CHARACTER OF THE SPIRITIST DOCTRINE
1. Can one consider Spiritism as a revelation? If it be such, what is its character? Upon
what is its authenticity founded? By whom, and in what manner has it been given? Is the
doctrine of Spiritism a revelation in the liturgical sense of the word? That is to say, is it in all
points the product of occult teaching from on high? Is it absolute or capable of mystifications?
In conveying to men perfect truth, would not revelation have the effect of hindering them from
employing their faculties, since it would save them the work of research? What can be the
authority of the teachings of the spirit if they are not infallible, and superior to those of
humanity? What is the utility of the morality that they preach if this is other than that of the
Christ whom men acknowledge? What are the new truths that they bring to us? Has man need
of a revelation and can he find himself and in his conscience all that is necessary to lead him
aright? These are the questions which are important for us to focus.
2. Let us define at first the sense of the word. “Revelation,” to reveal, derived from the
word “veil,” from the Latin velum, signifies literally to take away the veil, and, figuratively, to
uncover, to make the acquaintance of a secret or unknown fact. In its most general sense it is
employed with reference to every unknown thing which is brought to light, to every new idea
which is given to man.
Indeed, all the sciences which have revealed the mysteries of nature are revelations; and
one can well say that there is for us a constant revelation. Astronomy has revealed to us the
astral universe of which we were ignorant; geology, the formation of the Earth; chemistry, the
law of affinities; physiology, the functions of the organism, etc. Copernicus, Galileo, Newton,
Laplace, and Lavoisier are revealers.
3. The essential character of all revelation must be truth. To reveal a secret is to make
known a fact. If the thing is false, it is not a fact, and consequently not a revelation. All so-
called revelation contradicted by facts is not revelation even if attributed to God. He not being
able to tell an untruth or to deceive, we know it cannot emanate from him. It is necessary to
consider it as merely a human conception.
4. What is the attitude of the professor to his pupils if it is not that of a revealer? He
teaches them that which they do not know, that which they would have neither the time nor the
possibility to discover for themselves, because science is the collective work of centuries, and of
a multitude of men who have each contributed the results of their observations, by which those
who come after them profit. Teaching is, then, in reality the revelation of certain scientific or
moral, physical or metaphysical truths given by men who know them, to others who know them
not, and who, without their aid would have remained ignorant of them.
5. But the professor teaches that which he has learned; he is a revealer of the second
order. The man of genius teaches that which he has found for himself; he is the primitive
revealer; he carries the light which from one place to another, makes itself known. Where would
be humanity without the revelations from men of genius who appear from time to time?
But what are men of genius? Why are they men of genius? Whence do they come? What
becomes of them? Let us observe that the greater part of them is born with transcendent
faculties, and innate knowledge that a little work suffices to develop. They belong really to
humanity since they are born, live and die like mortals. Where, then, have they obtained this
knowledge which comes so mysteriously to them? Will one say with the materialist that chance
has given to them cerebral matter in greater quantity and better quality? In this case they would
have no more merit than one vegetable greater and more savory than another.
Will one say that God awarded spiritists with a more favored soul or mind than those of
common men? – A supposition also entirely illogical, since it accuses God of partiality. The
only rational solution of this problem is in the pre-existence of soul, and in a plurality of
existences. The man of genius is a spirit which has lived a longer time, who has consequently
acquired more and progressed more, than those who are less advanced. In becoming incarnate
he brings to Earth what he knows; and, as he is much wiser than others without the necessity of
learning, he is that which one calls a man of genius. But that which he knows is the fruit of an
anterior work, and not the result of divine preference. Before entering anew into Earth-life, he
has an advanced spirit. He is reincarnated; it may be for the purpose of benefiting others, or
possibly for the opportunity of acquiring more knowledge himself.
Men progress incontestably by themselves by means of their intelligence; but, left to their
own forces, progress is very slow, if they are not aided by more advanced minds, as the scholar
is by his professors. All nations have among them men of genius who appeared at diverse
epochs to impel and draw men from their inertia.
6. If we admit the solicitude of God for his creatures, why should we not also admit that
the spirits are capable, by their energy and superior knowledge, to assist humanity to advance;
that they are reincarnated at the desire of God, with the view of aiding progress in a definite
manner; that they receive a mission as an ambassador receives one from his sovereign? Such is
the role of the great geniuses. What come they to do, if not to teach to men truths of which they
are ignorant, and of which they would not acquire the knowledge during still longer periods of
time, had they not come to give the stepping-stone by which men are enabled to elevate
themselves more rapidly? These geniuses who appear at different epochs like brilliant stars,
leaving after them a long, luminous track for humanity, are missionaries, - or, better, Messiahs.
The new facts they bring to light, be they of a physical or philosophical order, are revelations.
If God ordains revealers of scientific truths, he can, for a stronger reason, create them for
moral truths, which are an essential element of progress, such as the philosophers whose ideas
have lived through the ages.
7. In the special sense of religious faith, revelation informs us more particularly of
spiritual facts which man cannot know of himself, that he cannot discover by means of his
senses, and of which the knowledge is given him by God or by his messengers in direct word or
by inspiration. In this case revelation is always made to favored men, designated under the
names of prophets or Messiahs; viz., ambassadors, - missionaries having a mission to transmit
truths to men. Considered from this point of view, revelation implies absolute passivity. One
accepts it without examination, without discussion.
8. All religions have their revealers; and, although all are far from having known the
whole truth, they sustained their claim for being providential. They were appropriate to the time
and place where they lived, to the particular genius of the people to whom they spoke, and to
whom they were relatively superior. Notwithstanding the errors of their doctrines, they have at
least awakened minds. By so doing they have sown seeds or germs of progress, which later
unfolded, or will yet blossom into the brighter light of Christianity. It is then wrong to
anathematize the name of orthodoxy; for the day will come when all beliefs, however diverse in
form, but which in reality repose upon the same fundamental principles, God and the
immortality of the soul, will form themselves into a grand and vast unity, when reason shall
have triumphed over prejudice.
Unhappily, religious systems through all time have been instruments of domination. The
role of prophet has tempted the ambitious among those in subordinate positions. A multitude of pretended revealers, or Messiahs, who, by reason of the prestige of this name, have taken
advantage of credulity to satisfy their pride, their cupidity, or their indolence, finding it easier to
live at the expense of their dupes than in any other way. Christian religion has been a shelter for
these parasites. In this subject let us call serious attention to Chap. XXI of “The Gospel
According to Spiritism,” “There will be false Christs and false prophets.”
9. Are these direct revelations from God to men? This is a question which we dare not
settle either affirmatively or negatively in an absolute manner. The thing is not radically
impossible; but nothing gives certain proof of it. That which need not be doubted is that the
spirits nearest God in perfection enter into his thoughts, and can transmit them. As to incarnated
revealers, according to the hierarchical order to which they belong and to the degree of their
personal knowledge, they can draw their instructions from their own knowledge, or receive
them from spirits more elevated, from messengers ordained of God. The former, speaking in the
name of God, have been taken for God himself.
