The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Friday, February 24th, 1860
(General Session)

MULTIPLE COMMUNICATIONS:

1st – Letter from Dieppe confirming all points of the spontaneous manifestations which took place in the house of a baker from Grandes-Ventes, near Dieppe, and reported in La Vigie (published in our March issue);

2nd – Letter from Mr. M. from Teil d’Ardèche, providing new information about manifestations which took place at Fons Castle, near Aubenas;

3rd – Letter from Baron Tscherkassoff, containing circumstantial and authentic details about a very extraordinary fact of spontaneous manifestation by a rapping spirit, which took place at the beginning of the century, with a manufacturer in St. Petersburg (to be published below);

4th – A report was given of an event of tangible apparition, having all the characteristics of an agénère (temporarily materialized spirit), which occurred last January 15th, in the village of Brix, near Valognes. The fact was transmitted to Mr. Ledoyen by someone acquainted with him and that verified its accuracy (published below);

5th – A text was read about a Muslim tradition regarding prophet Esdras, extracted from the “Moniteur” on February 15th 1860, based on a fact of mediumship.

STUDIES:

1st – Spontaneous essay by Charlet, received by Mr. Didier Junior, confirming the work already initiated;

2nd – Evocation of Mr. Jules-Louis C…, deceased on January 30th last, in the Val-de-Grâce hospital, as a consequence of a cancer which had destroyed part of his face and jaw;

This evocation was carried out following the wishes of one of his friends who was attending the session and another person who was a family friend. It is educational, above all, regarding the changes in our way of thinking after death, since Mr. C… was openly materialistic when alive.

3rd – St. Louis is asked if it would be possible to call the spirit that manifested in the house of the baker of Dieppe. He responds that he cannot, for reasons that would be understood later.

Friday, March 2nd, 1860
(Private Session)

Several administrative matters are analyzed and discussed.

Study and appreciation of several spiritist communications obtained at the Society and outside of the sessions.

Once asked to provide a spontaneous essay, St. Louis writes the following through Ms. Huet:

“Here I am my friends, ready to give you my advices as I have been doing so far. Beware of the bad spirits who may mingle among you, seeking to disseminate disunion. Unfortunately those who wish to become useful for the accomplishment of a task always find obstacles. They don’t find a generous person but someone willing to achieve a given intent. Have no fear. You shall triumph over all obstacles through patience and a firm attitude against voices that want to impose themselves. Regarding the multiple communications attributed to me, these are sometimes from another spirit that uses my name. I give few communications outside of the Society that I have taken under my sponsorship. I do appreciate these meetings, particularly devoted to me. It is only here that I like to give warnings and advices. Thus, beware of other spirits that sometimes use my name. May peace and union be among you! This is my wish in the name of God who created good. St. Louis

A member of the Society makes the following observation: “How come an inferior spirit may take over the name of a superior spirit without the latter’s consent? This can only happen with an evil intent. Then, why would the good spirits allow it to happen? If they cannot oppose that, does it mean that they are less powerful than the evil ones?

This was answered as follows: There is something more powerful than the good spirits: God. God may allow the bad spirits to manifest in order to help them to advance, and even more, to test our patience, our faith, our confidence, our resolve to resist to temptation, and above all to exercise our perspicacity in distinguishing between the true and false. It is up to us to have the will of keeping them away, proving to them that we are not toys in their hands. If they have authority over us, that is only due to our own weakness. Pride, jealousy and all human evil passions constitute their strength, giving them domination. We know out of experience that their obsession ends when they don’t succeed and tire of trying. Then, it is up to us to show them that they are wasting their time. If God wishes to test us, then no spirit can oppose that. Thus, the obsession of malevolent or mischievous spirits neither stems from their power nor from the weakness of the good ones, but from a will that is above them all. The greater the fight, the more merit we have, if we win.

Friday, March 9th, 1860
(Private Session)

The project containing proposed changes to the regulations of the Society are to be introduced as such.

Mr. Allan Kardec presents the following observations with that respect:

“Considerations about the objective and character of the Society
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some people seem mistaken with respect to the true objective and character of the Society; allow me to remind you of that, in a few words.

The objective of the Society is clearly defined in its own title and in the preamble of the existing bylaws; that objective is essentially, and one may say, exclusively, the study of the Spiritist Science. What we want, before anything else, is not to convince ourselves, since we are already convinced, but to get instructed and learn what we still don’t know. In order to get there we need to position ourselves in the most favorable way; since those studies require calmness and reverence we want to avoid anything that may cause disruption. Such is the consideration that must prevail in the appreciation of the measures that we adopt.

