit’s conscience and the remembrance of its past existence.

The spirit here is alluding to the instant preceding the loss of consciousness, which explains its saying “though only momentarily,” for the same agreeable or disagreeable impressions are again perceived by the spirit upon awakening in the other life.

8. Be kind enough to tell us what you saw at the moment when your spirit-eyes were opened to the light of the other world. Describe to us, if possible, the aspect of the objects that then presented themselves to your sight.

A. When I came to myself and was able to look about me, I was dazzled, and could not understand what I saw, for the mind does not regain clarity instantaneously. But God, who gave me a profound proof of His goodness, allowed me to recover soon the use of my faculties. I perceived that I was surrounded by a numerous company of friends, among whom were all the spirit-protectors who are in the habit of coming to our séances; they were rejoicing in my arrival, and welcomed me with smiles. I felt myself to be fully immersed in the enjoyment of the plentitude of health and strength, and was able to accompany them, joyously and without effort, through the vast expanse of space around me. But what I saw, in my journey through immensity, cannot be described in human speech.

I shall come to you again, nevertheless, to speak with you more at length of my happiness, within the limits of what it is permissible by God for us to say. Be quite sure of one thing, viz., that what you understand to be happiness, in your world, is a fiction. Live wisely, innocently, in the spirit of charity and of loving-kindness; and you will have prepared for yourselves impressions that your greatest poets would be powerless to describe.

Fairy tales are, undoubtedly, full of absurdities; but isn’t it possible that they may be, in some of their details, an imperfect reflex of what goes on in the world of spirits? Does not Mr. Sanson’s recital of his experiences resemble the story of the beggar who, having gone to sleep in a poor and dingy hut, finds himself, upon awakening, in a splendid palace and surrounded by a brilliant court? (Suggestion - Put the last paragraph in italics, to differentiate from the response of the spirit.)



III

9. Under what aspect did the spirits appear to you? Was it in human form?

A. Yes, my dear friend, our spirit-friends have always told us, upon the Earth, that they retain in the spirit-world the transitory form that they wore in their last earthly life; and this is true. But what a difference between the clumsy human machines, that drag themselves along so heavily upon the Earth, with their load of sorrows and trials, and the wondrous fluidity of the spirit-bodies! There is no ugliness among them, for their features have lost the expression of harshness that is characteristic of the human race. God has blessed all those gracious bodies so that they comport themselves with perfect elegance. Their beauty may truly be termed beatific, and their movements are the perfection of elegance and grace. The language of the spirits has intonations unknown to human speech; and their glances have the depth and brilliance of a star. Try to imagine all the beauty that can be built up by the power of the Supreme Architect, and you will have formed to yourselves some faint idea of the appearance of spirits.

10. How do you appear to yourself? Do you seem to yourself to possess a form that is limited and circumscribed, although fluidic? Do you feel that you have a head, a trunk, arms, and legs?

A. Spirits, having preserved a form which resembles that of humans, but idealized, divinized, have undoubtedly, all the members of which you speak. I feel myself to be perfectly in possession of a fully realized human form, for we can by our will, render ourselves visible to you, or press your hands. I am close to you, and I have pressed the hand of each one of you, without your being aware of my doing so; our fluidity enables us to be everywhere without occupying any point of space, without causing you any sensation, if such be our desire. At this very moment, your hands are folded, and my hands are in yours. I say to you, “I love you!” yet my body takes up no place, the light passes through it; and what would seem to you to be a miracle, if you could see it, is, for spirits, the continuous action of every instant.

Spirit-sight has no relation to human sight, just as the spirit-body has no real likeness to the human body, for it is, in general and in details, absolutely different from the latter. The perspicacity of a spirit may be called divine, in this sense, viz., that it extends to everything, even to the divining of your thoughts; and its form is so completely under its control that it can, when it chooses to do so, assume the appearance best calculated to recall it to your remembrance; but in point of fact, the advanced spirit, who has finished with the trials of an earthly life, has an affection for the form that can lead it closer to God.

11. Spirits are of no sex; but as, only a few days ago, you were a man, is there in your present state more of the masculine nature than of the feminine? And how is it, in this respect, with spirits who have been separated for a longer time from their earthly body?

A. For us, there is neither “masculine” nor “feminine;” there is no procreation among spirits. Spirits are created by God; since, for the carrying out of God’s marvelous designs, God has willed that they should reincarnate themselves upon the Earth, it was necessary to provide them with the means of effecting the reproduction of fleshly bodies through the agency of males and females. But you can understand, without it being necessary to enter into any explanation of the matter, that there can be no sex in spirits.

It has always been asserted by spirits that they are of no sex, because the sexes are only needed for the reproduction of bodies, and as spirits do not reproduce themselves, sex would be useless to them. Our question was intended, not to draw forth a fresh assertion of this fact, but to ascertain whether, after a death so recent as that of Mr. Sanson, the spirit retained, in this respect, any impression of its terrestrial state. Spirits who have reached a certain degree of purity are perfectly aware of their non-sexual nature; but, among those of lower degree, who are not yet dematerialized, there are many who believe themselves to be still what they were upon the Earth, that have preserved the same passions and the same desires, and imagine themselves to be still men or women; hence it is that some of them have declared that spirits are of one or other sex. The contradictions observable in the statement of spirits are due to the different degrees of advancement at which they have arrived; the error does not come from the Spirits, but from the want of careful examination, on the part of those who question them. (Suggestion -Put the last paragraph in italics, to differentiate from the response of the spirit.)

12. How does our present séance appear to you? Do we appear to your new perceptions the same as we did when you were among us? Can you see each of us as clearly, as distinctly, as formerly?

A. Much more clearly, for I can read the thoughts of each, and I am delighted with the excellent impression that has been given to me by the good intentions of all those who are here assembled. I wish that the same cordial understanding could be arrived at, not only in Paris, by the union of all the spiritist circles, but also throughout the whole of France, where too many of its spiritist societies are separated by jealousy, excited by the machinations of quarrelsome spirits who take pleasure in discord and disunion, whereas Spiritism should be synonymous with the complete and absolute forgetfulness of the focus upon the self. .

13. You say you read our thoughts; can you explain to us the way in which this perception of thought is effected?

A. It is not easy to do so; to explain to you the prodigious faculty of the spirit-sight, it would be necessary to begin by giving you the knowledge of a whole arsenal of agents unknown to you, and by rendering you as learned as we are, which could not be done, because your faculties are limited by your physical organism. Patience! Try to become good, and you will attain this knowledge. As of yet, you have only the amount of knowledge that corresponds to your degree of advancement; in course of time, you will be as we are. Try to die the death of the righteous, so that you may be able to learn much in the other life. Let curiosity – which is the stimulus of the reflective mind – lead you on gently to the passage that will procure for you the satisfaction of all your desires for knowledge, past, present, and future! Meanwhile, let me say by way of replying, as well as I can, to the question you have just addressed to me, that the air by which you are surrounded, impalpable as we are, takes the impress of your thought; every breath you exhale is, so to say, a page on which your thought is written; and all those pages are read, and commented upon, by the spirits who are incessantly about you, messengers of a divine telegraphy which nothing escapes.



THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS

After the first evocation of the spirit of Mr. Sanson, at a séance of the Spiritist Society of Paris, another spirit made, spontaneously, under the above heading, the following communication:

“The death of the worthy and intelligent man, with whose spirit you have been conversing, was ‘the death of the righteous;’ that is to say, accompanied with calmness and hope. As daylight follows the dawn, so the spirit-life in his case succeeded to the earthly life; and his last sigh was exhaled in a hymn of thankfulness and love. How few accomplish, in this fashion, the rough passage to the spirit- world! How few, after the intoxications and the despondencies of life, can thus perceive the harmonious rhythm of the higher spheres! As one who, having been mutilated by a shot, still suffers, after his cure, in the limb he has lost; so the soul of the man who dies without faith and without hope issues, torn and palpitating, from his body, and falls, unconscious, into the abyss of space.

Pray for these souls in trouble; pray for all who suffer. The action of charity is not restricted to those who are visible to the fleshly eye; it aids and consoles those, who also inhabit space. You had a touching proof of this truth in the sudden conversion of the spirit who was so deeply affected by the spiritist prayers offered up at the grave of this excellent man, whom you do well to question, and who desires to aid your advancement.” *

_____________________________________
* Vide “The Spiritist Review,” May 1862, pp. 132 & 133.




MR. JOBARD

Director of the Industrial Museum of Brussels; born in Baissey (Haute Marne), he died, in the city of Brussels, of apoplexy, October 27th, 1861, at the age of sixty-nine.

I

Mr. Jobard was one of the Honorary Presidents of the Spiritist Society of Paris. It had been intended to evoke him at the séance of November 8th, when he forestalled this intention by making, spontaneously, the following communication:

“I am here, I whom you were going to evoke, and who desire, first of all, to communicate through this medium, whom I have been trying in vain to induce to write for me until now.

“I wish to tell you of my impression at the moment of the separation of my soul from my body. I felt an indescribable shaking of my whole being; my entire life, my birth, youth, and manhood, came back all at once to my memory, which showed me every incident of my career with wonderful clearness. I was conscious of no other desire than that of finding myself again in the regions revealed to us by our beloved belief; and then all this tumult died away. I was free, and my body was lying lifeless beside me. Ah! Dear friends, what an intoxicating happiness it is, this stripping away of the burden of the earthly body! What an unspeakable joy to take in the view of the glorious immensity around us! But you must not fancy that I found myself all at once at the summit of felicity; no, I am among those who, though they have learned something, have yet a great deal more to learn. I was not long in remembering you, my brothers in exile; my sympathies, my good wishes, are with you!

“Do you care to know who the spirits were that received me on my return to the other life, and what were my first impressions on crossing its threshold? Those friends included all whom we have evoked, all our spirit-brothers who have shared our labors. What I saw was a splendor that cannot be described. I have set myself to discerning what is true in the communications that have been received by us, and I am ready to correct any erroneous statements; ready, in fact, to be the knight-errant of truth in the other world, as I was, when in your world.” JOBARD

1. During your lifetime, you requested us to call you when you should have quitted the Earth; we therefore do so, not only in order to comply with your wish, but also, and especially, to renew to you the expression of our sincere and lively affection, and in the hope of learning from you; for you, more than any other, will be able to give us precise information respecting the world in which you now are. We shall therefore be very glad if you will have the kindness to reply to our questions.

A. What has now to be done is to assist you in acquiring a knowledge of the spirit-life. As for your sympathy, I see it; I no longer merely receive the expression of it through the ears, which is a great step in advancement.

2. To fix our ideas, so as not to talk vaguely, we begin by asking you in what part of the room you are, and how you would appear to us, if we could see you?

A. I am close to the medium; you would see me under the appearance of the Jobard who has so often been seated at this table, for your mortal eyes, not yet unsealed, can see spirits only under their mortal form.

3. Would it be possible for you to render yourself visible to us, and, if not, what is the obstacle that prevents your doing so?

A. Your own personal condition. A seeing medium would see me; no others could see me.

4. The seat you occupy is that which you used to occupy when you were with us, during your life, and which we had kept for you this evening. Those who have seen you there, then, may imagine you to be with us, just as you were on those occasions. If you are not there with your material body, you are there with your fluidic body, which has the same form; if we do not see you with our bodily eyes, we see you with the eyes of our thought; if we can no longer hold communion with you by word of mouth, we can do so by writing, with the aid of an intermediary; our connection with you is therefore in no way interrupted by your death, and we can converse with you as easily and as completely as before. Is this a true description of the state of the case?

A. Yes; you have known all this for a long time. As for this seat, I shall often occupy it, even when you do not notice it, for my spirit will reside among you.

We invite attention to these last words: “My spirit will reside among you.”

In the present case the statement is not figurative, but expresses a reality. Through the knowledge that is given us by Spiritism of the nature of spirits, we know that a spirit may be among us, not merely in thought, but also in person, with the aid of his or her ethereal body, which makes the spirit a distinct personality. A spirit, then, may reside among us after death, as certainly as during the life of its body; and, what is more, a spirit can come and go when it pleases. We thus have around us, in our houses, a crowd of invisible inmates, some of whom regard us with indifference, while others are attached to us by affection. It is of these latter, especially, that it may be said, “They reside among us;” a statement that is to be understood as meaning, “They habitually assist, inspire, and protect us.”

5. It is not very long since you were seated in the place you are occupying at present; do the conditions in which you now find yourself seem to you to be changed? What effect does this change produce in you?

A. The conditions do not seem to me changed; but my spirit enjoys a clearness and distinctness of perception that leaves no shadow about the questions to which I direct my thought.

6. Can you remember whether you had been in the same state before your last existence and do you find yourself changed since then?

A. I remember my anterior existences, and I perceive that I have improved. I see, and I assimilate what I see. After my former incarnations, my spirit was in a state of confusion, and I perceived nothing but my terrestrial gaps.

7. Do you remember your last incarnation but one, that which preceded your existence as Mr. Jobard?

A. In my last existence but one I was a working mechanic, devoured by poverty and by the desire to perfect my work. I have realized, in my life as Jobard, the dreams of the poverty-stricken workman, and I praise God, whose infinite goodness has caused the plant, of which He had sown the seed in my brain, to grow and fructify.

