Allan Kardec

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Read at the banquet on September 19th, 1861

It is not without the warmest emotion that I come to join you, dear spiritists of Lyon. In an environment like this where all layers are mixed, where all social conditions hold hand in hand, I am filled with tenderness and sympathy and happy to be able to announce to you that all of us, the initiators of Spiritism in France, will joyfully watch your fraternal banquet, to which we were invited by John and Irenaeus, your eminent spiritual guides. Ah! Such gatherings awaken in my heart the memories of those in which we all gathered a thousand and eight hundred years ago when we fought the dissolute customs of the Roman Paganism already commenting the teachings and parables of the Son of the Man who died on the disgraceful cross for the propagation of the sacred idea.

My friends, if the Almighty out of his infinite mercy allowed the reminiscence of the past to spark for a single moment in your numb memory you would remember that time illustrated by the saint martyrs of the phalanx of Lyon: Sanctus, Alexander, Episode, the sweet, and Blandine the courageous, Irenaeus the audacious bishop whose entourage many of you applauded for his heroism, praising the Lord. You would also remember that several of you who hear me now watered Lyon’s soil with your blood, this fertile land that Eucherius and Gregory of Tours called the homeland of the martyrs. I will not name them but you may consider those who in your centers carry out a mission, an apostolic work, as martyrs of the propagation of the egalitarian idea taught from the top of the Golgotha by our beloved Christ! Today, dear disciples, the one who was made sacred by St. Paul comes to tell you that your mission is the same, for the always living and standing Roman Paganism still looms around the world, like the ivy that entangles the oak tree. You must then spread among your unfortunate brothers and sisters, enslaved by their own passions or by the passions of others, the sacred and reassuring Doctrine that, my friends I came to reveal to you through our mediums from all countries. Yet we notice that the times have evolved; customs have changed and humanity matured; if we were victims of persecution today it would no longer come from a tyrannical and envious power like in the early days of the primitive Church, but from interests organized against us, the apostles of the idea.

I have just mentioned the word egalitarian. I believe it to be useful to elaborate a little bit since we are not here to preach impracticable utopias; on the contrary we energetically repel everything that seems to be related to the prescriptions of an antisocial communism. Before anything else we are promoters of individual liberties, indispensable to the development of the incarnate individuals. Hence we are the declared enemies of everything that approaches monastic legislations that ruthlessly annihilate individual liberties.

Although I am addressing an audience that is partially composed of workers and artisans I know that your consciences, enlightened by the radiations of the spiritist truth, have already rejected any contact with the antisocial theories supported by the use of the word equality. Nevertheless, I must take that word back to its true Christian meaning according to the one who said: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s. There you have it spiritists! The equality proclaimed by Jesus and that we ourselves profess in your beloved groups is the equality before God’s justice, that is, our own right after doing our duties to climb the hierarchy of the spirits and hopefully one day reach the more advanced worlds where there is perfect happiness.

One’s birth or fortune is not taken into account for that. The poor and the weak can reach it as well as the rich and powerful since these don’t carry more material weight than the others, and nobody can buy their place or their forgiveness with money, whereby we all have the same rights. Equality before God, such is the true equality. You will not be asked about your possessions but about the use you made of your possessions. Therefore, the more you have possessed the longer and more difficult the accountability of your management of such possessions. Hence, and according to your missions, trials or punishments in your worldly lives, each one of you, according to your good or bad deeds, will progress more or less in the scale of beings or sooner or later will restart your existence in case you have veered off course.

As a consequence, I repeat, by proclaiming the sacred dogma of equality, we have not come here to teach you that you must all have the same wealth, knowledge and happiness down here, but that you will all reach happiness at the right time and according to your own merits, the happiness of the elected ones, sharing that with the souls that have accomplished their duties. My dear spiritists, that is the equality in your own right, at which the liberation of Spiritism will lead you to, and to which I invite you with all my heart. What do you need to do to reach it? Obey these two sublime words: love and charity that summarize remarkably well the whole law and the prophets. Love and charity! Ah! The one that has followed this divine maxim according to one’s conscience will be certain to quickly climb the steps of Jacob’s ladder and soon reach the elevated spheres from where one will be able to worship, contemplate and understand the magnificence of the Eternal.