These kinds of communications are not strange to those who are acquainted with spiritual
phenomena between incarnates and discarnates. Instructions can be transmitted by diverse
means, - inspiration pure and simple, by the hearing of the word, by seeing spirit-teachers in
visions or apparitions, be it in dreams or in a state of wakefulness, of which one finds many
examples in the “Bible,” the Gospel, and in the sacred books of all nations. It is then, rigorously
exact to say that the greater part of revealers are inspired mediums, hearing or seeing. It does
not follow that all are revealers, and still less intermediaries direct from God or his special
10. Pure spirits alone receive the word of God, with the mission of transmitting it; but one
knows now that all spirits are far from being perfect, and there are those who give false
appearances. That is why St. John has said. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test
the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into
the world.” (I John IV, 1)
There are serious, true, and deceitful communications, examples of which are found in
Apocryphal Scriptures. The essential character of divine revelation is eternal truth. All
revelation attained with error, or subject to change, cannot emanate from God. It is truth that
the law of the Decalogue still maintains all its original importance; while other Mosaic laws that
are essentially transitory, often in contradiction with the law of Sinai, are the personal and
political work of the Hebrew legislator. The customs of the people becoming milder, their laws
improved. These laws have of themselves fallen into disuse, whilst the Decalogue has remained
standing like a beacon-star to humanity. Christ has made it the base of his edifice, whilst he has
abolished the other laws. If they had been the work of God, they would have remained standing.
Christ and Moses are the two great revealers who have changed the face of the world, and there
is the proof of their divine mission. A work purely human could have no such power.
11. An important revelation is being given at this present epoch. It is that which shows to
us the possibility of communication with beings of the spiritual world. This knowledge is not
new, without doubt; but it had remained until our day in a state of dead letter; that is to say,
without profit for humanity. Ignorance of the laws which ruled these communications has stifled
them by superstition. Man was incapable of drawing from them any salutary deduction. It was
reserved for our day to rescue them from their ridiculous accessories, to comprehend the power,
and to cause to shine the light which is destined to illuminate the future.
12. Spiritism, having taught us of the invisible world which surrounds us and in the midst
of which we live without doubt, the laws which govern it, its connection with the visible world,
the nature and state of the beings who inhabit it and tracing the destiny of man after death, is a
veritable revelation in the scientific acceptance of the word.
13. By its nature, the spiritual revelation has a two fold character: it is at the same time a
divine and a scientific revelation. It is the first in that its coming is providential, and not the
result of the initiative and premeditative design of man. The fundamental points of the doctrine
being the fact of the teaching given by spirits commissioned by God to enlighten men
concerning things whereof they were ignorant, - things they could not learn by themselves and
which it is important for them to know today, as they are ready to comprehend them. It is the
second because it informs us that this teaching is a privilege granted to no one individual, but
that it is given to all the world by the same means (or in the same way) that those who transmit
and those who receive it are not passive beings, excused from the work of observation and
research; that they are not called upon to abnegate their judgment and their free will, that their
control of themselves is not interdicted but on the contrary, recommended; and, finally, that the
whole doctrine has not been enunciated in every part, nor imposed upon blind belief, but is
deduced by the work of man, by the observation of facts that the spirits place before us. The
instructions that they give to us to compel us to study, comment, compare, until we arrive at a
knowledge of consequences and applications. In short, that which characterizes the spiritual
revelation is the divine source from which it proceeds: - that the initiative belongs to the spirits
and that the elaboration is the work of man.
14. As a mean of elaboration, Spiritism proceeds in exactly the same course as the exact
sciences; that is to say, it implies the experimental method. Some facts of a new order present
themselves, which cannot be explained by known laws. It teaches us to observe, compare,
analyze them, and from effects, arrive at causes; it reveals the laws which govern them; it then
deduces the consequences, and seeks for useful applications; it establishes no one preconceived
theory. Thus it has not presented as a hypothesis either the existence or intervention of spirits,
neither the existence of the perispirit, or reincarnation, or any one principle of the doctrine. It
has proved the existence of spirits in the beyond, and with it the other principles connected with
the spiritual life. These are not facts which are revealed after a theory has been formed to
confirm them; but the theory has subsequently arisen to explain the facts, and make a summary
of them. It is rigorously exact to declare that Spiritism is a science of observation, and not the
product of the imagination. Not until its studies were based on experimental methods did the
sciences begin to make serious progress. Although it was believed that this method could only
be applied to matter, it is just as well applied to metaphysical things.
15. Let us cite an example: there happens in the world of spirits a very singular
occurrence, and one that assuredly no one would have imagined. It is that some spirits think
they are still incarnated. However, the superior spirits, who know it well, do not tell us, in
response to our anticipation, “There are some spirits who believe that they still live in the Earth-
life, who have preserved their tastes, their habits, and their instincts.” We have invoked the
manifestation of this category of spirits in order that we may observe them. Having then seen
spirits uncertain of their state, or affirming that they were yet of this world, attending to their
ordinary occupations, the example has proved the fact. The multiplicity of similar facts has
proved that it was not an exception, but one of the phases of spirit-life. We have been permitted
to study all the varieties and causes of this singular illusion; have recognized that this situation
is characteristic of those but little advanced morally, and that it is peculiar to certain kinds of
death; that it is not necessarily of very short duration, but can continue for months and even
years. It is thus that theory is born of observation. It is the same of all other principles of the
16. Just as science, properly speaking, has for object the study of the laws of material
principles, the special object of Spiritism is the knowledge of the laws of spiritual principles. As
this latter class of principles is one of the forces of nature, as it acts incessantly and reciprocally
upon the material principles, the result of it is that knowledge of one cannot be complete
without knowledge of the other; that separated, they are incomplete; that science without
Spiritism finds itself utterly powerless to explain certain phenomena by laws of matter alone; -
while Spiritism without science would lack support and control. The study of the material laws
should precede that of the spirituality, as it is matter that first touches the senses. If Spiritism
had appeared before the scientific discoveries, it would have been rejected, as is the case with
all that comes before its time.
17. All sciences are joined to and succeed one another in rational order. One is born of
the other, according as they find support in anterior knowledge and ideas. Astronomy, one of
the first which might have been cultivated, has remained in the infancy of its errors till the
moment when physics came to reveal the law of the forces of the natural agents. Chemistry,
being unable to do anything without physics, must come next in succession, in order that they
should walk together, and learn upon one another. Anatomy, physiology, zoology, botany, and
mineralogy have been recognized as veritable sciences only by the aid of the lights carried by
physics and chemistry. Geology, born of yesterday, without astronomy, physics, chemistry, and
others, would have failed to possess true elements of vitality. It could not be born until they had
18. Modern science has done justice to the four primitive elements of the ancients, and
from observation to observation it has arrived at the conception of one generative element alone
in all the transformations of matter; but matter by itself is inert, it has neither life, thought, nor
sentiment; its union with the spiritual principle is a necessity. Spiritism has not invented this
principle, but was the first to demonstrate it by undeniable proofs. It has studied it, analyzed it,
and revealed it in evident action. To the material element it has come to add the spiritual
element. The material and spiritual elements are the two living principles or forces of nature.
By the indissoluble union of these two elements, we can explain without difficulty a crowd of
facts hitherto inexplicable.* In its essence simply, and as having for object the study of one of
these two constituent elements of the universe, Spiritism lays forcible hold of the greater part of
the sciences, and, above all, after they had exhibited their powerlessness to explain all things by
the laws of matter alone.
* The word element is not herewith taken to mean simple elementary body, consisting of primitive
molecules, but to mean a constituent part of a whole. Accordingly, it can be said that the spiritual
element has an active part in the economy of the universe; as one can say that both, the civil and the
military elements are part of the statistics of a population; or that the religious element partakes in the
education; or that there exists both the Arab and the European elements in Argelia.
19. Spiritism is accused by some to be in alliance with magic and sorcery; but men forget
that astronomy has for her elder sister astrology, which is not totally discarded from among the
beliefs of today; that chemistry is the daughter of alchemy, with which no scientific man would
dare to occupy himself today. No one denies, however, that there were in astrology and alchemy
the germs of truth, from which have sprung actual sciences; and, that, notwithstanding its
ridiculous formulas, alchemy has revealed the law of affinity between material bodies.