8. Have you already given any communications elsewhere?

A. I have, as of yet, given very few communications. In many places, another spirit has taken my name. In some cases I was near this spirit, but was not able to communicate; my death is so recent that I am still affected by certain terrestrial influences. I can only express my thoughts where I find perfect sympathy. Before long, I shall be able to act with entire freedom; but I cannot do so yet. When a man who dies is widely known, he is evoked on all sides; a thousand spirits are prompt to assume his name; this has already happened to me in several instances. I assure you that few spirits are able to communicate directly after their deliverance, even with the aid of their favorite medium.

9. Do you see the spirits who are with us this evening?

A. I see, close to you, Lazarus and Erastus; a little farther off, hovering in space, the Spirit of Truth; besides these spirits of greater advancement, I see a crowd of spirit-friends who surround the assembly, taking an active and benevolent part in the proceedings. You may esteem yourselves happy, dear Friends, for good influences are about you, warding off the suggestions that would lead you into error.

10. During your life, you shared the opinion of those who suppose the Earth to have been formed by the agglomeration of four planets. Do you still hold this opinion?

A. That opinion is erroneous. The recent discoveries of geology prove the convulsions that have occurred in the history of the Earth and the successive eras of its formation. The Earth, like the other planets, has had its own life; and God had no need of so disorderly a cataclysm as is implied in such an aggregation of planets. Water and fire are the only organic elements of the Earth.

11. You also believed that men might remain for an unlimited period in a state of catalepsy, and that the human race has been brought, in this state, to the Earth. Is this still your opinion?

A. All that was a mere illusion of my imagination, always apt to go too far. The state of catalepsy may last for a long time, but not indefinitely. My idea was derived from the exaggerations of Eastern legends. Believe me, I have already suffered not a little in recalling the illusions to which I was too prompt to attach credence; do not lose sight of this fact. I had already acquired considerable knowledge; and my intelligence being prompt (I may say so without vanity,) to apply the wide and varied researches of my anterior career, I had retained, from my preceding incarnation, the love of the marvelous and the complex acquired in my study of the figments of the popular fancy.

I have not, as of yet, given so much attention to purely intellectual subjects, such as those in which you are interested. How could I do so, dazzled, carried away, as I am, by the wondrous spectacle that I see around me? The tie of our common spiritist belief, a tie far more powerful than you, human beings, can imagine, is the only thing that could attract me to this Earth that I abandon – not with joy, for that would be irreverent towards the Creator – but with a profound thankfulness for my deliverance.

A subscription having been set on foot, by the Spiritist Society, in February 1862, for the distressed operatives of Lyons, one of the members subscribed 25 francs in his own name, and 25 francs in the name of Mr. Jobard, who dictated, in reference to this incident, the following message:

I am pleased and grateful to find that my spiritist brethren do not forget me. Thanks to the generous heart that has conveyed to you the offering that I should have made, if I had still been a dweller in your world! In the one that I now inhabit, we have no need of money; it was therefore necessary for me to draw upon a friendly purse in order to give you a tangible proof of my sympathy for the misfortune of my brothers in Lyons. Brave workmen! You see that charity is not an empty word, since rich and poor have shown their fraternal sympathy in your distress! You are thus upon the broad, humanitarian road of progress; may God preserve you therein, and may more fortunate times be in store for you; our spirit-friends will sustain you and aid you to triumph over the difficulties of your lot!

I am beginning to live more peacefully, less disturbed by the evocations from every quarter that pursued me, for a time, thick as hail. Spirits are not exempted, it seems, from the tyranny of fashion; when the fashion of evoking Jobard shall have been supplanted by some other; I shall pass into the region of human forgetfulness; and I beg that, when this is the case, my sincere and serious friends will continue to evoke me, that we may resume our study of questions which have hitherto been treated of too superficially, and that thus your friend Jobard, completely transfigured, may be enabled to be of use to you, as he desires to be, from the very bottom of his heart.

JOBARD Having given a sufficient time to communicating with his earthly friends, Mr. Jobard joined the ranks of the spirits who are most actively pushing forward the social renovation of the Earth, while awaiting his approaching reincarnation in this world, when he will take a still more direct part in the work of its reformation. Since that time, he has frequently given to the Paris Society – among whose members he insists upon being still enrolled – communications of superior import, whose seriousness of purpose has not excluded the originality of style, and the witty sallies, by which his writings were characterized during his life, and which reveal the authorship of his messages before he has signed them.


SAMUEL PHILIPPE

Samuel Philippe was an upright man, in the fullest acceptation of the term. He was never known to do a wicked thing or to have willingly injured any human being. His devotion to his friends was unbounded; whoever needed his aid was sure to obtain it, even though at a loss to himself. Trouble, fatigue, sacrifices of all kinds, he willingly underwent for the sake of being useful to others; and he did this naturally, without ostentation, and was astonished that anyone should give him credit for so doing. So far from showing resentment against those who wronged him, he was just as ready to oblige them as though they had only done him good. When people repaid his kindness with ingratitude, he would say, “It is not I who am to be pitied, but they.” Though extremely intelligent and gifted with much natural talent, his life was laborious and full of heavy trials. His was one of those rare natures that flower in the shade, of whom the world takes no note, and the splendor of whose goodness is not recognized by human eyes. He had derived, from his knowledge of Spiritism, an ardent faith in the future life and great resignation in hearing the ills of the present one. He died in December 1862, at the age of fifty, after a long and painful illness, sincerely regretted by his family and friends. Evoked several months after his death, he responded to our call in the following conversation:

Q. Have you a clear remembrance of your last instants upon the Earth?

A. Perfectly so, this remembrance came back to me little by little, for, at the moment of my departure, my ideas were confused.

Q. Will you kindly tell us, both for our instruction and for the interest we feel in your exemplary life, how the passage from the earthly life to the spirit-life happened in your case, and the situation in which you now find yourself?

A. Willingly; this narrative will be useful, not to you only, but also to me. By turning my thoughts back to the Earth, the comparison will cause me to appreciate more correctly the goodness of the Creator.

You know how full of sorrows was my life; – thank God my courage never failed me under adversity, and now I rejoice to have borne my troubles courageously. How much I should have missed had I yielded to discouragement! I shudder to think that, through giving way to weakness, I might have lost the benefit of all that I had endured, and have had to begin the lesson over again. Oh Friends! May you be thoroughly persuaded of this truth; upon it depends your future happiness. No, it is not too much to pay for this happiness with a few years of sufferings. If you could but feel how small a matter are a few short years in comparison with eternity!

If the last of my existences appears to you to have been in some degree meritorious, you would not have said as much of those that preceded it. It is only through continuous struggles with my evil tendencies that I have made myself what I now am. To efface the last traces of my former faults, it was necessary for me to undergo these last trials, which I had voluntarily accepted. The firmness of my resolution gave me the strength to bear them without murmuring. I now bless those trials; through them I have broken with the past, which is now, for me, only a remembrance; and I can contemplate, with legitimate satisfaction, the headway I have already made.

Oh! You who made me suffer when I was upon the Earth, who were harsh and unkind to me, who humiliated me and filled my cup with bitterness, whose treachery often reduced me to the hardest privations, I not only forgive you, I thank you, for all you did! You little thought that, intending to do me harm, you were really doing me so much good! It is to you that I owe, in great measure, the happiness I enjoy; for you gave me the opportunity of forgiving and of returning good for evil. The Divine Providence placed you upon my road in order to try my patience and to exercise me in the practice of the most difficult branch of charity – the love of our enemies.

Do not be impatient at this digression; I now come to the questions you have addressed to me.

Although I had suffered horribly during my last illness, I underwent no death-struggle; death came upon me like a sleep, without effort, without any shock. Having no fear of the future, I did not seek to retain my hold upon life, and I had, consequently, no need to struggle against the action of desegregation. The separation took place without effort, without pain, and even without my knowledge.

I am not aware how long this sort of sleep lasted, but it was only for a short time. My waking was a calm that offered a delightful contrast to my previous state; I had no longer felt any pain, and I rejoiced in this deliverance; I wished to get up, and to walk about; but a torpor, that was not at all disagreeable – that was, on the contrary, rather pleasant – held me motionless, and I gave myself up to it with a sort of enjoyment, without trying to understand my situation, however, without doubting that I had left the Earth; everything about me seemed to me like a dream. I saw my wife and several friends on their knees in the room, and weeping; and I said to myself that they, no doubt, thought I was dead. I wished to tell them they were mistaken, but I could not articulate a single word, from which I concluded that I really must have been dreaming. And I was still further confirmed in this idea because I saw myself surrounded by various persons whom I loved, but who had long been dead, and also by others whom I did not recognize at first, and who seemed to be watching over me, and awaiting my awakening.

This state was made up of alterations of lucidity and of somnolence, in which I alternately recovered, and lost, the consciousness of my individual self. Gradually, my ideas acquired more distinctness; the light that I had seemed to see, as it were, through a fog, became brighter; I began to recover my consciousness, and I presently comprehended that I no longer belonged to the terrestrial world. If I had not had knowledge of Spiritism, my illusion would, doubtless, have lasted much longer.

My mortal envelope was not yet buried; I looked upon it with a sort of pitying contempt, congratulating myself on being rid of it. I was so glad to be free! I breathed at ease, like one who has escaped from a foul and stinking atmosphere; an indescribable feeling of happiness pervaded my whole being; the presence of those I had formerly loved filled me with joy; I was not in the least surprised to see them, it appeared to me perfectly natural to do so, but I seemed to have found them again, after a long journey. One thing surprised me much, at first, viz., that we understood one another without pronouncing a word; our thoughts were transmitted in a single glance, and as though by a sort of fluidic interpenetration.

Nevertheless, I was not yet entirely disenfranchised from terrestrial ideas; the remembrance of all that I had suffered came back, from time to time, to my mind, as though to make me more fully appreciate the happiness of my new position. I had suffered much corporeally; but I had suffered still more morally: I had been the object of malevolence, a prey to the thousand perplexities that sometimes cause more annoyance than do more serious misfortunes, because they keep us in a constant state of anxiety. The impression left by those worries was so far from having entirely disappeared, that I sometimes asked myself if I were really freed from them; it seemed to me, at times, that I still heard certain disagreeable voices; I feared a return of the troubles by which I was formerly so often tormented, and, in spite of myself, I trembled: I touched myself, so to say, to make sure that I was not dreaming; and when, at length, I acquired the certainty that I was really delivered from the troubles of the earthly life, I seemed to have thrown off an enormous load. “It is, then, really true,” I exclaimed, “that I am at last delivered from the cares that are the torment of human life!” and I thanked God for this deliverance with the deepest gratitude. I felt like a poverty-stricken mortal who, having suddenly inherited an immense fortune, cannot, at first, realize the change in his position, and continues, for a while, to dread the torments of want. Ah! If human beings could but understand the nature of the future life, what strength, what courage they would derive in adversity, from their conviction of its reality! What would they not do, while they are upon Earth, to secure for themselves the happiness that God has prepared for those of God’s children who have been obedient to God’s laws! They would see how worthless are the earthly enjoyments by which they are tempted, in comparison with the enjoyments of the life to come, of which they think so little!

Q. Has the spirit-world, – which seems so new to you, and in comparison with which our world seems to you of so little importance – and the numerous friends you have found there, caused you to lose sight of the family and friends you have left behind you upon the Earth?

A. If I could forget them, I should be unworthy of the happiness I am enjoying. God does not reward selfishness, but punishes it. The world in which I now find myself may make me indifferent to the Earth, but not to the spirits who are incarnated upon it. It is only among humankind that the prosperous forget their companions in misfortune. I often come back to visit those with whom I was connected in my earthly life; I rejoice in their affectionate remembrance of me; their thinking of me attracts me to them; I join them when they confer together; I share their joys and am saddened by their sorrows, but my sympathy for them is not the anxious distress of human sadness, because I see that their troubles are only temporary and for their own good. I rejoice in the thought that they will all arrive, sooner or later, in this happy abode, in which suffering is unknown. I apply myself, especially, to aiding them to become worthy of this abode; I endeavor, by every means in my power, to suggest good thoughts to their minds, and, above all, to fortify them in their resignation to the Divine will. My greatest grief is to see them retarding their own happiness by their want of courage, by murmuring, by doubts concerning the future, or by any reprehensible action. I try to turn them aside from the evil road; if I succeed, it is a great pleasure to me and to all our friends here; if I fail, I say to myself with regret: – “This is a new delay for them!” but I console myself with remembering that it is not forever, and that they will all reach the goal in time.


MR. VAN DURST

Formerly employed in a Government office; died at Antwerp, in 1863, at eighty years of age.

A medium having inquired of his spirit-guide, a short time after this gentlemen’s decease, whether he could be evoked, received the following reply:

“This spirit is passing very slowly out of the state of confusion; it would be possible for him to answer your call, but it would be difficult and fatiguing for him to do so. You had better wait four days longer, when he will be ready to reply to you. Between this and that, he will have become aware of the kindly interest you have expressed for him, and he will come to you gratefully, and as a friend.”

