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