Allan Kardec

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A tree is known by its fruits. The mission of the prophets. -The prodigies of the false prophets. -
Do not believe all the Spirits. - INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: The false prophets. - The character of the true prophet. - The false prophets from the spiritual world. - Jeremiah and the false prophets.


1. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit For every tree is known by his own fruit For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh - (Luke, 6: 43-45).

2. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves, ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them - (Matthew, 7: 15-20).

3. Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ or there; believe it not For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect - (Matthew, 24: 4, 5, 11- 13, 23 & 24. Also found in Mark, 13: 5, 6, 21 & 22).


4. The gift of revealing the future is generally attributed to the prophets, so that the words prophecy and prediction have become synonyms. In the evangelical sense the word prophet has a much wider significance. This name is given to all those sent by God with the mission to instruct mankind and to reveal both that which is hidden and the mysteries of spiritual life. Therefore a person may be a prophet without making any predictions. This was the idea as understood by the Jews at the time of Jesus, and this is why when they took Him before the high priest Caiaphas, the scribes and wisemen who were there spat upon Him and hit Him with their fists saying: "Christ, prophesy to us and tell us who hit you." Nevertheless, it has happened that there have been prophets who could see into the future, be it through intuition or providential revelations, so they could transmit these warnings to mankind. Due to the fact of these predictions having been fulfilled, the gift of predicting the future was considered to be one of the attributes of being a prophet.


5. "False Christs and prophets will raise themselves up and will do great prodigies and things which will astonish, to the point of seducing even the chosen ones.' These words give us the true meaning of the term prodigy. In theological interpretation, prodigies and miracles are exceptional phenomena outside the law of nature. These being the exclusive work of God, beyond all doubt He can annul them if He so pleases. Nevertheless, simple good sense tells us that it is not possible that He has given those who are perverse and inferior power equal to His own, nor even less the right to undo that which He himself has done. Jesus could never have sanctioned such a principle. If however, according to the sense attributed to these words, the spirit of evil has the power to perform prodigies such as these, and that even those who were chosen would be deceived, then the result would be that by being able to do what God does, then prodigies and miracles would not be the exclusive privilege of God's messengers. This then would prove nothing, because there would be no means of distinguishing the miracles of the saints from those of the devil. Therefore it is necessary that we look for a more rational meaning to these words.

To the ignorant masses all phenomena whose cause is unknown become supernatural, marvellous and miraculous. Once the cause is found, it is recognised that the phenomenon, however extraordinary it appears, is nothing more than the application of one of the laws of nature. In this manner the circle of supernatural facts becomes restricted as scientific knowledge widens. At all times men and women have exploited certain knowledge they possess for the sake of ambition, self- interest and their desire to dominate so as to gain the prestige of possessing supposedly superhuman powers, or to lay claim to divine missions. These are the false Christs and false prophets. The diffusion of knowledge in these matters annihilates their credibility and will result in diminished numbers in proportion to the rate at which Man enlightens himself. The simple fact of being able to perform what some like to call prodigies, does not in any way constitute a sign of a divine mission, seeing that these phenomena may result from acquired knowledge which is within the reach of anyone, or from special organic faculties which either those who are worthy or ignoble are able to possess. True prophets are recognised by their serious characters and total morality.


6. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world - (1 John, 4.. 1).

7. Far from sanctioning the false Christs and false prophets, as some people take pleasure in saying, spiritual phenomena comes, on the contrary, to deal them a death blow. Do not ask Spiritism for prodigies or miracles, since it positively declares it does not perform them. In the same manner that physics, chemistry, astronomy and geology reveal the laws of the material world, so Spiritism reveals other unknown laws which govern the relationships existing between the physical and spiritual worlds; laws which just as much as those of science, are laws of Nature. By giving an explanation for certain types of phenomena, which until now had remained inexplicable, it destroys all that remains of the miraculous. Consequently those who feel tempted to exploit these phenomena for personal gain, by pretending to be messengers from God, will not be allowed to abuse the credulity of the general public for long, but will be quickly unmasked. Moreover, as has already been said, these phenomena alone prove nothing. Every mission is proved by its moral effects, and these cannot be produced by everyone. One of the results of the development of the Spiritist science is that through research into the causes of certain of these manifestations, many mysteries are explained.

