Allan Kardec, introduction to The Spirits’ Book (download)
PHENOMENA which are inexplicable by any known laws are occurring all over the world, and revealing the action of a free and intelligent will as their cause.
Reason tells us that an intelligent effect must have an intelligent force for its cause; and facts have proved that this force is able to enter into communication with men by the employment of material signs.
This force, interrogated as to its nature, has declared itself to belong to the world of spiritual beings who have thrown off the corporeal envelope of men. It is thus that the existence of spirits has been revealed to us.
Communication between the spirit world and the corporeal world is in the nature of things, and has in it nothing supernatural. Traces of its existence are to be found among all nations and in every age; they are now becoming general and evident to all. Spirits assure us that the time appointed by Providence for a universal manifestation of their existence has now come; and that their mission, as the ministers of God and the instruments of His will, is to inaugurate, through the instructions they are charged to convey to us, a new era of regeneration for the human race.
This book is a compilation of their teachings. It has been written by the order and under the dictation of spirits of high degree, for the purpose of establishing the bases of a rational philosophy, free from the influence of prejudices and of preconceived opinions. It contains nothing that is not the expression of their thought; nothing that has not been submitted to their approbation. The method adopted in the arrangement of its contents, the comments upon these, and the form given to certain portions of the work, are all that has been contributed by him to whom the duty of publishing it has been entrusted.
Many of the spirits who have taken part in the accomplishment of this task declare themselves to have been persons whom we know to have lived at different epochs upon the earth, preaching and practising virtue and wisdom Of the names of others history has preserved no trace; but their elevation is attested by the purity of their doctrine and their union with those who bear venerated names.
We transcribe the words in which, by writing, through the intermediary of various mediums, the mission of preparing this book was confided to the writer:-
“Be zealous and persevering in the work you have undertaken in conjunction with us, for this work is ours. In the book you are to write, we shall lay the foundations of the new edifice which is destined to unite all men in a common sentiment of love and charity; but, before making it public, we shall go thorough it with you, so as to ensure its accuracy.
“We shall be with you whenever you ask for our presence, and shall aid you in all your labors; for the preparation of this book is only a part of the mission which has been confided to you, and of which you have already been informed by one of us.
“Of the teachings given to you, some are to be kept to yourself for the present; we shall tell you when the time for publishing them has come. Meanwhile make them the subject of your meditations, that you may be ready to treat of them at the proper moment.
“Put at the beginning of the book the vine-branch we have drawn for that purpose, because it is the emblem of the work of the Creator. In it are united all the material elements that most fitly symbolize body and spirit: the stem represents the body; the juice, the spirit; the fruit, the union of body and spirit. Man’s labor calls forth the latent qualities of the juice; the labor of the body develops, through the knowledge thus acquired, the latent powers of the soul.
“Do not allow yourself to be discouraged by hostile criticism. You will have rancorous contradictors, especially among those whose interest it is to keep up existing abuses. You will have such even among spirits; for those who are not completely dematerialized often endeavor, out of malice or ignorance, to scatter abroad the seeds of doubt. Believe ill God, and go boldly forward. We shall be with you to sustain you on your way; and the time is at hand when the truth will shine forth on all sides.
“The vanity of some men, who imagine that they know everything, and are bent on explaining everything in their own way; will give rise to opposing opinions; but all who have in view the grand principle of Jesus will be united in the same love of goodness, and in a bond of brotherhood that will embrace the entire world. Putting aside all vain disputes about words, they will devote their energies to matters of practical importance, in regard to which, whatever their doctrinal belief, the convictions of all who receive the communications of the higher spirits will be the same.
“Perseverance will render your labor fruitful. The pleasure you will feel in witnessing the spread of our doctrine and its right appreciation will be for you a rich reward, though perhaps rather in the future than in the present. Be not troubled by the thorns and stones that the incredulous and the evil-minded will place in your path; hold fast your confidence, for your confidence will ensure our help, and, through it, you will reach the goal.
“Remember that good spirits only give their aid to those who serve God with humility and disinterestedness; they disown all who use heavenly things as a stepping-stone to earthly advancement, and withdraw from the proud and the ambitious. Pride and ambition are a barrier between man and God; for they blind man to the splendors of celestial existence, and God cannot employ the blind to make known the light.”
Allan Kardec – The Spirits’ Book – Prolegomena