The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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The Mentally Challenged - Cretinism
(Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies, medium Mrs. Costel)

One of our colleagues, Mrs. Costel, travelled to a region in the Alps where cretinism seems to have established itself as a main health issue and while there, she received the following communication from one of her familiar spirits:

“The mentally challenged with cretinism are punished on Earth for the bad use they made of their once given powerful faculties. Their soul is imprisoned in a body whose powerless organs cannot express their thoughts. Such moral and physical muteness is one of the cruelest punishments on the planet. Regretful spirits who want to make up for their faults frequently chooses it. Such trial is not in vain because the spirit is not stationary in the bodily prison. The blurred eyes can see; the foggy brain can think but nothing can be translated into words or body language and with the exception of their movement they are morally in the same situation as the lethargic and the cataleptic that see and hear what goes on around them but cannot express themselves. When you have terrible nightmares in your sleep and you want to run away from danger; when you scream for help while your tongue remains static in your mouth and your feet stuck to the ground you briefly experience what always happens to a person with cretinism: paralysis of the body that is linked to the life of the spirit. Hence almost every disease has a reason for its occurrence. There is nothing without a cause and what you call injustice in someone’s fate is the application of the sternest justice. Insanity is also a punishment for the abuse of the faculties.

An insane person has two personalities, one that is flamboyant and the other that is cognizant, without the ability of controlling the actions. In the case of cretinism, the contemplative life, isolated from the body, can be as hectic as those lives that are complicated by events. Some revolt against their voluntary punishment; they become sorry for having chosen that and then experience a fierce desire to return to another life, a desire that leads them to forget the resignation in their present life and the remorse for their past life, from which they are aware of since those who suffer cretinism know better than you do and in their physical limitation there is a hidden moral strength that you cannot even imagine.

The acts of fury or stupidity of their bodies are judged by their inner self that suffers and feels ashamed. Thus the ridicule, harm or mistreatment that they sometimes face increases their suffering since it makes them feel even worse for their weakness and misery. If they could, they would accuse those who act this way as being cowardliness since they know that their victims cannot defend themselves.

Cretinism is not a law of God and science may make it disappear since it is the material result of ignorance, misery and filthiness. The new procedures of hygiene made widely available and of more practical use to everyone by science tends to eliminate that. Besides, since progress is the fate of humanity the imposed trials will also modify, following the progress of the centuries; they will all become moral and when the still young Earth has accomplished all phases of its existence it will become a place of happiness like other more advanced planets.

Pierre Jouty, medium’s father

OBSERVATION: There was a time when people had doubts about the soul of those with cretinism and there was the question if in reality they belonged to humankind. Isn’t the manner in which Spiritism sees them not of a high moral character and of a great lesson? Don’t we find subject for serious reflection when we think that those miserable bodies have souls that may have already shone in the world; that they are as much lucid and active in their minds as we are, under the thick cover that muffles their manifestations and that one day the same can happen to us if we abuse our God given faculties?

How else can one explain cretinism? How to reconcile it with God’s justice and benevolence without admitting the plurality of the existences that is reincarnation? If the soul had not lived yet, it means that it was created at the same time as the body. In that case how can one justify the creation of souls as disinherited, as those who suffer cretinism from the part of a just and good God? Here we are not talking about one of those incidents of insanity that can be treated and cured. Those creatures are born and die in the same state. Since there is no notion of good and evil what is their fate in eternity? Will they be happy like the hard working and intelligent people? But then why this favor since they have not done anything good? Will they be in a state called limbo or in a mixed state that is not happiness or unhappiness? We challenge anyone who denies the doctrine of reincarnation to find a solution to this stalemate. With reincarnation, on the contrary, what seems to be an injustice becomes a remarkable justice; what is inexplicable is explained in the most rational way. As a matter of fact we don’t know if those who deny this doctrine have ever presented any more peremptory argumentation than their personal rejection to return to Earth. Are they so certain of having enough virtues to achieve heavens immediately? Good luck to them. But those with cretinism? How about the children who die during infancy? What shall be the titles that they will hold?

