THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER 15

WITHOUT CHARITY THERE IS NO SALVATION

What the spirit needs in order to be saved. - The parable of the good Samaritan. - The greatest of the commandments. -The need for charity, according to Saint Paul. - Without the Church there is no salvation. - Without truth there is no salvation. - INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: Without charity there is no salvation.


WHAT THE SPIRIT NEEDS IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN


1. When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on the right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer Him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.

Then shall He say also unto them on the left hands, Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for l was hungered and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not: sick and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer Him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison and did not minister unto thee? Then shall He answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matthew, 25: 31-46).

2. And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

But he, willing to justify himself said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jesuralem to Jericho and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead, and by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side, and likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine and set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence and gave them to the host and said unto him, take care of him and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee.

Which now of these thinkest thou was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise (Luke, 10: 25-37).

3. All the moral teaching of Christ resumes itself in the need for charity and humility, that is to say, in the two virtues which are contrary to selfishness and pride. In all of His teaching Jesus indicates these two virtues as being the ones which lead to eternal happiness. He said that the poor in spirit, that is to say the humble, were blessed because the Kingdom of Heaven would be theirs: Blessed are those who have pure hearts; Blessed are the gentle and the peacemakers; Blessed are the merciful. He also taught the need to love one's neighbour as oneself, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, to love our enemies, to forgive all offences if we wish to receive forgiveness, to do good without ostentation and to judge ourselves before we judge others. So then charity and humility are the two things which Jesus never ceased to recommend and for which He stands as an example. He also never ceased to combat pride and selfishness. Nor did He limit Himself to the mere recommending of charity, but put it in very clear and explicit terms as being the only condition for future happiness.

With respect to the description given by Jesus of the Final Judgement, we must separate, as in many other cases, that which is only form or allegory. The people to whom Jesus spoke, being still unable to understand totally spiritual questions, made it necessary for Him to offer them material images which would both shock and impress. Therefore in order for them to better understand what was being said to them, Jesus was obliged to keep closely to the form of the ideas of those times, always reserving for the future the real interpretation of His words and the points which at that time were unable to be clearly explained. But alongside the accessory or figurative parts of this explanation, there is one dominant feature: that of the happiness reserved for the just and the unhappiness awaiting those who are evil.

What then are the considerations of sentence according to that supreme judgement? On what has the indictment been based? Does the judge perhaps ask if the person under interrogation has fulfilled this or that formality, if they have more or less observed this or that external practice? No, he will ask but one question: if charity has been practised; and then make the pronouncement: "Go to the right all who have helped their brothers and sisters. Go to the left all those who have been unyielding." Is it said, by any chance, what is the orthodoxy of their faith? Is any distinction made between those who believe in this or that manner? No, because Jesus places the Samaritan, considered by some to be a heretic, who practised love towards his fellow creature above any orthodoxy which lacks charity. So do not consider charity to be merely one of the conditions for salvation. But instead, consider it to be the only condition. If there were others to be met, then Jesus would have mentioned them. Since He put charity in first place, it is because it implicitly embraces all the other virtues such as humility, kindness, benevolence, indulgence, justice, etc., and also because it is the absolute negation of pride and selfishness.


THE GREATEST OF THE COMMANDMENTS


4. But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew, 22: 34-40).

5. Charity and humility, such is the only path to salvation. Selfishness and pride are the paths to ruin. This principle is found to be formulated on the following precise terms: "Love your God with all your soul and your neighbour as yourself; all the law and the prophets are contained in these two commandments." And so there would be no mistake in the understanding of the meaning of the love for God and for our neighbour, He then added: "And there is the second commandment, which is similar to the first." This means that it is not possible to truly love God without loving your neighbour, nor to love your neighbour without loving God. Straightaway, all that you do against your neighbour you also do against God. Therefore, as it is not possible to love God without practising charity towards one's neighbour. All of mankind's obligations are resumed in the maxim: without charity there is no salvation.


THE NEED FOR CHARITY ACCORDING TO SAINT PAUL


6. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all the mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, lam nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long and is kind, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, dot not behave itself unseemly, skeet not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. And now abideth faith, hope, charity these three; but the greatest of these is charity (SAINT PAUL, I Corinthians, 13:1-7 & 13).

7. This is the way in which Saint Paul understood this great truth, which said: 'When I have learned the language of the Angels: "When I have the gift of prophecy, which I can penetrate all the mysteries; When I have all the faith that is possible, even to the point of transporting mountains, if l do not have charity, then lam nothing. Within the three virtues: faith, hope and charity, the most superior of these is charity." In this manner and without any possible doubt, Paul places charity above even faith. This is because charity is within the reach of everybody, from the ignorant to the wise person, from rich to poor people; it is also quite independent of any particular beliefs.

