212. In children whose bodies are joined together, and who have some of their organs in common, are there two spirits, that is to say, two souls?
“Yes; but their resemblance to one another often makes them seem to you as though there were but one.”
213. Since spirits incarnate themselves in twins from sympathy whence comes the aversion that is sometimes felt by twins for one another?
“It is not a rule that only sympathetic spirits are incarnated as twins. Bad spirits may have been brought into this relation by their desire to struggle against each other on the stage of corporeal life.”
214. In what way should we interpret the stories of children fighting in their mother’s womb?
“As a figurative representation of their hatred to one another, which, to indicate its inveteracy, is made to date from before their birth. You rarely make sufficient allowance for the figurative and poetic element in certain statements.”
215. What is the cause of the distinctive character which we observe in each people?
“Spirits constitute different families, formed by the similarity of their tendencies, which are more or less purified according to their elevation. Each people is a great family formed by the assembling together of sympathetic spirits. The tendency of the members of these families to unite together is the source of the resemblance which constitutes the distinctive character of each people. Do you suppose that good and benevolent spirits would seek to incarnate themselves among a rude and brutal people ? No; spirits sympathise with masses of men as they sympathise with individuals. They go to the region of the earth with which they are most in harmony.”
216. Does a spirit, in his new existence, retain any traces of the moral character of his former existences?
“Yes, he may do so; but, as he improves, he changes. His social position, also, may be greatly changed in his successive lives. If, having been a master in one existence, he becomes a slave in another, his tastes will be altogether different, and it would be difficult for you to recognise him. A spirit being the same in his various incarnations, there may be certain analogies between the manifestations of character in his successive lives; but these manifestations will, nevertheless, be modified by the change of conditions and habits incident to each of his new corporeal existences, until, through the ameliorations thus gradually effected, his character has been completely changed, he who was proud and cruel becoming humble and humane through repentance and effort.”
217. Does a man, in his different incarnations, retain any traces of the physical character of his preceding existences?
“The body is destroyed, and the new one has no connection with the old one. Nevertheless, the spirit is reflected in the body; and although the body is only matter, yet, being modelled on the capacities of the spirit, the latter impresses upon it a certain character that is more particularly visible in the face, and especially in the eyes, which have been truly declared to be the mirror of the soul-that is to say, that the face reflects the soul more especially than does the rest of the body. And this is so true that a very ugly face may please when it forms part of the envelope of a good, wise, and humane spirit; while, on the other hand, very handsome faces may cause you no pleasurable emotion, or may even excite a movement of repulsion. It might seem, at first sight, that only well-made bodies could be the envelopes of good spirits, and yet you see every day virtuous and superior men with deformed bodies. Without there being any very marked resemblance between them, the similarity of tastes and tendencies may, therefore, give what is commonly called a family-likeness to the corporeal bodies successively assumed by the same spirit.”
The body with which the soul is clothed in a new incarnation not having any necessary connection with the one which it has quitted (since it may belong to quite another race), it would be absurd to infer a succession of existences from a resemblance which may be only fortuitous but, nevertheless, the qualities of the spirit often modify the organs which serve for their manifestations, and impress upon the countenance, and even on the general manner, a distinctive stamp. It is thus that an expression of nobility and dignity may be found under the humblest exterior, while the fine clothes of the grandee are often unable to hide the baseness and ignominy of their wearer. Some persons, who have risen from the lowest position, adopt without effort the habits and manners of the higher ranks, and seem to have returned to their native element while others, notwithstanding their advantages of birth and education, always seem to be out of their proper place in refined society. How can these facts be explained unless as a reflex of what the spirit has been in his former existences?
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