A Good Person would have Died
(Spiritist Society of Sens)

You often say this about a bad person that escapes danger: ‘If he were a good person he would have died’. Well, you are right by saying so since it often happens that God gives a longer life to a spirit still young on the path of progress than to a good spirit whose merit is awarded with a trial as short as possible. Hence you must know that it is a blasphemy when a good neighbor dies and there is a bad person near his house and you say: ‘it should have been the other one!’ It is a big mistake for the one that passes has finished his task whereas the one that stays might not have even started his. Why would you like that he did not have time to complete it and that the other who left should stay longer attached to the Earthly glebe?

What would you say about a prisoner that had finished his time and continued in prison while someone else who did not conquer the right of freedom was set free? You must understand that the true freedom is in the liberation from the bodily links and that you shall be in captivity while you are on Earth. You should get used to not condemning what you cannot understand and trust that God is just in all things. Often what seems bad to you is good but your faculties are so very limited that the big picture escapes your biased senses. Do your best to get out of your narrow sphere through your thoughts and as you elevate, the importance of this material life will diminish before your eyes as just an incident in your endless spiritual life, the only true existence.

Fénelon

Rich and Poor
(Spiritist Society of Lyon)

NOTE: Although the spiritists of Lyon are divided into several groups that gather separately, we consider them as forming a single society that we call by the generic name Spiritist Society of Lyon. The two communications below were received in our presence.

“Jealousy is the companion of pride and envy. It leads you to wish everything that others have without realizing it, in envying their position you do not do this to yourself, but you present a viper that you reheat against your chest. You are always jealous and envious of the rich. Your ambition and egotism make you desire someone else’s gold. You say: ‘If I were rich I would make a much different use of my wealth than this or that person.’ Are you sure that if you had that money you would not make an even worse use of it? You respond by saying: ‘Someone that is protected from the daily needs of life has minor sufferings compared to mine.’ What do you know about that? You must learn that the rich are just a commissary of God. If he uses his fortune badly he will be highly accountable. The God given fortune that the rich takes advantage of is his own punishment, his trial, his atonement. How many troubles one has to go through in order to keep all that gold to which one is so much attached! When his time comes, the time of accountability, he almost always realizes at that supreme moment how he should have behaved, and he then fears! A lot of fear! He starts to understand that he failed on his mission; that he was an unfaithful official and that his accounts will be thoroughly investigated. The poor workers, on the contrary, those who suffered all of their lives attached to the anvil or to the plough, they see death coming, the liberation of all sufferings, and they see that with acknowledgement, particularly when misery was withstood with resignation and without complaints.

Believe me, my friends, if you could just see the tough pillory on which the rich is tied by his fortune, you who have a good heart since you went through all sieves of disgrace, you would say with Christ when your ego was hurt by the luxury of the worldly opulence: ‘Forgive them, my God, because they don’t know what they are doing’ and you would rest on your hard pillow adding: ‘My God, bless me and may thy will be done!’

Guardian spirit of the medium”

Different Ways of Practicing Charity
Spiritist Society of Lyon

NOTE: The following communication was received in our presence at the group of Perrache:

“Yes, my friends, I shall always come to you whenever I am invited. Yesterday I was very happy with you when I saw the author of the books that have opened your eyes witnessing your desire to be together, learning from his benevolent words. It is both a great teaching and a strong memory for all of you. When he spoke of love and charity I noticed several of you asking yourselves: ‘How can I do charity? I often don’t even have necessities for myself.’

Charity, my friends, can be done in several ways. You can do it through your thoughts, words and works. In your thoughts by praying for the abandoned poor ones who died without having been able to see the light.

A prayer from your heart alleviates them. You can address words of good advice to your daily companions. To the bitter ones by despair and deprivation who say blasphemy using the name of the Almighty you say: ‘I was like you. I was suffering and I was unhappy but I believed in Spiritism and look, I am joyful now.’ To the elderly who say: ‘It is useless; this is the end of the line for me; I will die as I lived’. You will respond: ‘God has the same justice to all. Remember the workers of the last hour.’ To the already contaminated children by their environments, wandering around, ready to succumb to all sorts of temptations you say: ‘God sees you my dear children’ and don’t be afraid of repeating these kind words many times. They will end up by germinating in their young minds and instead of little vagabonds you will have good adults. That is also charity.

