– Can spirits foretell to us the future?

 

“If men foresaw the future, they would neglect the present; and yet it is about the future that you are always trying to obtain answers. But you are wrong in doing so; for spirit-manifestation is not divination. If you are absolutely determined to obtain answers about the future, or anything else, you will get them; for foolish and deceiving spirits are always ready to answer you. We are perpetually telling you this” (See The SpiritsBook, 868, Foreknowledge).

 

– But are not future events sometimes spontaneously foretold, and truly, by spirits?

 

“A spirit may foresee events which he considers it useful to make known, or of which he may be commissioned to inform you; but announcements respecting the future are generally to be distrusted, because they are more often made by deceptive spirits for their own amusement. It is only by a consideration of all the circumstances of the case that you can judge of the degree of confidence to which any prediction is entitled.”

 

– What kinds of predictions are most to be distrusted?

 

“All that are not of general utility. Predictions about personal matters are almost always deceptive.”

 

– What object have spirits in spontaneously announcing events which are not to take place?

 

“They usually do so to amuse themselves with your credulity and the alarm or satisfaction they occasion. False predictions, however, have sometimes a more serious object; viz., that of testing him to whom they are made, by showing the good or evil sentiments they excite in his mind.”

 

Remark. – Such would he, for example, an announcement that flatters our cupidity or ambition, such as the prospect of an inheritance, &c.

 

– Why do serious spirits, when they predict an event, so rarely fix its date; is it because they cannot, or because they will not, do so?

 

“It may be for either reason. Spirits feel the approach of an event, and may sometimes give you warning of it; but as to predicting exactly the time when it will take place, they are sometimes not permitted to do so, and sometimes they cannot do so, because they do not know it themselves. A spirit may foresee that an event will happen; but the precise moment of its happening may depend upon conditions not yet accomplished, and which are only foreseen by the Almighty.

 

Frivolous spirits, who have no scruple in deceiving you, specify days and hours without troubling themselves about the fulfilment of their predictions. For this reason, circumstantial predictions are usually to be distrusted.

 

“We cannot too often remind you that our mission is to aid your moral progress, and thus to help you forward on your road to perfection. He who seeks only wisdom from his commerce with spirits will never be deceived. But you must not suppose that we waste our time in listening to your foolishness, telling your fortunes, and assisting you to waste your time; we leave all that to the tricksy spirits who amuse themselves with doing so, like mischievous children.

 

“Providence has placed a limit to the revelations that may be made to men. Serious spirits keep silence concerning everything that they are forbidden to reveal. By insisting on receiving answers to questions which it may not be lawful for us to reply to, you expose yourselves to imposition on the part of inferior spirits, ever ready to seize on any pretext for playing with your credulity.”

 

Remark. – Spirits may foresee certain future events as a consequence of other events which they see occurring, or of which they may have a presentiment. They infer the happening of the events thus foreseen, but within a period of time which they do not measure as we do; and, in order to fix the epoch at which those events will occur, they would have to identify themselves with our manner of calculating the duration of time.

 

As spirits are often unwilling to do this, apparent errors are of frequent occurrence in the predictions made by them.

 

– Are not some persons endowed with a special faculty, by which they are enabled to foresee future events?

 

“Yes; those whose souls have the power of disengaging themselves from matters are able; when thus disengaged, to see; and, when such revelations will be useful, they are permitted to reveal certain things. But, of those who make predictions, the majority are impostors and charlatans. The prophetic faculty, however, will be more common hereafter”

 

– What is to be thought of spirits who take pleasure in predicting the death of certain persons at some stated time?

 

“Such spirits are malicious jesters, having no other aim than that of enjoying the alarm they create. You should pay no heed to such absurdities.”

 

– How is it that some persons are warned by a true presentiment of the time of their death?

 

“It is usually because their own spirit, in its moments of liberty, has learned its approaching release; and the intuition of this release is retained by them on waking. Persons thus prepared for such an intuition are neither frightened nor troubled by it. They see, in the separation of body and soul, only a change of condition; or, to employ a commonplace metaphor, they look upon it as the exchanging of a coarse and cumbrous garment for a silken robe. The fear of death will diminish in proportion to the spread of Spiritist belief.

 

 

Excerpt from Allan Kardec‘s “The Medium’s Book”, translated by Anna Blackwell, LAKE (Livraria Allan Kardec Editora), page 211. Printed in Brazil. Version found at Public Domain.

 

Image: “Fortune Teller”, by Henry Bacour (public domain image).   

 

***

 

For more information, please check out these links:

 

– Our Spiritist Studies section – published on Tuesdays

 

– Questions & Answers section

 

– The version of “The Medium’s Book” (that is in public domain) is available for free download here (.pdf format)

 

– Get to know the other basic books of Christian Spiritist Doctrine by clicking here

 

– Download the other basic books of Spiritism here (.pdf format). All of the books are on public domain.