INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS
AFFABILITY AND MILDNESS
6. Benevolence towards one's fellow-creatures, which is the result of loving your neighbour, manifests itself in the form of affability and mildness. However, it is not always a good thing to trust in appearance. Education and worldliness can give Man a thin veneer of these qualities. There are many whose feigned good-nature is nothing more than an exterior mask, like beautiful clothes hiding interior deformities! The world is full of such people with a smile on their lips but poison in their hearts; who are mild as long as nothing irritates them, but who bite at the least provocation; those whose tongues are made of gold when speaking face to face, but change into a poisoned dart when speaking from behind.
Still in the category of those showing benign countenance, there are those domestic tyrants who make their families and subordinates suffer the weight of their pride and despotism. As if they are trying to get even for any constraints possibly imposed upon them while away from home. Not daring to use their authority on strangers who would call them to order, they want to at least be feared by those who cannot resist them. They are proud to be able to say "I give the orders here and am obeyed." But they never think that they could also add, "And I am detested."
It is not enough for milk and honey to flow from the lips. If the heart is never associated with these sentiments then there is only hypocrisy. Those whose affability and mildness are not mere pretence are never belied, for they are always the same whether in society or in privacy. Besides, they know that although it is possible to deceive Man, no one can deceive God. - LAZARUS (Paris, 1861).
7. Pain is a blessing sent by God to all His elected; so when you suffer do not allow yourself to become afflicted; rather bless the Omnipotent Who, through the pain of this world, has chosen you to receive glory in Heaven.
Be patient, because this is also a charity; everyone should practice the law of charity as taught by Christ, Who is God's Envoy. Charity given to the poor in the form of a]ms is the easiest of all. However, there is another kind of charity which is much more laborious and so consequently offers higher merit. That is to forgive all those placed in your pathway by God to act as instruments for your suffering and to test your patience.
We know full well that life is difficult, being composed of so many apparently useless, insignificant and valueless things which act as repeated pinpricks and end up hurting us. However, if on the one hand we observe with care the duties imposed upon us, and on the other recognise the consolations and compensations received, then we must admit that the blessings are far more numerous than the pains. When our eyes are raised up to Heaven our burdens appear to be less heavy than when our brow is bowed down to the earth.
Courage, my friends! Christ is your model. He suffered far more than any of you and had nothing to offer penitence for, whereas we must atone for our past and thereby fortify ourselves for the future. So be patient; be Christians! This word summarizes everything. - A Friendly Spirit (Havre, 1862).
OBEDIENCE AND RESIGNATION
8. The doctrine of Jesus constantly teaches obedience and resignation, two virtues which are the companions of mildness and activity, although man wrongly confuses them with denial of sentiment and free-will. Obedience is the consent of reason; resignation is the consent of the heart Both are active forces since they carry the burden which has fallen upon them due to foolish revolt. The coward cannot be resigned, any more than the prideful and selfish can be obedient. Jesus was the very incarnation of these virtues, which were despised by material antiquity. He came to Earth at a time when Roman society was perishing in the failings of corruption. He came so that, even in the bosom of depressed humanity, the triumph of sacrifice and the renouncement of sensuality would shine forth.
Thus, each epoch is marked with the stamp of the virtue or vice which it has either to save or to lose. The virtue of this generation is intellectuality, the vice is moral indifference. We merely use the word 'activity' because a genius may suddenly rise up and discover for him or herself the horizons which will be seen by the multitude only at a later date. Whereas activity denotes the reunion of the endeavours of everyone in order to reach a somewhat less brilliant conclusion, but one which will confirm the intellectual elevation of an epoch.
Submit yourself then to the impulsion we have come to give your spirits. Obey the great law of progress which is the promise of your generation. Woe to the lazy ones, woe to all those not open to understanding! Woe unto them! Because we, who are the guides of humanity on the march, shall apply the whip and subdue the rebellion by means of the double action of brake and spur. All prideful resistance will have to be overcome sooner or later. However, blessed be all those who are mild for they will lend yielding ears to these teachings. - LAZARUS (Paris, 1863).
9. Pride induces you to judge yourselves to be more than you are and to repel any comparison which might discredit you. You consider yourselves to be so much higher than your fellow men or women, be it in spirit, in social position or even in personal advantage, that the least parallel irritates and annoys you. What happens then? You give way to anger.
Investigate the origin of these outbursts of passing dementia, which make you resemble a savage by losing your self-possession and reason; and if you do, then you will almost always be faced with hurt pride. Perchance, is it not pride which has been hurt by a contradiction which makes you repel justifiable observations and angrily reject the wisest counsel? Even impatience originating from contrarieties, and often childish ones at that, comes from the importance which each individual gives to their own personality, before which it has been given to understand that everyone should bow down.
In their frenzy, wrathful people hurl themselves at everything, from their own savage nature to lifeless objects, breaking them because they do not obey! Ah! If they could but see themselves at these moments, looking on in cold blood! Either they would be afraid of themselves, or they would think themselves simply ridiculous! Imagine then the impression made on others! Even if it is merely out of respect for oneself, it behoves one to make an effort to overcome this inclination which only makes one into a pitiable object.
If we reflect that anger in no way helps, in fact it modifies our health even to putting our life at risk, then we would recognise that we are nothing more than our own victims. But above all, there is yet another consideration which should restrain us, that of the unhappiness this kind of behaviour brings to all those around us. If we have a heart, would not this anger be a motive for remorse for having caused those we love to suffer? What a terrible moral weight upon us if, in an excess of fury, we were to practise some act which we would deplore for the rest of our life!
To summarize, anger does not exclude certain qualities of the heart, but it stops us from doing any good and may cause us to practise great evil. This then should be sufficient to induce mankind to make the necessary effort in order to dominate this trait. Moreover, for those who are Spiritists, there is an instigation to do this for yet another motive that of anger being against charity and Christian humility. - A Protecting Spirit (Bordeaux, 1863).
10. Because of the false idea that it is not possible for a person to reform their own nature, they judge themselves exempt from even trying to correct their defects. This applies especially to those defects in which the person willingly takes pleasure, or those which would take a great deal of perseverance to eradicate. This is why, for example, an individual who is prone to anger almost always finds excuses for this temperament. Instead of confessing themselves guilty, they accuse their organism and in this manner accuse God for their faults. This is yet one more of the consequences of pride to be found in the midst of our imperfections.
Undoubtedly there are temperaments which lend themselves more readily than others to violent acts, just as there are muscles which are more flexible than others, so lending themselves better to acts of strength. However, do not believe it is here that the first cause lies, but persuade yourself that a pacific Spirit, even when in a sickly body, will always be pacific. Just as much as a violent Spirit, even when occupying a lymphatic body will not be more mild, only that the violence will take on another aspect In this case the anger would be more concentrated, just as in the first case the anger would be more expansive.
Therefore it is not the body which gives the anger to those who do not already possess it, in the same manner neither does it cause other vices. All virtues and vices are inherent in the Spirit. If this were not the case, where would be the merit and responsibility? The person who is bodily deformed can do nothing to remedy this situation because the Spirit takes no part in it, but what can be modified is the actual Spirit, when it wants to, by means of strong desire. Does not experience show us up to what point the power of desire can take us when we look at the truly miraculous transformations happening all around us every day? Then let us convince ourselves that Man only remains bound by vices because he so desires! Those who really wish to liberate themselves can always achieve this end. If it were not so, then the law of progress would not be able to exist. - HAHNEMANN (Paris, 1863).