CHARACTERISTICS OF PERFECTION
Characteristics of Perfection. - The good person. - The good Spiritist. - The parable of the sower. -
INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: Duty. - Virtue. - Those who are superior and those who
are inferior. - The worldly person. - Look after both body and spirit.
1. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them
that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. For if ye love
them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye
salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect (Matthew, 5: 44 & 46-48).
2. Since God possess infinite perfection in all things, the proposition: "Be perfect as your
Celestial Father is perfect," if taken literally would presuppose the possibility of attaining absolute
perfection. If it were given to Man to be as perfect as his Creator, then he would become his equal,
which is inadmissible. But the people to whom Jesus spoke did not understand this nuance, which
caused Him to limit Himself to the presentation of a model and tell them that they must strive to
Those words then must be understood in the sense of relative perfection, that which
humanity is capable of achieving and which most nearly approaches the Divinity. What does this
perfection consist of? Jesus said: "In loving one's enemies, in doing good to those who hate us, in
praying for those who persecute us." In this way He shows that the essence of perfection is charity
in its most ample form, because it implies the practice of all the other virtues.
In fact, by observing the results of all the vices and even of simple defects, it can be
recognised that there is not one which does not more or less disfigure the sentiment of charity,
because all of them have their beginnings in selfishness and pride, which are the negation of it. This
is due to the fact that everything which over-stimulates our self-esteem destroys, or at least
weakens, the elements of true charity which are: benevolence, indulgence,
abnegation and devotion. Love for one's fellow creatures, when extended to love for one's enemies,
cannot be allied to any defect which is against charity. Therefore for this reason it is always an
indication of a greater or lesser moral superiority. From this it follows that the degree of perfection
is in direct relation to the extent of this love. It was for this reason that Jesus, after having given His
Disciples the rules of charity and all that they contain of the most sublime, said to them: "Be
perfect, as your Celestial Father is perfect."
THE GOOD PERSON
3. The truly good person is one who complies with the laws of justice, love and charity in
their highest degree of purity. If they examine their conscience concerning their own actions they
will ask themselves if they have violated those laws, if they have practised any evil, if they have
done all the good that was possible, if they have voluntarily disregarded any occasion to be useful,
if anyone has any complaint to make of them and finally, if they have done to others everything
that they would wish done to themselves.
They deposit their faith in God, in His goodness, in His justice and in His wisdom. They
know that without His permission nothing can happen. So they submit themselves in all things to
Good people have faith in the future, which is the reason to put spiritual possessions before
those of a temporary nature. They know that all vicissitudes of life, all pain and all deceptions are
trials or atonements and accept them without murmuring.
Men and women who possess the sentiments of charity and love do good for the sake of
goodness, without waiting for payment of any kind. They repay evil with good, take up the defence
of the weak against the strong and always sacrifice their own interests in the name of justice.
These kind of people encounter satisfaction in the benefits they are able to spread, in the
service they are able to render, in the happinesses they promote, in the tears they are able to dry and
in the consolation they offer to those who are afflicted. Their first impulse is always to think of
others before themselves and to look after these interests before looking after their own. On the
other hand, the selfish person always calculates the benefits and losses arising from any generous
The good person is always good, humane, and benevolent with everyone, without
distinction as to race or creed, because they see all men and women as brothers and sisters. They
respect all sincere convictions in others and never launch reprobation against those who think
Charity guides them in every circumstance, because they know that those who prejudice
others with evil words, who injure others with their pride by disregarding their susceptibilities, or
who knowing they could avoid it, do not
draw back at the thought of causing suffering or yet a contrariety, however small, lack the
obligation to love one's neighbour and so do not deserve the clemancy of the Lord.
They do not harbour rancour, hate nor yet desire vengeance. Instead they follow the
example of Jesus by forgiving and forgetting all offences, only remembering the benefits received,
because they know that we ourselves shall be forgiven only in as much as we are able to forgive
These kind of people are indulgent with the weaknesses of others because they know that
they also need indulgence, remembering that Christ said: "Let he who is without sin cast the first
stone." They do not take pleasure in looking for defects in others, nor in calling attention to them,
and if necessity obliges them to do so, they always try to look for the good qualities so as to lessen
the bad ones.
Good people study their own imperfections and work unceasingly to combat them, using all
their strength, so that tomorrow they will be able to say that they are just a little better than they
were the day before.