Astrology was supported by its knowledge of the position and movement of the stars it had
studied, but, owing to ignorance of the true laws which ruled the mechanism of the universe, the
stars were, for ordinary people, mysterious beings ruling the destinies of men, superstition
lending to them a moral influence and prophetic meaning. When Galileo, Newton, and Kepler
had demonstrated the laws from which the telescope had withdrawn the veil, and given to men
that glance into the depths of space which certain people considered so indiscreet, the planets appeared to us as simple worlds, similar to our own; and all the lattice-work of the marvelous
It is the same with Spiritism in regard to magic and sorcery; the two latter were supported
truly by spiritual manifestations, as astrology was upon the movement of the stars. In the
ignorance of the laws which rule the spiritual world, however there were joined to these
communications ridiculous practices and beliefs, to which modern Spiritism, the fruit of
experience and observation, has done justice. Assuredly the distance which separates Spiritism
from magic and sorcery is greater than that which divides astronomy from astrology, and
chemistry from alchemy. The desire to confound them proves that one knows not the first thing
20. The simple fact that is possible to communicate with beings of the spiritual world
opens up to us incalculable consequences of the highest gravity and importance. Here a new
world is revealed to us, and one which is so much the more important in that it awaits all men
without exception! Knowledge concerning it cannot fail to produce, in a general sense, a
profound modification in the customs, character, habits, and beliefs which exert so great an
influence upon man’s social life. It has caused a revolution in ideas, a revolution so great and
powerful that it is not circumscribed to any one people, much less to one caste, but reaches
simultaneously the heart of all classes, all nationalities, all civilizations.
For the best of reasons, Spiritism is considered the third grand revelation. Let us see
wherein the revelations differ, and how they are attached to one another.
21. Moses, as a prophet, has revealed to men the knowledge of the only true God,
Sovereign Master of all things. He has promulgated the law of Sinai, and laid the foundation of
true faith. As a man he has been the legislator of the people, through whom this primitive faith
has exerted an influence over all the Earth.
22. Christ, taking from the ancient laws all that is eternal and divine, rejecting only that
which was transitory, because purely disciplinary and of human conception, also adds a
revelation of the future life of which Moses had not spoken, - with its retributions and
recompenses which await all mankind after physical dissolution. (See “Revue Spirite,” 1861, pp.
90 and 280).
23. The most important part of the revelation of Christ, the primary source, the
cornerstone of his whole doctrine, is the entirely new character he ascribes to divinity. God is no
more the vindictive, jealous, and terrible God of Moses, the cruel and unmerciful God who
bathes the Earth with human blood, who orders massacre and extermination of nations, without
excepting women, children, and the aged; who chastises those who spare the victims. He is no
more the unjust God who punishes a whole community for the faults of its chief, even punishing
the innocent instead of the guilty, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, but a
merciful God, sovereignly just and good, full of tenderness and mercy, who pardons the
repentant sinner, and rewards everyone according to his works. He is no more the God of a
favored people, the God of armies, presiding at combats in order to sustain his own cause
against the gods of other nations, but the common Father of humanity, who extends his
protection over all his children, and calls them all his own. He is no more the God who
recompenses or punishes by giving or withholding earthly goods, who makes glory and good
fortune to consist in conquering rival nations, and placing them in a state of slavery, or in the
multiplicity of progeny; but he is the God who says to men: “Your true country is not of this
world; it is in the celestial kingdom; it is there that the lowly in heart shall be elevated, and the
proud abased.” He is no more the God who makes a virtue of vengeance, ordering us to exact
“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” but the God of mercy, who says, “Forgive if you would
be forgiven; return good for evil; do to others what you would have them do to you.” He is no
more the exacting and tyrannical God who imposes the most rigorous laws upon us in regard to
the ceremonies by which he desires to be adored, who is offended with the inobservance of a
formula, but the great and good God who is honored not by the form or ceremony, but by the
sincere, heartfelt thought. He is no more the God to be feared, but the God to be loved.
24. God being the pivot of all religious beliefs, the base of all civilizations, the character
of all religions conform to the idea they give of God. Those which make him vindictive and
cruel think they honor him by acts of cruelty, by butcheries and tortures; those who make him a
partial and jealous God are intolerant, over-scrupulous in forms, according as they believe him
to be more or less tainted with weaknesses and human errors.
25. The whole doctrine of Christ is founded upon the character he attributes to divinity.
With an impartial God, perfectly just, good, and merciful, he has been able to make of the love
of God and charity toward one’s neighbor the express conditions of salvation, and to say, “Love
the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the
first and greatest commandment.” And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All
the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Upon this belief alone he has been
able to base the principle of the equality of men before God, and of universal fraternity. Yet,
would it be possible to love this God of Moses? No; one could but fear him.
This revelation of the true attributes of divinity, joined to that of the immortality of the
soul and of man’s future life, deeply modified the mutual relations of men, imposed upon them
new obligations, caused them to view the present life under another light. It effected a marked
change for the better in the manners and social relations of humanity. It is incontestably, in its
consequences, the most important point in the revelation of Christ, of which one can never fully
appreciate the importance. Sad to say, it is the point least commented upon, - the one which has
been misconstrued in a greater degree than all his other teachings.
26. However, Christ adds, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Consoler,
the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will
remind you of everything I have said to you. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you
another Consoler to be with you forever” (John, 14: 16, 25 and 26). If Christ did not impart all
the truth which he was capable of giving, he thought it better to leave some truths in shadow
until men should be capable of comprehending them. From his own acknowledgement, his
teachings were then incomplete. Since he announces the coming of the spirit who should add
unto them, he prophesied that they would deviate from his teachings; in a word, that they would
deteriorate from that which he had done for them, but everything he declared should be
reestablished. Now, one reestablishes only that which has been defective.
27. Why did he call the new Messiah, the Consoler? This significant name, without
ambiguity, is a revelation in itself. It predicted that men would have need of consolation,
implying that there was an insufficiency of consolation in the new belief being formed. Scarcely
ever has Christ been so clear and explicit as in these last words, which have gained the
particular attention of but few people, perhaps because teachers have failed to place them in the
right light to deepen their prophetic sense.
28. If Christ has not been able to develop his teachings in a complete manner, it is
because men were so ignorant, and they could acquire knowledge only with time. He talked of
things which appeared to them visionary and unreal in their undeveloped state. In order to
complete his mission, it was only necessary to explain and develop truths already given. It was
unnecessary to add new truth; for the germ of all was found in his words; the key was needed
which should unlock their meaning.
29. But who dares to attempt to change the meaning of the Holy Scriptures? Who has the
right? Who possesses the necessary light, if not the theologians?
Who will dare to undertake it? Science first, which asks permission of no one to make
known the laws of nature. It crushes under its feet the most beloved errors and prejudices. What
man has this right? In this age of intellectual emancipation and of liberty of conscience the right
of examination belongs to the entire world; and the scriptures are no more the holy ark upon
which one fears to lay a finger in the expectation of being crushed thereby. We need not contest
the Theologians of the Middle Ages, and particularly the Fathers of the Church, who were
brilliant in regards to special necessary knowledge. They were not, however, strong enough to
condemn as heresy the movement of the Earth and belief in the antipodes; but, from all known
periods of the world’s formation till the present time, they have thrown the anathema at every
Men have not been able to explain the scriptures by the exclusive aid of that knowledge
which they, mixed with false or uncertain ideas, possessed concerning the laws of nature,
revealed later by science. That is the reason why theologians themselves have really mistaken
the sense of certain words and facts in the Gospel. Determined, at any price, to find the
confirmation of a preconceived thought, they remained always in the same circle, without
changing their point of view, in such manner that they saw only that which they wished to see.
Wise theologians as they were, they could not comprehend facts depending upon laws of which
they knew nothing.
