THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER 2

MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

The future life. - The regality of Jesus. - A point of view. - INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: An earthly regality.

1. Then Pilate entered into the judgement hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my Kingdom not from hence.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice (John, 18: 33, 36 & 37).


THE FUTURE LIFE


2. With these words Jesus clearly refers to a future life, which He presents in all circumstances as the goal which humanity must reach and which should constitute Man's greatest preoccupation here on Earth. All of his maxims refer to this great principle. Indeed, without a future life there would be no reason to have the majority of these moral precepts. This is why those who do not believe in a future life cannot understand or think the matter foolish, because they imagine that Jesus was only speaking of the present life.

This doctrine can therefore be considered as the basis of Christ’s teaching. Therefore it has been placed as the first item in this work. It must be the point to be most closely looked at, as it is the only one that justifies the anomalies and irregularities of earthly life and also shows itself to be in accordance with the justice of God.

3. The Jews had only very vague ideas as la the future life. They believed in angels, whom they considered to be privileged beings of the creation; they did not know, however, that men and women could one day become angels and so participate in the same happiness. According to them the observance of God's Law would bring worldly recompense, the supremacy of their nation and victory over their enemies. The public calamities and downfalls were a punishment for disobedience to these laws. Moses could say no more than this to those who were mostly shepherds or ignorant people who needed to be touched, before anything else, by worldly things. Later, Jesus revealed that there existed another world where God's justice follows its course. This is the world He promises to all those who obey the commandments of God and where the good find recompense. This is His kingdom, where He will be found in all His glory and to which He returned when He left Earth.

However, when adapting His teachings to the conditions of humanity at that time, Jesus did not consider it convenient to give them all the truth, for He saw they would only be dazzled by it and unable to understand. So He limited Himself, in a manner of speaking, to the presentation of a future life as a principle, as a natural law whose action no one could escape. Therefore every Christian firm]y believes in a future life. But the idea that many bold is still vague, incomplete, and because of this, quite false on various points. For the majority of people it is nothing more than a belief, void of absolute certainty, so this is why there are doubts and even incredulity.

Spiritism has come to complete this point, as well as many others touched an by the teachings of Christ, now that Man is sufficiently mature as to be able to learn the truth. With Spiritism a future life is no longer an article of faith, a mere hypothesis, but becomes a material reality as facts demonstrate, because those who have described it to us have all been eye witnesses, so that not only is doubt no longer possible, but also anyone of whatever intelligence is able to get an idea of its many varied aspects, in the same way that we can imagine what a country we have never visited is like by reading a detailed description of it. But this description of the future life is circumstantiated to such an extent, the conditions of existence for those who reside there, be they happy or unhappy, are so rational that we are bound to agree that it could not be otherwise, that it represents the true justice of God.


THE REGALITY OF JESUS


4. We can all recognise that the Kingdom of Jesus is not of this world. But could He not also have a kingdom an Earth? The title of 'King' does not always imply temporary authority. We give this title by unanimous consent to anyone who, by their own talent, rises to the highest level of whatever idea, who dominates his time or influences human progress. In this way we frequently use the expression the 'king' or 'prince' for philosophers, artists, poets, writers, etc. Does not this kind of royalty, coming from personal merit or having been consecrated by posterity, reveal in many cases a supremacy far greater than that which circles a royal crown? The first is imperishable, whereas the second is but a toy of the vicissitudes. The generations which fallow the first always bless themselves, whereas sometimes those who follow the second have cause to curse. The earthly one extinguishes with life; but the sovereignty of morality continues and maintains its reign, ruling above all after death. From this aspect then, is not Jesus a mightier and more powerful King than all the sovereigns of the Earth? It was with goad reason then that He said to Pilate: "I am a King, but my Kingdom is not of this world".


A POINT OF VIEW


5. The clear and precise idea which can be formed of a future life provides an unshakable faith in what is to come. This faith places enormous consequences upon the moralization of Man because it completely changes the point of view as to how life on Earth is regarded. For those who place themselves by means of thought in the spiritual life, which is undefined, bodily life becomes a mere temporary stay in an ungrateful country. The vicissitudes and tribulations of this life become nothing more than incidents, which can be supported with patience as they are known to be of short duration and will be followed by a more amenable state. Death no longer has terror attached to it; it ceases to be a door opening on to nothingness and becornes a door that opens to liberation, through which the exile enters into a well-blessed mansion, and there finds peace. Knowing that the place where we find ourselves at the moment is only temporary and not definite, makes us pay less attention to the preoccupations of life, resulting in less bitterness and a more peaceful Spirit.