The good person never tries to emphasize the importance of their own spirit or talents at the
expense of others. But on the contrary, they take every opportunity to highlight in others whatever
these people may have that is useful. They are not conceited about their riches, nor of any personal
advantage, knowing that everything that has been given to them may be taken away.
They use, but do not abuse, the possessions which have been conceded to them because they
are only a deposit, for which they will be required to give full account. They know that the most
detrimental employment that these riches can be put to is the satisfaction of their own passions.
If then, by social order, a good person has been placed in a position of command over their
fellow creatures, they treat them with kindness and benevolence, because before God all men are
equal. They use their authority to raise up the morale of these people and never to crush them with
their own pride. They avoid everything which might cause a subordinate position to be even more
painful than necessary.
On the part of those who are subordinate, let it be understood that the duties which go with
this position must be clearly appreciated and conscientiously fulfilled. (See chapter 17, item 9.)
Finally, a good person is always one who respects the rights of their fellow beings, as
assured by the laws of nature, in the same way that they would wish their own to be respected.
These are not all the qualities which distinguish a good person, but anyone who tries hard to
possess those which have been mentioned will find themselves on the road which leads to all the
THE GOOD SPIRITIST
4. Spiritism, when thoroughly understood and above all when deeply and sincerely felt,
leads to the results already expounded, which characterize the true Spiritist just as much as the true
Christian, for they are one and the same. Spiritism does not institute any new morals; it only makes
it easier for mankind to understand and practise Christ's morals by giving an unshakable and
enlightened faith to those who are in doubt or who waver.
Meanwhile, many of those who believe in the fact of mediumistic manifestations do not
comprehend the consequences nor the far reaching moral effects, or if they do, then they do not
apply them to themselves. To what is this attributed? Is it due to some failing in the clarity of the
doctrine? No, because it does not contain any allegories or forms which could lead to false
interpretations. Clarity is the very essence from which it gets its strength, because it touches Man's
intelligence directly. There is no mystery, and those who are initiated are not in possession of any
secrets hidden from the people.
Is it indispensable then to possess an outstanding intelligence in order to understand? No, in
as much as there are people of notable capacities who do not understand, whereas there are many of
ordinary intelligence, even young people, who grasp the meaning of even the most delicate points
with remarkable precision. This proves that the so called physical part of science only requires eyes
to be able to observe, while the essential part demands a certain degree of sensitivity, which can be
called maturity in the moral sense and which is quite independent of age or level of education,
because it is peculiar to the spiritual advancement of the incarnate soul.
In some people, material ties are still too strong for them to be able to release themselves
from earthly things. A kind of mist with which they are surrounded, does not allow them to see into
the infinite future. This results in the fact of them not being able to break away from old tendencies
or habits because they cannot see that there exists something better than what they already have.
They believe in Spirits as a simple fact. But this modifies none or very few of their instinctive
tendencies. In a word, they perceive nothing more than a small ray of light insufficient to guide
them or offer profound aspirations which would make it possible for them to overcome their
inclinations. The phenomenon touches them more than the morality, which seems to them to be
hackneyed and monotonous. They ask only that the Spirits unceasingly initiate new mysteries,
without asking themselves if they have become worthy of penetrating the hidden secrets of the
Creator as yet. These then are the imperfect Spiritists, some of whom have remained stationary in
time or have turned away from their brother's and sister's faith, due to their having drawn back
before the necessity of self-reform, or perhaps they have kept sympathy with those who share the
same weaknesses or
prejudices. Nevertheless, the acceptance of the fundamental principles of the doctrine is the first
step, from which it will be easier for them to take a second step in a future life.
The person who can be justifiably classified as a true and sincere Spiritist is to be found on a
superior level of moral progress. The spirit of this person almost completely dominates their
physical body, so giving them a clearer perception of the future. The principles of the doctrine,
which leave many untouched, cause them to feel deep inner vibrations. In short, their heart is
moved and this is what makes their faith unshakable. It is like a musician who is touched by only a
few chords, whereas another person hears only sounds. The true Spiritist can be recognised by their
moral transformation and by the efforts they employ in order to dominate their bad instincts. While
one is content with a limited horizon, the other, who understands that better things exist, makes
every effort to liberate himself and always manages to do this when their desire is strong and true.