But who could judge between the diverse and often contradictory interpretations given
outside of theology? As new facts and laws are revealed, we will be enlightened in the logic and
good sense and use these to distinguish utopia systems from those based in reality. Now science
has revealed certain laws; Spiritism brings others to light. Collectively they are indispensable to
the correct understanding of the sacred texts of all religions, - those of Confucius and Buddha
equally with those of Christianity. As to theology, it cannot know how to judiciously plead an
exception for the contradictions of science, since it is not always in accord with itself.
30. Spiritism, taking its starting-point at the words of Christ, as Christ has taken his from
Moses, is a direct consequence of his doctrine.
To the vague ideas of the future life it adds a revelation of the existence of the invisible
world which surrounds us and occupies all space; thus defining the belief, by giving it body,
consistence, and a reality to the idea.
It defines the connection between the soul and the body, and raises the veil which
conceals from men the mysteries of life and death.
By Spiritism man knows whence he comes, where he goes, why he is upon the Earth,
why he suffers temporarily, and can see, above all, the justice of God.
He learns that souls progress unceasingly through a series of progressive existences until
they shall have attained to that degree of perfection in which God only reigns.
He learns that all souls, having the same starting-point, are created equal, with the same
opportunity to progress in virtue of their own free will, that all are of the same essence, and that
there is between them only a difference of accomplished progress; that all have the same
destiny, and will attain the same end more or less promptly according to their labor and desire to
He learns that there are no disinherited ones, no lost souls, neither one more favored than
another; that God has not created some favored ones who are excused from the work which is
imposed upon others to facilitate their progression; that there are no creatures perpetually
condemned to unhappiness and suffering; that those designated under the name of demons are
spirits yet undeveloped and imperfect, who do wrong in the world of spirits as they did here
upon Earth, but who will advance and improve their condition; that the angels are not beings
distinct from the rest of creation, but spirits who have attained that height through the same earthly sufferings and temptations as others undergo; that thus there are not varied creations of
different classes among intelligent humanity, but that all creation springs from the great law of
unity which rules the universe, and that all beings gravitate towards a common end, which is
perfection, without one being favored at the expense of the others, all holding the thread of their
destiny in their own hands.
31. By the communications that man can now establish with those who have left the
Earth, he receives not only the material proof of the existence and individuality of the soul, but
he comprehends the solidarity which joins the living and the dead in this world, and those of
this world with those of other worlds. He knows their situation in the world of spirits; he
follows them in their migrations; he can testify of their joys and sorrows; he knows why they
are happy or unhappy and the end which awaits all, according to the good or evil they
accomplished. These communications introduce him to a future life, which he can observe in all
its phases and conditions. The future is no more a vague hope; it is a positive fact, a
mathematical certitude. Thus he has no more fear of death; it is for him a deliverance, the gate
of true life.
32. By the study of the situation of the spirits, one learns that happiness or unhappiness in
the spiritual life is experienced according to the degree of perfection or imperfection one has
obtained; that each one suffers the direct and natural consequences of his own faults; in other
words, that he is punished where he has sinned; that these consequences last as long as the cause
which has produce them; that thus the culprit would suffer eternally if he persisted eternally in
his fault, but that suffering ceases with repentance and reparation. Now, as our joy and sorrow
are within our own grasp, each one can, by virtue of his free will, prolong or shorten his
sufferings, as the sick suffers from his excesses as long as he indulges in them.
33. If reason repels, as incompatible with the goodness of God, the idea of everlasting
punishment, perpetual and absolute, often inflicted for one fault alone, - the tortures of hell,
which no repentance, however ardent or sincere, can lessen, - it acknowledges this distributive
impartial justice which is extended to all; never shutting the door of return to goodness, and
extending unceasingly the helping hand to the shipwrecked one, instead of allowing him to sink
without aid into the abyss.
34. The plurality of existences, of which Christ established in the Gospel, though merely
touching upon it, is one of the most important laws revealed by Spiritism, as it reveals its reality
and necessity for one’s progress. By this law can be explained all the apparent anomalies which
human life presents, - its differences of social position; the premature deaths, which, without
reincarnation, would render abridged lives useless for souls; the inequality of intellectual and
moral aptitudes, owing to the antiquity of the spirit, who has lived a longer or a short time, and
has become more or less learned and progressed, and who, being reborn, brings into requisition
the knowledge of anterior existences. (See item n° 5)
35. With the doctrine of the creation of a soul at every birth, one falls necessarily into the
belief in beings favored of God. Men are strangers to one another. Nothing unites firmly; the
ties of family are purely physical. They are not solidarities of a past in which they did not exist.
With the doctrine of nothingness after death or annihilation all relationships of life cease; there
are no unions for the future. By reincarnation they form solidarities of the past and the future,
their connection perpetuating itself in the spiritual and material world. Fraternity has for base
the changeless laws of nature. Goodness has an objective existence, while there is no reversal of
36. With belief in reincarnation, the prejudices of races and castes fall dead, since the
same spirit can be reborn rich or poor, lord or beggar, master or subordinate, free or enslaved,
man or woman. Of all the arguments brought against the injustice of servitude and slavery,
against the subjection of the weaker to the rule of the stronger, there is no one of them which
expresses so logically the reason therefore as the law of reincarnation. If, then, reincarnation is
founded upon a law of nature which is the source of universal brotherhood, it is based upon the
same law as that of the equality of social rights and of freedom.
37. Take away from man the free, independent spirit surviving matter, and you make of
him an organized machine, without will or responsibility, without other restraint than the civil
law, simply an intelligent animal. Expecting nothing after death, nothing hinders him from
augmenting the joys of the present. If he suffers, he has in perspective only despair and
annihilation for refuge. With certainty of a future, of seeing again those whom he has offended,
all his ideas change. Had Spiritism only drawn man from the sad doubt of a future life, it would
have done more for his moral improvement than all the disciplinary laws which have bridled
him sometimes, but changed him never.
38. Without pre-existence of the soul, the doctrine of original sin is not only
irreconcilable with the justice of God, who would render all men responsible for the fault of
one, but is senseless; while the penalty cannot be justifiable, because the soul did not exist at the
epoch where it is pretended its responsibility commenced. With pre-existence and reincarnation
man carries into his new incarnation the germ of his past imperfections, the defects of which he
has not been cured, which betray themselves in his native instincts, in his propensity for this or
that vice. It is his veritable original sin, to the consequences of which he is naturally submitted,
but with this capital difference: that he carries the burden of his own faults, and not that of the
fault of another. This difference at one and the same time consoles, encourages, and honors
sovereign equity, each separate existence offering to man the means of making reparation for
sins committed, and of progress either by overcoming some imperfection, or by acquiring some
fresh knowledge until he becomes sufficiently purified to have no more need of earthly
experience, when he will live exclusively a glorious, eternal life of spirit.
For the same reason, he who has progressed morally upon rebirth carries his moral
qualities with him just as he who had progressed intellectually carries his intelligent ideas with
him. The former is identified with goodness, which he practices without effort, without
calculation; that is to say, without thinking about it. While he who is obliged to combat low
tendencies is always in a battle with them. The first is already conqueror, the second on the way
to victory. There is, then, original virtue, as there is original knowledge, and original sin, or,
more correctly, imperfection.
39. Experimental Spiritism has studied the properties of spiritual fluids, and their action
upon matter. It has demonstrated the existence of a fluidic body, in which the ancients had a
partial belief, designated by St. Paul under the name of “spiritual body;” that is to say, the
gaseous body of the soul, which remains after the destruction of the material body. It is known
today that this envelope is inseparable from the soul; that it is one of the constituent elements of
a human being; that it is the vehicle for the transmission of thought; and that during earthly life
it serves as a connection between spirit and matter. This spiritual body or perispirit, plays such
an important part in the organism and in a multitude of productions, that there needs to be allied
to physiology and psychology.