You would not believe how kind and pleasant it is to us to preside over your banquet where the wealth and the worker are shoulder to shoulder proposing a toast to fraternity; where the Jew, the Catholic and the Protestant may sit at the same table of the Paschal communion. You cannot believe how proud I am to share with you all and with each one of you the praise and the words of encouragement that the Spirit of Truth, our beloved Master, has commanded me to pass on to your devout entourages. To you, Dijoud, and your honorable partner; to all of you the sincere missionaries, that spread the benefits of Spiritism, thank you for your support and dedication.

However, “noblesse oblige”, my friends, particularly those from the heart. You would be very guilty, even criminal if in the future you fail your sacred missions. But you will not fail. I have the guarantee of what you have already realized and what is still to be done. But it is to you, my beloved brothers in the daily work, that I reserve my sincerest congratulations because, and I do know that, you painfully climb your Golgotha carrying your aching cross as Jesus did. How could I praise you more than by reminding you of your courage and resignation to support unspeakable disasters that fight against fraternity but are necessary for the two Americas and the consequences among you? Ah! Nobody can deny the positive influence of Spiritism that has already been felt. Such hope has penetrated the heart of your workgroups. When we think of the period of the last kingdom when there was no work and the workers would riot from the Croix-Rousse to the Terreaux, giving rise to mutinies and entailing a terrible repression, we must then thank God for the new revelation. In fact according to that vulgar image that you use in your picturesque language sometimes one has to dance before the buffet. And you say that while tightening your belt: Well! We will eat tomorrow!!

I know well that public as well as private charity are concerned and act but that is not the true remedy. Humanity needs something better. That is why if Christianity advocated equality and egalitarian laws, Spiritism holds in its womb, fraternity and its laws, a grandiose and lasting work to be praised by future generations. Keep in mind my friends that Christ chose his apostles amongst the little ones and that those, stronger than Caesars, conquered the world with the Christian idea.

You then have the sacred task of enlightening your fellow co-workers, of propagating this sublime Doctrine that strengthens us before adversity, so that the spirit of evil and rebellion may not excite hatred and vengeance onto the hearts of your brothers and sisters who are not yet touched by the spiritist grace. This work is entirely yours, my dear friends. I know you will carry that out with love and enthusiasm and with the consciousness of a duty to be performed. History will one day acknowledge in their archives that the workers of Lyon, enlightened by Spiritism, deserved a lot from their homeland in the years 1861 and 1862 for the courage and resignation with which they withstood the sad consequences of the struggles of slavery between the disunited States of America. Never mind! These times of fights and trials, my sons, are blessed by God, sent to develop courage, patience and the energy to speed up the elevation and improvement of the planet and the spirits who are imprisoned in their bodily links to matter! Go now. The trench is dug up in the Old World and you will acclaim the spiritist era of fraternity over its ruins that show you the objective and purpose of every human misery, consoling and strengthening your hearts in your struggles and against adversity. You will not distinguish between the unbelievers and the impious, thanking God for your share of misfortune and trials since they will take you closer to eternal happiness.

It still remains to be heard, the advice already given to you many times by your friendly guides but my personal position and the current circumstance ask me to remind you. My good friends, I speak to all spiritists here, to all groups so that there will be no division, no dissidence, no dissidence among you, but on the contrary that a united belief may drive you and bring you all together for this is necessary for the development of our beneficent Doctrine. I feel like there is a power beyond me that forces me to preach to you concord and union, since here as in everything else, union is power and you have the need to be strong and united to face the forthcoming storms. And that is not only among you but also towards your brothers of all religions. That is why I invite you to follow the example given by the spiritists of Bordeaux whose private groups operate like satellites of a central group and this central group requested to be in contact with the precursor group of Paris, the first to receive the elements of a body of doctrine and build the serious foundations for serious studies of Spiritism, followed by spiritists all over the world.

