THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM Contains explanations of the moral maxims of Christ in accordance with Spiritism And their application in various circumstances in life By ALLAN KARDEC Author of THE SPIRITS’ BOOK Unshakable faith is only that which can meet reason face to face in every Human epoch ____________ This English translation is taken from the 3rd edition of the original French, as being the one containing all of Allan Kardec’s final revisions, published in 1866. INDEX NOTE: The numbers placed at the end of the various items in each chapter indicate the number(s) of the paragraph, for quick location.
PUBLISHER’S FOREWORD TRANSLATOR’S ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE PREFACE INTRODUCTION 1.
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What should be understood by the words ‘poor in spirit’? : 1 - 2. - He who exalts himself shall be debased: 3 - 6. - Mysteries that are hidden from the learned and prudent: 7 - 10. - Instructions from the Spirits: Pride and humility: 11 - 12. - Mission of the intelligent person on Earth: 13. Chapter 8. - BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART 91 Simplicity and pureness of heart: 1 - 4. - Sinning by means of thought. Adultery: 5 - 7. – True pureness. Unwashed hands: 8 - 10. - Offences. If your hand is the cause of an offence, cut it off: 11 - 17. - Instructions from the Spirits: Let little children come unto me: 18 - 19. Blessed are those whose eyes are closed: 20 - 21. Chapter 9. - BLESSED ARE THE MEEK AND THE PEACEMAKERS 99 Insults and violence: 1 - 5. - Instructions from the Spirits: Affability and mildness: 6. - Patience: 7. - Obedience and resignation: 8. - Anger: 9 - 10. Chapter 10. - BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL 105 Forgive others so that God may forgive you: 1 - 4. - Reconciliation with your adversaries: 5 - 6. - The sacrifice most agreeable to God: 7 - 8. - The mote and the beam in the eye: 9 - 10. - Do not judge others if you do not wish to be judged in return. He that is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone: 11 - 13. Instructions from the Spirits: The pardoning of offences: 14 - 15. -Indulgence: 16 - 18. - Is it permitted to reprehend, observe imperfections or to comment on the evil in others? : 19 - 21. Chapter 11. - LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF 115 The greatest commandment. Do unto others as we would have them do unto as. The parable of the creditors and the debtors: 1 - 4. - Give unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar: 5 - 7. -Instructions from the Spirits: The law of love: 8 - 10. - Selfishness: 11 - 12. - Faith and Charity: 13. - Charity towards criminals: 14. - Should we risk our life for a criminal? : 15. Chapter 12. LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 125 Return goodness for evil: 1 - 4. - Discarnate enemies: 5 - 6. - Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also: 7 - 8. - Instructions from the Spirits: Vengeance: 9. - Hate: 10. - Dueling: 11 - 16. Chapter 13. - DO NOT LET YOUR LEFT HAND KNOW WHAT YOUR 135 RIGHT HAND IS DOING Do good without ostentation: 1 - 3. - Hidden misfortunes: 4. - The widow’s mite: 5 - 6. - To invite the poor and the lame. To give without thought of recompense: 7 - 8. - Instructions from the Spirits: Material and moral charity: 9 - 10. - Beneficence recompensed by ingratitude: 19. Exclusivist beneficence: 20. Chapter 14. - HONOUR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER 151 Filial devotion: 1 - 4. - Who is my mother and who are my brothers? : 5 - 7. – Corporeal relationship and spiritual relationship: 8. - Instructions from the Spirits: Children’s ingratitude and family ties: 9. Chapter 15. - WITHOUT CHARITY THERE IS NO SALVATION 159 What the spirit needs in order to be saved. The parable of the good Samaritan: 1 - 3. - The greatest of the commandments: 4 - 5. - The need for charity, according to Saint Paul: 6 - 7. - Without the Church there is no salvation. Without truth there is no salvation: 8 - 9. Instructions from the Spirits: Without charity there is no salvation: 10. Chapter 16. - IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO SERVE BOTH GOD AND 165 MAMMON The salvation of the rich: 1 - 2. - Preserve yourself from avarice: 3. - Jesus in the house of Zacchaeus: 4. - The parable of the bad rich man: 5. - The parable of the talents: 6. – The providential utility of riches. Trials of riches and misery: 7. - The inequality of riches: 8. - Instructions from the Spirits: True property: 9 - 10. - The application of riches: 11 - 13. Detachment from earthly possessions: 14. - Transference of riches: 15. Chapter 17. - BE PERFECT 179
Characteristics of perfection: 1 - 2. - The good person: 3. - The good Spiritist: 4. - The parable of the sower: 5 - 6. - Instructions from the Spirits: Duty: 7. - Virtue 8. - Those who are superior and those who are inferior: 9. - The worldly person: 10. - Look after both body and Spirit: 11. Chapter 18. - MANY CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN 191 The parable of the wedding feast: 1 - 2. - The narrow door: 3 - 5. - Not all those who say: Lord! Lord! will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: 6 - 9. - Much will be asked if he who receives much: 10 - 12. - Instructions from the Spirits: To those who have will be given more: 13 - 15. A Christian is recognized by his works: 16. Chapter 19. - FAITH TRANSPORTS MOUNTAINS 201 The power of faith: 1 - 5. - Religious faith. The state of unshakable faith: 6 - 7. The parable of the dry fig-tree: 8 - 10. - Instructions from the Spirits: Faith, the mother of hope and charity: 11. - Human and Divine faith: 12. Chapter 20. - WORKERS OF THE LAST HOUR 207 Instructions from the Spirits: The last shall be the first: 1 - 3. - Mission of the Spiritists: 4. – The workers of the Lord: 5. Chapter 21. - THERE WILL BE FALSE CHRISTS AND FALSE PROPHETS 211 A tree is known by its fruits: 1 - 3. - The mission of the prophets: 4. The prodigies of the false prophets: 5. - Do not believe all the Spirits: 