Only those who prefer darkness rather than light have every interest in combating this progress. But truth is like the sun, which dissipates even the most dense clouds.

Spiritism also reveals another far more dangerous aspect of false Christs and false prophets, which is to be found not amongst men, but amongst the discarnate. These are the deceiving, hypocritical, prideful and falsely-wise Spirits, who on passing from Earth into their spiritual wanderings, have adopted venerated names as masks under which to hide, in order to facilitate the acceptance of the most strange and absurd ideas. Before mediumistic relationships were understood they acted less conspicuously, by means of inspiration and unconscious mediumship heard or spoken. There are a considerable number who in various epochs, and above all in recent times, have presented themselves as some of the old prophets, Christ, the Virgin Mary and even God himself. John warns against these Spirits by saying: "Beloved, believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Spiritism offers us the means of trying them when it shows us the characteristics by which we may recognise the good spirits which are always moral, never material *. It is particularly to the manner by which the good may be distinguished from the bad that these words of Jesus may be applied. "It is by the fruits that you know the quality of the tree. A bad tree cannot produce good fruits." Spirits are judged by the quality of their works, just as a tree is judged by its fruits.

* See the manner by which spirits can be identified in THE MEDIUM'S BOOK - second part, chapter 24 and subsequent chapters.


8. Where it is said: "Christ is here," do not go. On the contrary, be on guard because the false prophets there will be numerous. Do you not see that the leaves of the fig-tree are fading? Do you not see that its multiple shoots are awaiting the time of coming into flower? Did not Jesus say unto you: know the tree by its fruit? Then if the fruit is bitter you already know that the tree is evil; however, if the fruits are sweet and healthy you can say: "Nothing that is pure can come from something bad."

My brethren, this then is how you should judge. It is the works that you should examine. If those who say they are invested with divine powers reveal signs of a mission of high order that is to say, if they possess the highest order of Christian and eternal virtues which are: charity, love, tolerance and goodness which conciliates all hearts and if, in support of their works they also present the equivalent acts, then you may say: These are true messengers of God.

Nevertheless, be mistrustful of honeyed words; be mistrustful of the Scribes and Pharisees who pray in public places clothed in long tunics. Mistrust those who lay claim to a monopoly of the truth!

No, no, Christ is not amongst these, seeing that those He sends to propagate His sacred doctrine and regenerate His peoples will, above all else, follow His example, be gentle and humble of heart. Those who have to save humanity, which is running towards damnation, by their examples and their counselling will be essentially modest and humble. Run away from all who show even an atom of pride as you would run away from an infectious disease, which is apt to contaminate everything it touches. Remember, each creature bears the stamp on their brow and even more especially in their actions, of their spiritual progress or their inferiority.

Go therefore, my beloved children, and advance without indecision or hidden thoughts along the blessed route you have accepted. Go always without fear; turn aside with great care from all that may impede your march towards the eternal objective. Travellers, it is only for a while longer that you will be in the shadows and suffer the pains of atonement if you open your heart to this sweet doctrine, which will reveal to you the eternal laws and satisfy every aspiration of your soul with regard to the unknown. You may already give embodiment to the fleeting sylph you see passing by in your dreams, and which being short-lived, only enchants your spirit without touching your heart. Now, my beloved, death disappears giving place to the radiant angel you know, the angel of re-encounter and reunion! Now, all you who have faithfully fulfilled your tasks, which the Creator confides to His creatures, have nothing more to fear from His justice, since He is the Father and always forgives those of His children who have strayed when they cry out for mercy. Accordingly, continue to advance unceasingly! Let your slogan be progress, continuous progress in all things, until finally you reach the happy termination of your journey, where all who proceeded you await. LOUIS (Bordeaux, 1861).


