Allan Kardec

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8. Spiritism, therefore, does not deny the doctrine of the future punishment of the guilty; on the contrary, it asserts, explains, and justifies that doctrine. What Spiritism denies and destroys is the idea of a localized, physical Hell, with its fires and pitchforks, of unpardonable sins and eternal punishment. It does not deny the reality of Purgatory, for it proves that the world in which we now find ourselves is, in fact, a Purgatory, that is to say, a place of punishment and discipline; and, by the explanation it thus furnishes of the sorrows and trials of the earthly life, it defines and gives precision to the vague idea that has been previously put forth in regard to Purgatory, and, by so doing, renders it credible and acceptable to those by whom it was formerly rejected.

Does Spiritism reject the idea of praying for the dead? It does just the contrary, since the suffering spirits earnestly implore of us to pray for them; it shows us that to do so is one of the duties imposed on us by charity, and it also shows us the effectiveness of prayer as a means of bringing them back to goodness, and, thus, of shortening their sufferings. * Addressing its doctrines to our human intelligence, Spiritism gives religious belief to the unbelieving; it proves the value of prayer to those who formerly mocked at it. But Spiritism also shows that the effectiveness of prayer is in the thought it embodies and not in the words in which it is clothed, that the most efficacious prayers are those of the heart and not of the lips, those which are offered of our own volition, and not those which we cause to be said by others for money.

* Vide “The Gospel According to Spiritism,” chap. XXVII, Action of Prayer.

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