Died in 1840; evoked at Bordeaux, in 1862, by his granddaughter.
Uprightness in the sight of God, and uprightness according to the judgment of humanity.
1. Dear grandfather, will you tell me how you are situated in the spirit-world, and give me such details concerning your present life as may be useful for our advancement?
A. Most willingly, my dear child. I am expiating my want of faith; but the mercy of God is great, and makes allowance for circumstances. I suffer; not as you understand suffering, but from regret that I did not make a better use of my time upon the Earth.
2. How can you say that you did not make a good use of it? You always lived the life of an upright man.
A. Yes, as human beings judge of uprightness; but there is an abyss between what passes for uprightness amongst humanity, and the uprightness that is approved as such by God. I will try, for your instruction, to make you understand the difference between them.
Among you, human beings are looked upon as upright if they respect the laws of their country (although this respect is, with many, extremely elastic), and if they abstain from robbing their neighbors of their property, although these same individuals may rob them of their honor, of their happiness, provided these vile hypocrites do so in ways that escape the action of the law and of public opinion. Once the long list of praises and apparent virtues are engraved on the flat stone, they believe that they have paid their debt to humanity. What a mistake! To be upright in the sight of Heaven, it is not enough to have abstained from transgressing the laws of humanity; it is necessary, above all, not to have transgressed the laws of God!
Those who are upright in the sight of God are those who, filled with devotion and charity, spend their lives in doing good, in helping forward the progress of their fellow-creatures; individuals who, being animated with a zeal that is kindled by the foresight of the end to be obtained, are perpetually active in all the business of life; active in fulfilling the duties imposed upon them by their worldly positions, for they should inculcate the love of labor among their brothers and sisters; active in every good work, for they must not forget that they are servants of whom the Master will by-and-by demand an account of the way in which they have spent their lives, inculcating by their example the love of God and of neighbor. Those who would be upright in the sight of God must carefully avoid cutting remarks, and insidious suggestions, which destroy reputations and ruin positions, by dishonoring their victims or by making them objects of ridicule. The hearts of those who would be judged upright by God must be free from the least taint of pride, envy, and ambition. Such individuals must be patient and gentle with those who attack them; they must forgive, from the very depths of their hearts, without effort and without ostentation, all those who have wronged them; They must love the Creator in all God’s creatures; They must, in short, put in practice the summary of human duties – so concise and yet so complete! – “Thou shalt love God above all things and thy neighbor as thyself.”
Such, dear granddaughter, is an imperfect outline of what constitutes uprightness in the sight of God. I ask you; candidly, did I fulfill all these conditions? No, I was very far from doing so; I confess the fact without hesitation. I was not active in all good works, as I ought to have been; my forgetfulness of God led me into other sorts of forgetfulness which, though not punishable by human laws, are nonetheless offences against the law of God. I suffered much when I came to perceive this fact; and therefore I am able now to hope, with the consoling hope that is born of faith in the mercy of God, who sees my repentance. Tell this to others, my dear child; repeat it to all those who are burdened by a heavy conscience. Let them atone for past remissness by doing good to the very utmost of their power; and the Divine pity will accept their expiations and wipe out the memory of their faults.