Simply by doubting the existence of a future life, Man directs all his thoughts to earthly existence. Without any certainly of what is to come he gives everything to the present. With the mistaken idea that there is nothing more precious than earthly things, Man behaves as a child who can see only us lays and is prepared la go to any length to obtain the only possessions he judges to be solid. The loss of even the least of these causes pungent hurt. A mistake, a deception, an unsatisfied ambition, an injustice to which the person has fallen victim, hurt pride or vanity, to name but a few, are just some of the torments which turn existence into an eternal agony, so in this manner causing self-inflicted torture at every step. From the point of view of earthly life, in whose centre we place ourselves, everything around us begins to assume vast proportions. The harm that reaches us, as well as the good that touches others, takes on a great importance in our eyes. It is like the man, who, when in the middle of a great city sees everything on a large scale, but who, when looking down from a mountain top sees things in only minute form.

This is what happens when we look at life from the point of view of a future existence Humanity, just as the stars in space, loses itself in the great immensity. We begin to see that great and small things are confounded, as ants on top of an ant hill, that proletarians and potentates are the same stature. We lament that so many short-lived creatures give themselves over to so much labour in order to conquer a place which will do so little to elevate them, and which they will occupy for so short a time. From this it follows that the value given to earthly things is completely in reverse to that which comes from a firm belief in a future life.

6. If everybody thought in that manner, it could be argued that everything on Earth would be endangered because no one would bother about anything. But Man instinctively looks after his own well-being, so even if he knew it was but for a short while, be would still do his best. There is no one who, when finding a thorn in his hand, will not take it out so as not to suffer. Well then, the de sire for comfort forces Man to better all things, seeing that be is impelled by the instinct of progress and conservation which are part of The Laws of Nature. Therefore, be works not only through necessity but because he wants to, and because of a sense of duty, so obeying the designs of Providence which placed him an Earth for that purpose. Only a person who occupies themself more with the future can give relative importance to the present. This person is easily consoled in all his failings and misfortunes by thinking of the destiny that awaits him.

Accordingly, God does not condemn all earthly pleasures and possessions, but only condemns the abuse of these things in detriment to the soul. All those who take these words of Jesus for themselves: My Kingdom is not of this world, are guarding against these abuses.

Those who identify themselves with a future life are as a rich person who loses a small sum without emotion. Those whose thoughts are concentrated on earthly things are as the poor man who loses all be bas, and so becomes desperate.

7. Spiritism opens up and broadens out the thought process, so offering new horizons. In place of a short-sighted vision concentrated only on the present, which makes this fleeting moment passed on Earth the unique and fragile axis of the eternal future; Spiritism shows us that this life is nothing more than a link in the magnificent, harmonious assembly which is God's work. It also shows us the solidarity which joins together all the different existences of one being, of all beings of the same world, and all the beings of all the worlds. It offers the base and the reason for universal fraternity, whereas the doctrine of the creation of the soul at the birth of the body, makes each creature a stranger one to the other. This solidarity between parts of a whole explains what is inexplicable when only one of these parts is considered. This entirety would not have been possible to understand at the time of Christ, and for this reason He waited till later to make this knowledge known.


INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS. AN EARTHLY REGALITY


8. Who better than I to understand the truth of these words of Our Lord: "My Kingdom is not of this world"? When an Earth, I lost myself through pride. Who then can understand the total lack of value of the earthly kingdom if not I? What was I able to bring with me of my earthly regality? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! And as if to make my lesson more terrible, it did not even accompany me to my tomb! A queen amongst men, I thought to enter Heaven as a queen. What a disillusion! What a humiliation when, instead of being received as a sovereign, I saw above me, a long way above me, those whom I had judged insignificant and whom I had despised because they were not of noble blood. Oh! How I understand now the barrenness of honours and splendour so eagerly courted on Earth!

In order to win a place in this Kingdom it is necessary to show abnegation, humility, benevolence and charily in its most celestial form. They do not ask who you are, nor what position you occupied. Instead they ask what good you have done, haw many tears you have dried.

Oh Jesus! You said that Your Kingdom was not of this world because it is necessary suffer in order to reach Heaven; and one cannot reach there by means of the steps to a throne. Only the most painful paths lead one to it. Seek your path then, through briars and thorns and not amongst the flowers.

Men and women hurry and fro with the hope of acquiring earthly possessions, as if they would be able to keep them for ever. Here however, illusions disappear and it is soon perceived that they had only been chasing shadows. Then it becomes apparent that the only really golden possessions, the only ones which can be made use of in their Heavenly home, the only ones which can offer the possibility of entry, have been despised.

Have pity an those who have not entered into Heaven. Help them with your prayers, because prayer helps mankind approach the Most High; it is what links Heaven and Earth. Do not forget! - A QUEEN OF FRANCE (Havre, 1863).


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