Four days afterwards, the spirit in question dictated this communication:
Dear Friend, my earthly life was of slight importance, weighed in the scales of eternity; nevertheless, I am far from being unhappy. I am in the modest, but comparatively happy, position of one who, in the earthly life, did little wrong, and yet did not sufficiently aim at perfection. If people can be happy in a narrow sphere, I am of that number. I regret only one thing, which is, that I did not know what you know; my state of confusion would have been shorter and less painful. As it was, it caused me great suffering. Think what it must be to live, and yet not to live; to see your fleshly body, to be strongly bound to it, and yet to be unable to make use of it; to see those you love, and to feel that the mental action which unites you to them is becoming extinct – oh, what a terrible moment! How terrible to feel yourself stunned by an indefinable sensation that seizes and strangles you and, an instant afterwards, darkness! To be alive, and, the next moment, to feel yourself annihilated! You strive to regain the consciousness of your individual self, and you cannot grasp it; you no longer exist, and yet you feel that, nevertheless, you do exist, but in an abyss of confusion! And presently, after a lapse of time that you are unable to measure, a time of latent distress – for you no longer have the strength to feel it understandingly – after this lapse of time which seems to you interminable, to be slowly reborn into existence, to wake up in a new world! To no longer possess a material body, to no longer have part or lot in the earthly life; to feel that you are living the life of immortality! No longer to see about you men and women in heavy bodies of flesh, but to find yourself surrounded with the light and active forms of spirits, gliding beside you, and around you, in every direction, and in such numbers that your glance is unable to take them in; for they seem to fill the infinity of space in which they float! To see this infinity spread out before you, and to be able to transport yourself through it by the mere action of your will; to hold communion, by the mere action of your thought! Oh, friends, what a different life from that of the Earth! What a brilliant life! What a life of delight! Hail, hail to thee, Eternity that hast received me into thy bosom! Adieu, Earth that hast held me back so long from the native element of my soul! No, I want nothing more of thee, for thou art a land of exile, and thy greatest happiness is – nothing!
But if, before quitting the Earth, I had known what you know, how much easier and more

pleasant would have been my initiation into this other life! I should have known, before dying, what I had to learn afterwards, at the moment of separation; and my soul would have accomplished its disengagement much more easily. You are on the right road, but never, no, never upon the Earth, can you fully understand to what that road is leading you! Say this to my son; but say it to him so often that he may be brought to believe it, and to learn; let him do this, and, when he comes into the world in which I am, we shall not be separated.

Farewell, friends, farewell to you all; I await your arrival here, and, while you remain upon the Earth, I shall often come to your meetings for enlightenment; for I do not yet know as much as is known by many among you. But I shall learn rapidly in this world where I have no longer any ties to hold me back, and where old age no longer weakens my faculties. Here, we live, and advance, largely and rapidly; for horizons ahead of us are so magnificent that we are impatient to reach them! And now I leave you my friends. Farewell, farewell! VAN DURST.


SIXDENIERS


An excellent man, who was killed in an accident, and who had been known to the medium during his life – Bordeaux, February 11th, 1861

Q. Can you give me any details concerning your death?
A. After the drowning, yes.


Q. Why not before?
A. You know all those details already. (This was the case.)


Q. Have the kindness to describe to me what you felt after your death.
A. It was long before I recovered my consciousness; but, with the grace of God and the help of the friends about me, when at length the light became visible, I was inundated by it. Be hopeful! You are sure to find, on coming here, more than you had looked for! Nothing of matter; everything is perceived by senses that are hidden from you during the life of the flesh; what can neither be seen by the eye nor touched by the hand; do you understand what I mean? It is an admiration of the spirit- being that surpasses your power of understanding, for there are no words that can explain it; it is something that can only be felt by the soul.

My awakening was very happy. The life of the Earth is one of those dreams that, notwithstanding the grotesqueness that you attach to the word, I can only speak of as a nightmare. Suppose you dream that you are in a filthy dungeon; that your body – devoured by worms which gnaw into the very marrow of your bones – is suspended above a fiery furnace; that your mouth, parched with thirst, finds not even a breath of air for refreshment; that your spirit, horror-stricken, sees around you only monsters ready to devour you; figure to yourself, in short, all the most hideous, most horrible fancies that the most fantastic dream can bring together for your torment, and then imagine yourself transported, all at once, into an Eden of delight! Imagine yourself to awaken from your nightmare, and to find yourself surrounded by all those whom you have loved, whose loss you have lamented, and whose beloved faces you see about you, looking upon you with joyous smiles; that you inhale the most exquisite perfumes and cool your parched throat at a spring of living water; that you are borne upwards, into the infinity of space, as lightly as the flower that the breeze carries off from the tree; that you feel yourself to be enveloped in an Infinite Love as the baby is enveloped in the love of its mother; fancy all this, and you will still have formed to yourself only a dim and faint idea of the nature of this transition! I have tried, by these similarities, to explain to you the happiness of the life that awaits humankind after the death of the body; but it is something that cannot be explained. Can the infinity of the sky be explained to the blind cripple whose eyes are closed to the light, and whose limbs have never been able to overstep the circle of powerlessness in which they are imprisoned? To give you an idea of the happiness of eternity, I would say to you, “Love!” for only love can show you a fore glimpse of that happiness; and love implies absence of selfishness.

Q. Was your situation a happy one, at once, on your entrance into the spirit-world?

A. A. No, I had to pay the debt of my human life. Through my heart, I had divined the existence of a future life for the spirit, but I had no active faith in the future. I had therefore to expiate my indifference towards my Creator; but God’s mercy took account of the little good I had been able to do, the sorrows I had endured with resignation, notwithstanding the suffering they had caused me: and the Divine Justice, which holds the scales according to a rule that humankind cannot understand, weighed my merits with so much love and kindness, that my shortcomings were speedily effaced.

Q. Will you give me news of your daughter? (Deceased four or five years before her father)
A. She is fulfilling a mission upon your Earth.
Q. Is she happy in this reincarnation? I hope my question is not indiscreet?
A. I could not regard it as being such; do I not see your thought like a picture, before my eyes? No, her human life is not a happy one, but the opposite; she has to undergo all the troubles of your world, but she will illustrate, by her example, all the noble virtues about which men make so many fine phrases. I shall aid her; she will not have much difficulty in surmounting the obstacles in her path; her present life is not an expiation, but a mission. Be easy about her; and accept my thanks for your kind remembrance.

(At this moment, the medium found a difficulty in writing, and said: – “If it be a suffering spirit that is trying to take possession of my hand, I beg him to write his name.”)

A. One who is very unhappy.


Q. Be kind enough to tell me your name.
A. Valeria.


Q. Will you tell me what has brought your punishment upon you?
A. No.


Q. Do you repent of your wrongdoing?
A. You see that I do.


Q. Who brought you here?
A. Sixdeniers.


Q. For what purpose did he bring you here?
A. That you may help me?


Q. Was it you who hindered me from writing, just now?
A. He put me in his place.


Q. What connection is there between you?
A. He guides me.


Q. Ask him to join in the prayer we are going to offer up for you.
(After the prayer, Sixdeniers, taking possession of the medium’s hand, wrote: – Thanks for her;

you have understood what she needs; think of her.)

Q. (To Sixdeniers) Have you many suffering spirits to guide?

A. No, but, as soon as we have brought one back to the right road, we take in hand another; without, however, losing sight of those we formerly assisted.

Q. How can you suffice for exercising an oversight that must be multiplied to infinity in the course of time?

A. Those whom we bring back to virtue become purified and progress; they then give us less trouble; and besides, in raising them, we raise ourselves also, and, as we go up, our faculties progress, and our power radiates more widely in proportion to our purity.

Remark – Inferior spirits, then, are assisted by higher spirits, whose mission it is to help them to progress; this task is therefore not exclusively committed to incarnates, though they too should take part in it, because it is for them also a means of advancement. When a spirit of lower degree impedes a communication, as in the present case, it is not always from a good motive; but the higher spirits permit the interruption, either as a trial for the medium’s patience, or in order that he may labor for the amelioration of the interrupter. The persistence of the latter may sometimes, undoubtedly, degenerate into obsession; but the more tenacious the obsession, the greater, and the more evident, is the obsessor’s need of assistance. It is therefore a mistake to repel such a spirit; we ought, on the contrary, to regard this spirit as a mendicant who needs our charity. We should say to ourselves: – “Here is an unhappy spirit who has been sent to me by spirits of higher degree that I may carry on his or her education. If I succeed, I shall rejoice to have led back an erring soul to goodness, and to have shortened its sufferings. The task is often a painful one; it would, no doubt, be more agreeable to receive only high and beautiful communications, and to converse only with the spirits of our choice; but it is not by the exclusive seeking of our own satisfaction, and by turning away from the opportunities presented to us of doing good, that we shall merit the protection of spirits of high degree.


DR. DEMEURE

Died at Albi (Tarn) January 25th, 1865

Dr. Demeure was a distinguished homeopath physician of Albi. His moral excellence, as well as his great learning, had won for him the esteem and veneration of his fellow-townsmen. His kindness and charity were inexhaustible; and, notwithstanding his great age, he thought nothing of his fatigue when called upon to prescribe for the poor. His fees were the last thing he thought of; and he was even more ready to hasten to the bedside of the destitute than to those who were able to pay for his visits; “because the latter (he would often say), if he did not go to them, could always secure the aid of some other physician.” To the poor, he not only gave the requisite medicines gratuitously, but frequently left them money for their daily needs, a species of help that is often the most beneficial of medicines. His benevolence was such that he might be fairly called The Curate of Arts of the medical profession.

Dr. Demeure had embraced, with ardor, the theory of Spiritism, because it gave him the key to solving the grave problems for which he had vainly sought the solution in science and in the various systems of philosophy. His profound and investigating mind had shown him, at once, the vastness of its scope, and he had consequently become one of its earliest and most zealous proponents. Relations of lively and mutual sympathy were established between him and ourselves through the correspondence that we had kept up for several years.

We were informed of his death on the 30th of January, and our first thought was to converse with him. Here is the communication we received from him on that day:

“I am here. I had promised myself, while alive, that, as soon as I was dead, I would come, if possible, to shake hands with my beloved teacher and friend, Allan Kardec.

“Death plunged my soul into the heavy sleep that we call lethargy; but my thought kept watch. I shook off the injurious torpor which prolongs the confusion that follows death. I roused myself to wakefulness and, with a single bound, I accomplished the journey!

“How happy I am! I am no longer old nor infirm. My earthly body was only an imposed disguise. I am young and handsome, embellished by the eternal youth of the spirit, whose face is never furrowed by wrinkles, whose hair is never whitened by the lapse of time. I am as light as the bird that traverses, on rapid wing, your cloudy sky; and I admire, contemplate, bless, love and adore – I, who am but an atom before the grandeur, wisdom, and science of our Creator, and all the marvels by which I am surrounded.

“I am happy! I am in glory! Oh! What language could ever recount the splendid beauties of the Land of the Purified? The skies, the worlds, the suns, and the part played by them in the great convergence of universal harmony! Yet this will I try to do, O Friend and Teacher! I will make a study of this grand theme, and I will bring you the results of my spirit-labors, which I dedicate to you beforehand. I shall soon return.”

DEMEURE The two following communications, received on the 1st and the 2nd of February, relate to the illness from which we were suffering at the moment. Although personal to ourselves, we give them here, because they show that the spirit of the excellent physician is as actively helpful in his present

life as in his last one.
“My dear friend – Have confidence in us, and keep up your courage; this attack, though

fatiguing and painful; will not last long, and you will be able, if you adopt the precautions we have suggested, to complete the work which is the principal aim of your present existence. I am always at your side with the Spirit of Truth, who allows me to speak in his name, as the last of your former friends that has arrived in the world of the Spirits. They are doing the honors of the reception. Dear Teacher, how glad I am to have died in time to be with you in this emergency! If I had died a little sooner, I might, perhaps, have been able to ward off this attack, which I did not foresee, having been too recently disincarnated to be able to occupy myself with the things of your sphere. But now I shall always watch over you, and shall be with you constantly through this illness; but you know the proverb: “Heaven helps those who help themselves.” You must help your spirit-friends to be useful to you, by conforming strictly to their prescriptions.

It is too warm in this room; and your coal-fire oppresses you. While this attack lasts, do not burn coal; the gas with which the room is filled is very injurious, and adds to your difficulty in breathing. – Your friend,

Demeure”

“It is I, Demeure, the friend and disciple of Allan Kardec. I have come to tell that I was beside him when the accident occurred; its effects would have been far more serious, but for the efficacious intervention in which I was so happy to take part. From my own observations, as well as from the information I have obtained from higher spirits, I am quite aware that the sooner his discarnation takes place, the sooner will he be able to reincarnate himself, as he has to do, for the accomplishment of his task; nevertheless, he has still to finish the works which will complete the doctrinal initiation confided to him; and he will be guilty of voluntary homicide if he continues, by overwork, to increase the defectiveness of his organism, which threatens him with a sudden departure for the other world. There must be no hesitation in telling him the truth about himself, so that he may be on his guard and may follow our prescriptions to the very letter.”

DEMEURE

The following communication was obtained at Montauban, in January 26th, the day after his death by the Spiritist Society of that town.

Antoine Demeure

“I am not dead for you, dear Friends, but for those who, unlike you, are unacquainted with the admirable doctrine which reunites those who have loved one another upon the Earth, and who have shared the same sentiments of kindness and charity.

“I am happy; happier than I could have hoped to be; for I enjoy a degree of lucidity that is rare among spirits who have only been disengaged from matter for so short a time. I shall often be near you, and I shall not fail to give you information in regard to many things of which we are unaware while we are attached to the paltry material body that shuts us out from so much magnificence and so many enjoyments. Pray for those who are deprived of the happiness of obtaining this knowledge. They little know how much they lose by their indifference to the light.