Starting from that principle, the Society then is in no way a vehicle of propaganda. There is no doubt that each one of us wishes the dissemination of the ideas that are considered useful; in order to achieve that each one contributes in the circle of their relationships and according to their own capacities. Yet it would be false to believe that it is necessary to gather in society, and even more false to believe that the Society is the pillar without which Spiritism would be in jeopardy.

Since the Society is regularly established, it proceeds with more order and method than if marching serendipitously; but, besides all that, the Society is not more preponderant than thousands of free societies or private gatherings that do take place in France and abroad. Still once more, what it wants is instruction; that is why it does not admit in its heart but serious persons, animated by the same desire, considering that the antagonism of principles is a cause of disturbance. I mean a systematic antagonism about the fundamental basis, since the Society would not be able to put away the discussion of details without contradicting itself. If it has adopted certain general principles it is not due to a narrow spirit of exclusivism; the Society has seen it all, studied and compared it all, and only after all that that an opinion was formed based on experience and reason; only future can tell if the Society is right or wrong.

Meanwhile it seeks no supremacy and only those who don’t know the Society may suppose a ridicule pretension of absorbing all adepts of Spiritism or to be positioned as the universal regulator. If it did not exist, each one of us could learn independently, and instead of one meeting only we could perhaps have ten or twenty, that is the whole difference. We don’t impose our ideas to anyone; those who adopt them, it is because they find them fair; those who come to us believe that there is an opportunity to learn here but this is not like affiliation, since we neither form a sect nor a party; we gather for the study of Spiritism like others do for the study of Phrenology, History and other Sciences; and as our gatherings are not based on any material interest, we don’t mind that others are formed right beside us; truly, it would be the same as attributing us with very petty, narrow and puerile ideas if thought that we would see them with jealous eyes, and those who wanted to create rivalries would be showing for that very reason how little they understand the true spirit of the Doctrine; we would regret one thing only: that they don’t know us well enough to suppose that we are accessible to the ignoble feeling of envy. It is understandable that mercenary and rival companies which may be harmed by competition see each other with suspicious eyes; however, if these gatherings only aim at, as they should, an exclusively moral interest, if there is no commercial consideration intermingled with them, I then ask how they can be harmed by multiplicity. Some will certainly say that if there is no material interest on one side, there is self-love on the other, the desire to destroy the neighbor’s moral credit; but such a drive would be even more ignoble. If that were the case – certainly contrary to God’s wishes – we would only have to feel sorry for those moved by such thoughts. Do you want to overtake your neighbor? Do better than him; that is a noble and dignified fight, when it is not stained by envy and jealousy.

That is, ladies and gentlemen, an essential point which should not be out of sight, that we neither form a sect nor a society of propaganda, or a corporation with a common interest; if we ceased existing, Spiritism would suffer no damage and other twenty societies would be formed from our remains. One must understand that the roots of Spiritism are not in our Society but in the whole world. There is something more powerful than them, more influential than all societies: it is the Doctrine which reaches the heart and reason of those who understand it; and particularly of those who practice it.

These principles, ladies and gentlemen, tell us the true character of our regulations, which have nothing in common with the bylaws of a corporation; there is no contract bonding one to the others; outside our sessions we have no reciprocal obligation but to behave as educated people. Those who don’t find in these meetings what they expected to find have total freedom to leave, and I would not even conceive the idea of having them around since what we do here is not suitable to them. It would not be logical that they would come here to waste their time.

In every meeting one needs rules to maintain the good order; our regulation is then nothing but a word of order with the objective of establishing the organization of our sessions, keeping the relationship among the attendees civil and adequate, necessary to preside over every assembly of people of good manners, abstraction made of the conditions which are inherent to the specialty of our activities, since we don’t deal exclusively with human beings but also with the spirits that, as you know, are not all good spirits and that one must be on guard against the falsehood of some. Among them there are some very astute ones who can even push us towards a dangerous avenue, just for the hatred of good; it is up to us to exercise prudence and perspicacity to frustrate them, a fact that forces us to take special precautions.

Keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, the way by which the Society was formed. I used to receive in my house people in “petit comité” (small groups); as that number grew, people said: a larger place is in order. In order to have a larger place it will be necessary to pay for it and we then had to share the costs. It was also said: one needs order with the séances; we cannot admit the first one who shows up; then we need rules; and that is the whole story of the Society. It is very simple, as you see. The idea of founding an institution had not crossed anybody’s mind, or the occupation with any other business outside the studies, and I even declare very formally that if in any case the Society wanted to go beyond that objective I would not follow it.

What I have done, others are equally free to do the same on their side and at will, following their own tastes, ideas and particular viewpoints; and these different groups may understand each other perfectly well and coexist like good neighbors. As it is physically impossible to gather all adepts of Spiritism in the same place, unless a public area was used for the assemblies, those different groups must be fractions of a larger whole but not rival sects; and a given group, if becoming too large, may be subdivided like the swarms of bees. These groups already exist in large numbers and multiply every day. Well, it is precisely against such multiplicity that the ill faith of the enemies of Spiritism shall breakdown, for the obstacles would have the unavoidable effect, and by the force of things, of multiplying the private gatherings. By that, one must acknowledge that there is among certain groups a kind of rivalry, or even antagonism; what is the cause of that? Oh my god! That cause is in human fragility, in the spirit of pride that one wishes to impose; it is above all in the still incomplete knowledge of the true principles of Spiritism. Each one defending their principles like the Greek cities defended their gods in the former times who, one must recognize, were no one else but the more or less good spirits. Those dissidences only exist because there are people ready to judge before they have seen the whole picture or who judge from the standpoint of their restrict personalities; they shall fade away as many have already done so, while the Science is being formulated; truth is definitely one and it shall come out of the impartial assessment of the different opinions. Under the expectation that light will shine upon all points, who shall be the judge? Reason, you will say; but when two persons contradict one another, each one invokes their reason; what will be the superior reason to decide between those two reasons?

Without discussing the more or less pompous language, a form which the imposter and pseudo-clever spirits know well how to use in order to seduce by appearances, we start from the principle that good spirits give only good advices, those of union and concord; that their language is always simple, modest and full of benevolence, exempt of acrimony, arrogance and presumption, in short, that everything in them breathes the purest charity. Charity - that is the true criterion to judge the spirits and to judge oneself. Whoever finds a germ of rancor against their brother or sister when digging up their most inner soul, even a simple bad wish, may say to oneself that a bad spirit is soliciting them, since the maxim of Christ is forgotten: “you will be forgiven as you have forgiven.”

Thus, if there is rivalry between two spiritist groups the truly good spirits could not take the side of the one who had said anathema against the other since a sensible person could never believe that envy, rancor, malevolence, in short, every feeling against charity could stem from a pure source. Look and find the side in which there is more practical charity and not in words and you shall recognize effortlessly on which side the good spirits are, and consequently from whom one is more likely to expect the truth.

Such considerations, ladies and gentlemen, far from keeping us away from our subject, they place us on the right terrain. The regulations, seen from that perspective, totally lose their character of contract, assuming a much more modest one, that of simple disciplinary rule.

Every meeting, whatever their objective, must forearm against an obstacle which is the disordered characters that seem to have been born to spread disturbance and fissure everywhere; disorder and contradiction are their element. The spiritist sessions, more than the others, must fear them since the best communications are only obtained in calmness and reverence, incompatible with their presence and that of the sympathetic spirits that they bring along.

In summary, we must strive to remove all causes of disorder and interruption; keeping good relationships among us, which the sincere spiritists should give the example, more than others; we must oppose to any movement of the Society away from its objective, by not dealing with questions which are not in its scope, or paying the price to degenerate into an arena of personalism and controversy. Furthermore, we need to look for simplification in our procedures, facilitating the execution of the works. The more complicated the procedures the more we will have causes for disturbance; relaxation will come in by the sheer force of things and from relaxation to anarchy is only one step away.”

Friday, March 16th, 1860
(Private Session)

Regulations are discussed and modified.

Friday, March 23rd, 1860
(Private Session)

The persons are indicated and the whole Committee nominated.

STUDIES:

Two spontaneous essays were obtained, the first one from the spirit of Charlet, through Mr. Didier Jr.; the second through Mrs. Boyer, from a spirit who said to have been forced to come, accused for having tried to break the harmony, spreading disruption, provoking envy and rivalry among those who should be united. The spirit acknowledges his guilt on some of the charges. Such spontaneous confession, he says, is part of the punishment imposed on him.

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