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
5. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great
multitudes were gathered unto Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat; and the whole
multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying,
Behold, a sower went forth to sow. And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and
the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much
earth: and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth. And when the
sun came up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away And
some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up, and choked them: but others fell upon
good ground,, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew, 13:1-9).
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the Word of the
Kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that
which was sown in his heart This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that
received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with joy
receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself but dearth for a while: for when tribulation or
persecution Aristech because of the Word, by and by he is offended. He also that received
seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; and the care of this world, and the
deceitfulness ofriches, choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed
into the good ground is he that heareth the Word, and understandeth it; which also beareth
fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew, 13: 18-23).
6. The parable of the sower truly represents the various ways in which we may make use of
the teachings from the New Testament. There are so many people for whom these teachings are
nothing more than dead words which can be compared to seeds which fall on stony ground and
produce no fruits at all.
This parable brings us a no less justifiable application of the different categories of
Spiritists. Do we not find symbolised in it those who are only attracted to material phenomena,
from which they are unable to learn anything, because they only see it as an object of curiosity?
Does it not show us those who seek the brilliance of spirit communication merely to interest
themselves as long as it satisfies their imagination and who, after listening to the messages,
continue to be just as cold and indifferent as they were before? Then there are those who consider
the advice very good and admire it, but only apply it to others and never to themselves. Finally
there are those for whom the teachings are as seeds which fall on good soil and produce fruits.
INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS.
7. Duty is a moral obligation, firstly to ourselves and then to others. Duty is a law of life
encountered in the smallest details as well as in the most elevated acts. Now I wish to speak only of
moral duty and not of that duty which refers to the professions.
Within the order of sentiments, duty is a very difficult one to fulfill because it finds itself in
antagonism with the seductions of interest and of the heart. Its victories have no witnesses and its
failures suffer no repressions. Man's intimate duty is left to his free-will. The pressure of Man's
conscience, this guardian of interior integrity, alerts and sustains him, but shows itself frequently
impotent against the deceptions of passion. Duty of the heart, when faithfully observed, elevates
Man, but how can we define it with exactitude? Where does duty begin? Where does it end? Duty
begins exactly at the point where the happiness or tranquility of our neighbour is threatened, and
therefore terminates at the limit we would not wish to be passed in relation to ourselves.
God has created all men equal in relation to pain; whether we be small or great, ignorant or
educated, we all suffer for the same motives so that each one may judge in clear consciousness the
evil that can be done. With reference to goodness, in its infinite variety of expressions, the criterion
is not the same. Equality in the face of pain is God's sublime providence. He desires that all of His
children, being instructed through their common experiences, should not practise evil with the
excuse of not knowing its effects.
Duty is a practical summary of all moral speculation; it is the bravery of the soul which
faces the anguishes of battle. It is both austere and mild, ready to adapt itself to the most diverse
complications while maintaining inflexibility before temptations. The man who fulfils his duty loves
God more than his fellow beings and loves his fellow beings more than himself It is at one and the
same time judge and slave in its own cause.
Duty is the most beautiful laurel of reason, and is born of it as a child is born of its mother.
Man should love duty, not because it protects him from the evils of life from which humanity cannot escape, but because it transmits vigour to the soul, which it
needs so as to be able to develop.
Duty grows and irradiates under a constantly more elevated form in each of the superior
stages of humanity. A person's moral obligations towards God never cease, They must reflect the
eternal virtues, which do not accept imperfect outlines, because He wishes the grandeur of His
work always to be resplendent before their eyes. - LAZARUS (Paris, 1863).
8. Virtue, at its highest level is a combination of all those essential qualities which constitute
a goodly person, namely to be good, charitable, hard working, sober and modest. Unfortunately
these virtues are almost always accompanied by slight moral failures which tarnish and weaken
them, The person who calls attention to their virtues is not virtuous, because they lack the principle
quality which is modesty; but they possess the vice in greatest opposition to modesty, which is
pride. Virtue that is really deserving of this name, does not like to exhibit itself. We must pay
attention in order to be aware of its presence; it hides itself in the shadows and runs away from
public admiration. Saint Vincent de Paul was virtuous. The dignified curate of Ars was virtuous, as
are a great many others who are little known in this world, but are known to God. All of these good
people were ignorant of the fact that they were virtuous. They allowed themselves to be carried
along by their saintly inspirations, practising good with absolute disinterestedness and complete
forgetfulness of self.