He does even more: he defines true charity by showing it as being not only beneficence, but also a collective of all the qualities of the heart, in terms of goodness and benevolence towards all of our fellow beings.


WITHOUT THE CHURCH THERE IS NO SALVATION. WITHOUT TRUTH THERE IS NO SALVATION


8. The maxim - without charity there is no salvation - stands upon a universal principle and opens the door to supreme happiness for all of God's children, whereas the dogma - without the church there is no salvation - rests not upon a fundamental faith in God and the immortality of the soul, which is a belief common to all religion, but on a special faith, in particular dogmas, which are exclusive and absolute. Far from uniting God's children, it separates them. Instead of inciting them to love their brothers and sisters, it feeds upon and sanctions the irritations between various sectarians of the different cults, who reciprocally consider each other to be eternally damned, despite the fact that these same sectarians may be relations or friends. Therefore by despising the great law of equality in the presence of the tomb, it separates people one from another, even in the area of repose. The maxim without charity there is no salvation consecrates the principle of equality before God and freedom of conscience. By taking this as a norm, all men and women become brothers and sisters, whatever their way of worshipping the Creator, holding up their hands and praying for each other. But with the dogma - without the church there is no salvation - they excommunicate and persecute each other reciprocally, living as enemies. The father does not ask after his son, nor the son after his father, nor a friend after his friend, since they consider themselves mutually condemned without possible remission. Therefore it is a dogma which is essentially against the teaching of Christ and the evangelic laws.

9. Without truth there is no salvation is equal to without the church there is no salvation, being equally exclusive, since there is no one sect existing which does not claim to hold the privilege of truth. What man can boast of being in possession of all the truth when our sphere of knowledge is constantly enlarging and ideas are being rectified every day? The absolute truth is the patrimony of only the most elevated category of Spirits. Earthly humanity cannot allege the possession of it because it is not given to mankind to know everything. It is only permissible to aspire to relative truth which is proportionate to the level of progress. If God had made the possession of truth an express and absolute condition for future happiness, He would have pronounced a verdict of general condemnation; whereas charity, even in its most ample form, may be practised by all. Spiritism, in accordance with the Gospel, admits the possibility of salvation for every person, independently of any beliefs, granted that God's laws are observed. It does not say that without Spiritism there is no salvation, just as it does not intend to teach all the truth as yet. Neither does it say without truth there is no salvation because this maxim, instead of uniting would only separate and also perpetuate antagonisms.


INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS. WITHOUT CHARITY THERE IS NO SALVATION


10. My children, within the sentence: Without charity there is no salvation, is enclosed the destiny of mankind, both on Earth and in Heaven. On Earth, because beneath the shadow of this banner all may live in peace, and in Heaven, because those who have practised it will find grace in God's eyes. This phrase is the celestial beacon, the luminous column, which will guide mankind in life's desert, putting all on the right path to the Promised Land. It shines in Heaven as a saintly halo on the brows of the chosen ones, and on Earth it is engraved on the hearts of those to whom Jesus has said: "Go to the right and receive the blessing of My Father". You will recognise them when they come by the aroma of charity that spreads around them. Nothing can indicate with more exactitude nor summarize so well mankind's obligations, as this divine maxim. Spiritism could not better prove its origin than present it as its rule, because it is a reflection of the most pure Christianity. Humanity will never go astray if it takes this as its guide. So then, my dear friends, dedicate yourselves to the understanding of the deep meaning behind these words and the consequences of their application and then discover for yourselves all the many ways in which they may be applied. Submit all your activities to be administered by charity and your conscience will respond. Not only will it cause you to avoid practising evil, but it will also make you practise goodness, in as much as a negative virtue is not enough; it is necessary to possess an active virtue. Therefore in order to do good there is always the need for the action of willpower, whereas in order to not practise evil it is sufficient to be inert o? unconcerned.

My friends, give thanks to God for having permitted you to enjoy the enlightenment of Spiritism. Not that those who possess this enlightenment are the only ones who will be saved, but because it helps you to understand the teachings of Christ, so making you into better Christians. Therefore make every effort so that your fellow beings, on observing you, are induced to recognise that the true Spiritist and the true Christian are one and the same, given that all those who practise charity are the disciples of Jesus, without putting any embargo on whatever sect they may belong to. - PAUL, the Apostle (Paris, 1860).




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