9. Mistrust the false prophets. This recommendation is useful in all epochs, but above all in times of transition such as now when a transformation of humanity is occurring, because of a multitude of those who are ambitious and scheming will promote themselves as reformers and messiahs. We should be on guard against these imposters and it is the duty of all honest people to unmask them. You may well ask how they can be identified. Here are the things which point them out:

The command of an army is only confided to a capable general. Do you believe that God is less prudent than Man? You may be sure that He only confides important missions to those He knows are capable of fulfilling them, seeing that great missions are heavy burdens which crush those who are lacking in sufficient strength to carry them. In all things the teacher must know more than the disciple. In order to lead humanity to advance, both morally and intellectually, we must have men and women of superior intelligence and morality. This is why Spirits who are already advanced, having passed their tests in other existences, are always chosen for these missions, because if they were not superior to the ambient in which they are required to act, their effect would be nullified.

Having said that, we must conclude that the true missionary of God must justify his mission through superiority, virtue, magnanimity, results and by the moralizing influence of his work. We may also take into consideration yet another consequence. If, due to their character, virtues and intelligence, they show themselves to be less than the part they purport to represent, or the person under whose name they have placed themselves, then they are nothing more than storytellers of low character, who cannot even imitate their chosen model.

Another consideration is that, in the greater part, true missionaries of God are ignorant of the fact. They fulfill the mission to which they were called by the strength of character they possess, seconded by occult forces who inspire and direct them, even against their will, but without premeditation. In a word - the true prophet reveals himself by his actions and is discovered by others, whereas the false prophet declares himself to be a messenger of God. The first is humble and modest, the second is full of himself, speaks with arrogance, and as all who lie, appears to be always afraid he will not be believed.

Some of these imposters have passed themselves as apostles of Christ, others as Christ Himself, and to the disgrace of all humanity, they have encountered those sufficiently credulous as to believe in their baseness. However, a simple pondering is enough to open the eyes of even the most blind in this matter. That is to say, that if Christ were to reincarnate on Earth, He would come with all His power and all His virtues; unless one admits that He had degenerated, which would be absurd. Well, in the same manner, if we were to take away even one of God's attributes, we would no longer have God. So likewise, if we take away even one of Christ's virtues, we would no longer have Christ. The question is, do those who purport to be Christ have all His virtues? Observe them, scrutinize their ideas and actions and you will recognise that apart from anything else, they lack the distinctive qualities of Christ, which are charity and humility, while abounding in all those Christ does not possess, such as covetousness and pride. Furthermore, take note that at this moment in various countries there are many supposed Christs, just as there are many Elijahs, Saint Johns or Saint Peters, and clearly it is impossible for them all to be true. You may be sure they are only creatures who exploit the credulity of others and who find it convenient to live at the expense of those who listen to them.

So then, mistrust the false prophets especially at a time of renewal such as the present, because there will be many imposters who say they are from God. They try to satisfy their vanity here on Earth, but a terrible justice will befall them, of that you may be sure. - ERASTUS (Paris 1862).


10. The false prophets are not to be found solely amongst incarnates. They are also to be found in even greater numbers amongst the prideful Spirits, who by appearing to be all love and charity, sow disunion and hold back the work of emancipating humanity by infiltrating their absurd doctrines, after having gained a medium's acceptance of them. And in order to further fascinate those whom they desire to delude, so as to give more weight to their theories, they appropriate without scruples those names which Man pronounces only with great respect.

It is these Spirits who scatter a tumult of antagonism amongst groups, impell them to isolate themselves from all others, and look upon them with suspicion. This situation alone is enough to unmask them, since by so proceeding they are the first to offer a clear denial of who they claim to be. Blind therefore are those who allow themselves to fall for so great a hoax.

But there are many other ways in which they maybe recognised. The Spirits of this particular category, to which they say they belong, have to be not only very good but also eminently rational. Well then, put all their doctrines through the test of reason and good sense and see what you have left. You will then agree with me that every time a Spirit indicates things of a utopian, childish, impracticable or ridiculous nature, or formulates a dogma, which the most rudimentary notions of science contradict, as a solution for the problems of humanity, or as a means of achieving their transformation, then these ideas can only come from a very ignorant or lying Spirit.

On the other hand, you may be sure that if the individual does not always appreciate the truth, it is appreciated by the good sense of the masses, which constitutes yet one more criterion. If two principles contradict each other, we can find the measure of value inherent in both by verifying which of the two generates a greater echo and sympathy. Apart from the fact that it would be illogical to admit to oneself that any doctrine whose number of adepts progressively diminishes is more truthful than that of another whose followers continually increase. In desiring that the truth reaches everyone, God has not confined it to a narrow circle, but has made it appear in all places, so that the light shines alongside the darkness.