It is to this virtue, well understood and practised, that I call you, my children. It is to this
really Christian and truly spiritual virtue that I invite you to commit yourselves. But remove from
your hearts the sentiments of pride, vanity and self-love which always tarnish the most beautiful of
these qualities. Do not imitate those people who offer themselves as models, who blow their own
trumpets about their own qualities for all who are tolerant enough to listen. This ostentatious virtue
almost always hides a mass of little wickednesses and hateful weaknesses.
In principle, the man or woman who exalts themself, who erect statues to their own virtues,
by this very fact annul all the merits they might effectively have had. Furthermore, what can be said
of those whose only value is in appearing to be what they are not? You must clearly understand that
whoever does good has a feeling of intimate satisfaction in the bottom of their heart. But from the
moment that satisfaction is exteriorised for the purpose of provoking praise, it degenerates into self-
Oh, all of you whom the Spiritist faith has reanimated with its rays, who know just how far
away from perfection Man finds himself, you will never deliver yourselves over to this failing!
Virtue is a blessing which I desire for all sincere Spiritists, but with this warning: It is better to have
fewer virtues and
to be modest than to have many and be proud. It was because of pride that the various groupings of
humanity through the ages have successively lost themselves. It will be through humility that they
will one day redeem themselves. - FRANÇOIS-NICOLAS-MADELEINE (Paris, 1863).
THOSE WHO ARE SUPERIOR AND THOSE WHO ARE INFERIOR
9. Authority, just as much as fortune, is delegated; and those who have received it will be
required to give an account of what they have done with it. Do not believe that it has been given for
the futile pleasure of command, nor even less as a right or property, as is falsely thought by the
majority of powerful people on Earth. Besides, God is constantly proving that it is neither the one
nor the other, since He takes it away whenever it pleases Him. If it was a privilege inherent to the
person who exercised it, it would be inalienable. However, no one can say that something belongs
to them, when it may be taken away without their consent. God confers authority with the title of
mission or test, as He sees fit, and takes it back in the same manner.
For the depository of authority, whatever its extent may be, from the master over his
servants to a sovereign over his peoples, it must never be forgotten that such people have souls in
their charge, and will have to answer for both the good and bad directives given to these
subordinates. The misdemeanours these may commit, and the vices to which they may succumb in
consequence of the directives received or the bad examples given, will all revert to those in
command; just as in the same way the fruits of the solicitudes offered in conducting these
subordinates towards goodness will also revert to those in authority. Every good person on Earth
has either a small or a great mission, and whatever form it may take, it is always given for the
purpose of goodness. Therefore to turn it away from its purpose is to fail in the execution of the
If God asks the rich man: "What have you done with the fortune in your hands which should
have been a source for spreading fruitfulness all around you?", He will also inquire of those who
have some authority: "What have you done with your authority? What evils have you avoided?
What progress have you made? If I gave you subordinates it was not so that you could turn them
into slaves to your desires, or docile instruments for your whims or your greed. I made you strong
and entrusted to you those who were weak, so that you could protect them and help them to climb
up towards Me."
The acting superior who keeps Christ's words despises none of his subordinates, because he
knows that social distinctions do not exist before God. Spiritism teaches him that if these people are
obeying him today, perhaps they have already given him orders in the past, or may give them to
him later on, and that then he will be treated in the same manner as when they were under him.
If the superior has duties to be fulfilled, the subaltern also has duties on his side which are
no less sacred. If this person is also a Spiritist their conscience
will tell them, in no uncertain terms, that they are not exempt from fulfilling these duties even
when their superior does not fulfill his, because they know that you do not repay evil with evil and
that the failings of some do not authorize others to fail likewise. If they suffer in their position, they
will comment that without doubt they deserve it because they have perhaps abused the authority
they had been given at some other time, and that now they are feeling the disadvantages that they
had made others suffer. If they are obliged to support this situation for want of a better one, then
Spiritism teaches them to be resigned as a test of their humility which is necessary for their
advancement. Their belief guides them in their conduct; inducing them to proceed as they would
wish subordinates to behave towards them, if they were the superior. For this reason they are more
scrupulous in the fulfilment of their obligations, as they understand that all negligence in the work
which has been confided to them would cause a loss to the one who pays them and to whom they
owe their time and effort. In a word, this person is guided by their sense of duty, which their faith
has instilled in them, and the certainty that all turning aside from the straight and narrow pathway
will be a debt incurred that must be repaid sooner or later. - FRANÇOIS-NICOLAS-
MADELEINE. Cardinal MORLOT (Paris, 1863).
