The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Last year the papers reported a case of suicide that took place under special circumstances. It was in the beginning of the Italian war. The head of a family that enjoyed the sympathy of the neighborhood had a son who was drafted to the war. Since his position did not allow him to avoid his son’s military service he then had the idea of killing himself, so that his son would be exempted as the only son of a widow.

Was the death a trial to the father or to the mother? In any case it is likely that God might have taken into consideration the dedication of that man and that suicide has not had the same consequences for him if he had done it for other reasons.

(To St. Louis) – Can you tell us if we can evoke the man that we have just mentioned? – A. Yes. That will make him very happy because it will give him some relief.

1. Evocation. – A. Oh! I suffer a lot but… it is fair. However, he will forgive me.

OBSERVATION: The spirit writes with great difficulty. The characters are irregular and badly written. After the word but he stops and tries to write, unsuccessfully, just writing some indecipherable traces and points. It is obvious that he could not write the word God.

2. Fill the blank that you left. – A. I am unworthy.

3. You say that you suffer. There is no doubt that you made a mistake by committing suicide but has the reason that led you to do that granted you any indulgence? – A. My punishment will be shorter but the action is not less serious.

4. Could you describe the punishment that you endure, giving us the maximum amount of details to our instruction? – A. I suffer twice as much, in the soul and in the body; although I have no more body, I suffer like the amputee with the absent member.

5. Was the only cause of your action the salvation of your son or were you driven by another cause? – A. I was guided by the paternal love only, but it was a bad guide. That is why my penalty will be abbreviated.

6. Can you foresee the end of your suffering? – A. I cannot see the end but I am sure there is an end, and that comforts me.

7. A short while ago you could not write the word God. However, we have seen very unfortunate spirits writing it. Is it part of your punishment? – A. I shall do it but with great effort and regret.

8. Well done! Go for it and try to write the word. We are convinced that if you succeed it will bring you relief. The spirit ended up writing the word, with irregular, large and shaky characters: “God is very good.”

9. We are thankful to you for having attended our appeal and we send our prayers to God in your favor so that his mercy may reach you. – A. Yes, please.

10. (To St. Louis) Could you give us your personal opinion about the action of this spirit that we have just evoked? – A. This spirit suffers in fairness because he lost his trust in God, a fact that is always subject to punishment. His punishment would be long and terrible if he did not have a plausible motive in his favor, like impeding his son to march to death. God that sees the bottom of people’s hearts, and who is fair, will not punish him but according to his deeds.

OBSERVATION: Through his action that man might have impeded the accomplishment of his son’s destiny. To begin with it is not certain that he would die in the war and perhaps that career would have given him an opportunity to do something useful to his progress. Undoubtedly such a consideration shall not be alien to the severity of his punishment. His intention was certainly good and that was taken into account in his case. The intention attenuates the fault and deserves indulgence, but it does not hinder the bad from being bad. If it were not for that, one could excuse every wrongdoing and even kill under the pretext of good intention. Could one believe, for example, that we can kill a hopeless man in order to abbreviate his sufferings? No because that action would abbreviate the trial that he has to undergo and we would do more harm than good. Is the mother who kills her child in hopes that the child will go to heaven less culpable because she did so out of a good intention? Based on such a system we would justify every crime that was committed by blind fanaticism in the religious wars.

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