A suffering spirit who announces himself, spontaneously, as “Ouran, formerly a Russian Prince.”
Q. Will you give us some details of your situation?
A. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven!
Pray for me. Happy are they who, in humility of heart, choose, for the undergoing of their trials, a modest position! You know not, you who are devoured with envy, to what a state those are reduced whom you regard as the favorites of Fortune! You see not the coals of fire they heap upon their own heads; you know not what sacrifices riches impose upon those who would make them profitable to their advancement in the spirit-world! May the Lord permit me, the proud despot, to come back and to expiate, among those whom I crushed by my tyranny, the crimes which pride caused me to commit! Pride! Repeat that word incessantly, and never forget that pride is the source of all our sufferings! Yes, I misused the power and favor I enjoyed; I was harsh and cruel to my inferiors, whom I forced to yield to all my caprices, to satisfy all my depravities. I had elected to possess rank, honors, fortune; and I succumbed under the weight of a trial beyond my strength.
Spirits who have succumbed under a trial are very apt to say that it was beyond their strength; but this is a way of excusing their failure and is generally prompted by pride, which makes them unwilling to confess that they failed through their own fault. The Divine Providence imposes on no one more than he can bear; but spirits have their free will; and, if they bring their will to the task, there is no evil tendency that they cannot vanquish. Unfortunately, it too often happens that, the more strongly a spirit is naturally drawn to any given vice, the less does he, when incarnated as a man, exert himself to combat that tendency; consequently, if he fails to surmount it, he has only his own want of will to thank for his failure.
Q. You are conscious of your faults; this is a first step towards amendment.
A. This consciousness is an additional suffering. For many spirits, suffering is almost physical, because, being still influenced by the materiality of their last existence, they have no perception of moral sensations. My spirit is now quite free from the influence of matter; but my moral perception has acquired all the honor of the sensations that are supposed to be physical.
Q. Do you foresee the end of your sufferings?
A. I know that they will not be eternal; but I do not yet foresee their end; for that, I must undergo a new trial.
Q. Are you expecting to start, once again, soon?
Q. Do you remember anything of your preceding existences? I ask you this for the purpose of instruction.
A. Yes. Your guides are here and they know what is best for you. I have lived at the time of
Marcus Aurelius; in that life, also, I was in possession of power; and I succumbed to pride, the cause of all our failures. After having wandered for many centuries, I determined to try a life of obscurity. As a poor student, I begged my bread; but my innate pride was still with me; my spirit gained in knowledge, but not in virtue. Learned and ambitious, I sold myself to those who bid highest for my services, ministering to every hatred, to every revenge. I felt my wickedness; but the thirst of honors and of riches rendered me deaf to the voice of my conscience. The expiation of that life was long and terrible. At length I determined to undergo, anew, in my last incarnation, the temptations of luxury and power. Thinking myself strong enough to overcome the dangers of such a life, I refused to listen to the counsels of those who sought to dissuade me from the attempt. Pride led me once more to trust my own judgment, instead of following the advice of the protecting friends who never cease to watch over us. You know the result of that last attempt.
I have at last come to my sense of my weakness and folly, and I place my hope in the help of the Almighty. I have laid down at His feet my miserable pride, and have besought Him to place on my shoulders the heaviest load of humility; with His help, that load will seem to me light. Pray with me and for me; pray also for yourselves that the demon of pride may never gain power over your minds. Brothers in suffering! Let my example enlighten you. Forget not that pride is the enemy of happiness; for it is pride that causes all the ills that assail the human race and pursue it even in the spirit-world!”
The Medium’s Guide. – You have felt some doubt as to the sincerity of this spirit, because his language did not seem to you in harmony with the backwardness implied in his state of suffering. Be at ease on that score; what he has stated is true. However great his suffering, he is sufficiently advanced in intelligence to speak as he has done. All he has lacked has been the humility without which no spirit can ascend towards God. He has now achieved that humility; and we hope that, through perseverance in his new resolutions, he will leave triumphant, from his next trial.
Our Heavenly Father is all justice and wisdom. He takes into account every effort achieved by man to overcome his evil instincts. Every victory gained over ourselves takes us up another step of the ladder, on which one end is on Earth and the other end is before the feet of the Supreme Judge. Climb that ladder bravely; its steps are of easy access to he whose will is in the work: Always look toward the heights for encouragement, as unfortunate shall be he who delays and turns his head. In this case, the emptiness that surrounds him will be bewildering. He will find himself powerless and say: “What is the use of advancing further. I have profited so little.” No, my dear friends, don’t turn your head away. Pride is deep in the human heart; make this sentiment serve to give you strength and courage for your ascension! Employ your time overcoming your weaknesses and climb the summit of the eternal mountain.