I know that what I am telling you here will not be lost; as a matter of fact I am entirely referring to advice that you have already received and that you will still receive from your outstanding spiritual guides who will drive you on that healthy path, for it is necessary that light shines from the center to the boundaries and from there to the center so that everybody can benefit from the works of each and every one. In fact it is incontestable that submitting all data and all communications from the spirits to the crucible of reason, it will be easy to reject the absurd and the mistakes. A medium may be fascinated; a group may be deceived but the strict control of the other groups, the acquired knowledge and the great moral authority of the leaders of groups; the communications received by the main mediums with the logic and authenticity from our best spirits will quickly unveil the false and astute dissertations that may come from a swarm of deceiving, imperfect or evil spirits. Reject them ruthlessly, all of those spirits who give exclusive advices, preaching division and isolation. They are almost always mediocre and inferior spirits who tend to impose themselves upon weak and credulous people, offering exaggerated praises in order to dominate and fascinate them. These are generally power-hungry spirits, true tyrants in public or in private when alive, and still want to tyrannize victims after their death.

My friends, be generally suspicious of communications that show a mystic or strange character or those that prescribe bizarre actions or ceremonies. In such cases there is always a legitimate reason for suspicion. On the other hand, believe when a truth must be revealed to humanity, it is so to say, instantaneously communicated to all serious groups where there are serious mediums. Finally, I believe it to be useful to repeat here that an obsessed cannot be perfect. Obsession is one of the greatest hurdles and there is clear obsession when a medium cannot receive communications but from a special spirit, whatever the elevation that the spirit may try to show. As a consequence, any medium and any group that judges themselves privileged for communications, that they are the only ones capable of receiving, and on the other hand, are submitted to practices that near superstition, these are undoubtedly under the domination of a very well characterized obsession. I say all that my friends, because there are in the world, mediums that are fascinated by deceitful spirits. I will mercilessly unmask those spirits, particularly if they dare to desecrate honorable names that they steal like thieves and proudly decorate themselves like the servants using the outfits of their masters.

I will fight them ruthlessly if they insist on veering off good and honest Christians from the straight path, dedicated spiritists whose good faith they abuse. In one word let me tell you what I have already told the Parisian spiritists: It is better to momentarily deny ten truths than accept a single lie, a single false theory, because a whole system may be built on the foundations of that false idea, a system that would be shattered by the first blow of truth, like a monument erected on quicksand, whereas if you reject certain truths today, certain principles, because they have not been logically demonstrated to you, soon an impressive event or an irrefutable demonstration will come to show you its authenticity.

It is up to John, to Irenaeus, to Blandine, as well as all of your guardian spirits, the task of forewarning you from now on against the false prophets of the spiritual world. The Great Liberating spirit that presides over our work under the sponsorship of the Almighty will provide for that, believe me. As for myself, although more closely connected to the Parisian groups, I will come from time to time to be among you and always follow with great interest your work here.

We have great expectations on the province of Lyon and we know that you will not fail us or one another with your respective missions. Remember that Christianity, brought by the legions of Caesar, about two thousand years ago sowed the first seeds of the Christian renovation in Vienne and Lyon from where they spread rapidly to the northern Gals. Today, progress must take place with a new radiation from the North to the South. Onto work then people of Lyon! Truth must triumph and it is not without some legitimate impatience that we wait the time when we will hear the sound of the silver trumpet announcing your first combat and your first victory. Let me now thank you for the reverence with which you heard me and your warm welcome. May our Almighty God, our Lord, show us his benevolence and spread upon you and his very humble servant the treasures of his infinite mercy! Goodbye friends of Lyon. I bless you! Erastus

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