6 - 7. - Instructions from the Spirits: The false prophets: 8. - The character of the true prophet: 9. - The false prophets from the spiritual world: 10. Jeremiah and the false prophets: 11. Chapter 22. - WHOM GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER LET NO MAN PUT 221 APART The indissolubility of marriage: 1 - 4. - Divorce: 5. Chapter 23. - STRANGE MORAL 225 Hate the parents: 1 - 3. - Abandon father, mother and children: 4 - 6. - Leave to the dead the care of burying their dead: 7 - 8. - I have not come to bring peace, but dissension: 9 - 18. Chapter 24. DO NOT HIDE THE LIGHT UNDER A BUSHEL 233 The light under a bushel. Why Jesus spoke in parables: 1 - 7. - Do not keep company with the Gentiles: 8 - 10. - The healthy do not need a doctor: 11 - 12. - The courage of faith: 13 - 16. – Carry your cross. He who will save his life, shall lose it: 17 - 19. Chapter 25. - SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND 241 If you help yourself then heaven will come to your aid: 1 - 5. - Behold the fowls of the air: 6 - 8. - Provide not gold in your purse: 9 - 11. Chapter 26. - GIVE FOR FREE WHAT HAS BEEN RECEIVED 247 GRATUITOUSLY The gift of healing: 1 - 2. - Paid prayers: 3 - 4. The moneychangers expelled from the Temple: 5 - 6. - Gratuitous mediumship: 7 - 10. Chapter 27. - ASK AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN 251 The quality of prayers: 1 - 4. - The efficacy of prayer: 5 - 8. - The action of prayer. Transmission of thought: 9 - 15. - Intelligible prayers: 16 - 17. - Prayers for de dead and for suffering Spirits: 18 - 21. - Instructions from the Spirits: The way in which to pray: 22. - Happiness proportioned by prayer: 23. Chapter 28. - A COLLECTION OF SPIRITIST PRAYERS 261 Preamble 261 1. GENERAL PRAYERS 262 The Lord’s Prayer: 2 - 3. - Spiritist Meetings: 4 - 7. - For the Mediums: 8 - 10. 2.
PRAYERS FOR THE ONE WHO PRAYS 270 To Guardian Angels and Protecting Spirits: 11 - 14. - To turn away the bad Spirits: 15 - 17. – In order to ask that some defect within ourselves may be corrected: 18 - 19. - To ask for strength to resist temptation: 20 - 21. - Thanksgiving for victory over a temptation: 22 - 23. - To ask for advice: 24 - 25. - Afflictions of life: 26 - 27. - Thanksgiving for the obtaining of a favor: 28 - 29. - An act of submission and resignation: 30 - 33. - When in imminent danger: 34 - 35. – Thanksgiving for having escaped a danger: 36 - 37. - At bedtime: 38 - 39. - On sensing approaching death: 40 - 41. 3.
PRAYERS FOR OTHERS 280 For someone who is afflicted: 42 - 43. - An act of thanksgiving for a benefit received by someone else: 44 - 45. - For our enemies and those who wish us ill: 46 - 47. - Thanksgiving for blessings received by our enemies: 48 - 49. - For the enemies of Spiritism: 50 - 52. - Prayer for a child that has just been born: 53 - 56. - For one who agonizes: 57 - 58. 4. PRAYERS FOR THOSE NO LONGER ON EARTH 286 For someone who has just died: 59 - 61. - Those for whom we have affection: 62 - 63. – For suffering Spirits who ask for prayers: 64 - 66. - For an enemy who has died: 67 - 68. - For a criminal: 69 - 70. For a suicide: 71 - 72. - For repentant Spirits: 73 - 74. - For hardened Spirits: 75 - 76. 5. PRAYERS FOR THE SICK AND OBSESSED 294 For those who are sick: 77 - 80. - For those who are obsessed: 81 - 84. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF SPIRIT COMMUNICATORS 301 PUBLISHER'S FOREWORD Ask any Spiritualist in the United Kingdom how many branches of Spiritualism there are, most will reply two: National Spiritualists and Christian Spiritualists. Yet in Brazil there is a group of Spiritualists or, as they call themselves, Spiritists who follow the teachings of Allan Kardec who far outnumber all the Spiritualists in the U.
K. Kardec wrote a number of books on the subject of Spiritism. It has been our policy to publish all aspects of Spiritualism leaving the reader to make up his or her own mind as to which path to follow. When Janet Duncan of the ALLAN KARDEC STUDY GROUP asked us if we would be interested in publishing a new translation of The Gospel According to Spiritism, we decided yes. This volume is the result. We hope The Gospel According to Spiritism will be the first in a series of all the Kardec works.
The Gospel According to Spiritism is the Spiritists view and explanation of the New Testament as brought to us by the Spirits and codified by Allan Kardec. TRANSLATOR'S ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am most grateful to all members of the ALLAN KARDEC STUDY GROUP and to all those who have helped in any way whatsoever, be it through prayer, advice, motivation or help with typing and most especially I wish to offer my heartfelt thanks to Martin Edmonds for hours of painstaking corrections, to Chloris Morgan our Publisher's Reader, and finally to Glaucius Oliva for undertaking the responsibility of the final verifications with the original French.
Our most grateful thanks go to the Spiritist 'brother' who generously donated the entire cost of publication. May he be eternally blessed and may his desired anonymity be respected. We, the incarnate workers, have done our best to make this translation as authentic as is humanly possible. Our very special thanks must however, go to all the many Spiritual Helpers who have taken an active part in this translation. Many are the times I have been conscious of their presence, offering incentive and sometimes even dictating passages.
This work has brought me great joy and I can only hope that all who come to read it may likewise receive comfort and enlightenment, be strengthened and upheld along life's troubled pathways. J. A. Duncan TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE This is no ordinary book. This is not a book which is usually read from cover to cover, afterwards to be placed on a bookshelf and forgotten. This is a book for daily use, for moments of trouble, when we feel in need of orientation and guidance, a bedside book, a book to be constantly on hand, to take with us in our hand-luggage when we travel.