“I shall not remain long with you today; but I simply must tell you that I do not feel myself to be, in any way, a stranger in the world that is invisible to you. It seems to me that I have always inhabited it. I am very happy here; for I see my friends on the Earth and can communicate with them whenever I wish to do so.

“Do not weep for me, my Friends; you would make me regret that I have known you! Let time do its work and you will be led on to this sojourn where we shall be reunited by and by. Good night, dear Friends; be consoled for my departure, for I am still near you.”

DEMEURE.

Another letter from Montauban contained the following narrative: –

“We had kept the knowledge of Dr. Demeure’s death from Madame G. (a seeing medium and very lucid somnambulist), in order not to excite her extreme sensitiveness; and the worthy doctor, no doubt appreciating our intentions, had avoided showing himself to her. On the 10th February last, we had assembled at the invitation of our guides, who, they told us, wished to relieve Madame G. of a sprained ankle, from which she had been suffering excruciatingly since the preceding day. This was all we knew of the matter, and we were far indeed from anticipating the surprise they had in store for us. Madame G. had no sooner passed into the state of somnambulism than she began to scream violently, pointing, meantime, to her foot.

Madame G., as we later learned, perceived a spirit bending over her leg. His face was hidden from her view, as he energetically worked over her injured limb, appearing to rub and to massage it, utilizing a longitudinal drawing or pulling motion, exactly as would have been done by a physician in the flesh. The treatment was so painful that the patient uttered a succession of shrieks, writhing in her chair, in great agony. But the crisis was of short duration; in the course of ten minutes, every trace of the sprain had disappeared; the swelling of the ankle had subsided, and the foot had regained its normal appearance; Madame G. was perfectly cured.

“The spirit, however, was still unrecognized by the medium, and persisted in not allowing her to see his face; he even seemed to be going away, when Madame G., who, a few minutes before, could not have taken a single step, sprang to the middle of the room, determined to shake hands with her spirit-doctor and to thank him for curing her. As she did so, the latter again turned his head aside, while leaving his hand in hers, when Madame G. uttered a loud cry, and fell, unconscious, on the floor. She had caught sight of her doctor’s face, and instantly fainted away. While she remained in this state of unconsciousness, she was carefully tended by a group of sympathetic spirits; and her lucidity having presently returned, she conversed aloud with them, shaking hands with them, and exchanging with them tokens of the most cordial friendship, especially with the spirit of the doctor, who responded warmly to her expressions of affection, and restored her to her ordinary calmness by surrounding her with an atmosphere of health-giving fluids.

“Is not this little scene at once most natural and most dramatic, and do not the various actors who took part in it seem as though they were enacting an incident of the earthly life? Is it not a fresh proof, added to the thousand proofs of the fact which we possess already, that the spirits who people space are beings as real as we are, possessing bodies, and acting as they did when upon the Earth? We were delighted to find ourselves again with our valued friend, and to know that he retained, in his spirit-state, his excellent heart and his delicate solicitude. He had been, in life, the physician of the medium; he knew how extremely sensitive she was, and he endeavored to spare her feelings as carefully as though she had been his own child. And is not this proof of identity, given by the spirit to persons whom he loved when alive, a striking confirmation of the truth of the spiritist theory, and well calculated to lead us to regard the future under a most consoling aspect?”

Remark – The situation of Dr. Demeure, as a spirit, is precisely what his earthly life, so nobly and so usefully employed, might have led us to expect; but another indication, no less instructive, is furnished by the incident just narrated, viz., the activity which he employs, almost immediately after his death, in doing good. In virtue of his great intelligence and his eminent moral qualities, he belongs to a very advanced class of spirits; he is happy, but his happiness is not inaction. A few days before, he was attending to the sick, as a human physician; and, no sooner had he thrown off the coil of mortality, than he hastened to attend them as a spirit. “What advantage, then, shall we find in the other world,” some people will ask, “if we are to have no rest when we get there?” To this question we reply by asking the questioners whether they count it nothing to be delivered from the cares, needs, and infirmities of human life, to be free of its limitations, and to be able to travel through space, without fatigue and with the rapidity of thought, and to have the power of visiting one’s friends, instantaneously, at any time, no matter where they may be? And, having asked this, we add: – When you are in the other world, you will not be obliged to do anything whatever; you will be perfectly free to remain idle as long as it may please you to do so: but you will soon grow weary of so selfish a repose, and you will beg, of your own accord, for something to do. You will then be told that, if you are tired of doing nothing, you must look about you, and choose, for yourselves, what you would like to do; opportunities for being useful are not lacking, in the world of spirits, any more than in the world of human beings. Thus the activity of spirits is not a result of constraint; on the contrary, activity is, for them, a need and a satisfaction, because their avocations are chosen by themselves, according to their tastes and their aptitudes, and also, and especially, with a view to hastening their advancement.


MADAME FOULON, BORN WOLLIS

Madame Foulon, who died at Antibes, February 3rd, 1865, had formerly resided for many years at Havre, where she enjoyed considerable reputation as a miniature painter. Her very remarkable proficiency had been, in her youth, merely a source of personal gratification; but, at a later period, a series of misfortunes compelled her to seek, in the exercise of her talent, for the means of support. What, especially, won for her the affection and respect of all who knew her and has rendered her memory dear to them, was the greatness of her character, and the admirable qualities which gave, to her private life, a charm that only those who knew her intimately could fully appreciate; for, as is the case with all those in whom it is innate, she made no display of her goodness, of which she seemed to be altogether unconscious. If ever any human being were absolutely without selfishness, it was she; no one ever carried further the sentiment of abnegation; she was always ready to sacrifice her ease, her health, her interests, for those to whom it was in her power to be useful. Her life, from her youth onwards, was one long succession of acts of devotedness, as it was, also, a long sequence of hard and severe trials, under which her resignation and perseverance never failed her. But, alas! Her eyesight, worn out by the long exercise of her art, had been growing weaker from day to day; it was but too evident that soon the blindness which had been gradually coming on for many years would have been complete.

When Madame Foulon first became acquainted with Spiritism, it was for her a ray of light; it seemed to her as though a veil had been withdrawn from something which had not been unknown to her, but of which she had harbored only a vague intuition; she accordingly studied its doctrine with ardor, but, at the same time, with the clearness of mind and the correctness of judgment which were natural to her lofty intelligence. Only those who knew the anxieties of her life – anxieties which were always prompted, not by her own position, but by that of those who were dear to her – can understand the value she attached to the sublime revelation which gave her the consolation of an immovable faith in the future, based on its explanation of the sorrows of the present life, and its demonstration of the insignificance of terrestrial things. Her death was worthy of her life. She watched its approach without apprehension; it was, for her, a deliverance from terrestrial bondage, an introduction to the happier life with which she had already identified herself by the study of Spiritism. She died calmly, because she was conscious of having accomplished the mission which she had accepted on coming back to the Earth, having scrupulously fulfilled all the duties of a wife and mother, and also because she had, during her whole life, abjured all feeling of resentment against those who had wronged her and repaid her kindness with ingratitude, and to whom she had always returned good for evil. She passed out of this sphere of being with no other feeling than that of forgiveness towards all those of whom she might justly have complained, trusting that the pardon she so freely accorded to others would be accorded to her by the Judge before whom she was about to appear. She died, in short, with the serenity imparted by a clear conscience and the certainty that she would, in the spirit-world, be less separated from her children than in the life of the flesh, since she could, thenceforward, be with them, as a spirit, at whatever point of the Earth’s surface they might be, to aid them with her counsels and to shield them with her protection.

Having received the news of her death, our first thought was to enter into communication with her. The intimate and sympathetic friendship that had grown up between us, based on her devotion to the spiritist philosophy, explains the freedom and familiarity of her messages.

I

Paris, February 6th, 1865; three days after her death

I was sure that you would have the idea of evoking me at once, after my deliverance, and I held myself ready to reply to you, for I felt no confusion during the separation; it is only those who dread death that find themselves in its darkness.

How happy I am! These poor eyes, that had grown so weak, and that showed me only the remembrance of the prisms that had colored my youth with their resplendent hues, have re-opened to the light amidst the splendid horizons that are faintly represented by a few of your greatest artists, but of which the majestic reality is pervaded by a subtle charm that no earthly pencil could render!

It is but three days since I died, and I still feel as an artist; my aspirations, after the ideal of beauty in art, were the intuition of faculties that I had acquired, and studies that I had carried on, in anterior existences, and that I developed still further in my last. But what progress I should have to make, in order to portray the magnificent spectacle that greets the spirit on arriving in this realm of light! Give me a palette, give me brushes, and I would prove to the world that spiritist art is the crown of pagan art, of Christian art now in its decline; and that it is reserved for Spiritism alone to re-kindle the glory of art in your world.

But enough of the artist, – now, for the friend:

“Why, my dear Madame Kardec, should you be so much affected by my death? You, especially, who knew how full of pain and disappointment was my life, should rather rejoice to see that I have no longer to drink from the bitter cup of terrestrial sorrows which I was compelled to drain to the very dregs! Believe me, the dead are happier than the living; to weep for them is to doubt the truth of Spiritism. You will see me again; be sure of that. I have gone first, because my task in your world was finished; and, when yours is done, you will come and take a rest near me, to begin a new task afterwards, for it is not in keeping with our nature to remain inactive. Each has his tendencies, and follows their lead, a law that proves the power of our freewill. Therefore, my dear, cultivate indulgence and charity; we all need them, in the visible world and in the invisible world; with this motto for our guide, all goes on well.

You will not tell me to stop, though I am talking on a long while for a first attempt! So I leave you, to converse with my excellent friend, Mr. Kardec, whom I have to thank for the affectionate words he has addressed to the friend who has gone before him to the world to which we came very near going together! (alluding to the illness spoken of by Dr. Demeure). What would she have said to that – the beloved companion of your life – if your good spirit-friends had not taken you in hand? It is then that she would have wept and groaned; and I can quite understand the grief in which it would have plunged her! But she must see to it that you do not again expose yourself to the danger of returning too quickly among us, and of leaving unfinished the work of initiating the spiritist movement; without that caution, you run the risk of arriving here among us, much too soon, and will not be able to see, as did Moses, the “Promised Land”, except from afar. Therefore, be on your guard; it is a friend who utters this word of warning.

And now I leave you; I must return to my children; after that, I shall go and look after my wandering sheep, to see if she has reached the port safely, or if she is still the sport of the tempest (one of her daughters, who had gone to America.) May the good spirits protect her! I shall join them. Soon, I shall come back to have a chat with you; you know I was always an indefatigable talker! V. FOULON.


II

(February 8th, 1865)


Q. Dear Madame Foulon, I was most happy to get the communication from you, the other day, and to receive your promise to come and talk with us again. I perfectly recognized you in your message; for you alluded to matters that were quite unknown to the medium, and which could only have been spoken of by you; and your affectionate language, to us, is the true utterance of your good and loving nature. But there is, in what you said, a degree of certainty, firmness, and boldness that I never knew you to display while you were in this world. You may remember that, in regard to this point, I more than once ventured to admonish you.

A. That is true; but, from the time I found myself seriously ill, I regained my strength of mind, which had been shaken by the sorrows and troubles that had rendered me timid. I said to myself: – “You are a spiritist; forget the Earth; prepare for the transformation of your being; fix your eyes, in thought, on the shining path that your spirit will follow on quitting your body, and which will lead you, happy and released from earthly sorrows, to the celestial spheres in which you will thenceforth dwell.”

You will perhaps tell me that it was somewhat presumptuous, on my part, to count on attaining to perfect happiness on leaving the Earth; but I had suffered so much that it seemed to me I must have expiated the faults of that life and of all my previous lives. This intuition did not deceive me. It gave me back my courage and rendered me calm and firm in my last moments; and this firmness has naturally increased, since I have seen my hopes fulfilled.

Q. Can you please describe to us your passage, your awakening, and the first impression caused by the sight of the world in which you are?

A. I suffered much in passing away, but my spirit was superior to the physical suffering caused by the effort of disengagement. I found myself, after the last sigh, in a state similar to a fainting fit, having no consciousness of my position, thinking of nothing, and plunged in a vague somnolence that was neither the sleep of the body nor the waking of the soul. I remained for a considerable time in this state; then, as though coming out of a long sleep, I awakened in the midst of a company of friends whom I did not know, but who were surrounding me with affectionate attentions and caresses, and who pointed to a shining speck, far off in space, that looked like a brilliant star, and said to me, “That is where you are going to, with us; you have ceased to belong to the Earth!” As they spoke, my memory came back to me; supported by them, I accompanied the graceful group of friends in their flight towards the unknown region to which they had directed my glance; and we continued to rise up, a conviction of coming happiness filling my whole being, and the beautiful star growing larger and larger as we approached it. It was a high and happy world, in which your old friend will, at last, enjoy repose; The repose of which I speak is rest from the bodily fatigues and wearing vicissitudes that for so long I had to endure in the earthly life, but this rest is not indolence, for activity is a source of enjoyment for spirits.

Q. Have you definitively quitted the Earth?

A. I have left upon the Earth too many of those I love to be able to quit it definitively at present; I shall come back to it as a spirit, for I have a mission to fulfill to my grandchildren. You know already that there is nothing to prevent a spirit, who is staying in a higher world than the Earth, from coming to visit those who are incarnated in it.

