THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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2. THE AUTHORITY BEHIND THE SPIRITIST DOCTRINE
The Universal Control of the Spirit Teachings


If the Spiritist Doctrine were of a purely human conception it would offer no more guarantee than the enlightenment of those who actually conceived it. But no one on Earth could seriously contemplate the pretention of possessing the exclusive and absolute truth. If the Spirits who made these revelations had manifested to only one man we would have no guarantee of their origin since we would need to believe, on his word alone, what he said he had received as teachings from them. If we accepted perfect sincerity on his part, the most he could do would be to convince his circle of acquaintances. He would be able to form a sect, but never be able to form a world congregation.

God wished the new revelations to reach mankind by the quickest and most authentic path, so He entrusted the Spirits to deliver them from pole to pole, manifesting everywhere without conferring the exclusive privilege of hearing these words to any one individual. One person might be deceived, could even deceive themself, but this could not happen when millions of people see and hear the same thing. This constitutes a guarantee for each one and for all. For the rest, it is possible to make one man disappear, but it is not possible to make everyone disappear. It is possible to bum books, but you cannot bum Spirits, and even if all the books were burnt, the base of the doctrine would still be inexhaustible because it is not to be found on Earth and would reappear in every place so that all might partake of it. If there is a shortage of men to diffuse it, there will always be Spirits whose action reaches everyone and even those whom no person can reach.

So then, it is the Spirits themselves who do the propagating with the help of innumerable mediums, disseminating all over the world. If there had been but one interpreter, however favoured be might have been, Spiritism would barely be known. To whatever class be belonged, that interpreter would have been the object of caution to many people and not every nation would have accepted him, whereas the Spirits communicate to the four corners of the Earth, to all peoples, to all sects, to all parties and everyone accepts teem. Spiritism has no nationality and does not stem from any known cult that might exist; nor is it imposed by any social class seeing that any person may receive instructions from parents, relatives and friends from the beyond. This is haw it had to be accomplished if it was to lead all mankind towards brotherhood. If it did not maintain itself in neutral territory it would nurture dissensions instead of pacifying them.

The force of Spiritism, as well as the cause of its rapid spread, resides in this universal teaching. Where the word of one solitary person, even with the help of the press, would take centuries to become known by all, millions of voices are making themselves beard simultaneously in every corner of this planet. All are proclaiming the same principles and transmitting them on all levels, from the scholarly down to the most ignorant, in order that no one be disinherited. So far, this is an advantage that no other doctrine bas to offer. If Spiritism then be the truth, it is not afraid of being unwanted by man, nor of modern revolutions, nor of the physical subversions of this globe, because nothing can touch the Spirits.

This is not however the only advantage which comes from this exceptional situation. It also offers an unattackable guarantee against all misgivings which might arise, be it from someone’s ambition or be it through the contradictions of some Spirits. We cannot deny that these contradictions are obstacles, but they bring their own remedy with them alongside the ill.

We know that Spirits, doe to differences in their various individual capacities, do not possess all the truth and do not claim to. It is not given to all to be able to penetrate certain mysteries. The knowledge of each one is proportional to their evolution. Ordinary Spirits know nothing more than does Man himself, but amongst them, as amongst men and women, are those who are presumptious and falsely wise, who think they know everything, boot who in fact are ignorant; these are the systematical ones who take their own ideas to be the truth. In short, it is only the highly evolved Spirits, those who are almost completely dematerialised, who find themselves free from earthly ideas and prejudices. It is also known that less scrupulous Spirits do not hesitate to deceive by taking names which do not belong to them in order to impose their utopian ideas. As a result of all this and in relation to all that is outside the exclusive field of moral education, the revelations that any one medium may receive will have an individual character, without any stamp of authenticity and should be considered as personal opinions, from this or that Spirit, and it would be imprudent to accept them or thoughtlessly propagate them as absolute truths.


The first corroborative test to be undertaken is without doubt that of reason, to which it is wise to submit, without exception, all that comes from Spirit. Any theory in evident contradiction to good sense, or against rigorous logic, or positive facts that have been previously acquired should be rejected, however apparently respectable be the name by which it is signed. This test will no doubt be left incomplete due to the lack of illumination of some people and the tendency of many to take their own opinions as judgements of truth. That being the case, what are those who deposit absolutely no faith in themselves to do? They should seek what seems to be the majority and take this as a guide. This then, is the manner in which you should proceed when judging what is said by the Spirits, who are the first to offer the means of so doing.

