Allan Kardec

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8. Let us take an example. A man finds himself lost in the desert. Thirst is torturing him terribly. Fainting, he falls to the ground. He asks God to help him and waits. No angels will come to give him water. However, what does happen is that a good Spirit suggests the idea of picking himself up and taking one of the paths that are before him. By pure mechanical movement, uniting what is left of his strength, he gets up, walks and discovers not far away a brook. On sighting this he gains courage. If he has faith he exclaims: "Thank you dear God, for the idea you inspired and for the strength you gave me." If he is without faith he will say: "What a good ideal had. How lucky I was to take the right-hand path and not the one on the left! Chance sometimes serves one admirably! I must congratulate myself for my courage and for not being defeated!"

But you may ask why the Spirit did not say clearly: "Follow that path and you will find what you need"? Why did the Spirit not show himself, guide him and sustain him in his disanimation? In that way the man would have been convinced of the intervention of Providence. Firstly, so as to teach him that each person must help themself and make use of their strength. Secondly, because the man doubted His existence God put the confidence he had in Him to the test, as well as testing his submission to His will. The man was in the situation of the child who falls down and because someone is with him starts to cry and waits to be picked up. If the same child saw no one he would make the effort and get up by himself. If the angel which accompanied Tobias had said: "I am sent by God to guide you on your journey and preserve you from all danger," then Tobias could claim no merit. In entrusting himself to his companion he would not even have had to think. This is why the angel only made himself known after the return.

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