40. The study of the properties of the perispirit, of the spiritual fluids, and of the
physiological attributes of the soul, opens new horizons to science, and gives the key to a great
number of unknown phenomena, the laws which rule them being until now unknown.
Phenomena are denied by materialism because they are linked with Spiritism, and, because
called by another name than miracles or supernatural occurrences, are ignored by those of
supernatural belief. Among others are the phenomena of double sight, visions of objects at a
distance, natural and artificial somnambulism, psychic effects of catalepsy and lethargy,
prescience, presentiments, apparitions, transfigurations, the transmission of thought, fascination,
instantaneous cures, obsessions and possessions, etc. In demonstrating that these phenomena
repose upon laws as natural as the electrical, and that there exist normal conditions in which
they can be reproduced, Spiritism destroys the empire of the marvelous and supernatural, and
consequently the source of the greater part of superstition. If it founds a belief in the possibility
of certain things regarded by some as chimerical, it precludes one from believing in others of
which it has demonstrated the impossibility and irrationality.
41. Spiritism, very far from denying or destroying the Gospel, on the contrary comes to
confirm, explain, and prove it. By the new laws of nature that it reveals, it throws light upon the
obscure points of the teachings of Jesus, upon all that he has done and said, in such a way that
those to whom certain parts of the Gospel were formerly unintelligible, or seemed inadmissible,
comprehend them without trouble by the aid of Spiritism, accept them, and better understand
their importance as they are able to separate the reality from the allegory. Christ appears to them
in a grander light. He is no longer simply a philosopher: he is a divine Messiah.
42. Besides the moral power that Spiritism wields is the importance that it gives to all
actions of life. It points with its finger at the consequences of goodness and wickedness; gives
moral force and courage; gives consolation in afflictions by inducing unalterable confidence in
the future, by the thought of having near one the beings that one has loved, the assurance of
seeing them again, the possibility of speaking to them, the certainty that all one has
accomplished, all one has acquired, of intelligence, science, or morality till the last hour of life,
nothing is lost, that all yields advancement. One finds that Spiritism realizes all the promises of
Christ in regard to the Consoler that he promised to send. Now, as it is the Spirit of Truth who
presides over the great work of regeneration, the promise of his coming is thus accomplished as
he is, in fact, the true Consoler.*
* Many fathers of families deplore the premature death of children on account of the education for which
they have made great sacrifices, and say that it is totally lost. With a belief in Spiritism, they do not regret
these sacrifices, and would be ready to make them, even with the certainty of seeing their children die; for
they know that, if the latter do not receive the benefits of such education in the present life, it will serve,
first, to advance them as spirits, then as so much of intellectual property for a new existence, so that when
they shall return they will have intellectual capital which will render them more apt in gaining new
knowledge. Examples of this are those children who are born with innate ideas, who know, as one might
say, without the trouble of learning. If, as fathers, they have not the immediate satisfaction of seeing their
children put this education to profit, they will enjoy it certainly later, be it as a spirit or earthly beings.
Perhaps they can be again the parents of the same children that they call happily endowed by nature, and
who owe their aptitude to a former education; as also, if some children do wrong on account of the
negligence of their parents, the latter may have to suffer later by troubles and grieves which will be
caused by them in a new existence. (“The Gospel According to Spiritism,” chap. 5, n° 21: Premature
43. If to these facts one adds the unheard of rapidity of the propagation of Spiritism,
notwithstanding all which has been done to combat it, one cannot deny that its coming is
providential, since it triumphs over all the forces of allied human antagonism. The facility with
which it is accepted by such a large number of persons, and that without constraint, without
other pressure than the power of the idea, proves that it responds to a need, - that of believing in
something after the belief in nothing, which skepticism caused; and consequently it has come at
the right time.
44. Afflictions are many in number. It is not then surprising that so many men accept a
doctrine which comforts them in preference to one which gives no reasonable hope of a future;
for it is to the unhappy more than to the happy of Earth that Spiritism addresses itself
particularly. The sick person welcomes a physician with more joy then he who is well. Now, the
afflicted are the sick patients, and the Consoler is the physician.
You who combat Spiritism, if you desire that one leaves it to follow you, give something
more than it supplies, and something better; cure soul’s wounds more surely; give more
consolation, more satisfaction to the heart, more legitimate hopes, greater certitudes; paint for
the future a more attractive picture, more rational; but think not to gain your end, you with the
perspective of annihilation, you with the alternative of the flames of hell, or useless,
sanctimonious, perpetual contemplation!
45. The first revelation was personified in Moses, the second in Christ, the third in no
one individual. The two first are individuals; the third is collective, which is an essential
character of great importance. It is collective in the sense that it has been made in favor of no
one person: consequently, no one can be called the prophet of it. It has been given
simultaneously in all parts of the Earth to millions of persons, of all ages, of all faiths, of all
conditions, from the lowest to the highest according to the prediction given by the author of the
Acts of the Apostles: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your
sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream
dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and
they will prophesy.” (Acts, Chap. II, v. 17, 18) It has not sprung from any one special
civilization, but serves as a rallying point for all.*
* Our special role in the grand movement of ideas which is produced by Spiritism, and which is already
operating, is that of an attentive observer who studies facts to seek their cause, and to draw from them
definite results. We have confronted all those whom we could possibly gather around us; we have
compared and commented upon instructions given by the spirits from all parts of the globe; then we have
arranged the whole methodically. In a word, we have studied, and given to the public the fruit of our
researches, without attributing to our labors other value than of a philosophical work deduced from
observation and experience, never desiring to put ourselves in the place of a chief of doctrine, or desiring
to thrust our ideas upon any one. In publishing them, we have used a common right, and those who have
accepted them have done so freely. If these ideas have found numerous sympathizers, it is that they have
had the advantage of responding to the aspirations of a great number; of this we are not vain, as their
origin belongs not to us. Our greatest merit is that of perseverance and devotion to the cause we have
espoused. We have only done that which others also can do. That is why we have made no pretension of
being a prophet or Messiah, and do not believe ourselves such.
46. The two former revelations, being the product of a personal teaching, have been
forcibly localized; that is to say, they have taken place in the locality from which knowledge has
extended gradually; but centuries were necessary in order for it to reach the extremities of the
globe, and even then without encompassing it altogether. The third has the peculiarity, that, not
being personified in one individual, it is rained down simultaneously upon thousands of
different points, which have become centers or focuses of radiation. These centers multiplying
themselves, their rays meet again little by little, like circles formed by a multitude of stones
thrown into the water, in such a manner that in a given time they will have covered the entire
surface of the globe.
Such is one of the causes of the rapid propagation of the doctrine. If it had surged upon a
single point, if it had been the exclusive work of one man, it would have formed a sect around him; but a half century might have passed before it have passed the limits of the country where
it would have taken root, while Spiritism, after a period of ten years, had planted its beacon-
lights from pole to pole.
47. This unheard of circumstances in the history of teachings gives to it exceptional force,
and an irresistible power of action. Indeed, if anything checks it at one point in one country, it is
literally impossible to curb it in all points in all countries. For one place where it will be
disregarded, there will be a thousand where it will flourish. As no one can reach it in an
individual, one cannot attain to the spirits who are the source of it. Now, as spirits are
everywhere, it is impossible that they could be made to disappear from the globe. They are
always appearing; and the belief in them reposes upon a fact in nature, and one cannot suppress
a law of nature. This fact alone should convince those who are not quite persuaded to become
believers (“Revue Spirite,” February, 1865, p. 38: “Perpetuity of Spiritism”).
