The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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The letter below was sent by Mr. Roustaing, Attorney at the Imperial Court of Bordeaux and former President of the Bar Association. The principles expressed in that letter by such an educated man, given that he is placed amongst the most enlightened, may perhaps give pause to some of those who consider themselves as having the exclusive privilege of reason and place all the followers of Spiritism as fools.


“My dear Sir and highly distinguished spiritist leader, I received the influence and collected the benefits of these words from Jesus to Thomas: ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’, profound, divine words that show the safest, the most rational path, the one that leads to faith according to St. Paul’s maxim accomplished and realized by Spiritism: ‘Rationabile sit obsequium vestrum’.

When I wrote to you for the first time last March I said: I saw nothing, but I read and got it and I believed. God rewarded me well for having believed without having seen; later I saw and I saw well; I saw under favorable circumstances and the experimental part came to excite, if I may say so, the faith that I had gotten from the Doctrine, strengthening and giving life to that faith.

After having studied and understood, I knew the invisible world like someone that knows Paris from studying it on a map. Through experience, continual work and observation I got to the invisible world and its inhabitants, like someone that knows Paris from walking around it, but without having gone to every corner of that large capital city. Yet, since the beginning of April and thanks to what I have learned from you, from the excellent Mr. Sabò and his moral family, all good and true spiritists, I was able to work and work intensely with them or at my place in the presence and with the support of the followers from our city, who are convinced of the spiritist truth although not all of them are in fact spiritist practitioners.

Mr. Sabò sent you the accurate result of our activities, material that was taught to us by superior spirits through evocations or spontaneous manifestations. We were taken by both joy and surprise as much as by confusion and humility when we received those precious and truly sublime lessons from so many elevated spirits who came to visit us or who sent us messengers to speak in their names.

Oh! Dear Sir, how happy I am for no longer professing the cult to matter on Earth; this Earth that I now know is a place of exile, trials and atonement to our spirits! How happy I am for getting to know and have understood reincarnation, with its full reach and consequences, and as a reality rather than fantasy! Reincarnation, that sublime and equitable law of God, as my guide and guardian spirit said yesterday, so beautiful, so reassuring, for it allows us the possibility of doing tomorrow what we could not have done the day before; that allows the creature to advance to the Creator; ‘that just and equitable law’, according to a statement from Joseph de Maistre, during the evocation of his spirit that we carried out and you got the notes; reincarnation is ‘a long and tough path to walk to get to God’s dwelling’ using the divine words of Jesus. Now I understand the meaning of these words from Jesus to Nicodemus: ‘How can you be a doctor of the law and not know these things?’

Now that God has allowed me to understand in full all the truth of the Gospel, I wonder how the ignorance of people, teachers of the law, could resist this interpretation of the texts; produce and error and falsehood that brought and maintained materialism, disbelief, fanaticism or cowardice? I wonder how this ignorance, this error could occur when Christ proclaimed the need to revive saying ‘you must be born again’ and thereby reincarnation as the only way to see the kingdom of God, something that was already known and taught on earth and that Nicodemus should know: You are a doctor of the law and you do not know it! It is true that Christ added at each step: ‘Let those who have ears hear’; and also: ‘They have eyes and they see not; they have ears, but they hear and do not understand’; this can be applied to those who came after him, as well as those of his time.

God, in his benevolence, I said, has rewarded me for our work so far and the lessons that we were given by his divine messengers, ‘devout and intelligent missionaries among their brothers’, - in the words of the spirit Fénelon – ‘to inspire their love and the love to their neighbor, forgetfulness of injuries and the worship to God’. Now I understand the wonderful meaning of these words of the spirit Fénelon when he speaks of those divine messengers: ‘They have lived so many times that they have become our masters.’

I joyfully and humbly thank these divine messengers who have come to teach us that Christ is on a mission on Earth for the propagation and the success of Spiritism, the third revelation of divine grace to accomplish these final words of the Gospel ‘Unum ovile and unus pastor’; by telling us: ‘Have no fear! Christ (called by them the Spirit of Truth), Truth is the first and the holiest missionary of the spiritist ideas.’ These words had deeply impressed me, and I wondered: But then where is Christ in his mission on Earth? ‘Truth commands - in the words of the spirit of Marius, bishop in the early days of the Church - this phalanx of spirits sent by God, sent to Earth for the spread and the success of Spiritism.’

What sweet and pure joy we get out of these spiritist charitable works towards the suffering spirits, with the help of the evocations! How reassuring is a communication with one of those who were our relatives and friends on Earth; by knowing that they are happy or being able to mitigate their suffering! How cheerful and brilliant light these spiritist lessons shed on our souls, teaching us the whole truth of Christ’s law, giving us faith through our own reason, helping us to understand God’s omnipotence, his greatness, his justice, his goodness and infinite mercy, placing us before that pleasant need to practice the divine law of love and charity! What a sublime revelation they gave us, by teaching that those divine messengers advance as they help us to advance as well, thus growing the ranks of those pure spirits! Such is the remarkable and divine harmony that simultaneously shows us the unity in God and the solidarity among all creatures, showing them under that influence and the impulse of that reciprocal solidarity called up to improve and improving but not without difficulties and failures in their first steps out of the long and tall spiritual climb, and after having walked all the steps, getting to the original state of ignorance and simplicity, to the intellectual and moral perfection and through that perfection, to God.

