Allan Kardec

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13. My beloved children, but a short while ago I said to you that charity without faith is not enough to maintain social order amongst men and women and be capable of making them happy. I could have said that charity without faith is not possible. In fact, generous impulses can present themselves even amongst those of no religion at all. Nevertheless unadorned charity, which can only be practised with abnegation and the constant sacrifice of all selfish interests, can only be inspired by faith because nothing but faith can give humanity the courage and perseverance needed to carry the cross of terrestrial life.

Yes, my children it is useless for a person who is always eager for pleasure to try to delude themselves as to their destiny on this planet, by pretending that they are justified in occupying themselves exclusively with their own pleasure. Beyond doubt, God created us to be happy in eternity; meanwhile earthly life must serve solely for moral improvement, which is more readily obtained with the help of physical organs and the material world. Without taking into account the ordinary vicissitudes of life, the diversities of tastes, the inclinations and the necessities, exercising yourselves in the acts of charity is also a means of improvement. In effect, only by dint of mutual concessions and sacrifices can harmony be preserved between so many different elements.

Nevertheless, you would be right to affirm that humanity was intended to be happy in this world, as long as this was sought not in material pleasures, but in goodness. The history of Christianity tells of martyrs going happily to their execution. Today in your society there is no longer a need for Christians to face the holocaust of martyrdom nor the sacrifice of lives, but only and exclusively the sacrifice of selfishness, pride and vanity. You will triumph only if you are inspired by charity and sustained by faith. - A Protecting Spirit (Cracow, 1861).

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