48. However, these different centers might have remained for a long time isolated from
one another, situated as are some in far distant countries. A connection was necessary between
them, which should place them in communion with their brothers in belief by teaching them that
which was done elsewhere. This union of thought, which would have been impossible to the
Spiritism of antiquity, is accomplished by the numerous publications which are now found
everywhere; which condense, under a unique, concise, and methodical form, the teaching given
everywhere through multiplied methods of expression, and in diverse languages.
49. The two first revelations could have only been the result of a direct teaching; they
were imposed on the mind by the authority of the word of the Master, men being too
undeveloped to join in the work of their elaboration.
Let us remark at the same time a very sensible shade of resemblance between them,
important to the progress of morals and ideas; it is that they were given to the same people in
the same locality, but at in interval of nearly eighteen hundred years. The doctrine of Moses is
absolute, despotic; it admits no discussion, but imposes itself upon all people by force. That of
Jesus is essentially that of counsel and advice; it is freely accepted, and gains its advocates by
persuasion; it is discussed by the living person of its founder, who disdains not to argue with its
50. The third revelation comes at an epoch of emancipation and of intellectual maturity,
where developed intelligence cannot agree to play a passive role; where man accepts nothing
blindly, but wishes to see where one conducts him; to know the why and the how of everything.
It claims to be at the same time the product of a teaching, and the fruit of labor, of research, and
of free examination. Spirits teach us only that which is necessary to put us in the way of truth;
but they abstain from revealing to man that which he can discover by himself, leaving to him the
care of discussing, controlling, and submitting all to the crucible of reason, leaving him often to
learn the lesson at his own expense. It gives to him the principal, the materials from which to
draw the interest and to put it in use. (See item n°13).
51. The elements of spiritual revelation having been given simultaneously at a multitude
of points to men of all social conditions and of different degrees of knowledge, it is very evident
that observations could not have been made everywhere with the same effect; that the sequences
drawn from them, the relation of the laws which govern this order of phenomena, - in a word,
the conclusion which ought to establish ideas, - could proceed only from the harmony and
correlation of facts. Now, every isolated center, circumscribed in a limited circle, seeing most
often only a particular order of manifestations, sometimes in appearance contradictory, having
communications generally with the same category of spirits, and, moreover, blocked by the
local influences and by the spirit of party, finds it materially impossible to embrace the whole,
powerless to join isolated observations to a common principle. Each one judging facts according to his knowledge and his anterior beliefs, or by the particular opinions of the spirits manifesting,
there would soon be as many theories and systems as centers, of which no one would be
complete, in default of elements of comparison and of control. In a word, each one would
remain content with his partial revelation, believing it to include all the truth, for want of
knowledge that in a hundred other places one could obtain more or better.
52. It is well to observe further, that nowhere has spiritual teaching been given in a
complete manner. It touches upon so great a number of observations, upon subjects so diverse,
requiring knowledge and special mediumistic aptitudes, that it is simply impossible to unite at
the same point all the necessary conditions. Teaching having become collective, and not
individual, the spirits have divided the labor by disseminating the subjects of study and
observation, as in certain factories different parts of the object manufactured are divided among
Revelation is thus partially given in diverse places and by a multitude of intermediaries;
and it is in this manner still to be followed up, for all is not revealed. Every center finds in the
other centers the complement of that which obtains, and it is only the joining together of all the
instructions which can constitute the doctrine of Spiritism.
It is, moreover, necessary to group the facts gleaned, in order to see their corresponding
similarity, to gather the different documents, instructions given by spirits upon all points and all
subjects, in order to compare them and analyze them by studying their analogy and difference.
Communications being given by spirits of all orders more or less clearly, it is necessary to learn
the degree of confidence reason would accord to them; to distinguish the systematic, individual,
and isolated ideas from those which had the sanction of the general teaching of the spirits; to
separate the utopian from the practical; to cut away those which were notoriously contradictory,
judged by positive science and healthy logic; to utilize the errors even the information given by
spirits of the lowest sphere, for a knowledge of the invisible world; and to form of it a
homogeneous whole. In a word, a center of elaboration is necessary, independent of all
preconceived ideas, of all prejudice of sect, resolved to accept a self-evident truth, though it be
contrary to one’s personal opinion. This center forms itself by the force of things, and without
* The first work which took a philosophical view of the doctrine was “The Spirits’ Book.” It deduced
moral sequences from facts, which had approached all parts of the belief, in touching upon the most
important question that it raised, has been since its appearance, the rallying-point towards which the
individual works have spontaneously converged. It is worthy of note that from the publication of this
book dates the era of the Spiritist philosophy, previously coming under the head of curiosities of
experience. If this book (“The Spirits’ Book”) has gained the sympathies of the majority, it is because it
was the expression of the sentiments of this same majority, and that it responded to its aspirations. It is
also because each one found there the confirmation, and a rational explanation of that which he in
particular obtained. If it had disagreed with the general teachings of the spirits, it would have received no
favor, and would have promptly fallen into oblivion. Now, around whom is one to rally? It is not man,
who is nothing by himself, only a master-workman, who dies and disappears, but around an idea which
perishes not when it emanates from a source superior to man.
This spontaneous concentration of scattered forces has given place to an immense connection, a unique
monument to the world, a living picture of the true history of modern Spiritism; reflecting, at the same
time, partial works, the multiplication of sentiments which has developed the doctrine, the moral results,
the devotion and the weakness, - precious archives for posterity, who will be able to judge men and things
by authentic documents. In the presence of these unexceptional testimonies, what will become in the time
of all false allegations, defamations of envy and jealousy?
53. From this state of things rises a double current of ideas; some going from the
extremity to the center, others returning from the center to the circumference. It is thus that the
doctrine has promptly marched towards unity, notwithstanding the diversity of sources from
which it has emanated; that the divergent systems have little by little fallen, on account of their
isolation, and failure to obtain the sympathy of the majority. A communion of thought is now
established between different centers. Speaking the same spiritual language, they comprehend
and sympathize with one another from one end of the world to the other.
The spiritists have been found to be stronger; they have battled with more courage; they
have marched with a more assured step, now that they are no more alone, and have found a
support, a link which attaches them to the great family. The phenomena of which they were
witnesses are no longer strange, abnormal, contradictory, since they are found to agree with the
general laws of harmony; since, glancing at it as a whole, they see the grand humanitarian
But how is one to know if a principle is taught everywhere, or if it is the result of an
individual opinion only? Isolated societies not having the knowledge of that which was said
elsewhere, it was necessary that a central one should gather all the information, ascertain the
opinion of the majority, and send the knowledge to all.**
* A significant testimony, as remarkable as touching, of this communion of thought which is established
between Spiritists by conformity of belief, are the prayerful demands which come to us from far-distant
lands, from Peru to the extremities of Asia, from persons of diverse nationalities and religions, whom we
have never seen. Is it not the prelude of the establishment of the one great church which is preparing
itself, the proof of the firm stand Spiritism is taking everywhere?
It is remarkable that of all the societies formed with premeditated intention of withdrawal by proclaiming
divergent principles, - as those who, by reason of self-love or otherwise, wishing not to have the
appearance of sustaining the common law, have believed themselves strong enough to go alone, to have
enough light to pass as counselors, - not one has succeeded in establishing a long-lived or popular idea;
all have died out or vegetated in the shade. How could it be otherwise, since, in order to distinguish
themselves, instead of endeavoring to give the greatest amount of benefit to the world, they rejected those
principles of the doctrine which give to it the most powerful attraction, those which are the most
consoling, encouraging, and rational? If they had comprehended the power of the moral elements which
alone induce unity, they would not have been rocked in a chimerical illusion; but, mistaken their little
circle for the universe, they have seen in the adherents only a society which could easily be overthrown
by one entertaining contrary opinion. They strangely misapprehended the essential character of the
doctrine, and this error could lead only to deception. In place of destroying unity, they destroyed the
connection which could give them strength and life. (See “Revue Spirite,” April, 1866, pp.106 and 111:
Spiritism without Spirits; Independent Spiritism.)