Q. But will not your present elevation weaken the tie between you and those you have left down here?

A. No; affection keeps souls together. Believe me, it is far more possible for those who are upon the Earth to be in close proximity to the spirits of those who have reached a very high degree of advancement, than it is to be near those whose inferiority and selfishness keep them circling round the terrestrial globe. Love and charity are two motors of immense attractive force. They are the links that maintain union between souls who are attached to each other, notwithstanding distances of place and time. Distance only exists for bodies; there is no distance for spirits.

Q. What is now your opinion concerning my efforts to establish and develop Spiritism?

A. I see that your mission is one of the most serious importance and that your burden is a heavy one; but I see the end for which you are working, and I see also that you will attain it. I will help you, if I can, with my counsels, that you may overcome the difficulties that will be thrown in your way, and that you may be led to adopt certain measures calculated to quicken, during your lifetime, the renovating movement that is the aim of Spiritism. Your friend Demeure, along with the Spirit of Truth, will provide you with a greater helping hand, as he is more wise and clear headed than I; but, as I know that it is the assistance of the good Spirits which sustains you in your work, you may be sure that what help I can give you will always be at your service.

Q. It would seem, from what you say that you will not take any active personal share in the establishment of Spiritism?

A. You are mistaken; but I see so many spirits who are better able than I am to treat of this immense subject, that a feeling of timidity prevents my replying to you, at this time, as you would wish. By and by I may feel more confidence in my power to help; but I must first have time to look about me. It is only four days since I died; I am still dazzled by the splendor of everything around me; can you not understand that dear Friend? I am unable to describe the new sensations that I experience. I have had to do violence to myself in order to tear my mind away from the fascination exercised upon it by the marvels it admires. I can only bless and adore the Almighty, whose works fill me with awe. But this state of excitement will pass; my spirit-friends assure me that I shall soon become accustomed to all this magnificence, and that I shall then be able, with clearness of thought, to treat of all that relates to the renovation of the Earth. And, besides, you must remember that I have, still, a whole family to visit and to console.

Farewell for the present; I shall soon come to you again; for your friend loves and will always love you, as the teacher to whom she owes the only true and lasting consolation she enjoyed upon the Earth. V. FOULON


III

The following communication was received from her, for her children, on February 9th: –

My beloved children, God has called me away from you; but the reward God has deigned to grant me is great indeed, in comparison with the little I was able to do when upon the Earth. Be resigned, my dear children, to the will of the Highest, and from all that God has permitted you to receive, draw strength to support the trials of life. Keep firm, in your hearts, the belief that so greatly facilitated my passage from the earthly life to the life that awaits us all on our exit from your lower sphere. God extended to me, upon my death, the same inexhaustible kindness that was given while I was still on Earth. Be grateful for all the benefits that were conceded to you. Bless God my children. Bless God always and in every instant. Never lose sight of the aim that has been given you to see, nor of the road that you have to follow; make good use of the time that God grants to you upon the Earth. It is thus, my beloved ones that you will be happy; happy in each other, happy in your children, if you bring them up to follow the road upon which you have been permitted to enter.

Though you can no longer see me, be quite sure that the bond which united us in the earthly life is not severed by the death of the body, for it was not by the envelope of the soul that we were united, but by the soul itself; and it is through this union, my darlings, that I shall still, through the bounty of God, be able to guide you and to encourage you in your march to this other life, in which we shall all be reunited by and by.

Weep not, my children; let the communication between us, which we are permitted to maintain, strengthen your faith and your love of God, who has bestowed so many blessings upon you, who has so often sent help to your mother. Pray to God, bless God, love God; and conform your lives to the teachings that I followed with so much ardor.

I shall return to you, my dear ones; but I must now go to your poor sister, who is so much in need of my presence. Put your trust in the Almighty, to whom I pray for you. Prayer is the great fortifier. WIDOW FOULON

Remark – The enlightened spiritist will readily grasp, from these communications, the teachings they convey; we will therefore draw particular attention only to two points. The first of these is the proof furnished by this example that a spirit may finish its incarnation in this world and go hence to a higher one, without being thereby separated from the beings whom that spirit has loved down here. Those who dread reincarnation in this world, on account of the miseries of human life, may therefore escape from that necessity by doing, in their present life, all that they ought to do, that is to say, in working out their own improvement. Therefore, in this matter, as in all others; he or she who would rise from a lower grade to a higher one must study and work to that end, instead of idly vegetating in his inferior position.

The second point is the confirmation of the truth that, after death, we are less separated from those we love than we are during life. Madame Foulon, kept by age and infirmity in a little town in the south of France, had only a part of her family near her; most of her children and friends were dispersed in various directions, and various obstacles prevented her seeing them as often as she, and they, would have wished. The great distance that separated some of them from her rendered even epistolary correspondence between them rare and difficult. But scarcely was she freed from the encumbrance of the flesh than, light as the breeze, she hastened to each of them, traversing wide distances without fatigue and with the rapidity of electricity, to see them, to take part in their most intimate expressions of familial affection, surrounding them with her protection, and able, by means of the mediumistic faculty, to converse with them at any moment, as though she were still in the flesh. And to think that there are people who prefer, to such a consoling possibility, the idea of an indefinite period of separation!


A RUSSIAN PHYSICIAN

Dr. P. was a physician from Moscow, equally remarkable for his eminent virtues and for his knowledge. The person who evoked him had known him only by reputation, and had never had any direct communication with him. The following communication was made in Russian:

Q. (After the evocation) Are you there?

A. Yes. On the day of my death, I pursued you with my presence, but you resisted all my attempts to make you write. I had heard what you said about me, and this had made me acquainted with you, and had given me a wish to speak with you, and to be of use to you.

Q. Why was it that you, who were so good, had to undergo so much suffering during your life?

A. My suffering was a favor granted to me by Providence, in order that I might the more fully appreciate my deliverance, and also to make me advance as much as possible while on Earth.

Q. Did the thought of death cause you any terror?
A. No;I had too much faith in God for that.

Q. Was the separation painful?
A. No. What you call “the last moment” is nothing at all; I felt only a very short crack, and

then, very soon afterwards, I found myself, to my great joy, delivered from my miserable carcass.

Q. What happened then?

A. I saw, to my delight, a great number of friends who had come to meet and to welcome me; among them were many of those whom I had had the satisfaction of helping on Earth.

Q. What region do you inhabit? Is it on a planet?


A. Whatever is not a planet is what you call “space;” it is there that I am. But how many degrees are there in this immensity of which human beings can form no idea! How many rungs to this “Jacob’s ladder,” that reaches from the Earth to heaven, that is to say, from the debasement of incarnation on a low Earth like yours, to the complete purification of the soul! Where I am, we only arrive after many trials; in other words, after many incarnations.

Q. In that case, you must have had many existences?

A. How could it be otherwise? Nothing is exceptional in the immutable order established by God. The reward can only be given after the victory has been won through struggle; therefore, when the reward is great, the struggle must necessarily have been severe. The lives of human beings are so short that the struggle is only fulfilled in stages with intervals, and these intervals are the different successive existences; and as I have already reached a rung that is a good way up, it is certain that I must have attained to this happiness through a succession of struggles in which, with the help of God, I have succeeded in gaining the victory.

Q. In what does your happiness consist?

A. That is something that would be very difficult to make you understand. The happiness I enjoy may be described as a sense of intimate satisfaction with myself; not with my own merits, for that would be pride, which is characteristic of reprobate spirits, but, rather, a self-contentment merged, so to say, with love of God, in gratitude for God’s infinite goodness; it is the profound joy of seeing myself to be in unison with what is good and right; of saying to myself, “Perhaps I have contributed to the elevation of some of those who have raised themselves towards the Lord.” It is the feeling of having identified one’s self with the current of the Divine Order; it is a sort of conscious fusion of the mind with the Divine Goodness. We have also the gift of seeing the fully purified spirits above us, of comprehending them in the missions they discharge, and of knowing that we shall reach the same elevation; we obtain glimpses, in the incommensurableness of infinity, of regions so effulgent with the divine fire, that we are dazzled by the contemplation of them, even through the veil with which they are still covered. But what am I telling you? Can you understand my words? Do you imagine, for instance, that this fire of which I speak to you is similar to the sun? No, no; it is something absolutely indescribable to humankind, because words express only objects, things, physical or metaphysical, of which human beings have knowledge from memory or from soul-intuition; but, as they cannot have this remembrance of what is absolutely unknown to them, there are no terms that can give them a perception of it. But, remember that there is an immensity of happiness merely in knowing that we can raise ourselves higher and higher forever.

Q. You have been so kind as to say that you wished to be of use to me; please tell me, in what way can you help me?

A. I can aid you in your moments of discouragement, sustain you in your hours of weakness, and console you in your hours of grief. If your faith, shaken by some shock, should waver, call me; the inspiration from on high will enable me to suggest to your mind the train of thought that will lead you back to the calmness of an assured belief. If you feel the danger of succumbing to tendencies that you know are incorrect, call me; I will assist you to bear your cross, just as Jesus was assisted in carrying His, the one he bore with such dignity, and through which he proclaimed his message of truth and charity. If you stagger under the weight of your troubles, if despair takes hold of you, call me; I will draw you from the abyss by speaking to your spirit, and will recall you to the duties that are laid upon you, not by social considerations, but by the attraction of the love which you will feel in me, and which will rekindle the flame of the divine life in you.

You have, without a doubt, friends on Earth. Perhaps they share your pains and perhaps they have been able to help you. During your afflictions you will communicate your tears and laments to them, and they will offer you in return the proof of their affection and their good advice, their attention and their help. Well then, don’t you think that a friend from here will be equally loving and supportive? Is it not a consolation to be able to say: “when I die, my friends from Earth will be crying and praying for me, but my friends from space will be on the other side of life, joyfully celebrating our reunion and happily conducting me to the place that I may have merited due to my virtues?


Q. How can I have deserved the protection you are kind enough to offer me?

A. I will tell you how it came to pass that I have felt an attachment to you since the day of my death. I saw that you were a sincere and enlightened spiritist and a good medium; among those I have left below, you were the first whom I perceived; and I at once resolved to come to you and to help you to advance, for your own sake, and, still more, for the sake of the many whom you will help to bring to the truth. You can see the depth of God’s love for having conferred upon you the rank of missionary; little by little, you are leading all about you to share your belief. Do not weary in the good work; in time, the most obstinate will be with you. Go forward steadily, unmindful of the stones in the road; and when you grow tired, take me as a staff to help you on your way.

Q. I cannot venture to think that I deserve so great a favor?

A. You are still, undoubtedly, far from perfection; but your ardor in propagating the truth, in sustaining the faith of those who listen to you, and in proclaiming the necessity of charity, kindness, benevolence, even in return for ill usage; – your resistance to indulging in the anger which is natural to you, and which you could so easily gratify against those who afflict you or misunderstand you – form a counterpoise to the defects of which you have not yet rid yourself; for the forgiveness of others is the first condition of forgiveness for one’s self.

God enfolds you with divine graces through the faculties with which God endowed you. It is now up to you to develop them through focusing your efforts on working efficiently for the salvation of your fellow human beings. I leave you now; but you may count upon my help. Try to live each and every moment less for the things of the earthly life, and more and more for the interests of the life to come.


BERNARDIN
Bordeaux, April 1862

I am a spirit who has been forgotten for many centuries; I lived upon the Earth in poverty and opprobrium. I toiled unremittingly to earn, each day, a morsel of bread for my family; but I loved Him whom I regarded as my veritable Master, and when my load of suffering was added to by him who was my master upon the Earth, I used to say, “My God, give me the strength to bear up under this load without complaining!” I was thus expiating an evil past; but, when I came forth from this great trial, my true Master received me into His peace; and now my most earnest desire is to say to you all: “Humanity, my sisters and brothers! Whatever price you have to pay for your purification, the happiness that awaits you will amply overpay it!”

I had no regular trade. I was one of a numerous family of children, and I was at the service of anyone who could help me to get my livelihood. Born at a period in which all servants were hardly and cruelly treated, I endured all the injustice, all the enforced labor, all the grinding and robbing, that the subalterns of my owner chose to inflict upon me. I saw my wife outraged, my daughters carried away and then cast off, without being able to utter a complaint; I saw my sons torn from me and forced to fight in wars for pillage and for every crime, and hung for offenses they had not committed! Ah, Friends! If you only knew what I had to endure in that long and wretched life! But I was sustained by the hope of a happiness not of the Earth; and my hope was fulfilled. I have a right to say to you, “Brothers and sisters! Courage, patience, resignation!”

My child (to the medium), preserve what I have written; it is a practical teaching. Those who preach are much more attentively listened to when they can say: – “I have borne more than you have to bear; and I have borne without complaining!”


Q. At what period did you live down here?
A. From 1400 to 1460.


Q. Have you had another earthly existence since then?
A. Yes, I have lived among you as a missionary, a missionary of the faith; of the true and pure faith, of the faith that comes from God, not that which human beings have made for you.

