Extract from The Spirits’ Book by Allan Kardec
166. How can the soul that has not attained to perfection during the corporeal life complete the work of its purification?
"By undergoing the trial of a new existence."
- How does the soul accomplish this new existence? Is it through its transformation as a spirit?
"The soul, in purifying itself, undoubtedly undergoes a transformation; but, in order to effect this transformation, it needs the trial of corporeal life.”
- The soul has then, many corporeal existences?
"Yes; we all have many such existences. Those who maintain the contrary wish to keep you in the same ignorance in which they are themselves."
- It would seem to result from this statement that the soul, after having quitted one body, takes another one; in other words, that it reincarnates itself in a new body. Is it thus that this statement is to be understood?
167. What is the aim of reincarnation?
"Expiation; progressive improvement of mankind. Without this aim, where would be its justice?”
168. Is the number of corporeal existences limited, or does a spirit go on reincarnating himself for ever?
"In each new existence, a spirit takes a step forwards in the path of progress; when he has stripped himself of all his impurities, he has no further need of the trials of corporeal life."
169. Is the number of incarnations the same for all spirits?
"No; he who advances quickly spares himself many trials. Nevertheless, these successive incarnations are always very numerous, for progress is almost infinite."
170. What does the spirit become after its last incarnation?
"It enters upon the state of perfect happiness, as a purified spirit."
171. What foundation is there for the doctrine of reincarnation?
"The justice of God, and revelation; for, as we have already remarked, an affectionate father always leaves a door of repentance open for his erring children. Does not reason itself tell you that it would be unjust to inflict an eternal privation of happiness on those who have not had the opportunity of improving themselves? Are not all men God's children? It is only among
selfish human beings that injustice, implacable hatred, and irremissible punishment
s are to be found."
All spirits tend towards perfection, and are furnished by God with the means of advancement through the trials of corporeal life; but the divine justice compels them to accomplish. in new existences, that which they have not been able to do, or to complete, in a previous trial.
It would not be consistent with the justice or with the goodness of God to sentence to eternal suffering those who may have encountered obstacles to their improvement independent of their will, and resulting from the very nature of the conditions in which they found themselves placed. If the fate of mankind were Irrevocably fixed after death. God would not have weighed the actions of all in the same scales, and would not have treated them with impartiality.
The doctrine of reincarnation-that Is to say, the doctrine which proclaims that men have many successive existence-is the only one which answers to the idea we form to ourselves of the justice of God in regard to those who are placed, by circumstances over which they have no control, in conditions unfavourable to their moral advancement ; the only one which can explain the future, and furnish us with a sound basis for our hopes. because it offers us the means of redeeming our errors through new trials. This doctrine is Indicated by the teachings of reason, as well as by those of our spirit-instructors.
He who is conscious of his own inferiority derives a consoling hope from the doctrine of reincarnation. If he believes in the justice of God, he cannot hope to be placed, at once and for all eternity, on a level with those who have made a better use of life than he has done but the knowledge that this inferiority will not exclude him for ever from the supreme felicity, and that he will be able to conquer this felicity through new efforts, revives his courage and sustains his energy. who does not regret, at the end of his career. that
the experience he has acquired should have come too late to allow of his turning it to useful account? This tardily acquired experience will not be lost for him ; he will profit by it in a new' corporeal life.
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