Repel all those Spirits who present themselves as exclusive counsellors, preaching separation and isolation. They are almost always vain and mediocre Spirits, who seek to impose and dictate to weak and credulous persons by lavishing exaggerated praise upon them, with the aim of fascinating and so dominating them. These are generally Spirits eager for power, who having been despots both publicly or in their own homes, still continue to look for victims to tyrannize, even after death. In general, mistrust all communications which have a mystical and singular character or those which perscribe excentric acts and ceremonies. In all of these cases there is always legitimate motive for suspicion.

Equally you may be sure that when a truth is to be revealed to mankind it is, by way of saying, instantly communicated to all serious groups who have at their disposal serious mediums, and not only to one group at the exclusion of all others. No one can be a perfect medium if they become obsessed, and there is manifest obsession when a medium is only able to receive communication from one specific Spirit, however elevated that spirit pretends to be. Consequently, every medium and all groups who believe themselves to be privileged by reason of the communications they alone obtain, and who moreover, are subject to practises bordering on superstition, undoubtedly find themselves caught up in a well characterized obsession; above all, when the dominating Spirit swaggers under a name which both incarnates and discarnates should honour and respect and not allow reputations to be compromised in this manner.

It is incontestable that by submitting to the crucible of reason and logic all the facts and communications received from Spirit, it becomes an easy matter to reject the errors and absurdities. A single medium may become fascinated or a group deluded; but through severe verification of what is occurring in other groups, the acquiring of knowledge within the subject matter, the analysis of all communications received by the principal mediums of each group, together with the use of logic and the verification of authenticity whenever possible of the most serious Spirit communicators, it is possible to render justice to all falsehoods and trickery from any band of deceiving or malicious Spirits. - ERASTUS, disciple of Saint Paul (Paris, 1862).

(See the second item in the Introduction of this book headed: THE UNIVERSAL VERIFICATION OF THE TEACHINGS OF THE SPIRITS, and also the second part of the THE MEDIUMS' BOOK (1), chapter 23, OBSESSION.)


11. Thus said the Lord of Hosts, Harken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you; they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard His Word? Who hath marked His Word, and heard it? I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the Lord? Thou shalt then say unto them, what burden? I will even forsake you, saith the Lord (Jeremiah, 23:16-18, 21, 25, 26 & 33).

My friends, I wish to talk to you about this passage from the prophet Jeremiah. Speaking through his mouth, God said: "It is the vision of their own hearts which makes them speak in this manner." These words clearly indicate that already in those times the charlatans and the impassioned abused the gift of prophesy and exploited it. They consequently abused the simple and almost blind faith of the people by predicting, for money, both good and agreeable things. This kind of fraud was very widespread within the Jewish nation, and so it is easy to understand that the poor people, in their ignorance, had no possible means of distinguishing the good from the bad, as they were always more or less duped by the pseudo-prophets, who were nothing more than imposters and fanatics. There is nothing more significant than these words: "I did not send these prophets yet they run, I have not spoken to them yet they prophesy." Further on it says: "I heard these prophets who prophesy lies in My Name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed." This is one of the ways they used to explain the confidences they were supposedly given. The masses, being credulous, did not think to dispute the truth of these dreams and visions. They thought it quite natural and frequently invited these 'prophets' to speak.

After the words of the prophet, listen to the wise counsel of the Apostle John, when he said: "Do not believe in all the Spirits. First test them to see if they come from God." This is because among those who are invisible there are also those who take pleasure in deluding, if they have the chance. The deluded ones are, as we can see, the mediums who do not take the necessary precautions. Beyond all doubt, it is unquestionably one of the greatest stumbling blocks against which many come to grief, especially when they are new to Spiritism. For them it is a test from which they will be able to extricate themselves only by using much prudence. Therefore, before anything else, learn to distinguish the good from the bad Spirits so that you, in your turn, may not become a false prophet. - LUOZ, a Protecting Spirit (Carlsruhe, 1861).

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