Several among you also say: ‘Come on! We are too many on Earth for God to see us all.’ Listen well, my friends. When you reach the pinnacle of a mountain do your eyes not embrace the billions of sand grains that form the mountain? There you go! That is how God sees us. He gives you free-will in the same way that those grains of sand are given the freedom of coming and going, following the dispersing winds. The difference is that God in his infinite mercy planted on the bottom of your heart a vigilant sentinel called conscience. Listen to that. It will only give you good advice. You sometimes muffle it, opposing it with an evil spirit and the conscience then silences. Rest assured though that the poor and abandoned conscience will be heard again as soon as you reveal a shadow of remorse. Listen to that voice; question it and you will often find consolation in the advice.

My friends, every new regiment receives a flag from its general. I give you this maxim from Jesus: ‘Love one another’. Practice this maxim. Unite around that flag and you will receive happiness and consolation.

Your guardian spirit”

Rome
(Sent by Mr. Sabò from Bordeaux)

City of Romulus and Caesars, the cradle of Christianity, tomb of the apostles, you are the eternal city and God wishes to finally stop your long lasting lethargy. The time of your return will come. Shake your numb limbs out and stand up courageously and valiant to obey the destiny that waits for you since you have not been but a desert city for long centuries. The multiple ruins of your vast arenas that hardly held the waves of eager spectators are only visited by the rare foreigners that from time to time visit your solitary streets. The catacombs where the remains of so many brave soldiers rest, soldiers who died for the faith, only touch their indifference. Your current crises will be the last one and from this difficult and painful work you shall come out great, strong, powerful, transformed by God’s will. From the top of your old basilica, the voice of Peter’s successor will be heard, his hands reaching out to you with the blessings of heaven invoking the spirits of the Lord to his supreme council. He will submit to their orders and give the signs of progress, openly holding the flag of Spiritism. Then, submitted to its lessons, the Catholic universe shall flock in masses standing around the walking stick of their great pastor, and that will drive every heart to you. You shall be the shining light to illuminate the world and its inhabitants, in the joy and happiness of providing the nations with the example of betterment and progress, chanting in your songs: Yes, Rome is the eternal city.

Massillon”

The Coliseum
(Sent by Count X…, from Rome and translated from the Italian)

“What do you feel when you see the Coliseum? The feeling produced by any ruin: sadness. Its vast and beautiful proportions remind the whole world of greatness but its decrepitude involuntarily drives our thoughts to the fragility of human things. There is a time for everything and the monuments that seemed to defy the test of times fall apart as if demonstrating that only God’s works are durable and when the debris spread everywhere protesting against the eternity of human’s works, you dare call eternal a city littered with the remains of the past! Where are you Babylon? Where are you Nineveh? Where are your huge and splendid palaces? The traveler hopelessly searches under the sand of the desert. Don’t you see that God has erased it from the surface of the Earth? Rome, do you expect to defy the laws of nature? You say you are Christian and Babylon was Pagan. Yes, but you are stones, as she is also, and God’s breath may disperse the stacked rocks. Isn’t the trembling earth around you a warning that your cradle under your feet may become your grave? You say: ‘I am Christian and God protects me.’ However, how dare you compare yourself to the first Christians who died for their faith and whose thoughts were no longer from this world, you who live the pleasures, luxury and indolence? Cast your eyes upon those arenas when you go by with indifference. Ask those still standing stones and they shall respond and the shadow of the martyrs will come to tell you: What have you done to the simplicity turned into law by our divine Master; to the humility and charity that he gave us as an example? Did the first propagators of the Gospel live in palaces, and were they dressed in silk and gold? Were their tables overflowing with the superfluous? Were they surrounded by useless entourages of servants flattering their pride? What is it in common between you and them? They only wanted the treasures of heaven while you seek the Earthly treasures! Oh! People who call yourselves Christians! Looking at your attachment to the perishable things of this world one would say that you don’t really count on those things of eternity. Rome, self-proclaimed to be immortal, when the future centuries will not be able to find your location as it is today when we seek Babylon!