In other words this is a book offering something very special to each person who may read and study it. A book which brings peace of mind and which comforts in times of bereavement. A book even for those who have only a faint knowledge or belief in God and Jesus. This is a book which can change lives by bringing tranquility out of chaos, certainty out of disbelief, compensation for both material and spiritual losses. But most importantly it brings us answers to many questions that we may have been asking, those famous questions such as 'Who and what am I? ' 'Where did I come from? 'What am I doing here? ' 'Where am I going? ' It brings us rational and logical explanations of such matters as reincarnation, inequality of wealth in the world, the reasons why we sometimes hate certain people on sight, and the many disharmonies that exist between husband and wife, brother and sister, parents and children, and many more. Probably this book will play its greatest part in helping humanity towards a better understanding of LIFE and lead Man towards spiritual enlightenment through its usefulness when used as readings in Churches and Study Groups.
It can also be of great help at times of stress, grief or when we are at a loss to know what to do, to open the book casually, after a moment’s thought and read at the point where our eye first falls upon the page. Finally, but certainly not the least of its uses is that it brings the 'key' to the Bible parables in everyday language together with the deep meanings behind the teachings of Jesus. This is the third book of the Doctrine as codified by ALLAN KARDEC whose real name was HIPPOLYTE LEON DENIZARD RIVAIL and we offered here a brief biography of this remarkable and dedicated man.
He was born in Lyon, France on 3rd October, 1804 into a family who for many generations had been either lawyers or magistrates. He was an intelligent child and was taught high principles of honor and morals by his parents. At an early age he showed strong inclinations towards the sciences and philosophy. When he was ten years of age he was sent to the Institute of Pestalozzi at Yverdun in Switzerland, where he soon acquired the habit of investigation and learnt the art of free thinking.
At the age of fourteen he began to give free lessons to school fellows who were less advanced and on occasion was asked to teach officially by Pestalozzi himself in his absence, due to his natural ability in this field. He became a fervent disciple of Pestalozzi and was much loved by the great man. In 1822 at the age of eighteen, Hippolyte returned to France. A year later he took up residence in Paris and in 1824 published his first book entitled: 'A Theoretical ; Practical Arithmetic Course. ' This was so successful that it continued to be reprinted till as late as 1876.
He had an instinct for methodology and this was only the beginning, for he was to publish many other books on varying subjects including 'A Classical Grammar of the French Language' (1829). Some of these were adopted by the French University and the sale of these books rendered him a sufficient income to live on while he continued to give free lessons to school children. He taught chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, physics, rhetoric, comparative anatomy and physiology. He spoke fluent Italian and Spanish, had a profound knowledge of German, English and Dutch and some knowledge of Latin, Greek and Gallic.
He also translated a number of books, choosing those which he liked best. These included several by Fenelon which he translated into German. He opened his first school in 1825. It bore the name 'First Grade School' (Ecole de premier degre), for superior teaching and the following year he opened 'The Rivail Technical Institute' whose teaching was based on that of Pestalozzi. He married Amelie Gabrielle Boudet on 6th February 1832. She was nine years his senior, a writer, teacher of fine arts, poetess and artist. She was a perfect companion and helper, being dedicated and uncomplaining.
She played an important part in all her husband's activities and sustained him through many financial difficulties encountered during his life, and greatly assisted him in his teaching. This extraordinary man could have become renounced and wealthy through his various talents, but this was not to be. He was a man with a mission! Between 1848 and 1850 an explosion of spirit phenomena occurred in America and even more strongly in Europe. In the last book of the codification 'Posthumous Works' published by Amelie, Kardec had written: "It was in 1854 that I heard about 'Table-turning' for the first time. His friend Mr. Fortier brought him the initial news of these extraordinary happenings: "The tables also talk! " Kardec's reply to this was: "I will only believe when I see it and when it can be proved to me that a table has a brain which can think, nerves to feel with and can also become somnambulic. Until then, allow me to see nothing more than fantasy in these stories! " He had always been a disbeliever of such things as ghosts. After various encounters with Mr. Fortier, in 1855 he was finally persuaded to attend a seance and his curiosity was aroused.
He then became a frequent visitor at the seances held in the house of a certain Mr. Baudin. It was in fact here that he began his studies and research. He was never to become a medium, but was highly intuitive. On 30th April 1856 a medium in his group received the first indications from Spirit of his mission. His wife always accompanied him to all the meetings and eventually became his secretary, upholding him in every aspect of his work. He adopted the 'nom de plume' of ALLAN KARDEC at the suggestion of Spirit, so that the works of the codification should not be confused with his own works.
The first book of the codification (The Spirits' Book), was published in 1857. This same year he also began meetings in his own home. A year later he founded 'The Parisiene Society for Spiritist Studies'. The few remaining years of his life were dedicated to his work, the completion of the Codification, and to lecturing on Spiritism and its philosophy. He also made exhaustive journeys in order to take the word to as many places as possible, all of which he completed at his own expense. In 1867 he met Leon Denis, who became his disciple, and who later published a series of classic works on Spiritism.
On March 31st, 1869, having just finished drawing up the constitution and rules of a new society that he planned to form, while seated in his usual chair at his study-table in the Rue Sainte Anne, in the act of tying up a bundle of papers, his busy life was suddenly brought to an end. The passing from Earth into the Spiritual World was instantaneous, a peaceful falling asleep a fitting end to a life well lived. But although the physical man is no longer with us he lives on in Spirit, continuing his work by inspiring, stimulating and encouraging us to continue our search for knowledge.
In his introduction to THE SPIRITS' BOOK, Allan Kardec expresses his opinion that new ideas need new terms and so he formulated the words SPIRITIST and SPIRITISM to give a clear and precise meaning to this doctrine. In his day the word Spiritualist meant the opposite to Materialist, but it did not follow that a Spiritualist believed in the existence of spirits or the possibility of communication with the invisible world. He employed the word Spiritism to stipulate the fundamental principle of the Spiritist theory which is the relation of the material world with spirits or the beings of the invisible world.