Remarkable and divine harmony that shows us the great division between inferiority and superiority, the distinction between worlds that are places of exile where there is only trials and penance, and other superior worlds, dwellings of the good spirits, where all they have to do is to advance towards the good.

Reincarnation, once well understood, teaches humanity that we are all in a transient journey in which we are all free to not come back as long as we do what it takes; that power, wealth, dignity, science, all are given as part of trials and as a means of progress towards good; that they are not in our hands but as a security and instruments for the practice of love and charity; that the beggar that walks by a wealthy man is his brother before God, and might even have been before men; that he might have been rich and powerful. If he is now living an obscure and miserable condition it is for having failed difficult trials, then reminding us of the famous expression about social conditions: ‘From the Capitol to the Tarpeian rock there is only a step’ but with the difference that through reincarnation the spirit stands up from the fall and may even reach celestial regions after reaching the Capitol’s peak.

Reincarnation erases every single Earthly vanity, according to Plato’s expression: ‘There is no king that is not descendent from a shepherd and there is no shepherd that is not descendent from a king’; it frees the individual from the cult to matter and morally levels all social conditions. It is the basis for equality and fraternity among people and spirits, in God and before God, and freedom that is just a lie and a utopia without the law of love and charity, as the spirit Washington recently told us. As a whole, Spiritism brings the truth and unity of the moral and intellectual progress to people, a great and sublime undertaking of which we are nothing more than very humble apostles.

Farewell, my dear Sir. After having gone quiet for three months I am now overwhelming you with this lengthy letter. Please reply when you can or want. I would propose to travel to Paris to have the pleasure to meet you in person and exchange a fraternal handshake with you. My current health condition does not allow me that right now. You can do whatever you may find adequate to this letter. I am honored to openly and publically say that I am a spiritist.
Yours truly,
Roustaing, Attorney”

Everyone will appreciate, as we did, the good thinking expressed in this letter. One can see that although Mr. Roustaing has only recently been initiated he moved on to be a master of assessment. Fact is that he studied the Doctrine serious and profoundly, quickly grasping the consequences of the seriousness within Spiritism, and contrary to many others, he did not stop at the surface. He had seen nothing before, as he said, and he was convinced because he had read and understood. Many others also did what he did and we have always reinforced that those, far from being superficial, are the ones who give serious thought to the matter. They give more importance to the meaning than the form and for them the philosophical part is the essence and the phenomena per say are the accessories, and even if the phenomena did not exist, they say, there would still be a philosophy, the only one capable of solving so many up until now unresolved issues; it is the only philosophy that provides a rational explanation about the past and the future of the human being. Thus, they chose a doctrine that explains rather than one that does not or hardly explains. Anyone that gives some thought to that will understand well that one could make abstraction of the manifestations and the doctrine would still outlive that. The manifestations confirm and reinforce the doctrine but do not form their essential foundation.

Channing’s speech that we saw earlier is a demonstration of that since he was led to the same consequences just by reasoning, about twenty years before the unfolding of the manifestations in North America. There is another point that stands out to a serious spiritist. The citations given by the author of this letter shows that he did not limit himself to the thoughts contained in the communications that he had received, also demonstrating that he was not just admiring beautiful literary productions, goods to preserve in an album, but he studied them, he gave serious thoughts to them, enjoying the benefit in the process. Unfortunately there are many to whom such teaching is a dead word; people who collect communications as someone that collects nice books, never reading them.

We must congratulate Mr. Roustaing for something else. It is the declaration with which he terminates his letter. Unfortunately not everybody has the courage to sustain their opinion as he does, stimulating the adversaries as a consequence. We must acknowledge, though, that things have changed since some time now. Two years ago people only spoke about Spiritism in a closed room; the books were only bought in hiding and care was taken to keep them under cover. Today things are very different. People are already used to the rude remarks of the scorners, laughing at them instead of being fearful. People are no longer afraid of declaring themselves spiritists as much as they are not afraid of saying that they are followers of this or that doctrine, of animal magnetism, of somnambulism, etc. The subject is openly discussed with anyone that shows up, like the classical writers and the romanticists, without any humiliation for defending this or that. It is a huge progress that demonstrates two things: the advancement of the spiritist ideas in general and the little consistency of the arguments used by the adversaries. The natural consequence will be the silence of the latter ones who thought they were stronger and in larger numbers; but when they see people discussing the subject from all sides they will not perhaps be converted but will keep their reservation.

We know a little town that a year ago had only one follower who was pointed at like a rare animal and even considered as such; he was perhaps disinherited by the family or even lost his job. Today there are a large number of followers there. They openly gather in assembly, giving no importance to what others may say; when they saw local authorities, workers, officers, engineers, lawyers, accountants, etc. among them, who did not hide their sympathies towards the cause, the scorners stopped the mockery and the local paper, edited by a strong personality who had already thrown his stones and was preparing to destroy the new doctrine, but afraid of having stronger people on his back decided to keep a judicious silence. That is the story of many other places that will generalize as the followers of Spiritism, whose number grows by the hour, raise their heads and their voices. People may try to eliminate one head that sticks out but when they see twenty, forty, one hundred, who are not afraid of speaking out loud, giving courage to those who don’t have it, they think twice.

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