I HAVE NOT COME TO BRING PEACE, BUT DISSENSION
9. Think not that l am come to send peace on Earth: lam come not to send peace, but a sword. For lam come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew, 10: 34-36).
10. I am come to send fire on the Earth; and what will I if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that lam come to give peace on Earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother: the mother-in-law against her daughter- in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (Luke, 12: 49-53).
11. Could it really be that Jesus, the personification of gentleness and goodness, Who never ceases to preach the need to love our neighbours, could have said: "I come not to bring peace, but the sword; to separate the son from the father, the husband from his wife; I am come to set fire to the Earth and am in a hurry for this to happen"? Are not these words in flagrant contradiction to His teaching? Is it not blasphemy to attribute to Him the language of a bloody and devastating conqueror? No, there is no blasphemy nor contradiction in these words, because it was He Who pronounced them and they are testimony to His great wisdom. It is only that they are a little ambiguous and the form does not express the thought with exactitude, thus giving rise to misunder- standing as to their true meaning. Taken literally, they have a tendency to transform His mission, which was all peaceful, into one of perturbation and discord, which is absurd, and good sense repels this, seeing that Jesus could not contradict Himself (See chapter 19, item 6).
12. Every new idea inevitably encounters opposition and there is not one which is implanted without a fight. Well, in these cases the resistance is always in proportion to the importance of the foreseen results, because the greater these are the more numerous are the interests which are affected. If it is notoriously false, if it is taken as inconsequential, then no one becomes alarmed; everyone lets it go, being certain that it lacks vitality. If, however, it is true, if it is placed on a solid base, if it appears to have a future, then a secret presentiment alerts its antagonists to the fact that it constitutes a danger for them and to the order of things to whose maintenance they are pledged. Then they throw themselves against it and its adepts.
So we can measure the importance and the results of a new idea by the amount of emotion its appearance causes, by the violence of the opposition it provokes, as well as by the degree and persistence of the anger of its adversaries.
13. Jesus came to proclaim a doctrine which would undermine the very base of the abuses upon which the Pharisees, the Scribes and the Priests all lived. Accordingly they sacrificed Him, believing that by killing the Man they would kill the idea. Nevertheless this idea survived because it was the truth. It has augmented itself because it corresponds to God's design, and although born in a small and obscure hamlet in Judaea, it went and planted its standard in the very capital of the pagan world, right in the face of its fiercest enemies, those who had the greatest interest in combating it because it was subverting centuries old beliefs to which they were attached, much more for personal interest than from conviction. Terrible battles awaited there for the Apostles; the victims were innumerable. However, the idea always grew and triumphed because, being the truth, it rose above those which had preceded.
14. It is worth noting that Christianity sprang up when Paganism had already entered into a decline and was struggling against the light of reason. It was practised only as a matter of form as faith had disappeared; only personal interest sustained it. Now those who are moved by interest are persistent and never give way to evidence. They become more and more irritated as the counter arguments become more decisive and demonstrate more clearly their beliefs. These people know very well they are wrong, but this does not deter them, as true faith is not yet a part of their soul. What they most fear is the light which will give sight to those who are blind. The errors are to their advantage, so they hold on to them and give battle.
Did not Socrates also teach a doctrine very similar to that of Christ? Why then did it not prevail amongst one of the most intelligent peoples upon the planet at that time? This was because the time was not yet ripe. He sowed on land that had not been ploughed. Paganism was still not worn out. Christ received His mission at the propitious moment. It is true that a great deal was still lacking for mankind of that epoch to enable them to reach the level of Christian ideas; but there was a general aptitude amongst them which permitted the assimilation of this knowledge, because of the beginning of a sense of emptiness which the common beliefs did nothing to fill. Socrates and Plato opened up the way and prepared the Spirits of the people (See the INTRODUCTION, item 4, SOCRATES & PLATO, the forerunners of Christian ideas and of Spiritism).