A Spiritist is one who adheres to this doctrine. We continue to use these terms today as the ideas they represent become more fully understood. Amongst those ideas is the study of the interrelationship between the two worlds, visible and invisible; the scientific, philosophical and religious aspects of existence; the ever pressing need for man to instruct himself, to cast aside all mystery and superstition; to accept responsibility for the life he leads today and the life he is making for himself in the future by his present actions, or lack of them, as the case may be.
As life gathers momentum, as the world goes from crisis to crisis at this time, we are more and more conscious of the reality of the truths contained in Kardec's books. As the world prepares for a New Epoch, which is already dawning, we realize the need for all humanity to grow towards this knowledge, to seek enlightenment so as to be prepared. When this time will finally be upon the world then mankind will be able to appreciate the greatness of this man's vision into the future. However, we must not forget one important fact, that in order to meet the future we must make preparations in our TODAY!
Each moment that passes cannot be recovered, therefore we must make use of every instant to grow SPIRITUALLY! To open up our horizons, to broaden our minds, to seek and cultivate our SPIRITUALITY! We are Spiritual Beings, we are all immortal creatures! If we are to one day find happiness and peace then we must consider our whole being! While we go on thinking of ourselves as material people, we are only looking at half of ourselves and here lies the secret of so many mistakes, so many unhappiness and so many failures. But in order to recognize these truths we must also be prepared to accept the responsibilities that go wish them.
For every person this wider and deeper knowledge of LIFE carries with it the need for self analysis, self-correction and self- improvement. Without these things we are all standing still, marking time, going nowhere! If this book helps even one person to take just one step forward then it will have done its work. God never demands the impossible of any one of us, nor gives us burdens for which we do not have the strength; so if we try to make a conscious effort to better ourselves then we have begun our journey into the future, towards the LIGHT, where one day victory, peace and joy will be ours.
London, 1987 Janet Duncan PREFACE The Spirits of the Lord, who are the Virtues of Heaven, move as does an immense army upon receiving orders from their commander spreading out over the face of the Earth and, similar to the stars which fall one after another from the skies, are come to illumine pathways and open the eyes of those who cannot see. In truth I say unto you the times are come when all things will be established in their true light, when the darkness shall be dissipated, the prideful confounded and the just glorified.
The great voices of Heaven reverberate like the sound of trumpets and the choirs of angels assemble. Mankind, we are inviting you to this divine concert. Take up the harp and lift up your voices in unison so that, in a sacred chorus, the sound may extend and reecho from one extreme of the universe to the other. Fellow beings, beloved brothers and sisters, we are here beside you. Love one another and say from the bottom of your hearts: Lord! Lord! In so doing you fulfill the wishes of the Father who is in Heaven; then you too may enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH INTRODUCTION 1.
THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS WORK The Gospel can be divided into five parts: the events in the life of Christ; the miracles; the prophecies; the words taken by the Church on which they based their dogmas; the moral teachings. The first four have been the object of controversies. But the last, however, has remained constantly inviolate. Before this divine code even incredulity bows down. This is the common ground where all cults may be united, the flag under which all may gather, whatever their creeds may be, because it has never been a matter of religious dispute, which always and in all places has originated from dogmatism.
Moreover, if it had been discussed, then all cults would have found their own condemnation within it, seeing that, in the majority, they have held on to the more mystical rather than the moral part, which demands an intimate reform from each one. Specially prepared for mankind, it constitutes a code of rules on how to behave in every circumstance of private and public life and offers the basic principles for all social relations, founded on rigid justice. It is, finally and above all, the infallible route to lasting happiness and the uplifting of a comer of the veil that hides the future life.
This is what forms the exclusive objective of this work. Everyone admires the moral behind the Gospel; everyone proclaims its sublimeness and the need we have of it. However, of the many who proclaim their faith, believing what others have said or relying on maxims which have become proverbs, few know the basis and even fewer understand it or are able to deduce the consequences of it. In many cases the reason for this is in the difficulty of understanding the Gospel, which for many is quite unintelligible.
The allegorical form used and the intentional mysticism of the language make it something we read because we feel we ought to, because our conscience tells us to or because we are obliged to, as one would read prayers, without understanding them and consequently without taking any benefit from them. In this way the moral precepts go unnoticed, scattered here and there between a mass of narrative. This makes it impossible to get the general idea of the whole or to take these ideas as specific subjects for reading and meditation. It is true that various works have already been written concerning the evangelic moral.
But after being put into modem prose they have lost their primitive simplicity, which at the same time constitutes their charm and authenticity. Many others also deal with the best known maxims reduced to the simplest form of proverb. These then are no more than aphorisms, deprived of part of their value and interest due to the lack of accompanying accessories and the circumstances of the enunciation. In order to avoid this undesirability’s, we have collected together in this work all the subjects, so to say, that go to form a universal moral code without distinction as to creed.
In these citations we have kept all that is useful to the development of these ideas, putting aside only that which does not pertain directly to the matter. Apart from this we have kept scrupulously to the translations by Sacy (1) and to the division of the verses. But instead of following a chronological order, which would have been impossible and have made no sense, we have methodically grouped and classified the various maxims according to their respective natures so that they fallow on, one from the other, as much as possible.
Indication of chapters and verses permit reference to the original texts whenever desired. These details refer only to the material side of our work, which its own would be of secondary importance. The main objective was to put these teachings within easy reach of everybody by means of clear explanations, especially those passages which have, until now, remained obscure and so unfold the full consequences of these teachings and the manner in which they may be applied Tu. all walks of life. This is what we have attempted to do together with the help of the Good Spirits who assist us.
Many paints in the Gospel, the Bible and in the writings of the sacred authors are in general unintelligible, some even appearing nonsensical for lack of key which would help in understanding their true meaning. This key is to be found in its mast complete form within Spiritism, as those who have already made a serious study of it can verify, and as many more in the future will also come to recognize. Spiritism is to be found throughout ancient times and repeatedly during the different epochs of humanity. We find vestiges in many places in the form of writings, in beliefs and in monuments.
