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