Dante”

OBSERVATION: Out of an incredible coincidence these two messages came to us on the same day. Although they deal with the same subject it is clear that the spirits see it from their own personal point of view. The first sees a religious Rome and eternal in his opinion because it shall always be the capital of the Christian world. The second sees the material Rome and says that nothing constructed by humans can be eternal. It is a fact that the spirits have their own opinions and may disagree among themselves when still influenced by their worldly ideas. It is only the purer spirits that are exempt from prejudices. But leaving aside the opinion that may be controversial, it is not possible to deny the fact that the two communications show great elevation in style and thought and we believe that they would not be denied by the authors whose names they bear.

The Promised Land
(Sent by Mr. Rodolphe, from Mulhouse)

“Spiritism rises and soon its fertile light will illuminate the world. Shining magnificently it will protest against the attacks of those interested in keeping up with the abuse and against the incredulity of materialism. The doubters will feel happy for finding in this new, beautiful and pure doctrine the consoling balm that will heal their skepticism, thus facilitating their betterment and progress as with everybody else. Privileged will be those who take off rapidly flying towards the pinnacles of the purest ideas, seeking their complete dematerialization. People! Stand up to watch the dawn of this new regenerating era; sent by God to have you all united in a sacred and fraternal communion. Oh! The happiness of those who listen to this blessed voice of Spiritism, following its flag and accomplishing their apostolic mission that will recover the brothers lost on the path of doubt and ignorance, or blinded by vices!

Come back, wondering sheep, come back to the pen. Raise your head, look at your Creator and you will pay tribute to God’s love for you. Promptly remove the veil hiding the Spirit of Divinity from you; admire its great beauty; kneel down, bring your face to the ground and repent. Repentance will open the doors of happiness to you, the doors of a better world where you will find the purest love, the real fraternity where each person finds joy and in their neighbor’s joy.

Don’t you feel that the time has come for the advent of new things? Don’t you feel that Earth seems to be giving birth? What do all these people want with their agitation, their hurry to fight? Why are they going to fight? To break the chains that preclude the advancement of their intelligences; that absorb their energies; that sow mistrust and discord; that forearm the son against his father and brother against brother; that corrupt noble aspirations and kill the genius. Oh! Freedom! Oh! Independence! Noble attributes of God’s children, growing hearts and elevating souls; you are the reason why men become good, great and generous; you drag our aspirations to good; you eliminate injustice and hatred, and discord flees in shame with its dying trail projecting sinister flashes of light. Brothers! Listen to the voice that tells you: March! March towards that shining goal before you! March towards that shining ray of light ahead of you, as in the past when the column illuminated before the people of Israel. You shall be led to the true Promised Land, the kingdom of eternal happiness reserved to the pure spirits! Arm yourself with virtues; purify yourself from impurities and your path will seem easy, escorted by flowers. You will walk it with ineffable joy for on each step of the way you will feel that your goal is closer, a place where you will win the eternal palms.

Mardoqueu”

Selfishness and Pride
(Spiritist Society of Sens)

“If people loved one another with mutual love, charity would be better practiced. For that you would have to struggle to get rid of that armor around your hearts to become more sensitive to the suffering of others. Rigidity kills good feelings. Christ was never discouraged. He never rejected anyone that came to him, whoever that person might have been. The adulterous woman, the criminal were rescued by him. He was never afraid of hurting his own reputation. When will take him as the example of all of your actions? If charity were reigning on Earth, evil would not have its domain; it would flee ashamed; it would hide and feel awkward everywhere. Evil would then disappear from the face of Earth, rest assured. Start by giving the example yourselves. Be charitable to everyone, irrespectively; strive to create the habit of not noticing those who look at you with disdain; always believe that they deserve your sympathy and leave it to God to take care of all the righteousness, for everyday God separates the weed from the wheat in his kingdom. Selfishness is the negation of charity, or, without charity there is no social peace. I say again, from a point of safety; when selfishness and pride walk hand in hand it is always a race in favor of the most capable, a struggle of interests where the most sacred affections are knocked to the ground; where not even the sacred bonds of family are respected.

Pascal

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