Complete concordance of Spirit teaching is the best proof of authenticity. However, it is important that this be received only under determined conditions. The weakest type of concordance is obtained when the medium, of his own accord, interrogates many different Spirits about a doubtful point. It is evident that, if the medium is under an obsessing influence or dealing with a mystifying Spirit, then that Spirit may say the same thing under different names. Neither is it any adequate guarantee to conformity when communications are received by different mediums at the same centre because they may be under the same influences.

Only one sure guarantee exists for spirit teachings: This is the concordance that exists between revelations which have been received spontaneously by a large number of mediums not known to each other and located in different places.

It is understood that we are not referring to those communications which deal with secondary interests, but those referring to the basic principles of the doctrine. Experience has taught us that when a new principle is to be presented, it always happens spontaneously in different places at the same time and in the same way, if not in actual form at least in general content.

On the other hand, if by any chance a Spirit formulates eccentric doctrine based exclusively on its own ideas and excluding the truth, you may be sure that this idea will remain confined and undoubtedly will collapse when confronted with instructions received from many other places, similar to many examples which are already known. It was this exclusiveness which destroyed all the biased doctrine which sprang up at the time of the initiation of Spiritism, when each one explained the phenomena according to their own beliefs, before the Laws that govern the relationship between the visible and invisible worlds became known.

That is what we have based ourself on when formulating a principle for the doctrine. We do not insist on it being true just because it might be in accordance with our own ideas. Neither do we have the least desire to uphold ourself as being the sole possessor of the whole truth and we have never said to anyone: "Believe in this because it is I who tell you". We consider that our own opinion is nothing more than personal, which might be true or false, as we are no more infallible than anyone else. It is not because we were taught a principle that we believe it to be true; it is doe to the fact that it has received the sanction of concordance.


The position in which we find ourself is that of receiving communications from almost a thousand serious Spiritual Centres, scattered over highly diversified areas of this planet This gives us the possibility of observing on which principles concordance is established. It is this concordance which has guided us till today, and it is the one which will go on guiding us in new fields still to be explored. We have noticed while studying these communications, coming from France and outside, that from the very special nature of the information a new path is being sought and that the moment bas arrived to take a step forward. These revelations, many times given through veiled words, have frequently passed unperceived by many who receive them. Others have thought themselves to be the sole receivers. Taken in isolation, we would have given them no importance and it is only the coincidence which proves their seriousness. Later, when these new teachings reach the public, there will be many who will remember having received the same orientation. This general movement which we are studying and observing, together with the assistance of our Spiritual Guides, is what helps us to judge whether it is the correct moment to do something or not.

This universal verification constitutes the guarantee of the future unity of Spiritism and will annul all contradictory theories. It is here that in the future we shall find our criteria for the truth. The cause of the success of the doctrine as put forth in THE SPIRITS' BOOK and THE MEDIUMS' BOOK was due to the fact that everybody bad received confirmation, direct from Spirit, of what these books contain. Whereas if all the Spirits bad come to contradict them they would have received the same fate suffered by others who expounded imaginary concepts. Not even the support of the press would have saved them from shipwreck. But on the contrary, deprived as they were of this support, they nevertheless opened new paths and have made rapid advancement. This is because the Spirits offered their support and goodwill which not only compensated but surpassed the lack of goodwill an the part of Man. This is what will happen to all ideas, whether emanated from Man or Spirit, which prevail even in the face of this confrontation and this is the final test whose strength no one can deny.

Suppose it pleased some Spirits to dictate a book, under whatever title you choose, offering contrary teachings; let us suppose their intention was hostile, with the object of discrediting the doctrine and maliciously provoking apocryphal communications. What influence could these writings exercise if they were refuted by all other Spirits? Anyone wishing to launch a doctrine in their own name should first seek assurance in combined concordance from the Spirits. There is no comparison between a system devised by only one person to that of another devised by everyone What can the arguments of slanderers, wishing only to belittle, achieve against the opinion of the masses, if millions of friendly voices from space make themselves heard in opposition in every comer of the Universe, as well as in family homes?


What happens to the innumerable publications which have the pretention of destroying Spiritism? Which of them has as much as caused a hesitation in its march? Till now no one has considered the matter from this point of view without forgetting the most important fact: each one has been depending on themselves, without counting on the Spirits.