This is the reason why at the same time it is opening new horizons for the future, it is also projecting a no less brilliant light upon the mysteries of the past. As a compliment to each precept we have added some well chosen instructions from amongst those dictated, in various countries and to different mediums, by the Spirits. If they had been taken from only one origin they would probably have suffered the influence either of the person or the ambient, whereas the diversification of origins proves that the Spirits give teachings without distinction and that no one person is specially rivileged. (2) This work is for the use of everyone. From it we may all discover the means by which we may apply Christ's morals to our daily lives and how best to go about it. This applies very be able to understand them and will see themselves incessantly compelled to put them into practice, according to the counseling of the Spiritual guides. These instructions coming from Spirit are really the voices from Heaven who have come to enlighten mankind and invite him to specially to Spiritists. ________________ 1) The version by Le Maistre de Sacy was always used by Kardec, but for the English translation the King James Version has been quoted. (Translator’s note. ) (2) It would have been possible, without doubt, to have presented many more communications from Spirit on each subject, all of which were received in cities and centers other than those cited. We wished, however, to avoid monotony and useless repetition and so have limited our choice to those which, from their base and form, apply more adequately within the plan of this work, reserving for future publication those we have not been able to use here.
With respect to the mediums, we have refrained from naming them. In most cases they themselves asked not to he mentioned and so we have made no exceptions. It is also a fact that the names of these mediums would not add more value to the work of the Spirits. The mentioning of them by name would only be an incentive to personal pride, to which serious mediums give no importance. They understand fully that their part in the work being merely passive, the value of the communication in no way exalts their personal merit.
It would be foolish to allow oneself to become vain about an intelligent work to which one had only lent mechanical assistance. Thanks to the relationship between man and the invisible world, which has henceforth been established on a permanent basis, the law of the Gospel which the Spirits have taught to all nations, will no longer be a matter of dead words because each one will put the Gospel into practice. 2. THE AUTHORITY BEHIND THE SPIRITIST DOCTRINE The Universal Control of the Spirit Teachings
If the Spiritist Doctrine were of a purely human conception it would offer no more guarantee than the enlightenment of those who actually conceived it. But no one on Earth could seriously contemplate the pretention of possessing the exclusive and absolute truth. If the Spirits who made these revelations had manifested to only one man we would have no guarantee of their origin since we would need to believe, on his word alone, what he said he had received as teachings from them. If we accepted perfect sincerity on his part, the most he could do would be to convince his circle of acquaintances.
He would be able to form a sect, but never be able to form a world congregation. God wished the new revelations to reach mankind by the quickest and most authentic path, so He entrusted the Spirits to deliver them from pole to pole, manifesting everywhere without conferring the exclusive privilege of hearing these words to any one individual. One person might be deceived, could even deceive them self, but this could not happen when millions of people see and hear the same thing. This constitutes a guarantee for each one and for all.
For the rest, it is possible to make one man disappear, but it is not possible to make everyone disappear. It is possible to bum books, but you cannot bum Spirits, and even if all the books were burnt, the base of the doctrine would still be inexhaustible because it is not to be found on Earth and would reappear in every place so that all might partake of it. If there is a shortage of men to diffuse it, there will always be Spirits whose action reaches everyone and even those whom no person can reach.
So then, it is the Spirits themselves who do the propagating with the help of innumerable mediums, disseminating all over the world. If there had been but one interpreter, however favored be might have been, Spiritism would barely be known. To whatever class is belonged, that interpreter would have been the object of caution to many people and not every nation would have accepted him, whereas the Spirits communicate to the four corners of the Earth, to all peoples, to all sects, to all parties and everyone accepts team.
Spiritism has no nationality and does not stem from any known cult that might exist; nor is it imposed by any social class seeing that any person may receive instructions from parents, relatives and friends from the beyond. This is haw it had to be accomplished if it was to lead all mankind towards brotherhood. If it did not maintain itself in neutral territory it would nurture dissensions instead of pacifying them. The force of Spiritism, as well as the cause of its rapid spread, resides in this universal teaching.
Where the word of one solitary person, even with the help of the press, would take centuries to become known by all, millions of voices are making themselves beard simultaneously in every corner of this planet. All are proclaiming the same principles and transmitting them on all levels, from the scholarly down to the most ignorant, in order that no one is disinherited. So far, this is an advantage that no other doctrine bas to offer. If Spiritism then be the truth, it is not afraid of being unwanted neither by man, nor of modern revolutions, or of the physical subversions of this globe, because nothing can touch the Spirits.
This is not however the only advantage which comes from this exceptional situation. It also offers an unattackable guarantee against all misgivings which might arise, be it from someone’s ambition or be it through the contradictions of some Spirits. We cannot deny that these contradictions are obstacles, but they bring their own remedy with them alongside the ill. We know that Spirits, due to differences in their various individual capacities, do not possess all the truth and do not claim to. It is not given to all to be able to penetrate certain mysteries.
The knowledge of each one is proportional to their evolution. Ordinary Spirits know nothing more than does Man himself, but amongst them, as amongst men and women, are those who are presumptuous and falsely wise, who think they know everything, boot who in fact are ignorant; these are the systematical ones who take their own ideas to be the truth. In short, it is only the highly evolved Spirits, those who are almost completely dematerialized, who find themselves free from earthly ideas and prejudices.
It is also known that less scrupulous Spirits do not hesitate to deceive by taking names which do not belong to them in order to impose their utopian ideas. As a result of all this and in relation to all that is outside the exclusive field of moral education, the revelations that any one medium may receive will have an individual character, without any stamp of authenticity and should be considered as personal opinions, from this or that Spirit, and it would be imprudent to accept them or thoughtlessly propagate them as absolute truths.
The first corroborative test to be undertaken is without doubt that of reason, to which it is wise to submit, without exception, all that comes from Spirit. Any theory in evident contradiction to good sense, or against rigorous logic, or positive facts that have been previously acquired should be rejected, however apparently respectable be the name by which it is signed. This test will no doubt be left incomplete due to the lack of illumination of some people and the tendency of many to take their own opinions as judgments of truth.