Q. Have you, as a spirit, any occupations?

A. Can you imagine that spirits remain inactive? Inaction, uselessness, would be torture for them. My mission is to lead the workers of the great industrial centers to Spiritism. I inspire them with good thoughts and endeavor to neutralize those that backward spirits try to suggest to them. BERNARDIN


COUNTESS PAULA

She was young, beautiful, and rich; of a birth such as the world calls illustrious; and, moreover, a shining example of the noblest qualities of heart and of mind. She died in 1851 at the age of thirty- six. She was one of those whose funeral oration is summed up in the words, in every one’s mouth, “Why are such people called away from the Earth?” Happy are they whose memory is thus framed in blessing! She was good, gentle, and indulgent toward everyone; always ready to excuse or to attenuate evil, instead of envenoming it; never did a slander pollute her lips. Without pride or haughtiness, she treated her inferiors with a kindness equally exempt from vulgar familiarity and humiliating condescension. Knowing that those who live by their labor, or by trade, need prompt payment of whatever is due to them, she kept no one waiting for wages or for pay. The thought that any such delay, on her part, had caused suffering or inconvenience to a fellow-creature, would have filled her with remorse. She was never one of those who always have plenty of money for the gratification of their caprices, but who never have money in hand for the payment of a bill; she could not have imagined that it was in good taste for one who is rich to be in debt; and she would have felt herself disgraced if it could have been said of her that her trades-people were obliged to give her credit. For that reason, her death provoked so much lamentation and pain, and no complains.

Her beneficence was inexhaustible, but it was not the beneficence that makes a parade of its exercise; her charities were prompted by kindness, not by ostentation. God only knows the tears she dried, the despairing hearts she calmed and strengthened; for her good deeds had no other witnesses than those who were the recipients of her goodness. She had the gift of finding out the cases of distress – the most poignant of all! – in which the sufferers strive to hide their misery from the world; and she assisted such sufferers with a delicacy that raised the self-respect of those she aided, instead of humiliating them.

Her rank, and the high official position occupied by her husband, obliged her to keep up the style of living obligatory under such circumstances; but while providing largely for the necessities of her social condition, she managed her household expenses with so much order and judgment, and so carefully avoided all waste and all unnecessary outlay, that she spent scarcely the half of what would have been spent, without making any better show, by most people in her position.

Through this judicious management of her fortune, she was able to devote a large portion of her means to the relief of the needy. She had begun her married life by setting apart a considerable portion of her capital, the interest of which was exclusively devoted by her to this purpose, sacred in her eyes; and she thenceforth regarded herself as having so much the less to spend on herself and her household. In this way, she succeeded in reconciling the duties she owed to her position and to society, with the unwearied activity in doing good, imposed on her equally by her heart and by her conscience. *

Evoked, twelve years after her death, by a relative of hers who had become a spiritist, she gave the following communication in answer to the various questions addressed to her. **

“You are right, my Friend, in supposing me to be happy; I am happy beyond the power of words to express, and yet I am still a long way from the top of the ladder! I am incomparably happier than I was upon the Earth, although I was one of the most fortunate of mortals, for I do not remember ever having felt, through all my life, a real sorrow. I had youth, health, fortune, the homage of all around me, everything that is considered by you as constituting felicity; but what are these in comparison with the happiness we enjoy here? What are your most splendid festivities, in which the guests display their richest attire, in comparison with the gatherings of spirits, clad in resplendent brightness of which your eyes could not bear the dazzling luster, but which is the natural endowment of purity? What are your palaces with their gilded drawing rooms, your loveliest gardens, in comparison with the aerial dwellings, the vast fields of space, variegated with colors that would make the rainbow seem pale and dim? What are your slow walks and journeying to our flights through immensity, more rapid than the lightning? What are your narrow and cloudy horizons to the grand spectacle of the infinity of worlds, moving through the boundless immensity of the universe, under the guiding hand of the Almighty? How harsh and meaningless are your most melodious concerts in comparison with the delightful harmony that sets in vibration all the fluids of the ether and all the fibers of the soul? How dull and insipid are your greatest joys, compared with the ineffable sense of happiness with which our whole being is constantly pervaded as with a beneficent effluvium, without the intermixture of the slightest uneasiness, the slightest apprehension, the slightest suffering? Here, everything breathes love, trust, and sincerity; everywhere we find loving hearts, everywhere we meet with friends, nowhere do we encounter anything like envy or jealousy. Such, my Friend, is the world in which I dwell, and which you will infallibly reach, if you follow the right road.

But happiness, however delightful, would soon become wearisome if it were monotonous. Do not imagine that ours is without change; it is neither a perpetual concert, nor an endless festival, nor a vapid state of eternal contemplation: no, it is filled with movement, life, and activity! Our occupations, though exempt from fatigue, impart an inexhaustible variety of aspects and of emotions to our existence, through the countless incidents to which they give rise. Each of us has a mission to fulfill, wards to assist, friends to visit upon the earth, some portion of the wheelwork of nature to direct, suffering spirits of lower degree to console; we come and go, not from one street to another, but from one world to another; we assemble, we separate, to come together again; we arrange to meet at some given point, we recount what we have done, and we congratulate one another on the success of our various efforts; we coordinate together, and we aid one another reciprocally, in cases of difficulty; no one, I assure you, has leisure to feel dull for a second!

At the present time, our great subject of interest is the Earth. What a movement is now going on among spirits, what numerous troops are hastening from every point, to take part in the work of its transformation! They are like an army of laborers, busy with the reclaiming of a forest, under the orders of experienced chiefs. Some are knocking down the old trees and grubbing up the deep roots; others are clearing the ground of stones and rubbish; others, again, are plowing, digging, sowing, and planting. Meanwhile, the chiefs hold council together, and send out messengers, who carry their orders in every direction. The Earth is to be regenerated by a certain fixed time; the designs of Providence must be accomplished; and everyone else is therefore hard at work. You must not suppose that I look on, as a mere spectator, while everyone is busy; on the contrary, an important post is confided to me, and I am doing my utmost to discharge its duties worthily.

I have not reached my present rank in the spirit-world without many struggles; believe me, my last earthly life, alone, whatever may have been its merits, would not have sufficed to give me this elevation. During many previous existences, I had passed through the trials of labor and of poverty that I had voluntarily chosen in order to strengthen and purify my soul. I experienced the happiness of emerging victorious from those trials; but I had still one more trial to undergo – the most perilous of all! – viz., that of earthly fortune and happiness, without any mixture of grief or disappointment. There was my danger! Before subjecting myself to this severest of all trials, I desired to be strong enough to avoid all danger of succumbing to its temptations. The Divine Master took account of my good intentions and granted me the needed help in carrying them out. A great many spirits, seduced by appearances, hasten to choose the dangerous test of earthly prosperity; too weak and inexperienced to withstand its dangers, they are vanquished by the temptations of the lot they have unwisely chosen.

Workers! I have lived in your ranks; I, the noble lady, have earned my bread, like you, with the sweat of my brow. I have borne all kinds of privation and suffered from all the inclemency of the weather; and it is those sufferings that developed the virile strength of my soul; without them, I should probably have failed under my last trial, and that failure would have thrown me back a long way.65 Like me, you will all, in your turn, have to undergo the trial of worldly prosperity, but do not be in haste to ask for it, lest you should attempt it too soon; and you who are rich, remember, at all times, that the true, imperishable fortune is not to be found upon the Earth, and understand in what way you can earn the blessing of the Most High.

PAULA, Upon the Earth, Countess of ____”



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* It can be said that this lady was the living example of the charitable lady referred to in “The Gospel According to Spiritism.”
** We give, of this communication – written in German – only the portions of general interest, omitting those that referred to family matters.




JEAN REYNAUD
(Spiritist Society of Paris; spontaneous communication.)

My friends, how magnificent is this new life! Like a luminous torrent, it draws with it, on its way, the souls who are athirst for the infinite! After the rupture of the fleshly links that held me to the Earth, my eyes opened upon the magnificent horizons that surrounded me and I reveled in the splendid wonders of boundless space. I passed from the shadows of matter to the resplendent dawn that heralds the Almighty. I am in a state of bliss, not through any merit of my deeds, but through the knowledge of the eternal principle which enabled me to avoid the stains which the hapless members of the human race contract through ignorance. My death was most peaceful. My biographers will regard it as premature; blind judges! They will regret a few writings born of dust, and they will not understand how useful, to the holy cause of Spiritism, will be the attention excited by my death! My work was done; those who are destined to outstrip me were already pressing forward upon the road; I had reached the culminating point at which a man has produced his best, and, after which, whatever he does is but the repetition of what he has already done. My death will re-awaken the attention of the learned and bring them back to my principal work, which touches upon the great spiritist question,67 and which they affect to ignore. Nevertheless, it will soon catch them in its net. Glory to God! Aided by the spirits of high degree who are directing the propagation of the new doctrine, I shall be one of the torchbearers stationed at intervals along your road, to light and to guide you on your way. JEAN REYNAUD

(Paris; at a family party of relatives of the deceased. Another spontaneous communication)

The spirit is replying to a remark made by those present concerning his early death, which had caused such general surprise.

“How do you know that my death will not be an advantage to the future of Spiritism, to the development of the consequences to which it leads? Have you considered the path that is being taken by Providence for the establishment of the spiritist faith? God has given physical proof of the action of an invisible force, “the turning tables,” raps, and all sorts of physical phenomena; this was done to excite inquiry; it was an amusing preface, intended to attract attention to the book. At present, it is quite another thing! After striking the senses of humankind by physical facts, Providence addresses their intelligence, their common sense, their judgment; it no longer appeals to them by feats and prodigies, but by trains of reasoning that should convince the most skeptical and rally to the new doctrine the most obstinate unbelievers. And all this is only the beginning of the movement. Remember what I now tell you; viz., that an entire series of intelligent facts, absolutely undeniable, are about to follow one another, and that the number of followers of the spiritist philosophy, already so numerous, will be greatly increased. The Divine action will be brought to bear on the noblest intellects, on the highest minds, on those who are most eminent for talent and knowledge. It will be a flood of light that will spread over the Earth with the irresistible force of the magnetic fluid, compelling the most reluctant to seek after the infinite, to study this admirable unfolding which furnishes us with principles of action so sublime. All the masterminds of the Earth will join your group, and, indifferent to the honors paid to their genius, will become as little children in their desire to acquire knowledge of the truths of the spiritist faith. And when, with the humility of the sage, they have acquired this knowledge, they will employ their science and the authority of their name in carrying on, still further, the inquiry upon which you have entered, and the endeavor to reach the aim set before you by Spiritism, that is to say, the regeneration of the human race through the rational and enlightened explanation of the reality of our past and future existences.


(BORDEAUX)

(In answer to evocation) – I come with pleasure, responding to your call. You are right; the mental confusion of the passage scarcely existed in my case (this remark was in answer to the medium’s thought.) A voluntary exile upon your Earth, in which I had undertaken to scatter abroad the first seeds of the great truths that are overshadowing the world at the present day, I had always preserved the remembrance of the country I had left, and I speedily felt myself at home on arriving in the midst of my brothers and sisters.

Q. Thanks for your kindness in coming to me; I hardly ventured to hope that my desire to converse with you could have any influence upon you. There must necessarily be so great a difference between us that I can only think of you with reverence!

A. Whatever the distance created between spirits by the greater or less degree of promptitude and of success with which they accomplish their series of trials, there is always a link that unites them; that of sympathy: and this sympathy, in our case, has been rendered all the closer by your constant thought of me.

Q. A good many spirits have already described to us their first sensations on awakening in the other life; will you have the kindness to tell me what you felt on regaining your consciousness, and how the separation of your soul and body was effected?

A. As it is in all cases, I felt that the moment of deliverance was approaching; but happier in this respect than most others, that approach caused me no uneasiness, because I knew what would be the results of my deliverance, although these were still greater than I had anticipated. The body is an obstacle upon the action of the soul; and, no matter what may be the faculties it has brought with it; they are always more or less stifled by contact with matter. I fell asleep, hoping for a happy awakening; my sleep was short; my admiration, on awaking, was immense! The celestial splendors, spread out in all their majesty before me, were shining in all their brightness. My sight, with wondering admiration, was drawn into this immensity, filled with the worlds that I had affirmed to be not only infinite in number but also inhabited. It seemed as though I was gazing upon a mirage, and yet it confirmed the truth of the convictions I had proclaimed when upon the Earth. However sure a man may think himself, when he speaks, there are moments when, in his heart, he is conscious of doubt, of uncertainty; he has misgivings, if not in regard to the truth he proclaims, at least, in regard to the imperfection of the demonstration he is obliged to employ for proving it. Convinced of the truth of the doctrine I was endeavoring to inculcate, I often had to fight against myself, against the discouragement of seeing and touching the truth, so to say, without being able to render it palpable for those who have so great a need of believing it, in order to walk steadily upon the path that has been appointed to them.

Q. Did you, during your life, profess yourself a spiritist?

A. There is a wide difference between professing and practicing. Many profess a doctrine and yet do not practice it. I, on the other hand, practiced it without professing it. Just as every man is a Christian who follows the law of Christ, even though he knows not of its existence, so all human beings may be said to be spiritists, if they believe in the immortality of the soul, its pre-existences, its incessant progression, and the disciplinary nature of the earthly life, as ablutions necessary to their purification; I believed all this; and I may therefore be said to have been a spiritist. I had an intuitive comprehension of the state of erraticity, the intermediate link between our incarnations, the purgatory in which guilty spirits divest themselves of their soiled garments in order to put on others, and in which progressing spirits weave with care the robe they will have to wear, and which they desire to keep clean for the next stage of their journey. As I have already told you, I had an intuitive comprehension of all this, and, without professing Spiritism, I constantly practiced it.