The principle of concordance is also a guarantee against any alterations to which Spiritism might be subjected by other sects wishing to take possession of it for their own ends, and so change it to suit their own ideas. Whosoever tries to deviate Spiritism from its providential objective will never succeed, for the simple reason that the Spirits, as a universal body, will cause any ideas contrary to the truth to fall.

From all this stands out the main truth, which is that he who wishes to oppose the established and sanctioned ideas could, to be sure, cause a localised perturbation lasting but a short while, but could never dominate the whole, not even for a moment and certainly not over a period of time. We should also like to point out that instructions given by Spirits on points not yet elucidated by the doctrine should not be considered as law, until these instructions have been duly isolated and proven. Neither should they be accepted except with all doe reserve and under the heading of 'awaiting confirmation'. From this we understand the need for greater prudence before making any such communication public. But if they are deemed fit to be publicised they should be presented as mere individual opinions, possibly true, but awaiting confirmation. It will be necessary to wait for this confirmation before proclaiming it as a complete truth, unless you wish to be accused of levity or of irreflected cruelty.

The Superior Spirits proceed with extreme wisdom in their revelations. They never touch on the most important questions, except gradually, until our intelligence shows itself to accept a more advanced truth and when circumstances show themselves to be favourable to a new idea. This is why they did not reveal everything from the outset, and still have not told everything. They never give themselves to impatience, like those who want to eat the fruit before it is ripe. It is useless to try to hurry things forward beyond the time designated by Providence for its revealing, and if you do try, the serious Spirits will always deny their assistance. Those Spirits who are frivolous are not the least preoccupied with the truth and consequently will give answers to anything and everything. So it is in this manner that whenever a question is premature, contradictory answers will always be found.

The principles mentioned above have not been formed as the result of a personal theory; they are consequences which have been forced upon us from the varying conditions within which Spirit communication is manifest. It is quite evident that if one Spirit says one thing and thousands of other Spirits say something different, we presume the truth does not lie with the solitary communicant. For someone to imagine they possess the troth against all the rest would be quite illogical, be it man or Spirit. The really ponderous Spirits, if they do not feel completely or sufficiently clarified about any subject never give a definite answer, but declare that they are merely giving their own point of view and suggest that we await the necessary confirmation.

However large, beautiful or just an idea appears, it is impossible to unite opinions right from the first moment. The conflicts which arise in this case are the inevitable consequences which such a movement would cause, and they are necessary so that the truth may be emphasized and the sooner this happens the better, so that any false ideas may be discarded. Any Spiritists who feels worried by this situation may be tranquil, as all these isolated claims will fall before the enormous and discerning force of universal concordance.

It is not the opinion of any man which will produce unity, but the unanimous voices of the Spirits; it will not be any man, least of all myself, who will destroy the Spiritist orthodoxy, neither will it be a Spirit wishing to impose whatever it may be. This unity will be accomplished by the universal gathering of Spirits who communicate throughout the world, by order of God. This is the essential character of the Spiritist Doctrine; this is its force and its authority. God desired that His Law be set upon an immovable base and so did not trust the se fundamentals to only one fragile being.

Before such a powerful tribunal, where neither conspiracy, rivalries, sects or nations are known, all opposition, ambition and those who seek individual supremacy will fall. We ourselves will fall if we try to substitute our own ideas for those of God. He alone will decide all lawful questions, impose silence an disagreement and give reason to those who have it. Before this imposing accord, from the voices of Heaven, what value has an opinion of a mere man or that of one Spirit? It makes no more impression than a drop of water in the ocean and even less than a child’s voice in a tempest.

Universal opinion, like that of a supreme judge, is the one which is pronounced last, being formed from all the individual opinions. If one of these contains the truth it merely shows its own relative weight in the balance and if it is false it cannot prevail against the rest. In this immense concourse all individuality disappears and this constitutes yet another disappointment for man's pride.

This harmonious assemblage is already being formed and before the turn of this century we shall see its full brightness shining forth in such a manner as to dissipate all doubt. The field is prepared and from now an patent voices will receive the mission of making themselves heard in order to congregate Man under one banner. But until this actually happens, all those who fluctuate between two opposing points of view can observe in which way general opinion forms. This will be the correct indication as to the declaration of the majority of the Spirits an the varying subjects about which they offer orientation, and is an even more accurate sign as to which of the two systems will prevail.

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