That being the case, what are those who deposit absolutely no faith in themselves to do? They should seek what seems to be the majority and take this as a guide. This then, is the manner in which you should proceed when judging what is said by the Spirits, who are the first to offer the means of so doing. Complete concordance of Spirit teaching is the best proof of authenticity. However, it is important that this be received only under determined conditions.
The weakest type of concordance is obtained when the medium, of his own accord, interrogates many different Spirits about a doubtful point. It is evident that, if the medium is under an obsessing influence or dealing with a mystifying Spirit, then that Spirit may say the same thing under different names. Neither is it any adequate guarantee to conformity when communications are received by different mediums at the same centre because they may be under the same influences.
Only one sure guarantee exists for spirit teachings: This is the concordance that exists between revelations which have been received spontaneously by a large number of mediums not known to each other and located in different places. It is understood that we are not referring to those communications which deal with secondary interests, but those referring to the basic principles of the doctrine. Experience has taught us that when a new principle is to be presented, it always happens spontaneously in different places at the same time and in the same way, if not in actual form at least in general content.
On the other hand, if by any chance a Spirit formulates eccentric doctrine based exclusively on its own ideas and excluding the truth, you may be sure that this idea will remain confined and undoubtedly will collapse when confronted with instructions received from many other places, similar to many examples which are already known. It was this exclusiveness which destroyed all the biased doctrine which sprang up at the time of the initiation of Spiritism, when each one explained the phenomena according to their own beliefs, before the Laws that govern the relationship between the visible and invisible worlds became known.
That is what we have based yourself on when formulating a principle for the doctrine. We do not insist on it being true just because it might be in accordance with our own ideas. Neither do we have the least desire to uphold our self as being the sole possessor of the whole truth and we have never said to anyone: "Believe in this because it is I who tell you". We consider that our own opinion is nothing more than personal, which might be true or false, as we are no more infallible than anyone else.
It is not because we were taught a principle that we believe it to be true; it is due to the fact that it has received the sanction of concordance. The position in which we find our self is that of receiving communications from almost a thousand serious Spiritual Centers, scattered over highly diversified areas of this planet. This gives us the possibility of observing on which principles concordance is established. It is this concordance which has guided us till today, and it is the one which will go on guiding us in new fields still to be explored.
We have noticed while studying these communications, coming from France and outside, that from the very special nature of the information a new path is being sought and that the moment bas arrived to take a step forward. These revelations, many times given through veiled words, have frequently passed unperceived by many who receive them. Others have thought themselves to be the sole receivers. Taken in isolation, we would have given them no importance and it is only the coincidence which proves their seriousness.
Later, when these new teachings reach the public, there will be many who will remember having received the same orientation. This general movement which we are studying and observing, together with the assistance of our Spiritual Guides, is what helps us to judge whether it is the correct moment to do something or not. This universal verification constitutes the guarantee of the future unity of Spiritism and will annul all contradictory theories. It is here that in the future we shall find our criteria for the truth.
The cause of the success of the doctrine as put forth in THE SPIRITS' BOOK and THE MEDIUMS' BOOK was due to the fact that everybody bad received confirmation, direct from Spirit, of what these books contain. Whereas if all the Spirits bad come to contradict them they would have received the same fate suffered by others who expounded imaginary concepts. Not even the support of the press would have saved them from shipwreck. But on the contrary, deprived as they were of this support, they nevertheless opened new paths and have made rapid advancement.
This is because the Spirits offered their support and goodwill which not only compensated but surpassed the lack of goodwill and the part of Man. This is what will happen to all ideas, whether emanated from Man or Spirit, which prevail even in the face of this confrontation and this is the final test whose strength no one can deny. Suppose it pleased some Spirits to dictate a book, under whatever title you choose, offering contrary teachings; let us suppose their intention was hostile, with the object of discrediting the doctrine and maliciously provoking apocryphal communications.
What influence could these writings exercise if they were refuted by all other Spirits? Anyone wishing to launch a doctrine in their own name should first seek assurance in combined concordance from the Spirits. There is no comparison between a system devised by only one person to that of another devised by everyone. What can the arguments of slanderers, wishing only to belittle, achieve against the opinion of the masses, if millions of friendly voices from space make themselves heard in opposition in every comer of the Universe, as well as in family homes?
What happens to the innumerable publications which have the pretention of destroying Spiritism? Which of them has as much as caused a hesitation in its march? Till now no one has considered the matter from this point of view without forgetting the most important fact: each one has been depending on themselves, without counting on the Spirits. The principle of concordance is also a guarantee against any alterations to which Spiritism might be subjected by other sects wishing to take possession of it for their own ends, and so change it to suit their own ideas.
Whosoever tries to deviate Spiritism from its providential objective will never succeed, for the simple reason that the Spirits, as a universal body, will cause any ideas contrary to the truth to fall. From all this stands out the main truth which is that he who wishes to oppose the established and sanctioned ideas could, to be sure, cause a localized perturbation lasting but a short while, but could never dominate the whole, not even for a moment and certainly not over a period of time.
We should also like to point out that instructions given by Spirits on points not yet elucidated by the doctrine should not be considered as law, until these instructions have been duly isolated and proven. Neither should they be accepted except with all doe reserve and under the heading of 'awaiting confirmation'. From this we understand the need for greater prudence before making any such communication public. But if they are deemed fit to be publicized they should be presented as mere individual opinions, possibly true, but awaiting confirmation.
It will be necessary to wait for this confirmation before proclaiming it as a complete truth, unless you wish to be accused of levity or of irreflected cruelty. The Superior Spirits proceed with extreme wisdom in their revelations. They never touch on the most important questions, except gradually, until our intelligence shows itself to accept a more advanced truth and when circumstances show themselves to be favorable to a new idea. This is why they did not reveal everything from the outset, and still have not told everything.