THE WORLDLY PERSON
10. A sentiment of pity should always animate the hearts of those who gather together under
the eye of the Lord, imploring the assistance of the Good Spirits. Therefore purify your hearts. Do
not allow yourselves to be perturbed by futile and mundane thoughts. Lift up your Spirits towards
those you are calling, so that they, having encountered favourable dispositions, may launch a
profusion of seeds which should germinate in your hearts so as to produce the fruits of charity and
Do not think, however, that in constantly urging you to pray and meditate we wish you to
lead the life of a mystic, or that you should maintain yourselves outside the laws of the society in
which you are condemned to reside. No. You must dwell with the people of your time in the
manner in which they live. Sacrifice wants, even frivolities of the day, but sacrifice them with a
pure sentiment which can sanctify them.
You are called upon to be in contact with Spirits of diverse natures and opposite characters.
do not enter into conflict with anyone with whom you may find yourself. Always be happy and
content, with the happiness which comes from a clear conscience and the contentment of one who
will inherit Heaven and is counting the days till they receive their inheritance.
Virtue does not consist of having a severe and gloomy appearance, or in repelling the
pleasures which the human condition permits. It is sufficient to refer all your acts to God, Who
gave you your life. It is enough that at the commencement and at the end of each task you lift up
your thoughts to the Creator, asking Him with a heartfelt impulse for His protection in order to
execute the work, or His blessing on its termination. On doing anything at all, take your thoughts
up to that Supreme Source. Do nothing without first thinking of God, so that this thought may
come to purify and sanctify your acts.
Perfection, as Christ said, is only to be found in the practice of unlimited charity, since the
duties of charity cover all social positions from the most lowly to the most elevated. The person
who lives in isolation will have no means of exercising charity. It is only by being in contact with
one's fellow creatures, in painful battle, that we are able to find occasion to practise it. The one who
isolates himself therefore is entirely deprived of the most powerful means of perfection. In only
having to think of oneself, life becomes that of a selfish person. (See chapter 5, item 26.)
Therefore do not imagine that in order to be in constant contact with us, to live under the
watchful eye of God, you must wear a hair shirt and cover yourselves with ashes. No, no, and yet
again no! Be happy within the picture of human needs, but in this happiness never allow a thought
or an act which could offend God, or cause a shadow to fall upon the face of those who love you or
direct you. God is love and He blesses all who sanctify their own love. - A Protecting Spirit
LOOK AFTER BOTH BODY AND SPIRIT
11. Does spiritual perfection depend on the mortification of the body? In order to resolve
this question I will base myself on elementary principles and begin by demonstrating the need to
take care of the body, which according to the alternatives of health and sickness, has a very
important influence upon the soul, because we must consider it to be a prisoner of the flesh. So that
this prisoner can live, move itself, and even have an illusion of liberty, the body must be sound, of
good disposition, and be vigorous. Let us then make a comparison. Let us suppose that both are in
perfect condition; what should be done to maintain the balance between their aptitudes and their
necessities, which are so very different?
In this case two systems are confronting each other: that of the ascetics who wish to bring
down the body, and that of the materialists who wish to diminish the soul. Two forms of violence,
each one almost as foolish as the other. Alongside these two great parties seethe the indifferent
multitudes who, without either conviction or passion, love with tepidness and are economic with
their pleasure. Where then is wisdom? Where then is the science of living? Nowhere at all! And
this great problem would still remain to be solved if Spiritism had not come to help the researchers
and demonstrate to them the relationship which exists between the body and the soul, and to tell
them that as they are both reciprocally necessary, it is indispensable that both are looked after.
So then, love your soul and also look after your body which is the instrument of the soul. To
pay no attention to these needs, which Nature itself indicates, is to ignore God's laws. Do not
castigate your body due to failings which your free-will can induce you to commit, and for which it
is just as responsible as is the badly driven horse for the accidents it causes. Perchance, will you be
more perfect if by tormenting your body you do not become less selfish, less prideful and more
charitable towards your neighbours? No, perfection is not to be found in this manner, but
exclusively in the reformation to which you submit your Spirit. Discipline it, subjugate it and
mortify it; this is the way to make it more docile to God's will, and is the one and only way which
leads to perfection - GEORGES, a Protecting Spirit (Paris, 1863).