Remark. – These three communications were obtained by three different mediums entirely unknown to one another. From the similarity of the thoughts expressed in them and of their style, we may fairly admit the strong probability of their having been dictated by the illustrious thinker whose name they bear. The expression, “weave with care the robe that they will have to wear,” is a charming figure that well depicts the solicitude with which advanced spirits prepare, beforehand, the conditions of the new existence that is to lead them yet farther on their upward way. Backward spirits take fewer precautions for their return to the earthly life, and they consequently make, too often, an unfortunate choice of their new trial, and have to begin that trial over again.


ANTOINE COSTEAU

Member of the Spiritist Society of Paris buried September 12th, 1863, in the Cemetery of Montmartre, in the Paupers’ Grave.He was a thoroughly good-hearted person, who had been brought to the love of God and of all humanity through Spiritism, and whose belief in a future life was entire, sincere, and profound. A street worker with but a meager salary, he practiced charity in thought, word, and deed, to the utmost of his slender means; and, in spite of how little he possessed, he always contrived to assist those who had still less than himself. If the Spiritist Society abstained from purchasing a separate grave for him, it was simply because there were other and more pressing demands on resources which it was deemed better to employ in assisting the living, rather than in providing a sterile compliment for the dead; for all spiritists know that the “Paupers’ Grave” is a gate that leads as directly to a happier world as does even the most costly mausoleum.

Mr. Canu, Secretary of the Society, formerly a thorough materialist, made the following address at the grave:

“Dear brother Costeau! But a few years ago, many of us – and, I confess, myself especially – would have seen, in this open grave, only the end of human troubles, and, beyond it, nothing, hideous annihilation; that is to say, no soul to reap either reward or punishment, and, consequently, no God to reward, to punish, or to pardon. Today, thanks to our divine doctrine, we see in it the end of a trial, and, for you, dear brother, whose mortal remains we now give back to the Earth, the triumph of your efforts and the beginning of the reward you have so nobly earned by your courage, your resignation, your charity, in a word, by your many virtues, and, above all, the glorification of a wise, all-powerful, just, and merciful God. Offer, for us, dear brother, our grateful acknowledgments to the Eternal, who has mercifully dissipated the darkness of error and incredulity in which we were enveloped; for, but a short time ago, we should have said to you, on this occasion, with bowed heads and despairing hearts, ‘Farewell, friend; farewell, forever!’ Whereas, today, we say to you, with heads erect in the sunshine of confidence and hope, and hearts filled with courage and with love, ‘Dear brother, may the blessing of the Almighty be with you until we meet again! Be happy, brother, and pray for us!” *

One of the mediums of the Society obtained, after the delivery of the preceding address, by the side of the open grave, the following communication, to the reading of which everyone present, including the grave-diggers themselves, listened with uncovered head and deep emotion. It was, in truth, to most of them, a new and startling experience to hear the words uttered by a dead man at the grave of his body.

“Thanks, Friends, thanks! My grave is not yet closed, but, a few moments hence, and the Earth will cover my mortal remains. But you well know that my soul will not be buried beneath this dust; it will mount aloft into space, rising towards God!

“And what a consolation is it to be able still to say, notwithstanding the bursting asunder of our mortal envelope; – ‘Oh, no; I am not dead! I am living with the true life, the eternal life!’

“The funerals of the poor are not followed by the crowd; no vainglorious display takes place at their graves; and yet, friends, believe me, an immense crowd is gathered about you, for good spirits have accompanied, to this humble resting place, the body enclosed in the coffin that lies here before you. For you all believe in God and adore His goodness.

“Oh, most certainly, we do not die, my beloved wife, simply because our body breaks down! Henceforth I shall always be near you, to console you, and to aid you in bearing the trial of my departure. Life will be hard for you; but, with your heart filled with the idea of eternity and the love of our Creator, of how little account will life’s sorrows appear to you!

“Relatives, who surround the dearly-loved companion of my life, give her your affection and respect; be for her so many brothers and sisters. Do not forget that you must give assistance to one another in the earthly life, if you would enter into the peace of the spirit-world!

“And you, spiritists, friends, brothers, thanks for coming to bid me farewell in this abode of dust and of mud; you know that my soul is immortal, that it still lives, and that it will often come to ask for your prayers, which you will not refuse to me, to aid me to go forward on the magnificent road that you have opened to me during my earthly life.”

“Farewell, all you who are present here; we shall meet elsewhere than beside this grave! Happy spirits are calling to me to come away with them! Farewell! Pray for all who suffer!”

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* For further details and additional speeches refer to the Revue Spirite of October 1863 page 297.




COSTEAU

Three days afterwards, the spirit of Mr. Costeau, evoked in a private circle, dictated the following, through the intermediary of another medium:

“Death is life; I am only repeating what has already been said; but, for you, there is nothing else to be said, no matter what may be the denials of the materialists, who are bent on remaining blind. Oh, friends! What a glorious sight is the unfolding of the spiritist banner on your Earth! Herald the vast revelation of which you have, as of yet, but the faint beginnings, what splendid brightness does it bring to those who are willing to be enlightened, to those who have broken the chains of pride, and dare to proclaim, boldly, their belief in God! Pray, dear brothers, thank God for all the blessings with which we are provided. Poor human race! If only it were given thee to comprehend! But no; the time has not yet come when the mercy of the Almighty is to be spread abroad upon all humanity, that they may understand the divine will, and submit to its orderings!

“It is with the aid of thy luminous rays, O Science of Sciences! that men and women will arrive at this understanding; it is at thy divine fire that they will warm their hearts and rekindle the consoling flame of faith and hope; it is through the beneficent influence of thy revelations that the master and the worker will be brought into familial sympathy and union; for it is through your explanations of human life that they will comprehend the fraternal charity preached by the Divine Messiah.

“Reflect, O my brothers and sisters, on the immense happiness which has been granted to you, by your having been the first to be initiated into the work of regeneration. Honor to you, friends! Continue your labors, and like me, one day, on coming into the land of spirits, you will say: – Death is life; or, rather, it is a dream, a sort of nightmare that lasts the space of a minute, and from which you emerge to see yourself surrounded by friends who facilitate you on your arrival and hold out to you welcoming arms. My happiness was so great that I could not believe God would have granted me so many favors for the little I had done upon the Earth. I seemed to myself to be dreaming, and as it had sometimes happened to me to dream that I was dead, I was afraid, for a few moments, that I might be obliged to go back to the wretched body I had quitted, but I soon came to perceive how it really was with me, and I blessed the sovereign Master who had enabled me to discharge, upon the Earth, the duties incumbent on those who desire to prepare for a future life. Yes, indeed; I blessed and thanked God for this great blessing: for The Spirits’ Book had awakened in my soul the sentiment of love for my Creator.

“Thanks, friends, for having attracted me to you. Tell our brothers and sisters that I am often with our friend Sanson. Courage! The victory is assured to our doctrine! Happy will be those who have taken part in the combat!”

Mr. Costeau has frequently manifested himself since the giving of this message, both at the meetings of the Society and elsewhere; and he has always given proof of the elevation of thought that is the distinguishing characteristic of advanced spirits.


MADEMOISELLE EMMA *

A lovely and charming young girl who died from the effects of an accident caused by fire, after excruciating suffering. One of the members of the Society had conceived the desire of evoking her at a meeting of the Spiritist Society of Paris, when she spontaneously presented herself July 31st, 1863, a short time after her death.

“Here I am again, on the stage of the world, I who thought myself buried forever, wrapped in my veil of youth and innocence! ‘The fire of Earth will save me from the fire of Hell,’ I said to myself, according to my Catholic belief; and although I did not venture to hope for the splendors of Paradise, my soul, amidst the horrible sufferings I underwent from my accident, took refuge in the thought that I was bearing, beforehand, the expiations of Purgatory, and I prayed, suffered, and wept, with patience and resignation. But who gave to my weakness the strength to bear such anguish? Who, in my long nights of sleepless and feverish torture, bent over the couch on which I underwent my martyrdom? Who cooled my parched lips? It was you, my Guardian Angel! You, whose shining whiteness enveloped me in blessing; it was you, also, dear Spirit-Friends, who came about me, murmuring in my ear your gentle words of hope and love!

“The flame which consumed my slight, earthly body burnt away from my soul all sense of attachment to the things that pass; thus, when I died, I was already living the true life of the soul. I felt nothing of the confusion that usually accompanies dissolution, and I entered at once, serene and self- conscious, into the radiant daylight that surrounds those who, amidst suffering and trial, have held fast their confidence and hope. The thought of my mother, my beloved mother, was the last terrestrial image that vibrated in my soul. How fervently I wished she might become a spiritist!

“I dropped from the tree of the earthly life like a fruit ripened before its time. I had scarcely felt the touch of the demon of vanity, so fatal to those who allow themselves to be carried away by the glitter of success and the intoxications of youth and beauty! I bless the flame; I bless my sufferings; I bless the trial that was an expiation. Like the filmy gossamer-threads of autumn, I float, as light and as shining as they, borne upon the luminous currents of the ether around me; and the jewels that adorn my brow are no longer composed of the inert diamonds of your lower sphere, but are the splendid and living scintillations of the purified soul.”

EMMA

In the spiritist center at Havre, the same spirit also gave, spontaneously, the following communication, on the 30th of July, 1863:

“Those who suffer upon the Earth are rewarded in the other life; for God is all justice and mercy for those who suffer on Earth. The happiness granted to them in the spirit-world is so pure, their felicity is so perfect, that none would shrink from suffering or from death, if it were possible for them to penetrate the designs of the Creator! The Earth is the scene of trials that are often very severe, and of sorrows that are often terribly intense; but let those who are thus tried be resigned to the infliction of this suffering; let them bow before the will of God, who mercifully calls upon them to bear a heavy load! When they are summoned back into God’s presence after great suffering, they will see, in this other life, how insignificant were those pains and troubles of the earthly life, in comparison with the reward which is reserved for them, if no complaint, no murmuring, have found access to their hearts! Very young have I quitted the Earth; God has forgiven me, and has granted me the life of those who have respected God’s ordination. Adore God in all things; love God with all your heart; and, above all, pray to God with unwavering confidence; for prayer, in your material life of suffering upon the Earth, is your true support, your hope, and your safety. EMMA


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* Mademoiselle Emma Livry,




DR. VIGNAL

One of the early members of the Spiritist Society of Paris, who died March 27th, 1865. The day before his funeral, a somnambulist, who is very lucid and sees spirits very clearly, having been requested to go to him and to state what he saw, replied as follows:

“I see a corpse in which a most wonderful work is taking place; there is a mass, of which every atom is in motion, and from which something seems to be trying to detach itself, but has hard work in overcoming the resistance opposed to its efforts by the mass with which it is connected. I cannot distinguish any clearly-defined spirit-form.”

The Paris Society evoked him on the 31st of March.

Q. Dear Dr. Vignal, all your old colleagues of the Society of Paris in general, and I in particular, have the kindest remembrance of you; and we shall be very much pleased if you can, and will, come and converse with us.

A. Dear Friends and you my dear and worthy Teacher, your remembrance and sympathy are very pleasant to me. If I am able to come to you today, and to take part, free of corporeal fetters, in this meeting of our spiritist friends, it is thanks to your kindly thought of me and the assistance brought to me by your prayers. As my young secretary remarked just now, I have been so impatient to communicate with you, all through the evening, that I have had to exercise much self-control in abstaining from giving free rein to this desire, although the questions you have been discussing have greatly interested me and have rendered the delay less tiresome. Forgive this impatience, dear Friends; but my gratitude would fain have manifested itself at once! (I love this old-fashioned phrase, but if you wish to modernize it you could say “but I was eager to express my gratitude at once.”)

Q. Be good enough to tell us how you find yourself in the spirit-world. Describe to us the process of separation and your sensations at the moment when it took place; and tell us also how long it was before you regained your consciousness.

A. I am happy to tell you that my experience has fully confirmed the teachings of our luminous and consoling doctrine. I am happy! Yes I am, because now, without any obstacle, I can see develop before me the future of science and the Spiritist philosophy.

However, let us discard for today these inopportune digressions. I will return at another time to speak to you on these subjects, knowing that my presence will be as great a pleasure for you as it is for me when I visit you.

The wrenching asunder, in my case, was quickly accomplished; more quickly than I could have hoped for, seeing how slight my merits are. I was greatly aided in this effort by your prayers; and your somnambulist has given you so correct a description of the phenomena associated with the separation that I have little to add in regard to it. It was a sort of fitful oscillation, a kind of drawing, in two opposite directions; the spirit triumphed at last; for here I am! I only succeeded in freeing myself entirely from my body, at the moment when the latter was lowered into the grave; and I came back with you.

Q. What do you think of the funeral ceremonies that have occurred?
A. I have considered it to be an obligation to attend to them.
Q. At that moment, were you sufficiently separated from your body in order to observe

them? The prayers that I pronounced with the intent of being of help, (not out loud, logically), did they reach you?

I came back from the cemetery with all of you, leaving behind me my old chrysalis completely disjoined from me. You know that I did not care much for the things of the Earth; I thought mainly of my spirit being and of God.

Q. Do you remember that, at your own request, five years ago, in the month of February 1860, when you were still among the living, we took you as the subject of an experiment? * At that time, your spirit disengaged itself from your body, and came and conversed with us. Will you have the kindness to define for us, as nearly as you can, the difference between your present disengagement and that which you effected at the time referred to?