They never give themselves to impatience, like those who want to eat the fruit before it is ripe. It is useless to try to hurry things forward beyond the time designated by Providence for its revealing, and if you do try, the serious Spirits will always deny their assistance. Those Spirits who are frivolous are not the least preoccupied with the truth and consequently will give answers to anything and everything. So it is in this manner that whenever a question is premature, contradictory answers will always be found.
The principles mentioned above have not been formed as the result of a personal theory; they are consequences which have been forced upon us from the varying conditions within which Spirit communication is manifest. It is quite evident that if one Spirit says one thing and thousands of other Spirits say something different, we presume the truth does not lie with the solitary communicant. For someone to imagine they possess the troth against all the rest would be quite illogical, be it man or Spirit.
The really ponderous Spirits, if they do feel completely or sufficiently clarified about any subject never give a definite answer, but declare that they are merely giving their own point of view and suggest that we await the necessary confirmation. However large, beautiful or just an idea appears, it is impossible to unite opinions right from the first moment. The conflicts which arise in this case are the inevitable consequences which such a movement would cause, and they are necessary so that the truth may be emphasized and the sooner this happen the better, so that any false ideas may be discarded.
Any Spiritists who feels worried by this situation may be tranquil, as all these isolated claims will fall before the enormous and discerning force of universal concordance. It is not the opinion of any man which will produce unity, but the unanimous voices of the Spirits; it will not be any man, least of all myself, who will destroy the Spiritist orthodoxy, neither will it be a Spirit wishing to impose whatever it may be. This unity will be accomplished by the universal gathering of Spirits who communicate throughout the world, by order of God.
This is the essential character of the Spiritist Doctrine; this is its force and its authority. God desired that His Law be set upon an immovable base and so did not trust the se fundamentals to only one fragile being. Before such a powerful tribunal, where neither conspiracy, rivalries, sects or nations are known, all opposition, ambition and those who seek individual supremacy will fall. We ourselves will fall if we try to substitute our own ideas for those of God. He alone will decide all lawful questions, impose silence a disagreement and give reason to those who have it.
Before this imposing accord, from the voices of Heaven, what value has an opinion of a mere man or that of one Spirit? It makes no more impression than a drop of water in the ocean and even less than a child’s voice in a tempest. Universal opinion, like that of a supreme judge, is the one which is pronounced last, being formed from all the individual opinions. If one of these contains the truth it merely shows its own relative weight in the balance and if it is false it cannot prevail against the rest.
In this immense concourse all individuality disappears and this constitutes yet another disappointment for man's pride. This harmonious assemblage is already being formed and before the turn of this century we shall see its full brightness shining forth in such a manner as to dissipate all doubt. The field is prepared and from now a patent voices will receive the mission of making themselves heard in order to congregate Man under one banner. But until this actually happens, all those who fluctuate between two opposing points of view can observe in which way general opinion forms.
This will be the correct indication as to the declaration of the majority of the Spirits and the varying subjects about which they offer orientation, and are an even more accurate sign as to which of the two systems will prevail. 3. HISTORIC FACTS In order to better understand the Gospel, it is necessary to know the true meaning of many of the words used which bear relation to the customs and the Jewish society of the time. Some of these words no longer have the same meaning and have frequently been misinterpreted, which in tom has led to uncertainty.
When the full meanings are explained, it shows the real sense behind certain maxims which, at first sight, appear rather strange. SAMARITANS - After the division of the ten tribes, Samaria became the capital of the dissident kingdom of Israel. Destroyed and rebuilt various times, under Roman rule it became the administrative head of Samaria, one of the four divisions of Palestine. Herod the Great beautified Samaria with sumptuous monuments and to gratify Augusto, gave it the name of Augusta, in Greek Sebaste. The Samaritans were almost constantly at war with the kings of Judah.
Profound aversion, dating from the time of the separation, perpetuated between the two tribes causing them to avoid any kind of reciprocal relations. In order to widen the schism, and to avoid going to Jerusalem for religious festivities, they built themselves a private temple and adopted some reforms. They only admitted the Pentateuch, which contained the laws of Moses, rejecting all other books to which these were annexed, and their sacred books were all written in ancient Hebrew characters. According to orthodox Jews, they were heretics and consequently despised, excommunicated and persecuted.
The antagonism between the two nations was founded exclusively upon their religious divergences, despite the fact that the origin of their belief was the same. They were the Protestants of their time. Some Samaritans are still to be found in certain regions of the Lavent, especially near Nablus and in Jaffa. They observe the laws of Moses more strictly than other Jews and only marry amongst themselves. NAZARITES - The name given in olden times to Jews who took the vow, either temporary or perpetual, to remain in perfect purity. They promised to observe chastity, abstain from alcoholic drinks and not to cut their hair.
Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist were Nazarites. Later on, the Jews gave this name to the first Christians, alluding to Jesus from Nazareth. This was also the name given to a heretical sect from the first phase of the Christian epoch and who, like the Ebonites, from whom they adopted certain principles, mixed the practice of the Mosaic Law with those of Christian dogmas. This sect disappeared during the fourth century AD. PUBLICANS - In ancient Rome this was the name given to those who rented out the collection of public taxes and all kinds of incomes, either in Rome itself or in other parts of the Empire.
They were like the general collectors and auctioneers of taxes in the ancient system in France, which still exists in some regions. The risks they ran made most people close their eyes when it came to their frequently amounted riches which for some were the fruits of levies and scandalous gains. Later on the name 'Publican' was extended to all those who superintended public monies and their underling agents. Today, the term is employed in a disparaging way, to denote financiers and agents with very few scruples.
It is said: "As greedy as a Publican" or "as rich as a Publican", referring to their ill-gotten gains. During Roman role the question of taxes was what the Jews found most difficult to accept, causing great irritation amongst themselves. Many revolts resulted from this problem, so turning it into a religious question, as it was considered to be against the Law. Indeed, a powerful party was formed at whose front put a certain citizen was named Judah the Gaulite, whose objective was to abolish all taxes. The Jews consequently abominated these taxes and all those entrusted with collecting them.