15. Unfortunately the adepts of the new doctrine were unable to agree as to the interpretation of the words of Jesus, Whose meaning was frequently hidden by allegory and figures of speech. Because of this, numerous sects were quick to flourish, each claiming to possess the exclusive truth, and even eighteen centuries have not been sufficient for them to come to an agreement. Forgetting the most important of the divine precepts, which Jesus placed as the corner stone of His edifice as an express condition for salvation, namely charity, fraternity and love for one's neighbour; those sects launched curses at each other and cast themselves one upon the other, the strongest crushing the weakest, drowning themselves in blood and annihilating themselves by torture and fire. After having conquered Paganism, these Christians who had been the persecuted, became the persecutors. Fire and steel were used to implant the Cross of the Shepherd, despite its being unblemished in both worlds. It is a confirmed fact that religious wars have been the most cruel and produced more victims than all the political wars put together. In no other warfare are so many acts of atrocity or barbarism practised.
Is this the fault of the Christian Doctrine? Clearly not, as this formally condemns all violence. Did Jesus ever tell His disciples to go out and kill or commit massacres or burn those who did not believe? No! On the contrary, He always said that all men are brothers, that God is supremely merciful, that we must love our neighbours and our enemies, and do good to those who persecute us. He also said that all those who kill by the sword will perish by the sword. Therefore the responsibility does not lie with the Doctrine of Jesus, but rather with those who have falsely interpreted it and turned it into an instrument for the satisfaction of their own passions. It belongs to those who have despised these words: "My Kingdom is not of this world."
In His profound wisdom Jesus had foreseen these happenings. But these things were inevitable because they are inherent in the inferior nature of Man, which cannot be transformed suddenly. It was necessary for Christianity to go through this long and cruel test during all these centuries in order to show its strength, seeing that despite all the evil committed in its name it has remained pure and uncontaminated. This has never been disputed. The blame has always fallen upon those who have abused it. At every act of intolerance it has always been said that if Christianity were better understood and more widely practised this would never have happened.
16. When Jesus declared: "Think not that I am come to bring peace on Earth, but a sword," the thought behind this statement was as follows:
«Do not believe that My Doctrine will establish itself pacifically, because it will bring bloody battles wherein My name will be used as a pretext, because mankind will not have understood Me or will not have wanted to understand. Brothers and sisters, separated by their respective beliefs, will unsheath their swords one against the other and division will reign within the breast of families whose members do not share the same beliefs. I have come to launch fire upon the Earth so as to purge it of errors and prejudices, just as you put fire to a field in order to destroy the weeds; and I am in a hurry for the fire to start so the purification may be that much quicker, seeing that truth will come forth triumphantly from this conflict. War will be succeeded by peace, hate between two parties by universal brotherhood, the darkness of fanaticism by the clarity of enlightened faith. Then when the field is prepared I will send a Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, which will re-establish all things. This is to say that by understanding the meaning of My words the more enlightened people will finally comprehend and so put an end to the killing of brother by brother, which has disunited all the children of the same Father. Finally then, being tired of combat which has brought no result, only desolation and perturbation, even into the hearts of families, Man will recognise where his true interests lie in relation to this world and the next. He will see on which side are to be found the friends or enemies of his tranquillity. Then all will put themselves under the same banner which is that of charity, and all things will re-establish themselves on Earth in accordance with truth and the principles which I have taught.»
17. Spiritism has come at the appointed time to realise the promises made by Christ. However, this cannot be done without first destroying all abuse. Just as happened with Jesus, Spiritism is faced with pride, selfishness, ambition greed and blind fanaticism, which when taken to their last defences, try to block the pathway causing hinderance and persecutions. Therefore it too has to do battle. But the time of battles and bloody outrages is passing so that those to be suffered from now on will be of a moral nature, and even these are nearing the end. The first lasted for centuries, but these will last but a few years, because instead of breaking forth in only one place at a time, the light now shines from all points of the globe and will quickly open the eyes of those who are still blind.
18. These words of Jesus should be understood as referring to the wrath which His doctrine will provoke, the momentary conflicts which it will create and to the fights it will have to endure before it is established, just as happened to the Hebrews before they entered into the Promised Land. It should not be understood as inferring a predetermined design on His part to sow disorder and conflict. Evil comes from Man, never from Jesus. He was like the doctor who comes to cure, but whose medicine provokes a beneficial crisis in those who are sick.