** Such is the object of our publications, which can be considered as the result of this. All opinions are
discussed there; but the questions are arranged as principles only after having received the sanction of the
controls, who alone can give them lawful strength and affirmation. That is why we do not accept, without
due thought, any one theory; therefore the doctrine proceeding from general instructions is not the
product of a preconceived system. It is largely this fact which gives it strength, and assures its future.
54. There is no science which has in all its parts proceeded from the brain of one man.
All, without exception, are the product of successive observations, leaning upon preceding ones,
as upon a known point, in order to arrive at an unknown one. It is thus that the spirits have
proceeded with Spiritism. That is why their teaching is gradual. They approach questions only
in proportion and in measure, as the principles upon which they ought to lean are sufficiently
elaborated, and as opinion is prepared to assimilate them. It is remarkable that, each time particular centers have wished to approach premature questions, they have obtained only
contradictory responses, and never conclusive ones. When, however, the favorable moment
arrives, the instruction is given universally at nearly the same moment of time.
There is, at the same time, between the march of Spiritism and that of the sciences, a
capital difference. It is that the latter have attained their present advancement only after long
intervals of time, whilst only a few years have sufficed for Spiritism, not to gain the culminating
point, but at least to gather a sum of facts to constitute a doctrine. That is obtained by
innumerable manifestations of spirits, who, by the will of God, manifest simultaneously; each
one bringing the contingent of their knowledge. The result is, that all parts of the doctrine,
instead of being successively elaborated during many centuries, have been concocted almost
simultaneously in a few years, and that this has sufficed to group them in order to form a whole.
God has willed it thus, firstly, in order that the edifice should progress more rapidly;
secondly, in order that it should have a permanent and immediate control in the universality of
the teaching, each part having value as well as authority only by its connection with the whole;
all becoming harmonious, finding their place in the general edifice, and each one arriving in due
In confiding, not to one spirit alone, the care of the promulgation of the doctrine, God has
willed that the lowest, as well as the highest among the spirits, as well as among men, should
carry each his stone to the edifice, in order to establish between them a structure of cooperative
solidarity, which has failed to all doctrines springing from one source alone.
On the other hand, every spirit, the same as every man, having only a limited sum of
knowledge, they were incapable of treating ex-professo the innumerous questions which
Spiritism touches. That is why the doctrine, in order to fulfill the desires of the Creator, could
not be the work of one spirit alone, nor of one medium. It could proceed only from the united
work of the many, - the one controlled by the other.*
* See in “The Gospel According to Spiritism,” Introduction, item 6, and “Revue Spirite,” April, 1864, p.
90: Authority of the Spiritual Doctrine; Universal Control of the Teaching of the Spirits.
55. A later character in the spiritual revelation, which is drawn from the conditions in
which it is produced, is that, leaning upon facts, it is, and ever must be, essentially progressive,
like all sciences based upon observation. In its essence it is allied to science, which, being a
revelation of the laws of nature by a certain order of facts cannot be contrary to the will of God,
the author of these laws. The discoveries of science glorify, instead of demeaning God. They
destroy only that which men have built upon the false ideas they have formed of God.
Spiritism is based then only upon absolute principle, - that which is demonstrated by
proof, or that which results logically from observation. Touching all the branches of social
economy, to which it lends the aid of its own discoveries, it will assimilate itself always with all
progressive doctrines, of whatever order they may be. It has arrived at a state of practical truth,
and discarded the utopian ideas which would have destroyed it. In ceasing to be that which it is,
it would deceive in regard to its origin and its providential object. Spiritism, marching hand in
hand with progress, will never be overthrown, because, if new discoveries should demonstrate
that it is in error upon a point, it would modify itself in regard to it. If a new truth is revealed, it
* In face of so clear and categorical declarations as those herein present in this chapter, all allegations of
tendencies to absolutism and autocracy of the principles fall down, as well as all the false assimilations
that some forewarned or not well informed people lend to the doctrine. These declarations, however, are
not new; we have been repeating them many times in our writings, so that no doubt persists in respect to
them. Moreover, they mark the true role that fits us, the only one we desire: of being a simple worker.
56. What is the utility of the moral doctrine of the spirits, since it is no other than that of
Christ? Has man need of a revelation? And can he find all that within himself which is
necessary to guide him?
God has without doubt given to man a guide in his conscience, which says to him, “So in
everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” This moral philosophy is
certainly inscribed in the heart of man; but do all know how to read it there? Have men never
misconstrued these wise precepts? What have they done with the ethics of Christ? Do those who
teach them practice them? Have they not become a dead letter, a beautiful theory, and good for
others but not for one’s self? Would you reproach a father for repeating a hundred times the
same instructions to his children if they did not profit by them? Why should God do less than a
father of a family? Why should he not send from time to time special messengers to men,
charged with recalling them to their duties, and with reinstating them in that “narrow path” from
which they have wandered, with opening the eyes of those who are blind to wisdom, as the most
advanced men are sent as missionaries to the savage and barbarous?
The spirits teach no other morality than that of Christ, for the reason that there is no
better. But, then, of what good is this instruction, since it teaches that which we know? One
could say the same of the ethical teachings of Christ, which were taught five hundred years
before he lived by Socrates and Plato in almost identical words; also by all moralists who repeat
the same thing under many forms and words. The spirits come simply to augment the number of
moralists, with the difference, that, manifesting themselves everywhere, they are heard in the
hut as well as in the palace by the ignorant as well as the learned.
That which the teaching of the spirits adds to that of Christ is the knowledge of the laws
which bind the living to the dead, which complete the vague ideas which he gave of the soul, its
past and future, and which the laws of nature give as sanction to his doctrine. By the aid of the
new lights carried by Spiritism and the spirits, man comprehends the solidarity which binds all
beings together. Charity and fraternity become social necessities. Man does from conviction that
which he did only for duty’s sake; and this is better when men will practice the moral teachings
Then alone will they be able to say that they have no more need of incarnate or discarnate
moralists; then God will send them no more of them.
57. The latter is one of the most important questions which is based upon the title of this
chapter: what is the authority of the spiritist revelation, since it emanates from beings whose
light is limited, and who are not infallible?
The objection would be serious if this revelation consisted only of the spirit instructions, -
if we should hold it as from them exclusively, and accept it with closed eyes. It is without value
until man carries to it the cooperation of his knowledge and judgment, as the spirits are
constrained from putting it in the way of deductions which he can draw from observation of
facts. Now, the manifestations in their innumerable variety are facts. Man studies them, and
seeks in them the law. He is aided in this work by spirits of all orders, who are collaborators
rather than revealers in the usual sense of the word. He submits their sayings to the control of
logic and good sense. In this way he benefits by some special knowledge which is derived from
their position, without abdicating the use of his own reason.
The spirits being none other than the souls of men, in communicating with them we do
not go away from humanity, which is a capital circumstance to consider. Men of genius who
have been the beacon-lights of humanity have come to us from the spirit world, as they have re-
entered it on quitting the Earth. Since spirits can communicate with men, these same geniuses can give us instructions under a spiritual form, as they have done in a corporal one. They can
instruct us after death, as they did in life. They are invisible, instead of visible, which is all the
difference. Their experience and knowledge ought not to be less; and if their word, like that of
man’s, had authority, it ought not to have less because that they are in the land of spirits.