Thence sprang up the aversion shown to Publicans of all categories, amongst whom could be found many people of esteem, but who due to their functions, were despised together with whomsoever kept company with them. Prominent Jews considered it a compromise to have any personal relationship with these people. TAX COLLECTORS - These were the lower class of collectors, entrusted principally with the collection of tools entering cities. Their function corresponded more or less with those of the customs officials and the granting of passes.
They shared the rejection suffered by Publicans in general. This is the reason why, in the Bible, we frequently meet the ward Publican alongside the expression - sinful people. This did not imply debauchery or vagrancy but was a term of scorn, synonym for people who kept bad company persons unworthy to mix with decent people. PHARISEES (From the Hebrew, meaning division or separation. ) - Tradition is an important part of Jewish theology. It consists of a compilation of the successive interpretations given to the Scriptures which became articles for dogmas.
Amongst scholars this was the subject for interminable discussions, most of which were over simple questions as to the meaning of words and their form, just like theological disputes and subtleties of scholastics in the middle Ages. From all this resulted different sects, each one wishing to have the monopoly of the Truth and consequently detesting one another, as so often happens. Among these sects the most influential were the Pharisees, whose chief, Hillel, a Jewish doctor born in Babylonia some 180 or 200 years BC, was the founder of a famous school where it was taught that faith should be put only in the scriptures.
The Pharisees were persecuted at different times, especially under Hyrcania (who was sovereign pontiff and king of the Jews), Aristoblus and Alexander, who was a king of Syria. However, Alexander granted them honors and restored their properties which made it possible for them to reacquire their old powerful status. This was conserved until the ruin of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD, at which time the name disappeared in consequence of the scattering of the Jews. The Pharisees took an active part in religious controversy.
They were faithful practitioners of exterior cults and ceremonies, full of ardent zeal, proselytism, and enemies of innovations, maintaining great severity of principles. But behind the cover of punctilious devotion lay dissolute habits, a great deal of pride and above all an excessive desire to dominate. Religion was actually a means to an end, rather than an object of sincere faith. It possessed nothing of virtue beyond outward appearances and ostentation. Nevertheless, they exercised a great influence over the people, in whose eyes they were sacred. This is how they became powerful in Jerusalem.
They believed, or made out they believed, in Divine Providence, the immortality of the soul, eternal punishment and the resurrection of the dead (See chapter 4, item 4). But Jesus, esteeming simplicity and the qualities of the heart above all else, whose preference within the law was for the spirit which vitalizes to the word which kills, applied Himself throughout His mission to the unmasking of their hypocrisy, and because of this was considered by them to be their enemy. This then is the reason why the Pharisees, together with the High Priests, incited the people to eliminate Him .
THE SCRIBES - This name was given in the main to the secretaries of the kings in Judea and to certain people who understood matters relating to the Jewish army. Later it was applied to those scholars who taught the Law of Moses and interpret it to the People. They joined in common cause with the Pharisees, sharing their principles as well as their aversion to all innovations. This is why Jesus included them when He launched criticism against the Pharisees. SYNAGOGUE(From the Greek SUNAGOGUE meaning assembly, congregation. ). There was only one temple in Judah, that of Solomon in Jerusalem, where all the great ceremonies of worship were held.
Every year all the Jews would go there in pilgrimage for the principal festivals, such as the Passover, the Dedication and the Feast of the Tabernacle. It was on the occasion of these feasts that Jesus would also be present. The other cities did not have temples, only synagogues, buildings where the Jewish people would collect for their Saturday meetings and public prayers, under the leadership of their Eiders, the scribes, or scholars versed in the Law. It was due to this fact that Jesus, although He was not a priest, was able to teach at the synagogues on Saturdays.
Ever since the ruin of Jerusalem and the dispersal of the Jews, the synagogues, in the cities where they went to live, became temples for the celebration of their cults. SADDUCEES - Another Jewish sect founded about 24 BC whose name came from Sadoc, us founder. They did not believe in immortality or resurrection, nor in good and bad angels. However, they did believe in God. But as they expected nothing after death, they served Him having in mind only temporary recompenses which, according to them, were limited by Divine Providence.
With these thoughts in mind, their main objective in life was the satisfaction of all physical senses. As to the scriptures, they followed the texts of the old laws. They would not accept traditions or any form of interpretation. They put good works and the pure and simple observance of this law before all outward practices of worship. They were, as you see, the materialists, deists and sensualists of their time. The sect had few followers, but amongst them were some important personages and it became a political party constantly in opposition to the Pharisees.
ESSENES - They were a Jewish sect founded about the year 150 BC in the time of the Maccabeans, whose members, living in types of monasteries, formed amongst themselves a kind of moral and religious association. They distinguished themselves by their pacific ways and austere virtues, taught the love of God and neighbor, the immortality of the soul, and believed in resurrection. They were celibate, condemned war and slavery, held all their worldly goods in common, and devoted themselves to agriculture.
Contrary to the Sadducees, who were very sensual and denied immortality, and the Pharisees of rigid external practices and only apparent virtues, the Essences never took part in the disputes which caused antagonism between the other two sects. In their way of life they were similar to the first Christians, and the moral principles they professed caused many people to suppose that Jesus had belonged to their community before He began His mission. It is certain that He knew them, but there is nothing to prove that He was related to them, so all that has been written to this effect is simply hypothetical. 1) THERAPEUTS (From the Greek THERAPEUTAY, formed from THERAPEUEYN to serve, meaning: servants of God or Healers. ) - These were Jewish sectarians and contemporaries of Christ, being mostly established in Alexandria in Egypt. Like the Essences, whose principles they adopted, they also practiced all the virtues. They were extremely frugal in their eating habits, were celibate, dedicated to meditation, lived solitary lives and constituted a truly religious order. Felon, a platonic Jewish philosopher from Alexandria, was the first to speak of the Therapeuts, whom he considered as a Jewish sect.
Eusebius, Saint Jerome and other originators of the Church believed them to be Christians
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