Allan Kardec

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8. Virtue, at its highest level is a combination of all those essential qualities which constitute a goodly person, namely to be good, charitable, hard working, sober and modest. Unfortunately these virtues are almost always accompanied by slight moral failures which tarnish and weaken them, The person who calls attention to their virtues is not virtuous, because they lack the principle quality which is modesty; but they possess the vice in greatest opposition to modesty, which is pride. Virtue that is really deserving of this name, does not like to exhibit itself. We must pay attention in order to be aware of its presence; it hides itself in the shadows and runs away from public admiration. Saint Vincent de Paul was virtuous. The dignified curate of Ars was virtuous, as are a great many others who are little known in this world, but are known to God. All of these good people were ignorant of the fact that they were virtuous. They allowed themselves to be carried along by their saintly inspirations, practising good with absolute disinterestedness and complete forgetfulness of self.

It is to this virtue, well understood and practised, that I call you, my children. It is to this really Christian and truly spiritual virtue that I invite you to commit yourselves. But remove from your hearts the sentiments of pride, vanity and self-love which always tarnish the most beautiful of these qualities. Do not imitate those people who offer themselves as models, who blow their own trumpets about their own qualities for all who are tolerant enough to listen. This ostentatious virtue almost always hides a mass of little wickednesses and hateful weaknesses.

In principle, the man or woman who exalts themself, who erect statues to their own virtues, by this very fact annul all the merits they might effectively have had. Furthermore, what can be said of those whose only value is in appearing to be what they are not? You must clearly understand that whoever does good has a feeling of intimate satisfaction in the bottom of their heart. But from the moment that satisfaction is exteriorised for the purpose of provoking praise, it degenerates into self- love.

Oh, all of you whom the Spiritist faith has reanimated with its rays, who know just how far away from perfection Man finds himself, you will never deliver yourselves over to this failing! Virtue is a blessing which I desire for all sincere Spiritists, but with this warning: It is better to have fewer virtues and to be modest than to have many and be proud. It was because of pride that the various groupings of humanity through the ages have successively lost themselves. It will be through humility that they will one day redeem themselves. - FRANÇOIS-NICOLAS-MADELEINE (Paris, 1863).

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