58. But there are not only superior spirits which manifest: there are also those of all
orders. This is necessary in order to initiate us into the true character of the spiritual world, by
showing it to us in all its phases. By this means the relations between the visible and invisible
world are more intimate, the connection is more evident. We see more clearly whence we came,
and where we go. Such is the essential object of these manifestations. All spirits, in whatever
degree to which they may attain, teach us something; but, as they are more or less enlightened,
it is left to us to determine whether they are good or evil, and to profit by their teaching as it
permits. Now all, whomsoever they may be, can teach and reveal to us facts of which we are
ignorant, and which but for them we should never know.
59. Wise, incarnated spirits are powerful individualities, - indisputably so; but their action
is restrained and necessarily slow in propagating itself. Allowing that one among them should
come alone, - be it even Elias, Moses, Socrates, or Plato, - to reveal to us in these latter days the
state of the spiritual world, which one among them would have proved the truth of his assertions
in this time of skepticism? Would not men have regarded him as a dreamer or utopist? And,
admitting that his teachings were accepted as the absolute truth, centuries would pass away
before they would be accepted by the masses. God in his wisdom has not obtained it thus; he
has willed that the instruction be given by the spirits themselves, and not by the incarnates, in
order to convince men of their existence, and that it might take place simultaneously over all the
Earth, which may have been to propagate it the more rapidly, or that we might find in the
coincidence of the teaching a proof of its truth, each one having thus the means of convincing
60. The spirits come not to free man from work, study, or research; they bring no ready-
made science; they leave him to his own strength in that which he can discover for himself. The
spirits know perfectly well today that for a long time experience has demonstrated the error of
the opinion which attributed to spirits the possession of all knowledge and wisdom, and that it
was sufficient to address one’s self to the first spirit which came; in order to know all things.
After leaving the Earth, spirits occupy one out of many spiritual planes, as upon Earth there are
superior and vulgar persons. Many spirits then know scientifically and philosophically less than
certain men; they tell no more, and often less, than they know. As among men, the most
advanced can teach us more, and give us more judicious advice, than those less advanced. To
demand counsel of spirits is not to address supernatural powers, but persons like ourselves, -
those to whom we would turn for counsel in their earthly life, as parents, friends, and
individuals more enlightened than ourselves. Here is an important fact for those who are
ignorant of Spiritism, and have formed a false idea of the nature of the world of spirits and of
the condition of affairs beyond the tomb.
61. What is then the utility of these manifestations, or, as we may say, this revelation, if
the spirits know no more than ourselves, or if they do not tell us all they know?
Firstly, as we have said, they abstain from giving us that which we can acquire through
labor. Secondly, there are facts which they are not permitted to reveal, because we are not
sufficiently advanced to receive them. But, aside from this, the conditions of their new existence
extend the circle of their perceptions. They see that which they saw not upon Earth, freed from
the trammels of matter. Delivered from the cares of the corporeal life, they judge things from a
more elevated point, from a healthier one; their perspicuity embraces a broader horizon; they
perceive their errors, and rid themselves of human prejudices.
It is in this that the superiority of spirits over incarnates consists; therefore their counsel
will be, according to their degree of advancement, more judicious and disinterested than that of
the incarnates. Conditions are found by which they can instruct us in principles of which we are
ignorant. Until now men had created only suppositions in regard to the future. That is why
beliefs upon this point have been divided into systems so numerous and so divergent, - from a
belief in nothing to fantastic ideas of hellfire and paradise. Today we have ocular
demonstration; the actors themselves from the life beyond the tomb, who alone can give us
knowledge of it, come to tell us what it is. These manifestations serve, then, to give us
knowledge of the invisible world which surrounds us, of which, without them, we should not be
aware of the existence. This knowledge alone should be considered of the highest importance,
even supposing that the spirits were incapable of teaching us anything more.
If you should go into a strange country by yourself, would you reject the teachings of the
most humble peasant whom you chanced to encounter? Would you refuse to interrogate him
about the state of the land because he was only a peasant? You would not expect from him,
certainly, intelligence of a very high character; but such as it is, and in his sphere, he will be
able, upon certain points, to give you better than a wise man who does not know the country.
You will draw from his indications sequences which you could not do of yourself. He will have
been at least a useful instrument for your observations, had he served only to make known to
you the customs of the peasants. It is the same in connection with the spirits, where the lowest
can teach us something.
62. A common incident will explain the matter better.
A ship loaded with emigrants departs for a far-distant locality. It carries men of all
conditions, the relatives and friends of whom remain at home. One learns that the ship has been
wrecked. No trace remains of it; no news is obtained in regard to its fate. It is thought that all
passengers have perished; and mourning is in all the families. However, the entire company,
without the loss of a single soul, has landed upon an unknown soil, which is abundant and
fertile, where all live happily under favoring skies; but their friends are ignorant of their fate.
Now, one happy day another ship reaches their shore; it finds all the shipwrecked ones safe and
well. The happy news spreads with lightning-like rapidity. Each one says, “Our friends are not
lost;” and they give thanks to God. They cannot see each other; but they correspond, exchange
testimonies of affection, and joy succeed to sadness.
Such is terrestrial life and life beyond the grave before and after modern revelation. The
latter, like the second ship, carries to us the good news of the survival of those who are dear to
us, and the certitude of one day rejoining them. Doubt in regard to their fate and our own exists
no more; discouragement is effaced by hope.
But other results are added to enrich this revelation. God, judging humanity mature
enough to penetrate the mystery of its destiny and to contemplate with composure new marvels,
has permitted the veil between the known and the unknown worlds to be raised. The fact of the
manifestations has nothing supernatural about it: it is the spiritual humanity that comes to talk
to humanity in the flesh, and to say to it:
“We exist; nothingness exists not. Behold that which we are, and that which you will be;
the future is the same for you as to us. You walk in darkness; we come to throw light upon your
way, and to prepare it before you. Terrestrial life was all you could comprehend, because you
saw nothing beyond. We come to say to you, in showing the spiritual life to you, the earthly life
is as nothing. Your sight was arrested at the tomb; we come to show you the splendid horizon
beyond it. You knew not why you suffer upon Earth; now, in suffering you see the justice of
God. Goodness was unfruitful for the future; it will have henceforth an object, and will be a
necessity. Fraternity was only a beautiful theory; it is now firmly established as a law of nature. Under the empire of the belief that death ends all, immensity is void, egotism reigns master
among you, and your watchword is, “Each one for himself.” With certitude of the future,
infinite space is peopled with infinitude. Emptiness and solitude do not exist; solidarity joins all
beings both this side and beyond the tomb together. It is the reign of charity with the device,
“One for all and all for one.” Instead of bidding an eternal farewell to dear friends at the close of
life, you will now say, “Good bye till I see you again.”
Such are the results of the law of the new revelation. It has come to fill the void which
incredulity has deepened, to revive hope where it is withering into doubt and a perspective of
annihilation, to give to everything a reason for existing. Is this result, then, without importance
because the spirits come not to solve scientific problems, and to give to the indolent the means
of enriching themselves without trouble? However, the fruits which man ought to gather from it
are not only those for a future life; he will extract good from the transformation that these new
beliefs ought to work in his character, his tastes, his tendencies, and, in pursuance of which,
upon his habits and social relations. In putting an end to selfishness, pride, and incredulity, the
way is paved for the blessing, which is the reign of God announced by the Christ. *
* The use of the article before the word Christ (originating from the Greek Christos, anointed), employed
in the absolute sense is more correct, as this word is not the name of the Messiah of Nazareth, but a
quality considered substantial. One would then say: Jesus was Christ; he was the Christ announced. The
death of the Christ, and not of Christ. Conversely, one can say: the death of Jesus and not of the Jesus.
Together the two words Jesus Christ form one single noun. For this same reason one can say: The Buda
Gautama acquired the dignity of Buda due to his virtues and his austerities; the life of the Buda. Just as
one can say: army of the Pharaoh, and not of Pharaoh; Henry IV was king, the title of king; the death of
the king, and not of king.