A. Most certainly, I remember that experiment; but what a difference is there between my state on that occasion and my present state! At that time, the rigid network of matter held me in; I longed to detach myself more completely from my body, but was unable to do so. Now, I am altogether free; a vast field, that of the unknown, opens before me; and I hope that with your help and that of the good Spirits, to whom I commend myself, to advance and to instill, as soon as possible, the sentiments that we should possess, and the actions that we must practice in order to successfully navigate the narrow path of our Earthly trials and be worthy of a wealth of compensations in the spirit world. What majesty! What grandeur! It is a sentiment almost of awe that takes possession of us, when, weak as we are, we try to fix our eyes on the sublime splendors before us!

Q. Once again I say that we will be very satisfied in being able to continue this conversation, when you feel that you wish to be with us.

A. I have done my best to reply to your questions; but do not ask too much, at first, of your faithful disciple! I am not yet entirely free of earthly influences. I should be delighted to go on talking with you; but my guide tries to moderate my enthusiasm, and I am too well convinced of his wisdom and kindness not to follow his counsel, however much I may regret having to break off this conversation. I feel comforted when I think that I will be able to return, incognito, to your spiritual reunions, often. I love you, and I shall come back to you; but now I give up my place to the other spirits, more advanced than myself, who have kindly allowed me to pour out the torrent of thoughts I was longing to utter.

I withdraw for the present; thanking you who have called me hither, and thanking also the spirit who has kindly allowed me to take his place, and who, when on Earth, bore the illustrious name of Pascal.

He who was, and will always be, the most devoted of your disciples. DR. VIGNAL

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* Vide: “Revue Spirite” of March 1860.



VICTOR LEBUFLE


A young man, employed as a laborer on the wharf, in the port of Havre, deceased at the age of twenty years. He lived with his mother, who kept a poor little shop, lavishing upon her the most tender and affectionate care, and supporting her with the slender gains of his hard and laborious work. He was never seen to enter a wine-shop or to take part in any of the excesses so common in his profession; for he would never take the least part from his earnings, wholly consecrated as they were to the assistance of his mother. Every moment of his time that was not taken up by his regular work was employed by him in helping her and in saving her fatigue. Attacked, long before, with a disease that he knew must be fatal, he hid his sufferings from his mother, fearing that, if she understood his state of health, she would be uneasy about him and would do, for herself, the work he always did for her. That so young a man should have constantly resisted the pernicious examples and temptations of the surroundings amidst which he lived, shows him to have possessed a very large stock of good qualities and a very strong force of will. He was sincerely pious; and his death was most calm and beautiful.

The night before he died, he insisted on his mother’s taking a little rest, saying that he himself felt sleepy. The mother, during her short rest, had a vision. She found herself, she said, in the hold of a great ship, in total darkness; presently, she saw a speck of light that increased, in size and brilliance, until the hold was completely illuminated with a splendid radiance, in the midst of which she saw her son, looking wonderfully handsome and happy, and floating upwards into the air. She understood the vision as a sign that his end was near; and in fact, his noble spirit quitted the Earth on the following day, while his lips were yet breathing forth a prayer.

A spiritist family who knew of his exemplary life and took a warm interest in his poor mother – left, by his death, alone in the world – had intended to evoke him, shortly after his death; but he came to them spontaneously and dictated the following communication:

“You wish to know how it is with me now; I am happy, oh, wonderfully happy! You should look upon suffering and distress as something not to be regretted, for they are the source of blessings and of happiness beyond the grave. Happiness! You cannot understand what that word means! The happiness of the Earth is so far from what we feel. When we return towards the Master with a clear conscience, with the confidence of the servant who has faithfully done his duty, and who joyfully awaits the approval of God who is all in all!

“Oh, Friends! Life is painful and difficult, if you do not look beyond its end; but I tell you, truly, when you come among us, if you have lived according to the law of God, you will be awarded far beyond your sufferings and any claim that you may think your merits may have won for you! Be kind, be charitable, with the charity that is unknown to so many upon the Earth, and that is called benevolence. Be helpful to your fellow beings; do for them even more than you would wish them to do for you; for you know your own miseries, but you do not know what they may be suffering in silence. Be kind to my mother, my poor mother, my sole regret in leaving Earth! She has other trials still to undergo, for she has to win her way to Heaven. Farewell, I am going to her.” VICTOR.

The Mediums’ Guide – The sufferings endured in a terrestrial incarnation are not always a punishment. The spirits who, by the Divine ordering, come to accomplish a mission upon the Earth, like he who has just communicated with you, endure, voluntarily, the sorrows that in other cases are an expiation. Sleep enables them to return, for the regaining of fresh vigor, to the presence of the Almighty, and gives them the strength to bear all things for the glory of God’s name. The mission of this spirit, in his last existence, was not a brilliant one; but, though it was obscure, it was all the more meritorious for having been devoid of any access to the sentiment of pride as a means of sustaining his courage. He had, in the first place, a duty to discharge towards the spirit who was his mother; he had, in the second place, to show that amidst the very worst surroundings souls may remain pure and be filled with noble and elevated sentiments, and that a resolute will may resist every sort of temptation to evil. Such a life is a proof that a person’s qualities have a cause anterior to his or her present existence; and such an example as that which has been set by the spirit of him with whom you have been communicating will not be sterile.

Choice of he vs. him explained – “He” communicated with you. You communicated with “him”.


MADAME ANAIS GOURDON

A very young woman, remarkable for her sweetness of temper and her eminent moral qualities, died in November of 1860. She belonged to a family of miners, employed in the coal mines near St. Etienne, a circumstance that has to be borne in mind in estimating her position as a spirit.

(Evocation.) – Here I am.

Q. Your husband and father have requested us to evoke you; they will be very glad to receive a communication from you.
A. I am as glad to give it, as they will be to receive it.

Q. Why were you taken away from your family at such a young age?
A. Because I had completed my terrestrial trial.

Q. Do you sometimes go to see them?
A. I am very often with them.

Q. Are you happy as a spirit?
A. I am very happy. I wait patiently, filled with confidence and love. The spirit world has no terrors for me, and I wait for the budding of my white wings.

Q. What do you mean by “wings”?

A. I mean, by this expression, that I wait to become a fully purified and resplendent spirit, like the celestial messengers whose brightness dazzles me when I obtain a sight of them.

Remark – The “wings” of angels, archangels, seraphim, that is to say, of the pure spirits, are evidently only an attribute imagined by men, to indicate the rapidity with which they transport themselves through space; for the ethereality of their nature enables them to dispense with anything like a support in moving from one point to another. They may, however, show themselves to men with such accessories, in order to conform to human notions in regard to them, just as other spirits take the appearance they had upon the Earth, to ensure recognition.

Q. Is there anything you would like to have done by your relatives?

A. I should like them, whom I love so dearly, to cease distressing me with the spectacle of their grief, since they know that I am not lost to them, and try to think of me with cheerfulness and hope, so that their remembrance of me may be light and fragrant in their hearts. I passed away from Earth like a flower; my rapid passage should leave behind it no trace of sadness.

Q. How is it that your language is so poetic, so little in keeping with the position you occupied upon the Earth?


A. It is because it is my soul that is speaking to you. I had acquired much in my previous incarnations. Refined spirits are often made to incarnate themselves among the roughest people, in order to give them a glimmering of the refinements that they will acquire and understand at a later period of their existence.

Without this explanation – so reasonable and so entirely in harmony with the solicitude of the Creator for His creatures – it would be impossible to account for the elegant and poetic expressions employed by the spirit of one who had been brought up in the midst of the most prosaic surroundings. We often encounter this anomaly in life, where we see spirits of evident advancement incarnated among persons who are in every way inferior to them, in order to aid the latter to advance. We also see its opposite when backward spirits are incarnated among persons superior to them in order that they may be brought more quickly forward. An additional benefit to superior spirits who are incarnated among inferior persons is that their contact with lower natures also serves as a useful trial. What other theory than that of our successive existences can solve the problems presented by these anomalies?


MAURICE GONTRAN


He was an only son, who died, at the age of eighteen, of tuberculosis. Gifted with rare intelligence, reasoning powers beyond his years, a great love of study, gentle, affectionate, sympathetic, he possessed all the qualities that give the fairest promise of a brilliant future. Having successfully finished his preliminary studies, he was diligently preparing for admission to the Polytechnic School. His death was a terrible blow to his parents, and was felt by them all the more acutely because, as his health had always been delicate, they attributed his premature decease to the assiduous study in which they had encouraged him to persevere, and they therefore reproached themselves bitterly with his loss, as though it had resulted from a crime on their part. “Of what use will all his studies be to him now?” they despondently asked themselves; “It would have been far better had he remained ignorant, for he had no need of all this learning to make him live. If he had not studied so hard, he would doubtless be still with us, and he would have been the joy and the consolation of our old age!” Had they been spiritists, they would have reasoned otherwise. At a later period, they became acquainted with the spiritist theory of life and obtained from it the true and only consolation for such a loss. The following communication was made, by their son, to one of their friends, a few months after his death:

Q. My dear Maurice, I cannot doubt that your warm attachment to your parents will give you the desire to raise their spirits, if it is possible for you to do so. The grief, I may say, the despair, in which they have been plunged by your death, has impaired their health and has made them feel disgust toward life. A few affectionate words from you may perhaps awaken hope in their hearts.

A. Dear old friend! I have been waiting impatiently for the opportunity you now offer me of communicating with them. My parents’ grief distresses me; but it will be softened when they come to know that I am not lost to them. You must direct your efforts to convincing them of this certainty, and I foresee that you will succeed in doing so. They needed this event to lead them to a belief that will give them happiness, for it will prevent their murmuring against the decree of Providence. My father, as you know, is very skeptical in regard to a future life; this affliction has been allowed by God to befall him in order to draw him out of his error.

We shall meet again, in this other world in which we no longer undergo the sufferings of human life, and into which I have gone before them; but tell them the satisfaction of seeing me will be refused them, as a means of correction, if they lack confidence in the goodness of God. Such a state of mind, on their part, would even lead to my being forbidden to hold communication with them, henceforth, through the rest of their earthly lives. Despair is a revolt against the will of the Almighty, and, as such, is always punished by the prolongation of the cause that has produced this despair, until the sufferer has submitted to the trial imposed upon him. Despair is a form of suicide, for it undermines the health of the body, and those who shorten their days, in the hope of escaping more quickly from the grip of their sorrows, prepare for themselves a terrible disappointment; they ought, on the contrary, to do their best to keep up their bodily strength, in order that they may more easily bear the weight of their trials.

My beloved parents! It is to you that I now address myself. From the time when I quitted my mortal body, I never ceased to be near you, and I am with you more frequently than when I was upon the Earth. Be consoled, then, for I am not dead! I am more alive than you are; it is only my body that is dead, for my soul is still living! I am free, happy, out of reach of diseases, infirmities, and pain. Instead of being afflicted by my departure, you should rejoice to know that I am in a region exempt from cares and anxieties, and in which the heart is filled to overflowing with pure and unmixed happiness.

Ah, my friends! Lament not for those who die young! It is a favor granted by Providence to those who no longer need to experience the tribulations of life. My last existence upon the Earth was not intended to be prolonged any further; for I acquired all that I needed to acquire, as a preparation for a more important mission that I shall have to discharge in due course of time. Had I remained longer upon the Earth, who knows whether I might not have been exposed to dangerous temptations? Who knows whether, being as yet insufficiently strong to resist the seductions of the world, I might not have succumbed to them and have thus delayed my advancement for hundreds of years? Why should those who love me regret what is, for me, so great a blessing? An inconsolable grief, in such a case, implies a want of faith that is reasonable only to those who believe in annihilation. Indeed, those who hold a belief so prolific of despair are to be greatly pitied; for them, there is no possible consolation; the beings they love are lost to them forever; the grave has robbed them of their last hope!

Q. Was your death painful?

A. No, I only suffered before dying from the disease that carried me off; but that suffering diminished as the last moments drew near; then, one day, I fell asleep without any thought of death. I began to dream, such a delightful dream! I dreamt that I was cured; I felt no more pain; I breathed in, with sound lungs and with inexpressible enjoyment, a fragrant and life-giving air! I felt myself transported through space by an unknown force; I was in the midst of light that dazzled me with its splendor and yet did not fatigue my sight. I saw my grandfather; his face was no longer thin and worn, but was fresh and youthful; he held out his arms to me and clasped me joyfully to his bosom. A crowd of people came with him, all smiling as they met me, and welcoming me with kindness and satisfaction; I seemed to remember them, I rejoiced to see them again, and we exchanged cordial greetings and expressions of friendship. Well! What I took to be a dream was a reality; I was never again to awaken upon the Earth; I had awakened in the spirit-world!

Q. Was your illness caused by excess of study?

A. No, be very sure that it was not. The length of time that I was to live upon the Earth had been marked out beforehand, and nothing could have kept me there any longer. My spirit, in its hours of disengagement, was perfectly aware of this, and rejoiced in the knowledge of its approaching deliverance. But the time I passed upon the Earth was not unprofitable to me, and I now congratulate myself for having spent it well. The studies, which I followed up so thoroughly, have strengthened my soul and increased my knowledge; it is not so much lost but, rather, so much gained; and if I have not been able to turn this knowledge to practical account during my short stay among you, I shall do so, all the more efficiently, in a future existence.

Farewell, dear friend; I am going to visit my parents, to try to prepare them for receiving this communication. MAURICE

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