Allan Kardec

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The Law of Talion
(Society, August 9th, 1861. Medium Mr. d’Ambel)

The Society receives the following note from a corresponding member: “One of my relatives, Mr. Antonio B… a renowned writer much appreciated by his contemporaries and who used to work as a government official in the Lombardy region, where he completed positions of distinction and integrity; about ten years ago and as a consequence of a stroke, he fell into a state of apparent death that unfortunately and as it sometimes occurs, was mistaken for the actual death. In this case the error was even easier to be made since signs of physical decomposition were observed. Fifteen days after the burial a fortuity led the family to make a request to have the body exhumed. The reason was a medallion mistakenly left inside the casket. During the procedure the witnesses were stunned by the observation that the body had changed position inside the coffin; he was turned and an even more terrifying thing: he had partially eaten one of his own hands. It was then attested that the unfortunate Antonio B… had been buried alive; he must have definitely died of desperation and hunger.

Nevertheless, and after this sad event with its moral and emotional consequences, wouldn’t it be interesting, from a spiritist and psychological point of view, to enquire the spiritual world about it?” 1. (Evocation of Antonio B…) – A. What do you want from me?

2. One of your relatives asked us to have you evoked. We gladly do so and would feel happy if you could kindly answer our questions. – A. Yes, I want to respond really.

3. Do you remember the circumstances of your death? – Ah! Of course I do. I remember. Why do you want to bring back that memory of punishment?

4. Is it true that you were buried alive? – A. That is how it should be since the apparent death had all signs of real death. I was very feeble. Nobody is to blame for something that was predicted from before my birth.

5. Should we stop since these questions bring you painful memories? – A. No, go on.

6. You had the reputation of a good man and we would like to see you happy. – A. Thank you so much. I know you will pray for me. I will do my best to respond but if I fail I will be replaced by one of your guides.

7. Could you describe to us the sensation that you experienced at that terrible moment? – A. Alas! What a painful ordeal! Feeling imprisoned inside the four wooden walls, incapable of moving or changing position! One cannot scream since there isn’t enough air. Oh! What a torture to try to breathe in an environment where there is no Oxygen! I felt like a condemned prisoner sent to the gorges of an oven but without the heat. Oh! I wish such tortures to no one. No, I wish no one will have such a fate like mine. A cruel punishment for a cruel and ferocious existence! Don’t ask me about my thoughts at that time. I dove deep into the past and only vaguely could I foresee the future.

8. You say a cruel punishment for a cruel and ferocious life but so far your spotless reputation would never suggest such situation. Can you explain that? – A. What is the duration of an existence before eternity? It is true that I behaved well in my last incarnation but I had agreed to that before returning to humanity. Ah! Why do you question me about that painful past only known by me and by the spirits, the ministers of the Almighty? You must know that in a previous existence I buried a woman alive, my wife, in a crypt! It was talion’s law that I had to apply to myself! An eye for an eye.

9. We thank you for your kindness in responding to our questions and we pray that God may forgive your past given the merit of your latest existence. – A. I will return later; indeed. The spirit of Erastus would like to complete the learnings.

Lamennais’ Thoughts about the Previous Message

God is good! However, humankind must endure the hardest trials before achieving perfection. This unfortunate lived several centuries under desperate agony, and although he had led an honorable life this event was to take place, since he had chosen it.

Erastus’ Thoughts about the Previous Message

The lesson to be learned from the above is that all existences are interconnected and there is not a single one that is independent from the others. The worries, troubles and great pains that hurt people are always consequences of a badly lived life or a criminal one. I must tell you, however, that experiences like that endured by Antonio B… are rare and that the man whose last existence was a blameless life, chose that trial to reduce his time in the errant state, to more quickly reach the higher spheres. Indeed, after a period of confusion and mental distress, to still atone for his horrible crime, he shall be forgiven and move on to a more advanced world where he is going to meet his victim who awaits him and who has forgiven him long ago. Therefore you must learn from this cruel example, my dear spiritists, and patiently withstand the physical and moral sufferings as well as the small miseries of life.

Q – How can humanity benefit from such punishments? – A. The punishment is not made to better humanity, but to punish the guilty individual. As a matter of fact humanity has no interest in seeing the suffering of one of its own. Here, the punishment was appropriate to the fault. Why do we see mad people? How about the mentally challenged? The paraplegic? Why do some die in a fire? Why the long years of agony to some who can neither live nor die? Ah! Believe me! Respect the sovereign, will and do not try to fathom the reasons of providential order. You must know that God is just and he knows well what he is doing.


OBSERVATION: Isn’t there a great and terrible lesson in this case? God’s justice always reaches the guilty one and although it may seem late, it is not less just. Isn’t that essentially moral to know that even when culprits finish their lives in peace and sometimes even surrounded by abundance of material means, sooner or later their time will come? Such penalties are then understood not just for being close to us but for being logical. We believe because it is admitted by reason. Now, we ask this: isn’t the picture drawn by Spiritism better to hold near death than that of the eternal flames dismissed by Spiritism? Let us just read again the evocations published in this Review and we will see that there isn’t a single vice that does not carry its corresponding punishment, as there isn’t a single virtue that does not carry its reward, both in proportion to the level of culpability or to the merit of each one because God takes into account all the circumstances that may mitigate harm or increase the compensation of good.

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